NPG Launching First Small-Market 3.0 Test
The smallest TV market yet to offer next-generation TV service is signing on the air this month. Family-owned News-Press & Gazette Co. (NPG) is making the investment to bring ATSC 3.0 broadcast TV signal to the nation’s 124th market, Santa Barbara, Calif.
According to NPG, when fully implemented, the new TV signal will provide viewers with a richer, more detailed picture, better sound, a wider range of programming options, interactive features and mobile TV viewing.
“While most people wouldn’t expect cutting-edge technology in a relatively small market, the fact is that ATSC 3.0 is expected to be a substantial benefit to urban and rural viewers in markets large and small. NPG is proud to hoist the flag for next-gen TV here in southern California,” said NPG Co-Owner Eric Bradley.
NPG is partnering with the National Association of Broadcasters and the Pearl business alliance of TV broadcasters to launch the new 3.0 standard in Santa Barbara on KSBB. The test is designed to allow broadcasters in the nation’s mid-to-smaller markets see exactly how next-gen TV will enhance services for local viewers and for broadcasters.
NPG’s TV stations in Santa Barbara (KSBB plus KEYT [ABC], KKFX [Fox] and K44DN [CBS]) received recognition and honors from local civic organizations after the stations provided dozens of hours of non-stop commercial-free live news coverage during a significant brush fire and deadly mudslide in late 2017 and early 2018.
“NPG is choosing to launch ATSC 3.0 service in Santa Barbara for an array of reasons, one being the multiple natural disasters that have taken place over the last two years. This new standard will allow us to deliver highly localized news and emergency information to an even wider variety of devices. That means faster alerts when there is potential danger,” said Bradley.
“ATSC 3.0 devices will merge broadband and broadcast delivery services in a powerful new way that will allow us to provide highly localized news, advertising and a whole array of television services to our communities,” said Mike Meara, president of NPG Broadcasting.
The Pearl business alliance of eight of the largest broadcast companies in America is already on the air with its first station in Phoenix. NAB has worked to insure that the FCC allows transmission of ATSC 3.0 broadcasts on a voluntary basis.
“NAB fully supports NPG’s efforts to launch next-gen TV in the Santa Barbara area,” said Dennis Wharton, the association’s EVP of communications. “Local TV broadcasters are working diligently to bring the new standard to market with broadcasts ongoing in Cleveland, Portland, Baltimore, East Lansing, Chicago, Phoenix and Dallas.
“This new broadcast standard will unlock pro-consumer, innovative services such as better quality broadcasts, diverse programming streams, greater interactivity and mobile viewing. Experimental efforts are an important step in this process and NAB will work alongside NPG to ensure the success of this important trial.”
Small Market, Big Impact
NPG operates TV stations in a number of small markets in California, Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, Texas and Missouri. It purchased KSBB and KEYT in 2012 and says that since the acquisition it has invested heavily in its local markets, upgrading local newscasts to high definition and adding journalists and local newscasts to serve all of its communities. “The transition to the next generation of television technology is viewed as the logical next step in the development of local broadcasting,” it says.
“NPG is committed to supporting economic development and community improvement efforts in all of its markets,” said Bradley. “This is an important way we can continue that mission. Broadcasters play a vital role in the growth, safety and support of the cities where we work and live,”
The new 3.0 broadcast standard will allow viewers to access information, entertainment and data services using applications as they do on smart phones, desktop computers and over-the-top devices such as Roku, Apple and Android TV. Television programming, video on demand and wireless data services will be available without paying for data download charges wherever broadcast transmitters reach today.
“Thanks to help from the NAB, the Pearl TV alliance, GatesAir, Unisoft Corp., TitanTV and Triveni Digital NPG’s KSBB-CD ATSC 3.0 transmitter is live on-the-air and is ready to deliver to our community,” said Jim DeChant, NPG’s VP of technology. “We look forward to future partnerships with technology companies, content providers and community partners to leverage the strengths of this innovative technology.”
“We’re thrilled to see another deployment of ATSC 3.0, and we’ll be giving the KSBB team access to our test processes,” added said Anne Schelle, Pearl TV’s managing director. “The more that we can collaborate the better, as we build support for the voluntary deployment of next generation television. We know that the NPG team is squarely focused on developing new services for viewers and finding ways to take advantage of the new capabilities of this emerging technology. We intend to work hand-in-hand to facilitate a southern California next-gen TV signal.”