ATSC 3.0, the "Next-Gen TV" broadcasting standard will start to roll out in the 40 largest U.S. TV markets by the end of 2020, a coalition of broadcast TV station groups announced on Monday at the NAB Show in Las Vegas.
The broad coalition includes both private network-owned stations as well as public broadcasters who following years of development and testing are now moving ahead with plans to deploy Next-Gen TV.
Powered by the new IP-based ATSC 3.0 standard, Next-Gen TV will allow consumers to integrate broadcast television into their digital devices. ATSC 3.0 enables tablets and cellphones to receive an over-the-air broadcast signal without using up data on a mobile network.
The IP-based standard, with its higher throughput capacity, can deliver enhanced quality for audio and video services, robust mobile reception on a wide range of devices, improved spectrum efficiency, advanced emergency information, personalisation features, and interactive capabilities.
According to the coalition, Next-Gen TV also provides opportunities for TV broadcasters to offer new features like 4K and HDR and serve new markets. Deployment of ATSC 3.0 will provide information and entertainment to ATSC 3.0-equipped TV receivers, and to consumer devices and connected cars.
The coalition said testing and rollouts that have already taken place in Phoenix, Dallas, Baltimore, East Lansing, Raleigh, and Santa Barbara. This first wave of over-the-air Next-Gen TV service will begin with several markets slated for launch this year, with dozens more planned through 2020. This timeline will make Next-Gen TV service available to tens of millions of viewers and is concurrent with the anticipated 2020 introduction of consumer devices equipped to receive the advanced signals.
National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon H. Smith on Monday during his NAB Show address called the development "a revolution in television." Smith remarked that "hundreds of brilliant engineers and dozens of companies are making significant investments to bring the product into living rooms, laptops and smartphones."
Smith also urged mobile phone manufacturers like Apple to build broadcast chips in their devices. “We may be on the cusp of a new era of manufacturing that should and could include broadcast reception in your phone," the NAB president said during the opening keynote at the 2019 NAB Show. ATSC 3.0 enabled devices are expected to enter the consumer market by 2020. Brian Markwalter, senior vp research and standards, Consumer Technology Association, said, "We expect CES 2020 will feature a wide variety of reception devices — integrated 4K Ultra HDTVs, gateway receivers and portable devices."
The list of participating broadcasters includes Fox Television Stations, NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations, Univision, SpectrumCo (whose members include Sinclair Broadcast Group and Nexstar Media Group), the Pearl TV organisation including Cox Media Group, The E.W. Scripps Company, Graham Media Group, Gray Television, Hearst Television Inc., Meredith Local Media Group, Nexstar Media Group and TEGNA Inc. Additional supporting broadcasters include America’s Public Television Stations (APTS), Capitol Broadcasting, Hubbard Broadcasting, News-Press & Gazette Broadcasting, and public broadcasters participated in the Phoenix model market Next-Gen TV test.
NAB is offering many demonstrations around the ATSC 3.0 standard during the 2019 NAB Show in Las Vegas.