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.
ONE Media 3.0, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group, today entered into an agreement with Indian chip maker Saankhya Labs to develop ATSC 3.0 chipsets to power consumer devices capable of receiving next-gen TV.
The Advanced Television Systems Committee has voted to approve the “Bootstrap” mechanism of the ATSC 3.0 as a full standard for the physical layer of the next-gen TV system.
One Media, the joint venture of Sinclair and Coherent Logix, is leading the effort to show benefits of the next-gen standard in a single-frequency network and to help finalize the standard.
The ATSC 3.0 proponent receives FCC approval to operate a full-power, single frequency network test platform in Washington and Baltimore on ch. 43. It will broadcast a range of next-gen services that include fixed, portable and mobile capabilities to provide real-time assessments of the new Internet protocol-based standard currently being reviewed by the Advanced Television Systems Committee.
The ATSC 3.0 Technology Group 3 has approved technology proposed by One Media and China’s National Engineering Research Center as a critical part of ATSC 3.0’s modulation and error coding component known as the physical layer. “At the end of the day, what we have is a wireless, data-agnostic IP pipeline,” says Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Mark Aitken. “That means the bits that flow across the Internet can flow across our spectrum.”
CEO David Smith: “By July, maybe August, we should know essentially what the future platform will look like, what business platforms we can roll off that will look like. It’s the first time in 20 years I’ve seen the industry line up to control its own destiny.”
Proponents for a new broadcast TV transmission standard are putting aside their differences and forming coalitions. ONE Media — a joint venture of Sinclair Broadcast Group and Coherent Logix — and China’s National Engineering Research Center of Digital Television, have agreed to pool technology over the key signaling component of the transmission standard or “physical layer.” According to a source close to the committee, ATSC has accepted the ONE Media/NERC technology, which is currently under final ATSC review.
Plenty, says a top executive of One Media, one of the companies vying to become the national standard for next-generation digital TV. Broadcasters will finally be able to serve the enormous and growing population that watches programming on portable and mobile devices, bolstering its ad-supported business model. It will also open up new opportunities in targeted advertising and data distribution. Moving to the next-gen standard in conjunction with the repack of the TV band following the incentive auction must become part of our national policy.
Companies are proposing a next-generation broadcast TV tech standard to reach a number of goals. But one result that’s not been in the spotlight is the mega-bucks that will flow to them in the form of royalties from whatever patented technology they can squeeze into the new standard.
Jerald Fritz of ATSC 3.0 system proponent ONE Media: “Broadcast television — like every other information medium — needs the freedom to evolve. We need to lose the economic, regulatory and engineering shackles that bind us to the silos of a single, fixed reception device anchored to the living room wall. So how do we do that? We’ve done that by reimagining our business. And that starts with a clear, clean, efficient way to get our signals to viewers wherever they are, using whatever equipment they have. Local broadcasters have a better idea.”
The longtime Allbritton executive joins the Sinclair-Coherent Logix joint venture that’s developing a next-generation TV broadcasting standard.
Kevin Gage, late of NAB and now CTO of ONE Media, a joint venture of Sinclair Broadcast Group and Coherent Logix, is leading a technical drive to develop a new TV standard that will give stations the ability to broadcast TV signals to smartphones while simultaneously serving all those TV receivers linked to roof-top antennas. “That’s the nut that we’re trying to crack,” he says, adding “and we believe that we have cracked it.”
Any new broadcast TV technical standard must “harmonize” with the standards used by wireless mobile operator and the white space spectrum user communities, according to Sinclair’s tech guru Mark Aitken. That’s why Sinclair is working on an alternative to ATSC 3.0 along with Coherent Logix. Their joint venture, ONE Media, will create a platform that relies on software-defined radios in consumer devices ranging from LTE mobile phones to tomorrow’s TVs to make updates possible so TV stations don’t get locked into a standard that quickly becomes obsolete.
The new joint venture between Sinclair Broadcast Group and Coherent Logix, ONE Media, plans to develop what it’s calling the Next Generation Broadcast Platform that it feels is needed to address issues that ATSC is not. Sinclair’s Mark Aitken said: “ATSC does not offer a place for how we, as an industry, can work to shape regulation and work with all of the government bodies to make a next-generation system happen.”