US broadcasters commit to ATSC 3.0 launch in 2020

A powerful group of US broadcasters, representing stations owned by the likes of Fox, NBC and Telemundo, have come together to support the introduction of ATSC 3.0 from 2020.

The US next-generation broadcast TV standard, which is similar to HbbTV developments in Europe, is designed to enhance over-the-air services for viewers while bringing together broadcast and broadband functionality.

Executives from Fox Television Stations; NBC and Telemundo Owned Stations Group; Univision; TEGNA (on behalf of Pearl TV) ; and Nexstar Media Group (on behalf of SpectrumCo) announced their collaboration at the NAB Show New York.

Individual broadcasters are expected to launch the ATSC 3.0 standard beginning in 2020, concurrent with the anticipated introduction of consumer TV products equipped to receive ATSC 3.0.

“One big challenge was whether the big owners of valuable spectrum could work together, commit resources, and stick to the game plan. Done, done and done,” said Jack Abernethy, CEO at Fox Television Stations.

NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations president, Valari Staab said: “ATSC 3.0 is something that as an industry we have to do. The new standard will transform the way we deliver content to our audiences – including viewers who are consuming information in multiple languages and screens.”

LG Electronics, which co-developed the ATSC 3.0 standard, praised the broadcasters for “jump-starting the nationwide rollout of next gen TV”.

“We see this major development jump starting the nationwide rollout of next gen TV,” said Jong Kim, senior vice president in the office of the CTO at LG Electronics. “LG looks forward to working with these and other broadcasters and stakeholders in the next gen TV ecosystem to help bring the benefits of ATSC 3.0 to American consumers.”

The news follows an ATSC 3.0 pilot project, which launched a year ago in Phoenix, Arizona. This was used to test broadcast equipment, services, and technology to show that the standard could be deployed by broadcasters while maintaining existing digital service for viewers.

Fox Television Stations comprises 28 stations in 17 markets; NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations is the division of NBCUniversal that includes 40 NBC and Telemundo local television stations serving 28 markets; while Univision Communications is the leading media company serving Hispanic American viewers.

Pearl TV is a business alliance of Cox Media Group, the E.W. Scripps Company, Graham Media Group, Hearst Television, Meredith Local Media Group, Nexstar Media Group, Raycom Media, and TEGNA and operates more than 300 network-affiliated, local stations across the US.

SpectrumCo was founded by Nexstar and Sinclair Broadcast Group. Nexstar Media Group president and CEO, Perry Sook, said: “With more than 350 SpectrumCo stations participating and additional new members in the pipeline, SpectrumCo broadcasters will add immense scale and depth to the collaborative industry wide rollout of ATSC 3.0.”

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