NCTA, Powell Call for ATSC 1.0 HD Simulcasting

Asserts consumers should not be required to purchase new TV sets to continue watching HD
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WASHINGTON—In a sit down last week with FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr and Nirali Patel, acting legal advisor to the commissioner, Michael Powell, president and CEO of NCTA – The Internet & Television Association, made the case for ATSC 1.0 simulcasting to be a requirement as part of any planned rollout of the ATSC 3.0 next gen TV standard.

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Powell made the case for what was described as “robust simulcasting requirements” from the FCC during any transition period in a voluntary ATSC 3.0 roll-out. Particularly, Powell brought up a requirement that the broadcaster’s ATSC 1.0 signal continue to be transmitted in the same format prior to the transmission of a companion ATSC 3.0 signal. This would allow consumers to receive HD signals without requiring the purchase of a new TV set that could handle ATSC 3.0.

NCTA also called for simulcasting requirements to be maintained until the FCC determines that they should be lifted. There was also a discussion that the FCC should make clear that it will scrutinize efforts by broadcasters to obtain premature carriage of ATSC 3.0 by “unreasonably withholding access to ATSC 1.0 signals.”

A vote on the voluntary roll-out of ATSC 3.0 is scheduled to take place on Nov. 16. The draft text of the order that will be voted on was released by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and does not require broadcasters to continue to deliver HD. That draft is eligible to be changed prior to the vote.

NCTA Senior Vice President, Law & Regulatory Policy, Rick Chessen also took part in the meeting and filed an ex parte on it.

For a comprehensive list of TV Technology’s ATSC 3.0 coverage, see our ATSC3 silo.