Playout & Transmission Global Viewpoint – November 2017

Phoenix to Become ATSC 3.0 Test Market

Broadcasters in the Phoenix AZ TV market are planning to demonstrate how next-generation ATSC 3.0 can be deployed while maintaining existing DTV service for viewers. Officials hope to have some ATSC 3.0 stations on the air prior to spring NAB. 

On November, 16, 2017 the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) adopted the final rules for the ATSC 3.0 broadcast television standard, now referred to as Next Generation TV. While use of the 3.0 technology is voluntary, industry experts believe most stations will implement the standard. The standard includes support for UHD imagery, mobile viewing, advanced emergency alerts, improved accessibility features, localized content and interactive services.

The technology combines the capabilities of over-the-air broadcasting with the broadband viewing and information delivery methods of the internet, using the same 6 MHz channels currently allocated for digital television.

Phoenix, AZ Test Market

First community-wide tests will be conducted in the Phoenix, AZ market. Ten Phoenix TV stations will participate in deploying a model market, which will launch soon and involve independent broadcasters as well as those owned or affiliated with the major networks. Phoenix is the nation’s twelfth-largest TV market, with more than 1.8 million households. More than one in five viewers relies on over-the-air reception.

The project has several objectives, including confirming basic TV service parameters and performance, determining the appeal of next-generation high dynamic range video and immersive audio content to consumers, assessing TV application features and implementation requirements, testing interactive and addressable advertising functionality, determining consumer device and service appeal, and ensuring effective and efficient interoperability with multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD) systems.

Creating an end-to-end model system will help foster industry consensus and drive ecosystem development. This includes development of the 'lighthouse' concept to keep legacy digital TV available for all viewers while new ATSC 3.0 services are being launched. The Phoenix "model market" project will create an open test bed for the mutual benefit of all stakeholders in the TV ecosystem.

“What we learn in Phoenix will be critical for a successful deployment of next-generation TV across the country. The model market collaboration will help broadcasters develop commercial launch profiles, station configurations, interoperability with MVPD retransmission and support requirements for a basic ATSC 3.0 TV service”
Anne Schelle, Pearl TV Managing Director

The 10 TV stations participating in the “model market” ATSC 3.0 launch include:

  • E.W. Scripps Company’s KNXV Channel 15 (ABC);
  • Fox Television Stations’ KSAZ Channel 10 (FOX) and KUTP Channel 26 (MyTV);
  • Meredith Local Media Group’s KPHO Channel 17 (CBS) and KTVK Channel 24 (Independent);
  • Nexstar Media Group’s KASW Channel 49 (CW);
  • Telemundo Station Group’s KTAZ Channel 39 (Telemundo);
  • Tegna’s KPNX Channel 12 (NBC); and
  • Univision’s KFPH-CD Channel 35 (UniMas) and KTVW-DT Channel 33 (Univision).

Test Objectivies

The Phoenix “model market” project will create an open test bed for the mutual benefit of all stakeholders in the TV ecosystem. The project has several objectives, including confirming basic TV service parameters and performance, determining the appeal of next-generation high dynamic range video and immersive audio content to consumers, assessing TV application features and implementation requirements, testing interactive and addressable advertising functionality, determining consumer device and service appeal, and ensuring effective and efficient interoperability with multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD) systems. Creating an end-to-end model system will help foster industry consensus and drive ecosystem development. This includes development of the ‘lighthouse’ concept to keep legacy digital TV available for all viewers while new ATSC 3.0 services are being launched.

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