Sinclair, Nexstar plan ‘coordinated transition’ to ATSC 3.0 next-gen TV

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The new agreement is pursuant to the companies' previously announced spectrum consortium.

Sinclair Broadcast Group and Nexstar Media have signed a tentative agreement to coordinate the transition for OTA delivery of ATSC 3.0 next-gen TV services in 97 markets.

The new agreement is pursuant to the companies' previously announced spectrum consortium that promotes spectrum aggregation and innovation, and includes 43 markets where both companies own a television station.

Sinclair and Nexstar are planning to share "next-gen" services in the 54 markets where only one of them owns or operates stations.

The companies are anticipating the FCC will approve ATSC 3.0 standards and, once that happens, broadcasters will be able to enter channel sharing agreements where existing ATSC 1.0 as well as ATSC 3.0 will be simulcast on different stations' spectrum, according to a news release. Sinclair and Nexstar plan to share their spectrum within their markets. Since the recently concluded incentive auctions reduced the amount of available broadcast spectrum, the spectrum consortium is pushing coordination to help make sure the transition to ATSC 3.0 can still happen.

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"We look forward to working with Nexstar to enable new and innovative services that add value to the viewers we serve, our advertising clients and our broadcast assets. Sinclair and Nexstar are leading the broadcast industry in this critical technology upgrade and we are confident that through our coordination and mutual efforts we can navigate this transition together," said Chris Ripley, president and CEO of Sinclair, in a statement.

"Our collaboration with Sinclair demonstrates Nexstar's commitment to making 'NextGen' television a reality for the communities and businesses we serve across America. Our research and analysis indicates that this market-based solution to the transition is a win for broadcasters and for television viewers who will soon have access to the enhanced over-the-air services that this new technology can bring, which will enable us to remain highly competitive in today's multi-platform environment," said Perry Sook, chairman, president and CEO of Nexstar, in a statement.

The schedules for market rollouts and sharing arrangements are in the works, eyeing the fourth quarter of 2017, when the FCC is due to approve ATSC 3.0.