NextGen TV: Howard University’s WHUT To Serve As D.C. ATSC 3.0 Host

ATSC 3.0
(Image credit: ATSC)

WASHINGTON D.C.—Attention D.C. lawmakers, policy gurus, assorted political wonks and every other person living in the nation’s capital: Here comes NextGen TV.

WHUT, the public broadcaster licensed to Howard University, today announced it will serve as an ATSC 3.0 host station for five local network affiliate stations serving Washington, D.C.

The station is expected to put the five—WJLA (ABC), WUSA (CBS), WTTG (Fox), WRC (NBC) and its own WHUT (PBS)—on air as ATSC 3.0 channels by the end of the summer. The NextGen TV transition comes following extensive engineering and operational planning and the installation of a new transmitter and related equipment, the station said.

WJLA will carry HD programming from ABC and WHUT as well as several SD commercial subchannel and the WHUT PBS Kids service.

“The Howard University NextGen TV Broadcast Collaborative is beginning work to transition WHUT to an ATSC 3.0 facility,” said Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, president of the university. “The Howard community is excited to lead this important initiative, which will modernize the Washington, D.C., market infrastructure and capabilities to deliver high-quality broadcasts with the latest technologies available.”  

Pearl TV is managing the collaborative project. “We believe the Howard University NextGen TV Broadcast Collaborative will be a shining example of how collaboration and initiative can lead the broadcast industry into the future,” said Anne Schelle, managing director of Pearl TV.

“WHUT will be an ideal living laboratory for new engineering work that will help bring about the full capabilities of the NextGen TV broadcast standard," she continued. "We’re looking forward to working with Howard University’s schools of communications and engineering to not only launch WHUT in NextGen TV, but also to conduct research and educate future engineers and journalists who will learn how to take advantage of the many capabilities of NextGen TV broadcasting.” 

During the spring 2021 semester, Howard University offered a first-of-its-kind NextGen TV seminar series for students and faculty. Several students and faculty have earned certificates of foundational knowledge, and one has secured an internship focused on NextGen TV, said Sam Matheny, NAB CTO and executive vice president.

“This will kickstart our next phase, which is an interactive learning lab in partnership with broadcasters, professional equipment manufacturers and consumer technology companies that are involved with this project,” said Matheny.

Several organizations, including America’s Public Television Stations (APTS), Dolby Laboratories, GatesAir, Harmonic, Heartland Video Systems, Howard University and WHUT-TV, IBM, LG Electronics, LTV Global Communications; Pearl TV and the Phoenix Model Market partners, NAB, Samsung, Sony, Synamedia, Triveni Digital, WHUT, WJLA, WRC, WTTG and WUSA are supporting the collaborative.

More information is available online.

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.