NAB Show: FCC’s Rosenworcel promises ‘roadmap’ for NextGen TV transition

Jessica Rosenworcel

The FCC is to “develop a roadmap” for transition to ATSC 3.0, but with the proviso that this is done in a way that does not force consumers to acquire costly equipment to continue to watch television, Jessica Rosenworcel, chairwoman of the FCC told attendees at the NAB Show yesterday.

Because the standard is not backwards compatible, the FCC will have to “figure out” a way to enable the transition to take place without depriving consumers of access to local broadcast TV, Rosenworcel said.

Rosenworcel admitted that the FCC will need to “update the balance” between driving ATSC 3.0 and maintaining universal access to TV on an ongoing basis. She said there would also be a need for “clear rules” post-transition to NextGen TV.

Rosenworcel referred to the FCC decision to allow NextGen TV to be rolled out voluntarily on a market-by-market basis in 2017, and said that “it will take some more work” to take the standard forward. She commended moves by TV manufacturers to integrate the NextGen TV standard in their latest models.

Despite the slow transition and the need to evolve to the new standard on a voluntary basis, ATSC 3.0/NextGen TV will enable innovation in broadcasting on a par with that experienced in digital platforms, she said.

She said the market for content “has never been more dynamic” and consumers often feel “overwhelmed” by the level of choice.

Rosenworcel told NAB Show attendees that they “have a competitive advantage” in being “local, so lean into it”.

She said that news filtered through algorithms led to deeper divisions and enragement. “Local broadcasters are still the most trusted source of news,” she said.

She said that “localism is not just good for democracy” but for broadcasters’ bottom line, as it enabled them to differentiate their services.


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