Broadcasters Eye ATSC 3.0 Rollout in 16 Additional Cities by End-of-Summer, Says Pearl TV

(Image credit: Dustin Chambers/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON—Pearl TV, a consortium of ATSC 3.0-backing commercial broadcasters together owning more than 750 TV stations, and the Phoenix Model Market partners, announced they have targeted end of summer 2021 to have NextGen TV on-air in 16 more cities, bringing the total to more than 40.

The announcement comes days before the opening of the virtual 2021 CES, Jan. 11-14.

“Today, almost 20% of America’s TV viewers already have access to NextGen TV broadcasts, and the television broadcasting industry is moving aggressively to expand the reach of NextGen TV in a herculean, collaborative effort to reach over half of American TV viewers by this fall. Broadcasters are working like never before to launch new NextGen TV channels that offer better picture and more expansive audio options for viewers,” said Pearl TV Executive Director Anne Schelle.

The cities targeted to be on-air with 3.0 by the end of the summer include: Atlanta; Baltimore; Boston; Buffalo, N.Y.; Charleston, S.C.; Charlotte, N.C.; Columbus, Ohio; Hartford, Conn.; Houston; Indianapolis; Kansas City, Mo.; Orlando, Fla.; Providence, R.I.; San Antonio, Texas; Washington, D.C.; and West Palm Beach, Fla.

“As the consumer technology industry begins to diversify its choices with more models and more affordable products for viewers, broadcasters will continue to push ahead with plans to initiate NextGen TV service in key markets throughout the country. We’re also doing our part to help to educate consumers about the benefits of NextGen TV,” she said.

In mid-November 2020, Pearl TV unveiled three NextGen TV promos, a consumer-facing NextGen TV website (opens in new tab) and online 3.0 resources for stations to use on their websites. 

Pearl TV and the Phoenix Model Market partners also announced work is ongoing to develop cable compatibility standards for NextGen TV. 

Further, in select cities, broadcasters have introduced an interactive application using a common application framework developed by Pearl TV and the Phoenix Model Market partners, they said.

The framework, which is open to third-party developers, enables viewers to access more news, weather and emergency alert information that is integrated with live broadcasts, they said.

Other ongoing ATSC 3.0 developments include the Motown 3.0 Test Track—a cooperative effort between Detroit TV broadcasters and the auto industry to explore 3.0 datacasting to deliver infotainment, emergency alerts, telematics and other data services to connected cars.

The broadcast industry is encouraged by the growing availability of ATSC 3.0 consumer electronics, she said.

At last year’s CES in Las Vegas, LG Electronics, Samsung and Sony announced some 20 NextGen TV models with 3.0 support. More TV manufacturers are expected to offer NextGen TVs this year, she said.

“And consumers will have the availability of set-top receivers, such as the ZapperBox from BitRouter and HDHomeRun Connect 4K from Silicon Dust, that will give consumers with existing TV sets the ability to receive NextGen TV broadcasts,” she said.

Pearl TV has scheduled a press announcement for later this afternoon. This story will be updated if new developments are revealed.

Phil Kurz

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.