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Broadcasters to Launch ‘Next-Gen TV’ by 2021

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Broadcasters to Launch ‘Next-Gen TV’ by 2021

For years, broadcasters and cable system operators have been hyping a video standard they call ‘Next-Gen TV’. But while it was in development, they were vague about the date we could expect to see the new standard in force.

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Last week, the broadcasters broke their silence on the subject. At the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas last Friday, industry spokesmen said the NexGen TV standard, also known as ATSC 3.0, will be implemented in forty of the largest TV markets by the end of 2020.

Testing of the Next-Gen TV Standard is Already Underway

Tests of the new standard are already underway in Baltimore, Dallas, Phoenix, Santa Barbara, and East Lansing, Michigan. Several of these markets could have functioning Next-Gen TV service before the end of this year.

Some of the features of the new video standard will include reception of over-the-air (OTA) TV signals on cell phones without cellular service or data plans, 4K video, High Dynamic Range (HDR) video, and an emergency early warning system. These functions would be available on compatible, phones, tablets, TV sets, and connected vehicles.

Participation in ATSC 3.0 will be voluntary, and each broadcaster will decide which capabilities to offer its viewers.

The Participants

Gordon H. Smith, the President and CEO of the NAB, calls ATSC 3.0 “a revolution in television”. He explained that “…hundreds of brilliant engineers and dozens of companies are making significant investments to bring the product into living rooms, laptops, and smart phones.”

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The station groups represented at the NAB convention include Capitol Broadcasting, the Spectrum Company, some FOX local stations, NBC-owned stations, and some members of Pearl TV.

The Federal Government Weighs In

Federal officials seem to believe the Next-Gen TV standard will bring huge benefits to consumers. Brendan Carr, an FCC Commissioner, said, “ATSC 3.0 is part of a broader shift we are seeing towards next-generation connectivity, one that’s going to usher in a new era of innovation and opportunity for Americans. You see it on the wireless side with the buildout of 5G networks.”

Carr added, “The possibilities of this one-to-many broadband pipe are difficult to predict today. But what is clear is this: broadcasters are already exploring innovative new applications that are well outside their traditional comfort zone of delivering over-the-air television.”

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