Sinclair and its ONE Media innovations group announced key deals with Harmon and Korea’s SK Telecom at CES this week to jointly develop and commercialize broadcasting-based automotive technology using the ATSC 3.0 standard. “The whole vehicular space is one that is increasingly connected,” says Sinclair’s Mark Aitken.
Enthusiasm runs high as the next-generation TV standard has its official ribbon-cutting launch in Las Vegas. In addition to panels, exhibit booths of new gear, NAB Show attendees can take a ride from the Central to South Halls in an autonomous vehicle equipped with ATSC 3.0 sets, receiving an ATSC 3.0 signal sent from an experimental Sinclair transmission facility 15 miles away.
As tests of the next-gen standard get underway and demos are being offered in Las Vegas, Sinclair’s Mark Aitken and Pearl TV’s Anne Schelle see a commercial launch of ATSC 3.0 services possible in about two years.
Last week, Sinclair Broadcast Group VP of advanced technology, Mark Aitken, announced at the annual Advanced Television Systems Committee meeting that the station group will give 1 million ATSC 3.0 receiver chips to each mobile phone maker that promises to put them in devices sold in the United States. The offer demonstrates the group’s commitment to moving TV forward.
The 2017 NAB Show exhibition opens Monday, April 24, and there will be much to see for broadcast engineers and technologists who find themselves grappling with the repack of the TV spectrum and a nearly completed new broadcast standard. Five top techs — one each from Gray Television, NBCU O&Os, Nexstar Media Group, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tegna Media — talk technology and what they will be looking for at this year’s NAB Show. For a recap of TVNewsCheck’s multi-part roundup of NAB Tech Hot Topics, click here.
Television broadcasters around the country today are testing the ATSC 3.0 audio watermark as part of their ATSC 1.0 (A/53) transmission. Not only are the tests aimed at offering them greater insight into who is watching and how internet-connected TV services are used by viewers, but they also offer the chance for participating broadcasters to come out of the chutes running once the next-gen TV standard is finalized and approved by the FCC. Above, NAB’s So Vang at an ATSC 3.0 interactivity demo at the 2016 NAB Show.
Since it looks like the FCC will have to repeat its two-part incentive auction process to balance the money promised to broadcasters with what is raised from wireless carriers,broadcasters and their technology suppliers remain in the dark longer about which stations will have to move in the repack and to which channels. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It could help sync up the repack with an ATSC 3.0 rollout and provide more time to create the 36-month repack schedule. Some vendors say they could use the extra time to prepare for the expected demand. Read the second part of this Special Report here.
Many of the same app developers focused on the web today will help bring interactivity to ATSC 3.0 viewers in the future thanks to the standard’s W3C compliance and clever use of broadcast, broadband and non-real-time content in the home. Above, NAB’s So Vang demos the interactive in-home experience offered by 3.0 in the NAB Futures Zone during the NAB Show last month.
Sinclair’s top tech, Mark Aitken, says the next-gen TV standard will offer stations a plethora of new business opportunities. “There will come a day shortly where the kinds of services broadcasters are capable of offering” will top those consumers will be able to get anywhere else. “The business opportunities of tomorrow are totally open to the imagination.”
The FCC just received broadcasters’ request to permit use of ATSC 3.0 and has not yet said whether it will even consider the petition. Nonetheless, Sinclair is charging ahead with plans to exploit the technology that include a national “wireless IP pipeline” that can deliver TV and data to consumers and other clients.