Schelle: ATSC 3.0 Deployment May be Slowed by COVID

(Image credit: ATSC)

WASHINGTON—The benchmark for ATSC 3.0 deployment in 2020 of 40 markets that was set at the 2019 edition of the NAB Show in Las Vegas may be out of reach because of the impact the coronavirus has had on the broadcast industry, according to Pearl TV Managing Director Anne Schelle.

Schelle offered her assessment during the "NAB Show Express 2020: IABM Online State of the Industry Conference" as part of a panel focusing on U.S. broadcasters.

Schelle notes that NextGen TV development was in a great position following the close of CES 2020, when TV manufacturers said that they would have 20 TV models that were NextGen TV compatible by the end of the year. Schelle also expected that had this year’s NAB Show gone on as planned in April, a number of markets would have had stations that were on-air with the next-gen standard. One such market would have been Las Vegas, which recently announced it is expected to launch ATSC 3.0 by the end of May.

Overall, Schelle estimates that ATSC 3.0 deployment is about a quarter behind of where it could have been had COVID-19 not significantly disrupted the industry. As of publication, six markets have ATSC 3.0 on air

She is still optimistic about the eventual deployment of the NextGen TV. She highlighted that manufacturers have remoted into Pearl TV’s Phoenix ATSC 3.0 model to test equipment, as a good portion of infrastructure is software-enabled and able to prep remotely.

This is just one example that the panel focused on regarding how the industry has changed over the last few months.

Additional panelists included Del Parks, CTO of Sinclair Broadcast Group, and Renard T. Jenkins, vice president of content transmission at WarnerMedia, who joined Schelle to talk about the pandemic’s impact on their groups. Mike Strein, director of engineering and technology at ABC TV Network, and Ryan McCormick, executive director of engineering and operations for ABC News, spoke on the new TV facility that Disney is creating. Tim Shoulders of Grass Valley and Louis Hernandez Jr. of Black Dragon Capital spoke on GV’s strategy and the status of their acquisition. Also, a group of vendors (Ben Vanderberg, CEO, Skyline Communications; Darren Lepke, head of video production management, Verizon; Joe Fiveash, vice president of strategy, The Weather Company; and Dan Castles, CEO, Telestream) talked about how their companies have reacted to recent changes and challenges.

As IABM CEO Peter White said at the top of the virtual conference, “We know this will change the way we work irreversibly moving forward.” This session helped to highlight some of the ways that it already has.

For more information on IABM virtual events, visit their website.