Broadcasters: new multi-device TV standard will drive industry into the 21st Century

TV broadcasters should quickly figure out new ways to use technology to deliver their content and message to multiple devices rather than succumb to pressure to give up spectrum to wireless carriers, speakers at the 2014 NAB Show said.

NAB President-CEO Gordon Smith was joined by Univision Chairman Haim Saban in a saber-rattling address to an opening session audience that noted the efficiency of broadcasting's one-to-many delivery model and called on the ATSC to find better ways to deliver broadcast content to more devices.

At the same time, the broadcasters blasted FCC and other federal agency policies that they maintain favor broadband over broadcasting—including what some in the industry have long maintained is a spectrum grab by the wireless industry.

"The wireless industry covets our spectrum because they chew through their massive allocation of spectrum, attempting to deliver the video we deliver far more efficiently," Smith said, according to a story in Variety.

The best way to combat this, he said, is to migrate "to a new receiver standard [that] would allow stations the flexibility and efficiency they need to innovate, to better serve their viewers and compete in the mobile world, and to find new revenue streams."

Without a new standard, Saban said, "we'll be left back in the 20th Century. Which is where the FCC has us...People that work on this, they have their marching orders: Make it freakin' happen."

While seeking ways to generate new revenues, the broadcasters also fell back on a controversial—at least for pay-TV operators--tried-and-true method: retransmission consent.

"The government should continue to encourage fair and market-based negotiations," Smith said. "Government interference would only tip the scales toward pay-TV providers, whose endgame is to drive free TV out of business."

For more:
- see this Variety story

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