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Shout It Out Loud: 'NEXTGEN TV' Is ATSC 3.0's Go-To-Market Brand

Jeff Baumgartner
9/26/2019

Move over, HBO. It's not TV. It's NEXTGEN TV.

That's the brand the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) announced Thursday for an expected flow of devices that will conform with ATSC 3.0, a new broadcast TV signaling-standard. This standard will support a menu of advanced capabilities, including 4K resolution, enhanced audio, interactivity and OTT-like functionality to enable services delivered not just to televisions but to smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.

When it appears in print, the new brand name is written in all-caps, looking like it's being shouted [Ed note: As a positive development, this opens an opportunity for CTA or the National Association of Broadcasters to book KISS at the next big event where ATSC 3.0 will be a hot topic.]. Alas (and oddly) the logo seems to be in lower case. Just sayin'.

I'll just put this out there: As a brand, NEXTGEN TV (despite the shouty styling) seems a better fit than the "OnGo" moniker designed to make Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) tech and services appear more consumer-friendly.

NEXTGEN TV branding is coming into view as broadcasters prepare to start "widespread commercial deployment" of ATSC 3.0, IP-enabled broadcast transmissions next year, the CTA said.

"Ten years after the US Digital TV transition was complete, we're about to begin another national, over-the-air television transition," CTA President and CEO Gary Shapiro said in a statement. "And with this logo, consumers can easily tell which devices deliver the upgrades and interactivity NEXTGEN TV can provide."

The logo and branding will be used to distinguish ATSC 3.0-enabled devices that adhere to new interoperability test specifications, such as 4K/Ultra HD televisions, gateway receivers and portable devices, the organization added. Eurofins Digital Testing is providing the CTA with a suite of test materials and management services, along with conformance testing.

The new brand and logo for ATSC 3.0 appear about five months after the technology was declared "ready for deployment" at the NAB show in Las Vegas. At the time, a large coalition of broadcast TV station groups announced plans to install ATSC 3.0 in the top 40 US markets by the end of 2020, building on initial rollouts and tests being conducted in markets such as Phoenix, Dallas, Baltimore and Santa Barbara, Calif.

Cable industry static
But the picture for the new broadcast TV signalling standard isn't all crisp and clear. The cable industry is giving some static to ATSC 3.0.

Last month, Charter Communications argued to the FCC that a lack of standards for cable ops and other multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) could delay the ATSC 3.0 movement for years.

Under the FCC's rules, broadcasters that pivot to ATSC 3.0 must simulcast their current DTV (ATSC 1.0) and ATSC 3.0 signals for at least five years. But there's no standard in place to ensure new signals are compatible with legacy cable equipment, Charter said, according to TV Technology.

"The absence of such standards could delay the ATSC 3.0 transition by years for consumers who do not get their broadcast signals over the air," Charter stressed in an ex parte letter to the FCC, noting that ATSC 3.0 "has over 40,000 possible configurations."

In response, the ATSC told the publication that it would work to address Charter's concerns, but found many of them to be "unfounded."

Related posts:

— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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