Next Gen TV: Associations Collaborate on Broadcast “Living Lab”

An experimental television station, being put together by the Consumer Technology Association and the National Association of Broadcasters, will help the industries work out the kinks of the forthcoming ATSC 3.0 standard, which will replace the existing digital TV standards for broadcast.

The two associations most responsible for the television signals hitting your living room are collaborating on making them even better.

This week, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) revealed they would be working on a test lab for the fledgling ATSC 3.0 technology, also known as Next Gen TV, which is expected to replace the current digital television broadcast standard in the next few years.

NAB was responsible for getting the experimental license for the “living laboratory” endeavor, which will allow them to broadcast in the Cleveland area, using spectrum from the existing WJW (channel 31). CTA, meanwhile, would be responsible for managing the experimental station’s activities.

“This is the place where broadcasters, professional equipment manufacturers, consumer technology companies, and other interested parties can work together and experiment with the innovative new standard,” NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith said in a statement.

It’s not the first time the station has been used to broadcast experimental signals—it has done so in smaller-scale experiments since 2015 [PDF], though the initiative will become larger and more formalized with the test station approach.

This approach is very similar to the one that industry groups undertook when helping to push the HDTV standard over the finish line. In the 1990s, NAB helped put together WHD-TV, a model station in the Washington, DC, area, with the industry donating equipment to the endeavor. The television show Meet the Press was the first program to air on the model station in 1997.

“Just as we collaborated to implement a test station as we led the nation’s transition to digital and HDTV, this partnership will help us test and experiment with this flexible new standard across a variety of applications and with fixed and mobile receivers in a real-world environment,” CTA President and CEO Gary Shapiro said in a news release. “We’re excited to continue our partnership with NAB to take this next critical step toward bringing the many benefits of Next Gen TV to viewers.”

Smith added that the scope of the endeavor was quite large, and NAB would work on both interactive features and transmission strategies involved with the new broadcast technology, which is based on the IP (internet protocol) standard.

“It’s a big effort, and we’re delighted to partner with CTA to enable this work,” he said.

(LexyLovesArt/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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