The Pearl group of nine major station groups and Sinclair have agreed to work with the consumer electronics giant over the next 18 months to develop and test new features and services that will support broadcasters’ evolving business models for the next-generation broadcast TV standard.
Major broadcasters are teaming up with Samsung to begin developing new features and services that they hope will be made possible by the adoption of a new television transmission standard, ATSC 3.0, it was announced this morning.
The broadcasters signed a memo of understanding with the consumer electronics giant, maker of TV sets as well as smartphones and tablets, to work together for the next 18 months on commercializing ATSC 3.0.
The cooperative arrangement does not come as a surprise. The parties have been working together within the Advanced Television Systems Committee to base the ATSC 3.0 standard on the technology of Samsung and ONE Media, a joint venture of the Sinclair Broadcast Group and Coherent Logix.
“We want to try out the capabilities that the standard brings, figure out what we can do with them … and figure out how attractive they are to consumers,” said John Godfrey, SVP, public policy, Samsung Electronics America. “We are not ready to announced specific devices, but we are going to be working on a range of things.”
The standard is loaded with potential, he said. “It enables ultra high-definition TV, high dynamic range and expanded color and more robust reception, including mobile reception.”
“And maybe the most overlooked, but potentially most important element ,” Godfrey added, “is that it is entirely based on Internet protocol so it really allows integration with all kinds of modern services — interactivity, targeted advertising, hybrid delivery of broadcast and broadband.”
With the initiative, Samsung and the broadcasters are racing ahead of ATSC’s standardizing work. The full preliminary or “candidate” standard will not be ready until the end of this year and the final standard, not until 2017, according to the ATSC.
But enough progress has been made that the broadcasters feel they can work on the “feature sets” that support evolving business model, said Anne Schelle, executive director of the Pearl Group.
“This is a precursor to the commercial development of devices,” she said. “We want to make sure we are developing products that consumers want and implementing them in a way that makes sense, both from a market perspective and a broadcaster perspective.”
Added Sinclair’s Del Parks: “Lots of work has already been done, but there is still more that needs to be done.”
The initiative will not be involved in developing a transition plan for introducing ATSC 3.0 to the public without causing service disruption, the principals said. The standard is incompatible with digital TV sets and the rest of today’s broadcasting ecosystem.