Tech vendors and broadcasters led by Sinclair and Weigel are developing ways to offer high-resolution TV and targeted advertising by layering broadband content on top of the basic ATSC 3.0 over-the-air signals.
While conversations between broadcasters and car makers are just starting, ATSC 3.0 proponents say that given the three-to-five-year build cycle of a typical new model it’s crucial to get 3.0 receiver chips into car makers’ design plans by next spring so they’re ready to roll in 2024, by which time next-gen stations will be broadcasting across the U.S.
ONE Media’s Jerald Fritz: “Using the great big IP data pipe that is a Next Gen TV channel, broadcasters will have the flexibility to provide traditional linear TV entertainment and informational programming to both fixed and mobile devices. Plus, they can use their channels for complementary 5G services.”
Sinclair’s ONE Media and Saankhya Labs introduce the “world’s most advanced” multi-standard demodulator system-on-a-chip in Las Vegas.
Sinclair joint venture ONE Media is pleading its case with the FCC to make sure ATSC 3.0 next-gen TV standards are considered while making plans for 5G networks. According to an FCC filing, Mark Aitken, president of ONE Media, recently met with Commissioner Michael O’Rielly and other FCC officials to discuss ATSC 3.0’s ability to deliver data services outside of television.
The $3 “software defined radio” chips, developed by Saankhya Labs, an India-based company in which Sinclair’s ONE Media has a financial stake, will allow mobile devices like smartphones to receive ATSC 3.0. The challenge will be to get the chips in phones. There is no law or FCC rule requiring makers of mobile devices to include 3.0 chips, and, thus far, wireless companies have turned a cold shoulder to proposals to include broadcast receiver chips in the smartphones they control.
If ATSC 3.0 becomes the de facto standard for TV broadcasting in the coming decade, Sinclair’s One Media could make a small fortune from patent royalties from manufacturers of 3.0 receivers and transmission gear. That’s cause for concern for the FCC’s Jessica Rosenworcel. Sinclair, however, says its primary interest is in the 3.0 tech that it believes will let it enhance its broadcast capabilities and move into new businesses.
With the FCC poised to approve the use of the new broadcast standard tomorrow, One Media EVP Jerry Fritz takes on the critics of the standard and the “horror stories” they tell about its impact on consumers and MVPDs.
The Sinclair subsidiary says that the carrier’s suggestion that broadcasters want an FCC mandate requiring cellphone makers to put ATSC 3.0 tuners in their phones is a “red herring.” “Nothing mandates that T-Mobile incorporate Next Gen TV capabilities in devices designed for T-Mobile’s customers,” it says. However, it also says, contrary to T-Mobile’s claims, tuners could be installed in phones.