WASHINGTON DC— In comments to the FCC regarding NextGen TV/ATSC 3.0, public broadcasters said public stations are rapidly adopting the new broadcast standard and the number of stations offering NextGen TV programming has increased from three in June 2021 to 12 in July 2022.
Additionally, half a dozen more are planning to offer the shows in the near future and a number of others are looking for partners to help launch the services.
The United States Public Television Stations (APTS), Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), and Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) made the comments to the FCC as part of the agency’s “Third Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.” on the state of the transition. to NextGen TV.
“PTV member stations are focused on leveraging ATSC 3.0 technology to better serve local communities with enhanced educational content and improved educational effectiveness of program-focused resources, as well as advanced accessibility and public safety,” the groups said.
But they also pointed out that public stations are a diverse group of broadcasters, serving both small rural communities and large urban communities that face “many challenges” in adopting ATSC 3.0.
As a result, there is no “one size fits all” approach to ATSC 3.0 across public television and “stations are vigorously pursuing ATSC 3.0 deployments through many varied avenues,” the groups said. .
Many stations are also struggling to find partners so they can launch ATSC 3.0 while continuing to offer their legacy ATSC 1.0 broadcasts.
“Overall, PTV stations have made great strides with the rollout of ATSC 3.0, especially given their non-commercial, not-for-profit status and limited funding availability,” the groups told the FCC. “Despite PTV’s solid progress with ATSC 3.0 deployments, many challenges remain. These include determining possible simulcast partners, funding ATSC 3.0 equipment and deployment, funding research into enhanced ATSC 3.0 content and the instructional effectiveness of that content, experimenting the wide range of ATSC 3.0 public service use cases, to collaborate with PTV content creators to take advantage of ATSC. 3.0 enhanced content features, determining the optimal transition timing for individual local stations and assessing ATSC 3.0 receiver penetration and consumer adoption, among others.
The groups also provided a current overview of ATSC 3.0 deployments by public stations:
- “APTV member station WKAR-TV, an early adopter of ATSC 3.0, continues to operate an experimental ATSC 3.0 station in conjunction with Michigan State University’s Next Generation Innovation Lab. , researching and studying findings related to education and public media content,” the groups said.
- “Nine PTV member stations (including KAET in Phoenix, the first PTV station to implement ATSC 3.0) are participating in commercial “group” launches facilitated by Pearl and/or Bitpath. One of the nine stations (WHUT-TV) serves as an ATSC 3.0 “host” and the other eight stations across the country are ATSC 3.0 shares.
- “Three PTV member stations (in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Greenville, North Carolina; and Richmond, Virginia) have simulcast/hosting agreements in place with their own co-owned stations (i.e. , simulcast with themselves) In these circumstances, the PTV licensee is both the “host” station and the “guest” station.
- “PTV member station WNET (d/b/a Thirteen) has announced its upcoming transition to ATSC 3.0 in the New York area with co-owned PTV station WLIW.”
- “APTS and PBS are advised that at least half a dozen other PTV member stations are planning ATSC 3.0 launches in the near future.”
- “Other PTV stations are actively exploring ways to use their existing TV translator stations or partner with LPTV stations to experiment with ATSC 3.0, given the greater flexibility available to these low-power licensees. At least one such agreement between a PTV station and an LPTV station is already in place, and PTV has been informed that several more TV and LPTV translation agreements are currently in development.
The groups also noted that the stations had experimented with a variety of use cases. These include:
- “Michigan State University station WKAR-TV, with an experimental ATSC 3.0 license, has created a next-generation media innovation lab that has experimented with, among other things: programming that facilitates attention to classes and social interactions; campus alert services; real-time targeted fundraising; and technology that enables a path back, making interactive content available to the public, such as children’s educational content that augments and builds on traditional television programming.
- “National network PBS North Carolina, which operates two ATSC 3.0 stations (WUNC-TV 6 in Raleigh-Durham and WUNK-TV in Greenville, North Carolina) uses its ATSC 3.0 stations to research and explore the use of ATSC 3.0 to improve public safety. , digital paging, and long-term sustainable distance learning efforts. In 2019, PBS North Carolina established a NextGen TV lab to test ATSC 3.0 applications, including public safety and distance learning efforts. Through an effort funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, PBS North Carolina is actively testing “digital paging on public broadcasting,” a system that will dramatically reduce the time it takes to transmit critical emergency information to first responders.
- “New Mexico PBS (“NMPBS”) stations KNME-TV, Albuquerque, and KNMD-TV, Santa Fe, offer both ATSC 1.0 and 3.0 services with KNME-TV as the 1.0 host and KNMD-TV as the NMPBS is working with its licensee, the University of New Mexico, to build a distance learning lab in the College of Education suitable for creating Data Delivery 3.0 resources and educational assets. NMPBS creates an ATSC 3.0 data streaming library with school content, family-centered information, early learning, English as a second language, and adult literacy content.During wildfire season, NMPBS has also worked with public safety organizations to disseminate emergency response information around wildfire-affected areas, particularly when internet and cell service available to local residents. x has been lost. NMPBS is working to expand its ATSC 3.0 datacast offerings to include full VOD services (providing non-linear on-demand viewing using a broadcast signal).
- “In 2021, PTV member station WHUT-TV, in conjunction with local commercial stations and the National Association of Broadcasters, transitioned to ATSC 3.0 transmissions. WUHT-TV launched the NextGen TV Digital Learning Lab, working with Howard University Schools of Engineering and Communications to make the most of the opportunities provided by ATSC 3.0 to improve public service and train the next generation of broadcast leaders.