Advanced Television

NEXTGEN TV launches in Washington, DC

December 17, 2021

By Colin Mann

Washington, D.C., television viewers can now experience the future of broadcast television as Howard University’s WHUT, two local network affiliate stations and two owned- and-operated network stations have launched NEXTGEN TV, using the ATSC 3.0 digital broadcast technology standard.

Viewers in the Washington metro area can now find five channels over-the-air for free with NEXTGEN TV: WHUT-TV (Howard University, virtual channel 32; PBS); WJLA-TV (Sinclair Broadcast Group, virtual and VHF digital channel 7; ABC); WRC-TV (NBCUniversal, virtual channel 4, UHF digital channel 34; NBC); WTTG (Fox Television Stations, virtual channel 5, UHF digital channel 36; FOX); and WUSA (TEGNA Inc., virtual and VHF digital channel 9; CBS). Howard’s WHUT will convert to the NEXTGEN TV standard and host the other four stations.

The Howard NEXTGEN TV Broadcast Collaborative is a landmark project developed in partnership with the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) that includes a learning lab where the technology at the forefront of the rollout is developed and demonstrated, underscoring the unique prominence of its public and commercial collaboration.

“Just as technology changes all around us, from our phones to our cars to our homes, NEXTGEN TV is the technological evolution of free broadcast television,” commented Sean D. Plater, general manager, WHUR 96.3 and WHUT-TV, Howard University. “By connecting the IP and broadcast television infrastructures together, we’re able to give viewers a better and more engaging content experience. Viewers across the Washington, D.C., region will be excited to not just watch, but also lean in and be more engaged with their content.”

“The Media Technology Innovation Learning Lab is already living up to its purpose—to foster participation and show how the myriad capabilities of NEXTGEN TV can best be applied for future public service, entertainment, and information objectives,” stated Sam Matheny, executive vice president and chief technology officer, National Association of Broadcasters. “We have tremendous pride in Howard University student Sulaiman Bastien as the first college student in the world to create a NEXTGEN TV app. As the rollout continues, the Lab is poised to replicate more stories of innovation and produce a vibrant ecosystem of broadcasters and app developers.”

“America’s Public Television Stations congratulate WHUT, Howard University, the National Association of Broadcasters and Pearl TV on the official launch of this extraordinary new NEXTGEN TV Broadcast Collaborative,” said Patrick Butler, president and CEO of America’s Public Television Stations. “WHUT and Howard University are enhancing the rich public television tradition of education and innovation, and we couldn’t be prouder of their commitment to educating the next generation of leaders in our industry and to providing an exciting array of new NEXTGEN TV services to the people of the Washington, D.C., region.”

“Delivering unprecedented entertainment, information, and engagement opportunities, NEXTGEN TV has generated remarkable adoption across consumers and broadcasters, as this technology is now available in 37 markets and expected to reach 45 per cent of US households by the end of the year,” stated Anne Schelle, managing director of Pearl TV, a broadcaster coalition managing the NEXTGEN TV rollout. “Washington, D.C., represents an important milestone in the broader rollout and shows that we’ve only just scratched the surface on the value that it brings to viewers and broadcasters.”

The participating stations have worked together to ensure that current programming remains available to all viewers, regardless of whether their television service is provided over-the-air or by a cable or satellite company. Antenna and current generation television viewers can simply rescan their TV to ensure full service.


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