Anticipating FCC authorization of the ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard on Thursday, the consortium of leading station groups is planning to set up experimental 3.0 station next spring to explore service enhancement and business opportunities. The project will also include creatng a “lighthouse” station to continue regular digital service to existing sets. Joining Pearl (Cox Media, E.W. Scripps, Graham, Hearst, Meredith, Nexstar, Raycom and Tegna) in the effort will be Fox, NBCUniversal and Univision.
The Pearl TV group of leading broadcast TV companies is planning to demonstrate how stations working together in a market — in this case, Phoenix (DMA 11) — can roll out the new ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard without disrupting service to existing TV viewers.
ATSC 3.0 promises to improve broadcast TV reception and service and create new business opportunities for broadcasters, but it is not compatible with any of the TV sets now in use.
FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel and others have raised concerns about the impact the new standard would have on consumers with incompatible sets.
The announcement comes two days before the FCC is expected to authorize use of the new standard on voluntary basis.
The project, which is expected to get underway next spring, includes setting up a transitional “lighthouse” station.
During the standards transition, prior to consumers upgrading to new 3.0-capable sets, broadcasters who choose to broadcast in 3.0 have said they would simulcast in the existing standard over a commonly operated station, which has come to be called a lighthouse.
Other objectives of the “model market:” confirming basic TV service parameters and performance, ascertaining the appeal of HRD video and immersive audio, testing interactive and targeted advertising and insuring compatibility with local cable systems.
The Pearl consortium includes Cox Media, E.W. Scripps, Graham, Hearst, Meredith, Nexstar, Raycom and Tegna.
Fox, NBCUniversal’s Telemundo Station Group and Univision, which have stations in Phoenix, will also participate.
“What we learn in Phoenix will be critical for a successful deployment of next-generation TV across the country,” said Pearl TV Managing Director Anne Schelle. “The model market collaboration will help broadcasters develop commercial launch profiles, station configurations, interoperability with MVPD retransmission and support requirements for a basic ATSC 3.0 TV service,”
The participating stations:
- E.W. Scripps’ KNXV (ABC)
- Fox’s KSAZ (Fox) and KUTP (MNT)
- Meredith’s KPHO (CBS) and KTVK (Independent)
- Nexstar’s KASW (CW);
- Telemundo Station Group’s KTAZ (Telemundo);
- Tegna’s KPNX (NBC)
- Univision’s KFPH-CD (UniMas) and KTVW (Univision).