While it hopes to one day reach the nation’s mobile consumer with ATSC 3.0-based “one-to-many” broadcast technology, Sinclair Broadcast Group wants to program smart phones in the here and now.
The broadcaster has launched OTT platform STIRR, which will bundle a collection of about 20 news, sports and entertainment channels with its own aggregated programming channels.
The service will be available on iOS and Android mobile devices, as well as popular living-room OTT platforms Roku, Apple TV and Amazon FireTV. Users can also access it via personal computers at www.stirr.com.
“We are entering a new era of broadcast television and our number one priority at Sinclair is to help advance the industry and increase access to broadcast content in the midst of a digital age,” said Sinclair CEO Christopher Ripley, in a statement. “With the launch of STIRR, we intend to offer audiences an easy, convenient and free way to watch live local and national channels, as well access a deep selection of on-demand programming.”
Channels included in the STIRR bundle will include BUZZR, Charge, Cheddar, Comet, CONtv, Dove Channel, DUST, FailArmy, Futurism, Gravitas, Mobicrush, MovieMix, NASA TV, Outdoor America, The Pet Collective, SOAR, Stadium, TBD, The Tennis Channel and World Poker.
Using content from its nearly 200 stations, Sinclair will also create for STIRR several aggregated channels themed around news, sports and entertainment—STIRR Movies, STIRR Sports, STIRR Live and STIRR City.
STIRR City delivers a curated 24/7 program lineup based on where a viewer lives. The new channel lineup includes live local news, local and regional sports, entertainment and city-focused lifestyle programming provided by the local Sinclair TV station in that city.
“Despite the explosive growth of new national over-the-top (OTT) services, local TV station’s programming, especially local news, has remained some of the most popular and desired content to audiences and advertisers alike,” said Adam Ware, STIRR’s general manager. “By creating the STIRR City channel format, local TV stations can now extend their programming strength to OTT. STIRR will offer viewers both a new local channel and an extensive local on-demand library relevant to the place they call home.”
Last week at CES, Sinclair unveiled system-on-a-chip hardware that will allow smart phones and other devices to receive ATSC 3.0 signals. The broadcaster hopes to one day deliver a national mobile programming platform through ATSC 3.0 rather than streaming.
“When all of us want to watch the same program at the same time, you’re delivering on a multiplicative basis a file which may be many gigabytes in size,” Sinclair’s top technology executive, Mark Aitken, said in an interview with sister publication Multichannel News at CES last week. “In unicast, I have to deliver, for example, a 1 gigabyte file to everybody. Multiply that by thousands. With [ATSC 3.0] broadcast, I deliver just one 1 gigabyte file, and everybody’s got it. You have this growing warehouse of spectrum that’s coming into the hands of the carriers. But we seem to have the same problems all the time. Just try to watch the Super Bowl on your cell phone. it’s very simple. Our job is to get in front of the largest population as possible. The one-to-everyone approach is a distribution technique that’s much needed in today’s telecommunications environment.”