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Apple, tech firms should be pressured to support ATSC 3.0, says NAB chief

Technology companies should be pressured to support the integration of ATSC 3.0 next-generation broadcasting technology in mobile devices, according to Gordon Smith, president and CEO, NAB.

NAB president and CEO, Gordon Smith

Speaking at the opening of the NAB Show in Las Vegas, Smith said that next-generation TV, enabled by ATSC 3.0, would bring benefits including 4K UHD video, interactive applications and mobility. He showed a next-gen TV attachment to a mobile device that enabled a phone to receive over the air TV signals.

“While this attachment is great what we’d really like to see is a chip built into the phone to enable consumers to use this technology,” he said.

He said the industry should be on the cusp of a revolution that sees such technology integrated inside mobile phones, but that this was being resisted by big technology companies.

He castigated technology companies including Apple from declining to include broadcast chips in their devices.

Smith, a former Republican senator from Oregon, cited Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren’s comment that big technology companies “tilted the playing field against everyone else”.

He said that, “given the threat to local broadcasting and the threat to local journalism”, broadcasters, and the NAB, should work to press for the modernisation of outdated broadcast regulations, and by calling for more regulation of the tech companies “to ensure that they can’t stifle competition” from those that produce local news.

Smith said that the NAB would continue to work to win legislative and regulatory battles to help broadcasters “give a distinct voice to the communities that we serve”.

Smith said that opposition to reauthorisatoin to “narrow satellite legislation” that prevents communities receiving their local stations and attempts to “dismantle” retransmission consent rules.