Unexpected Interest in Evoca Pay-TV ATSC 3.0 Service May Accelerate Deployment Schedule

(Image credit: Edge Networks)

BOISE, Idaho—Interest is running high among broadcasters wishing to offer the NextGen TV-based over-the-air Evoca pay-TV service in their markets on their LPTV channels, says Todd Achilles, CEO of Edge Networks, the company behind the OTA-OTT hybrid MVPD.

“We initially planned to expand past Boise market by market in Q2 and beyond by rolling up [purchasing] some low power stations in Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets,” he says. “But over the past six months, we’ve gotten a lot of interest from other broadcasters wanting to roll out the Evoca service in their markets on their extra sticks.”

While discussions are ongoing, Achilles has declined to identify which broadcasters are interested, but said the first of them will likely begin to roll out Evoca in mid-2021. Achilles discussed Evoca during a pre-CES 2021 virtual press event Jan. 11.

Currently, Edge Networks is continuing its Evoca beta test in Boise. Subscribers to the service receive a set-top box capable of receiving both ATSC 1.0 and 3.0 OTA signals, as well as an antenna. The STB also has internet connectivity to receive Evoca OTT content.

Edge Networks transmits its OTA Evoca content as ATSC 3.0 via its two LPTV stations in the market. Consumers can seamlessly switch between the 3.0 content and ATSC 1.0 channels transmitted by other broadcasters in the market. Edge Networks’ LPTV stations cover more than 75% of Boise households, says Achilles. 

Recently, Evoca launched a 24/7 4K OTA regularly programmed channel as part of its lineup in Boise, which Achilles says may be the first in the nation.

Currently, Evoca’s early access customers participating in the beta test pay $20 per month for the service, with $49 per month expected to be the targeted price as programming is added and the beta ends, he says.

PLUS: From Evoca to STIRR to VUit, How Broadcasters Are Tapping into ATSC 3.0

Interest from other broadcasters in offering Evoca has not diminished Edge Networks’ plans to roll out the service itself in small and medium-sized markets on its own LPTV channels, but it has potentially accelerated Achilles’ timetable for reaching a larger swath of U.S. households with the pay-TV service, he says.

More information is available on the Edge Networks website.  

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.