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Television Jamaica Launches NextGen TV Broadcasts

Television Jamaica
Claire Grant, General Manager, Radio and Television Jamaica (left) along with Michael Henlin Chief Technology Officer (right) explain the operations of the new ATSC 3.0 transmission system to the Hon. Robert Morgan, Minister with responsibility for Information in the Office of the Prime Minister. (Image credit: Television Jamaica)

KINGSTON, Jamaica—The Advanced Television Systems Committee has reported that Television Jamaica Limited (TVJ) has launched NextGen TV broadcasts, making Jamaica the third country in the world to have launched ATSC 3.0 signals. 

In a switching on ceremony at its Lyndhurst Broadcasting House facility, the new Minister with responsibility for Information, Hon. Robert Morgan officially switched on the TVJ NextGen service just after 6.30 p.m. local time on January 31, 2022. 

Jamaica joins South Korea and the U.S.  as the third country to adopt and launch an ATSC 3.0 digital terrestrial television service.  TVJ commissioned the service into action in keeping with the government’s 2021 announcement that the switch over process should commence by local broadcasters in January 2022, the ATSC reported. 

TVJ said it is now making TVJ, TVJ Sports Network, Reggae Entertainment Television and Jamaica News Network, with the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica to be added shortly, free to consumers. 

TVJ is a member of the RJRGLEANER Communications Group.

“What TVJ and the RJRGLEANER group have done is not only invested in its own business, but it has invested in the digital future of Jamaica…I am impressed with the commitment shown to making government policy a reality,” Minister Morgan said.

Noting that the installation was carried out by an all-Jamaican engineering team on the ground, the Minister said it also showed that Jamaica has the capability to give strong leadership in the digital world.

“Our policy approach has not been to keep up with what is happening with the technology but to leap-frog current technology and provide leadership in this area”, he said.

TVJ’s General Manager, Claire Grant said she and the TVJ team members were excited to be a part of this history making activity which ushers in the newest global television technology with the most significant technological changes in almost half a century.

“Both picture and sound will be the best that television has ever had; TV service will be available on some mobile devices without needing data; advertising can be targeted to specific areas and viewership figures can be received in almost real time; emergency warning messages will be embedded and through their home antenna consumers will get multiple channels free of charge”, she said.  “Importantly, we will be able to provide even more FREE platforms for rich, relevant homegrown content,” she added.

Gary Allen, CEO of the RJRGLEANER Communications Group, of which TVJ is a member, said that the company had invested about $12 million in the project.

“We have to give kudos to our regulators, the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica and the Spectrum Management Authority, who at the highest levels have been supportive and enabling in getting to this point,” Allen said.

TVJ, which in December became an official member of ATSC Inc, has commenced consultations with U.S. and South Korean experts, as well as with local television set retailers, advertisers and other stakeholders on the next steps, which will see up to twenty (20) similar transmission sites being commissioned into service, to achieve the 95% coverage of Jamaica that is targeted.

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.