Fox, NBC and others nail down 2020 for nationwide ATSC 3.0 next-gen TV launch

NAB Show New York takes place Oct. 17-18 at the Javits Center in New York. (Ben Munson/FierceVideo)

NEW YORK—At NAB Show New York today, a group of broadcasters including Fox Television Stations and NBC/Telemundo formed a collaborative effort to launch ATSC 3.0 nationwide by 2020.

The ATSC 3.0 suite of TV standards is focused on delivering improved visual quality for over-the-air broadcast television along with immersive audio, deeper indoor reception, zoned programming/advertising, mobile reception, automotive services and advanced emergency alerting.

Along with Fox and NBC, Univision, Tegna and Nexstar Media pledged to work together on the new standards. Tegna was speaking on behalf of Pearl TV—a consortium of Cox Media, E.W. Scripps, Graham Media, Hearst Television, Meredith Local Media and Raycom Media—while Nexstar spoke on behalf of SpectrumCo, which includes Sinclair.

The broadcasters involved said the group is not exclusive and will include any other broadcasters interested in developing and deploying ATSC 3.0.

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“One big challenge was whether the big owners of valuable spectrum could work together, commit resources, and stick to the game plan. Done, done and done," said Jack Abernethy, CEO of Fox Television Stations, in a statement.

“ATSC 3.0 is something that as an industry we have to do,” said Valari Staab, president of NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations, in a statement. “The new standard will transform the way we deliver content to our audiences—including viewers who are consuming information in multiple languages and screens. ATSC 3.0 will also help us to better connect advertisers with the audiences they want to reach on any platform. We are pleased to be working with Pearl TV and our broadcast partners to ensure the new technology is set in place for both viewers and broadcasters when we are ready to roll-out the new standard.”

Consumer electronics companies like LG were also encouraged by the collaborative ATSC 3.0 announcement.

“We see this major development jump-starting the nationwide rollout of Next Gen TV,” said Dr. Jong Kim, senior vice president in the office of the CTO at LG Electronics, which co-developed ATSC 3.0. “LG looks forward to working with these and other broadcasters and stakeholders in the Next Gen TV ecosystem to help bring the benefits of ATSC 3.0 to American consumers.”

Today’s announcement marks something of a continuation of current efforts in test markets like Dallas and Phoenix to trial ATSC 3.0. This week, Pearl TV, which is spearheading the Phoenix ATSC 3.0 model market, announced that it would be working with Avis Budget on testing in-vehicle TV reception.