PHOENIX--While broadcasters have been absorbing the latest ATSC 3.0 developments at the 2018 NAB Show in Las Vegas, the real action has been taking place in Phoenix, where pioneering broadcasters launched some of the industry’s first ATSC 3.0 over-the-air broadcasts.
KFPH’s UNIMAS NOW BROADCASTING ATSC 3.0
The first to step up to the plate—in what is known as the Phoenix Model Market—is KFPH-CD Channel 35, a local Univision-owned station, in Phoenix, now airing UniMás network programming in ATSC 3.0. Pearl TV Managing Director Anne Schelle made the announcement at the show.
Pearl TV touts the Phoenix Model Market as the first collaborative, single-market effort to promote a real-world ATSC 3.0 implementation. A business alliance of Cox Media Group, Pearl TV includes: E.W. Scripps Company, Graham Media Group, Hearst Television Inc., Meredith Local Media Group, Nexstar Media Group, Raycom Media, and TEGNA Inc.
ARIZONA PBS’ KIDS NOW IN ATSC 3.0
Pearl TV is also working with Arizona PBS—a PBS member station reaching 1.9 million households—to place its Arizona PBS KIDS channel (8.4) on the new ATSC 3 tower. According to Lonna Thompson, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel of America’s Public Television Stations (APTS), this will enable the delivery of interactive, personalized learning and educational content as a richer viewer experience.
“This groundbreaking partnership is the first step in the implementation of ATSC 3.0, which holds significant improvements in store for public television’s public service missions of education, public safety and civic leadership,” Thompson said, adding that Phoenix viewers are about to be amazed by ATSC 3.0’s revolutionary picture and sound quality.
VENDORS JOIN PHOENIX PROJECT
In related news, several prominent consumer electronics manufacturers, including LG Electronics, Sony Electronics, Samsung, and Channel Master, have joined the Phoenix Model Project.
They join Dielectric, Enensys, GatesAir, Harmonic and Triveni Digital, as well as broadcasters E.W. Scripps Company, Fox Television Stations, Meredith Local Media Group, Nexstar Media Group, TEGNA Inc., Telemundo Station Group, Univision Communications, and Arizona PBS, which are already cooperating to launch ATSC 3.0 programming, while employing the “lighthouse” concept of keeping legacy DTV available for all viewers while ATSC 3.0 services are launched.
Other companies contributing to this open test-bed environment are: Dolby Laboratories, TitanTV, and UniSoft, as well as signaling and technical experts BitRouter, Yotta Media Labs, and Meintel, Sgrignoli & Wallace (MSW).
The Phoenix Model Market has several objectives, including confirming basic TV service parameters and performance, determining the appeal of next-generation high dynamic range video and immersive audio content to consumers, testing interactive and addressable advertising functionality, and testing cable integration.
ROAD TO ATSC 3.0 AT NAB SHOW
During the 2018 NAB Show, the “Road to ATSC 3.0” exhibit in the Grand Lobby of the Las Vegas Convention Center features a Phoenix Model Market kiosk where Sony will demonstrate ATSC 3.0’s interactive capabilities. These include adaptive ad insertion and messaging displayed with real-time object delivery over unidirectional transport, as well as dynamic adaptive streaming over HyperText Transfer Protocol, known as "ROUTE" and "DASH."
Using an ATSC 3.0 receiver provided by LG Electronics, Yotta Media Labs will also demonstrate a prototype application that ATSC 3.0 broadcasters can use to allow local viewers to access and discover content through a modern TV guide embedded in the broadcaster's channel.
For a comprehensive list of TV Technology’s ATSC 3.0 coverage, see our ATSC3 silo.