NEXTGEN TV: Programme, platform initiatives
April 20, 2022
By Colin Mann
Pearl TV, the coalition of US broadcast companies transitioning to broadcast technology standard NEXTGEN TV, otherwise known as ATSC 3.0, and fabless semiconductor company MediaTek have launched ‘FastTrack to NEXTGEN TV’, a programme that accelerates and streamlines the path for adoption of NEXTGEN TV technology by consumer electronic makers producing smart TVs and related devices at volume.
“The trajectory of NEXTGEN TV hasn’t slowed down and now our expanded collaboration with MediaTek only bolsters the path toward ubiquitous inclusion and adoption,” commented Anne Schelle, managing director of Pearl TV. “We’re excited that together with MediaTek, we can usher in high-volume, low-cost televisions that consumers desire and are buying today, particularly among millennials.”
The FastTrack programme provides consumer electronics manufacturers with an easier, faster, and more cost-effective process to introduce NEXTGEN TV-compatible products via MediaTek’s Reference Platform. The Reference Platform will be pre-certified for compliance with the Consumer Technology Association’s (CTA) NEXTGEN TV logo requirements, A3SA Security and the RUN3TV Application platform—ensuring that manufacturers are meeting the highest standards around authenticity and security.
“We are very glad to work with Pearl TV as a total NEXTGEN TV solution provider with a complete Reference Platform for high-volume TV manufacturers, including TV System on Chip (SoC), ATSC3 demodulators and software stack. MediaTek has been providing TV SoC solutions to 90 per cent of all TV brands, and this pre-certified fast track programme will help to expedite our support to customers with scale,” stated Alfred Chan, vice president, TV Business Unit in the Smart Home Group at MediaTek.
Now broadcasting in nearly 60 markets covering more than half of the US, NEXTGEN TV is expected to reach 82 per cent of viewers in the US by the end of 2022. And consumer interest in the new technology is strong, too: according to recent research by Magid, 85 per cent of viewers without a NEXTGEN TV are likely to purchase one in the next year. NEXTGEN TV has already proven to be one of the fastest growing new technologies introduced to consumers, outpacing in its first three years sales of the DVD player over the same period. NEXTGEN TV sales are projected to double this year over 2021, increase by 75 per cent in 2023, and then grow again by 100 per cent in 2024 according to the CTA.
NEXTGEN TV sets are proliferating, now with approximately 70 models available at retail, at a starting price point between $500 (€463) and $600, from Sony, Samsung, and LG. Hisense was recently added to the roster of manufacturers, giving consumers even more choices for receivers as its models are introduced this year.
“The FastTrack programme comes to the market at an opportune time for consumer electronics manufacturers looking to invest in cutting edge broadcast technology and better serve their customers with unrivalled visual and audio features,” continued Chan. “Consumers want TVs to come with NEXTGEN TV capabilities and they want to be part of the future of television. NEXTGEN TV represents a new realm of possibilities for television and device manufacturers, and we’re thrilled that this collaboration helps open the door for brands that want to have a seat at the table.”
Separately, Pearl TV is launching the RUN3TV web platform that enables broadcasters to offer a brand-new hybrid TV service to over-the-air (OTA) viewers.
RUN3TV was built to support NEXTGEN TV and bring content to life through two-way web interactivity. As NEXTGEN TV has reached an inflection point—now reaching 60 markets, approximately 70 television models available at retail, and a growing device ecosystem—RUN3TV enables broadcasters to directly engage with their viewers via their broadcaster applications.
“An industry first, RUN3TV gives broadcasters the ability to leverage the new ATSC 3.0 A/344 Interactive Content broadcast standard to create television applications that enhance over-the-air viewing with interactive and on-demand content delivered over broadband,” stated Schelle,. “With NEXTGEN TV and RUN3TV, broadcasters can now bring the OTA environment into the digital world.”
RUN3TV’s web-based platform architecture enables stations to develop, innovate, and differentiate at the application services layer, allowing a consistent viewer experience across all NEXTGEN TV devices. The broadcaster controls the product vision, audience engagement, and customer experience. Broadcasters can choose their technical partners and take advantage of contributions from the RUN3TV developer community.
With RUN3TV, broadcasters can expect viewers to spend additional time engaging with content and multiple new revenue opportunities from those viewers watching the live broadcast. Broadcasters can now leverage advanced advertising in live and streaming content, audience insights, and premium content distribution thanks to the new platform.
“NEXTGEN TV is scaling rapidly on connected TVs, creating a new advanced advertising marketplace. Display, lead-gen, and dynamic ad insertion capabilities will be game changers for broadcasters and help level the playing field among other digital providers,” stated Kerry Oslund, vice president of strategy and business development at The E.W. Scripps Company. “RUN3TV creates an underlying framework that puts broadcasters in the driver’s seat on what they create and how they provide content that matters to viewers. RUN3TV has just scratched the surface of what is possible for the broadcast community.”
Pearl TV is launching the RUN3TV platform through its subsidiary, the ATSC 3.0 Framework Alliance, LLC (A3FA). RUN3TV development partners include Kineton, MadHive, IBM Weather, Freewheel and Google. Early adopters such as Gray Television, The E.W. Scripps Company, Graham Media, TEGNA, Hearst and Howard University’s WHUT have launched broadcaster applications in more than 30 markets, and more broadcasters are adding innovative interactive features to their NEXTGEN TV channels to directly connect with their viewers and increase audience engagement.
“The power of the RUN3TV platform to enhance the viewer experience is tremendous. As broadcasters customise and build out exciting applications, viewers will be delighted to seamlessly discover and explore web content like local news, lifestyle, weather and emergency alerts, all within the broadcast they are watching,” said Robert Folliard, senior vice president, government relations and distribution, Gray Television. “With NEXTGEN TV and RUN3TV, broadcasters can provide an on-demand broadcast experience, where viewers no longer need to watch along with a second screen—creating the future of viewing today.”