Forming the first collaborative single-market effort to plan for and implement a transition to next-generation over-the-air television broadcasting, broadcast groups E.W. Scripps Company, Fox Television Stations, Meredith Local Media Group, Nexstar Media Group, TEGNA, Telemundo Station Group, Univision Communications, and Pearl TV have revealed a comprehensive effort planned for the Phoenix, Arizona TV market to show how next-generation ATSC 3.0 technology can be deployed while maintaining existing digital TV service for viewers.
The Federal Communications Commission is expected to adopt policies at its November open meeting allowing for the voluntary deployment of ATSC 3.0 technology throughout the US.
Phoenix will serve as the first ‘model market’ for deployment of next-generation TV, which the broadcasters suggest is a sweeping improvement designed to enhance greatly over-the-air services for viewers and provide new options through Smart TVs and other Internet-connected devices.
The nation’s twelfth-largest TV market, Phoenix has more than 1.8 million households with more than one in five viewers relying on over-the-air reception for TV viewing. The ‘model market’ effort will be coordinated by Pearl TV and broadcast stations owned by Fox Television Stations, Telemundo Station Group, and Univision will also participate and take an active role.
“What we learn in Phoenix will be critical for a successful deployment of next-generation TV across the country. The model market collaboration will help broadcasters develop commercial launch profiles, station configurations, interoperability with MVPD retransmission and support requirements for a basic ATSC 3.0 TV service,” said Pearl TV Managing Director Anne Schelle.
Ten TV stations in the Phoenix market will participate in deploying the model market, which will launch soon and involve independent broadcasters as well as those owned by or affiliated with the major networks. Stations and companies participating in the launch include:
The Phoenix ‘model market’ project will create an open test bed for the mutual benefit of all stakeholders in the TV ecosystem. The project has several objectives, including confirming basic TV service parameters and performance, determining the appeal of next-generation high dynamic range video and immersive audio content to consumers, assessing TV application features and implementation requirements, testing interactive and addressable advertising functionality, determining consumer device and service appeal, and ensuring effective and efficient interoperability with multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD) systems. Creating an end-to-end model system will help foster industry consensus and drive ecosystem development. This includes development of the ‘lighthouse’ concept to keep legacy digital TV available for all viewers while new ATSC 3.0 services are being launched.