The Pearl TV group of US broadcast companies has welcomed the decision by the Federal Communications Commission to give broadcasters more flexibility when using a Distributed Television System (DTS) for NEXTGEN TV broadcasts using hybrid broadcast and broadband standard ATSC 3.0. Public and commercial broadcasters had sought the refinement of Commission rules, in order to ensure that a local broadcaster could better serve its market of viewers.
The FCC concluded in its order that “by modestly easing limitations on DTS transmitters and providing additional clarity in our rules, we can help unlock the potential of DTS at this crucial time when many stations are considering migrating to the next generation broadcast television standard (ATSC 3.0)” and that this action affords “broadcasters greater flexibility in the placement of DTS transmitters can allow them to enhance signal capabilities and fill coverage gaps, improve indoor and mobile reception, and increase spectrum efficiency by reducing the need for television translator stations operating on separate channels,” according to the recent FCC Report & Order.
“We’re pleased that the Commission adopted this change to the rules on Single Frequency Networks, since it will help broadcasters roll out NEXTGEN TV more quickly and more efficiently,” stated Anne Schelle, Pearl TV managing director. “Pearl TV worked closely with the National Association of Broadcasters to develop an approach that had broad support across the industry and we’re glad the FCC adopted this proposal. NEXTGEN TV offers exciting opportunities for over-the-air television and mobility services like infotainment and alerting to connected cars. The use of Single Frequency Networks by television broadcasters – a transmission method similar to cell phone transmissions – can increase capacity and provide better signal coverage for viewers watching indoors, as well. This rule change will enable broadcasters to deploy transmitters that deliver these benefits in an economically beneficial way. Pearl and our Phoenix Model Market partners launched an initial Single Frequency Network system in Phoenix, Arizona last year to test the concept and demonstrate the result of improved coverage and in-building reception,” advised Schelle.
NEXTGEN TV is now available in more than 20 cities and from nearly 90 broadcasters around the US. Features will vary by device and by broadcaster as commercial service becomes available in local markets, but key benefits include 4K Ultra HD and High Dynamic Range video, movie theater quality sound, added voice clarity with the ‘Voice +’ Dolby dialogue enhancement audio system, consistent volume across programmes and channels, and enhanced Internet content on demand.