Advanced Television

FCC to discuss next-gen TV standard

October 27, 2017

By Colin Mann

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is to consider a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking authorising television broadcasters to use the Next Generation television transmission standard (ATSC 3.0) on a voluntary, market-driven basis at the November Open Commission Meeting scheduled for November 16th, 2017.

In a blog post discussing the published Agenda, which also includes discussion on Media Ownership Rules and 5G Spectrum, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, wrote that just as the Commission wants to encourage next-generation wireless services, it initiated a rulemaking earlier in 2017 to set the stage for the rollout of the ‘Next Generation’ broadcast television transmission standard (Next Gen TV or ATSC 3.0).

“Next Generation TV would be the first standard to marry the advantages of broadcasting and the Internet,” he advised. “It holds the promise of delivering better video and audio, advanced emergency alerts, improved accessibility features, personalised and interactive content, and mobile television reception to American consumers,” he added.

“But it can’t take off unless the FCC approves. In three weeks, we’ll vote on just that: whether to allow television broadcasters to use Next Gen TV on a voluntary, market-driven basis. The bottom line is this: I want America to be at the forefront of innovation in the broadcast sector, the wireless sector, and every other sector of the communications industry,” he concluded.

Broadcast industry trade body the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) had earlier called for “swift approval” of the voluntary deployment of the Next Gen standard, without unduly burdensome regulatory requirements, suggesting that it will help ensure that broadcasters can continue to offer a competitive alternative in the digital marketplace.

In response to the proposed Order, NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith said: “NAB thanks Chairman Pai and FCC staff for supporting a new, voluntary transmission standard for broadcast television. Next Gen TV will reinvent free and local TV, offering tens of millions of viewers ultra HDTV, live and local broadcasting on mobile devices, emergency alerting that will save lives, and targeted advertising that will grow US jobs and commerce.”

“Notably, a transition to Next Gen TV requires broadcasters to use no additional spectrum. Just as American broadcasters led the world in a a consumer stampede to high definition television two decades ago, we are ready to usher in a new era of broadcasting that will be pro-consumer and pro-innovation. NAB thanks the bold vision and tireless work of countless broadcast engineers and consumer electronics advocates involved in the ATSC process. We look forward to working with the FCC to ensure that broadcasters have maximum flexibility to bring the historic benefits of Next Gen TV to consumers.”


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