Sinclair offers 1M free ATSC 3.0 chips to phonemakers

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Sinclair is offering 1 million free ATSC 3.0 receiver chips to any smartphone maker that’s willing to add the technology to its devices.

Sinclair Broadcast Group put a generous offer on the table to help ensure mobile devices will be ready to receive next-generation TV signals once the ATSC 3.0 standard is deployed.

According to TVNewsCheck, Mark Aitken, Sinclair VP of advanced technology, offered 1 million free ATSC 3.0 receiver chips to any smartphone maker that’s willing to add the technology to its devices. Speaking at the annual meeting of the Advanced Television Systems Committee, Aitken described the pledge as being part of Sinclair’s mobile-first strategy.

ATSC held its event shortly after the NAB Show, which focused heavily on the standards, which are currently undergoing a rulemaking process at the FCC. ATSC 3.0 features including improved images and deeper viewership data could start rolling out early next year.

“The talk of the just-completed NAB Show in Las Vegas was next-generation television and how the ATSC 3.0 suite of standards can be applied to enhance services for viewers and provide broadcasters with real-time data. Our event will highlight the technical capabilities of the emerging standard, as well as the policy and economic consequences of this leap ahead in broadcasting,” said Mark Richer, president of the ATSC, in a statement.

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Dave Arland, spokesperson for ATSC, said that, while ATSC 1.0 had mobile capabilities, ATSC 3.0 will really be the standard that kick-starts mobile for broadcast.

“ATSC 3.0 anticipates that many viewers may be watching on a future device with an embedded ATSC 3.0 tuner,” said Arland. “So it will be possible to receive a signal and display it deep inside a building or for a passenger to view live TV on a mobile device in a car or train.”

But he said that before that can happen, negotiations would need to take place with the mobile phone manufacturers and cellular companies to plan integration of this functionality and to enable its use.

For Sinclair, which has been one of the major proponents of the ATSC 3.0 standard, the promise of providing free mobile chips comes shortly after the company announced a partnership for developing those chips. Sinclair subsidiary OneMedia and Saankhya Labs, which specializes in Cognitive Software Defined Radio chips, will begin working on an ATSC 3.0 chipset for use in various consumer devices including televisions, cell phones, tablets, dongles, gateways and automotive units.