Next year should see broadcasters making advances in the continuing move to IP, greater use of cloud platforms and significant progress for two new wireless technologies: ATSC 3.0 and the various 5G services being rolled out by wireless carriers. Above, a Sony camcorder and prototype 5G transmitter were used to test camera backhauls over Verizon’s 5G network during a recent NBC NFL broadcast.
Broadcasters are capitalizing on that simple equation as they try to squeeze every last advertising dollar out of their 6 MHz channels through multicasting. Hopped-up encoders and advanced video compression have also facilitated channel sharing in the wake of the incentive auction and will come in handy for stacking legacy ATSC 1.0 signals as broadcasters roll out ATSC 3.0.
A consortium of station groups pledges to launch the new next-gen transmission standard in top markets by the end of next year. But while broadcasters seem to have found consensus on how to get 3.0 signals on-air, their long-term plans for business models are still unclear. And there are also some tough decisions broadcasters will need to make about what kind of single frequency network they need to build out.
A broad coalition of television station groups as well as public broadcasters announced at the NAB Show on Monday that ATSC 3.0 will be rolled out in 40 U.S. markets by the end of 2019.
Spectrum Co. and Pearl TV are expected to jointly announce ATSC 3.0 launches involving some 150 stations in 30 markets during next week’s gathering in Las Vegas. Their goal is to build a national footprint that will let broadcasters better compete with wireless companies and OTT providers while spurring the development of 3.0-ready TV sets and other consumer devices.
The ATSC 3.0 joint venture of Sinclair and Nexstar chooses the technology, media and FCC veteran to fill the newly created position, reporting to President John Hane.
Under the aegis of Spectrum Co., the partnership of Sinclair and Nexstar, Dish is testing the transmission and reception capabilities of ATSC 3.0 using a swathe of its own 700 MHz E Block spectrum (former TV ch. 56) and Spectrum Co.’s 3.0-enabled single frequency network in Dallas.
The lawyer and former tech executive John Hane is a solid choice to lead Sinclair and Nexstar’s new Spectrum Co. He knows spectrum, he understands business and he clearly shares those groups’ passion for the non-broadcast potential of spectrum once enhanced and amplified by ATSC 3.0.
He will oversee the nascent Spectrum Co., the ATSC 3.0 spectrum consortium founded by Sinclair and Nexstar to promote “spectrum utilization, innovation and monetization by advancing the adoption of the ATSC 3.0 transmission standard across the broadcast industry.”