FCC Gets Ball Rolling On Next-Gen ATSC 3.0

Without comment, the agency asks for public comment on the broadcasters' petition to permit the use of ATSC 3.0 as an optional broadcast standard without disrupting the existing ATSC 1.0 service. Comments are due May 26; replies, June 27.

As FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler promised last week at the NAB Show, the FCC asked for public comment on the broadcasters’ petition to permit the use of ATSC 3.0 “as a new optional standard” for broadcasters without disrupting the current ATSC 1.0 service.

The petition for Next Generation TV was filed April 13 by the NAB, America’s Public Television Stations, the Consumer Technology Association and the AWARN Alliance.

The petition was released without comment from Wheeler or any of the other commissioners.

As the NAB, Wheeler praised the broadcasters for their inventiveness. “Hooray for the creative thinking of the broadcast community that brought ATSC 3.0 from an idea into reality. Now we’ll see where we go from here, how we make it work.”

The FCC set May 26 for comments and June 27 for replies.


Comments (55)

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Ellen Samrock says:

April 27, 2016 at 12:35 pm

Not sure if many small market stations would have the funds to simulcast 1.0 and 3.0. It would have to be done as a flash cut. And then there is the matter of having a companion channel available for simulcasting which we know won’t be the case after the auction. This means it could take years before 3.0 becomes the new standard–if ever.

charles spencer says:

April 27, 2016 at 2:23 pm

Simulcast is not an option – the two standards have different ways of filling the 6 MHz channel. One station in a market will become the “common” station for a period of time and handle everyone’s .1 channel as an ATSC 1.0 multicast while the other stations convert. Then, the consolidating station will cut over, and someone may have to handle their signal for a period of time, but in the ATSC 3.0 standard. Multiply for more signals in larger markets.

    Ellen Samrock says:

    April 27, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    That’s why I mentioned the companion channel, something similar to what we had during the analog/DTV switch over. But where will the available channels for that come from after the auction?

    Tanya Pavluchuk says:

    April 27, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    Sorta what tvenger said but just a little different wording………
    Stations will not get a second “companion channel” to air ATSC 3.0. The thought is that one current ATSC 1.0 station would multi-cast all of the stations in the market (probably SD) while the others convert to and air ATSC 3.0. This would essentially be an ATSC 1.0 “Lighthouse” station. When enough viewers in the market switch to ATSC 3.0 the Lighthouse station would convert..

    Ellen Samrock says:

    April 27, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    In theory, that would be doable. Just need to find that “lighthouse station”, as you called it. In a market like Los Angeles you’d probably need more than one lighthouse station.

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