NAB's Smith: Spectrum grab could throttle broadcast TV initiatives

Broadcast television can only move to its next level of innovation if it has sufficient spectrum to move "past the age of linear television-only" into the interactive era, NAB President-CEO Gordon Smith said during a keynote address to the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) annual meeting.

FCC efforts to wrest away that spectrum--right now via voluntary auctions--and lay it out for future wireless broadband projects threatens that pathway to the future, he said.

The conference, not surprisingly, focused on next-generation broadcast television and the development of ATSC 2.0 with elements that provide more efficient compression and Internet tie-ins as well as looking at 3D and how it impacts broadcasters.

"While I marvel at the technology of broadcasting, I don't claim to understand it intimately as many of you do," said Smith, claiming expertise in politics. He does know enough, however, to say that "change can't happen, and we can't serve our audiences, if we don't have sufficient spectrum."

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