Five Stations Launch NextGen TV Broadcasts in Washington D.C.

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WASHINGTON, D.C.—Following a wide-ranging collaboration between public and private TV stations in the nation’s capital, five TV stations have launched NextGen TV broadcasts in D.C. 

The five stations are: WHUT-TV (the Howard University-owned PBS affiliate on virtual channel 32); WJLA-TV (Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned ABC affiliate on virtual and VHF digital channel 7); WRC-TV (the NBCUniversal-owned NBC affiliate on virtual channel 4, UHF digital channel 34); WTTG (the Fox Television Stations-owned Fox affiliate on virtual channel 5, UHF digital channel 36); and WUSA (the Tegna-owned CBS affiliate on virtual and VHF digital channel 9). 

Howard’s WHUT will convert to the NextGen TV standard and host the other four stations.

The rollout involved the Howard NextGen TV Broadcast Collaborative, which is a landmark project developed in partnership with the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). It includes a learning lab where the technology is being further developed and demonstrated.

Recently NAB’s PILOT initiative also announced a NextGen TV Fellowship program at Howard and introduced the 2021 Fellows (opens in new tab).

“Just as technology changes all around us, from our phones to our cars to our homes, NextGen TV is the technological evolution of free broadcast television,” commented Sean D. Plater, general manager, WHUR 96.3 and WHUT-TV, Howard University. “By connecting the IP and broadcast television infrastructures together, we’re able to give viewers a better and more engaging content experience. Viewers across the Washington, D.C., region will be excited to not just watch, but also lean in and be more engaged with their content.”

Anne Schelle, managing director of Pearl TV, a broadcaster coalition managing the NextGen TV rollout, noted that NextGen TV "is now available in 37 markets and expected to reach 45% of U.S. households by the end of the year. Washington, D.C., represents an important milestone in the broader rollout and shows that we’ve only just scratched the surface on the value that it brings to viewers and broadcasters.”

“The Media Technology Innovation Learning Lab is already living up to its purpose—to foster participation and show how the myriad capabilities of NextGen TV can best be applied for future public service, entertainment, and information objectives,” stated Sam Matheny, executive vice president and chief technology officer, National Association of Broadcasters. “We have tremendous pride in Howard University student Sulaiman Bastien as the first college student in the world to create a NextGen TV app. As the rollout continues, the Lab is poised to replicate more stories of innovation and produce a vibrant ecosystem of broadcasters and app developers.”

In celebration of the launch of NextGen TV service in the nation’s capital, the Howard University NextGen TV Broadcast Collaborative and the NAB will host a virtual event on December 16 at 10 a.m. ET (opens in new tab).

Emceed by TEGNA WUSA9 anchor and Howard University Alumna Lesli Foster, the event will detail the partnership between Howard University and four local TV affiliates to unlock the innovative features of NextGen TV for viewers in the Washington, D.C., area. 

The program will also recognize Howard University students certified in achieving foundational knowledge of NextGen TV and honor the inaugural recipients of the new PILOT NextGen TV Fellowship program, launched by NAB with support from AWS.

Event speakers include Howard University President Dr. Wayne Frederick, NAB President and CEO Gordon H. Smith and FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks. 

Click here (opens in new tab) to access the program.

Supporting organizations for the Howard NextGen TV Broadcast Collaborative include: ABC; APTS; Dolby; GatesAir; Harmonic; Heartland Video Systems; Howard University and WHUT-TV; IBM; LG Electronics; LTN Global Communications; Pearl TV broadcaster business group and Phoenix Model Market Partners; NAB; Samsung; Sony; Synamedia; Triveni Digital; WHUT (PBS); WJLA (Sinclair Broadcast Group); WRC (NBCUniversal Local); WTTG (Fox Television Stations); WUSA (TEGNA).

TV Tech has been tracking the rollout of ATSC 3.0 broadcasts around the country here.  

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.