Sinclair helps form new group to boost 'next-gen' broadcast standard - Baltimore


Mar. 16, 2017 10:00 am

Sinclair helps form new group to boost ‘next-gen’ broadcast standard

Combining over-the-air TV and mobile devices? It's coming, apparently.


(Photo via Pixabay)

A Baltimore TV station owner is forming a new group that’s getting ready for the day when television transmissions can reach internet-connected devices.

Sinclair Broadcast Group created a new consortium on Wednesday with Texas-based Nextstar Media Group. The two companies are looking to back a “next-generation” broadcast standard, according to a statement.

Known as ATSC 3.0, the standard would blend over-the-air (or, non-cable) broadcasting with broadband. The companies say that the upgrade will make it easier to integrate content on TV and wireless devices. We’re still at 1.0 for now, but 3.0 is getting toward the final stages of development and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is starting to consider it. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who said he wants to approve the standard later this year, laid out a few benefits in a recent Medium post. 

“To name a few advances, it would enable ultra-HD video. It would enable more localized information — functionality especially useful during a public safety emergency. And it would allow consumers to easily watch over-the-air programming on their mobile devices.”

The two companies are getting ready with a Memorandum of Understanding in place so they can work together on innovation, products and monetization opportunities.

Business-wise, it’s significant that two companies who own 343 TV stations and say they reach 60 percent of the country combined are working together. They’re opening it up for other companies to join, too. TV Technology reports that industry chatter already indicated broadcasters would have to work together to deploy ATSC 3.0.

One of the primary benefits of the next-gen standard is the ability for companies to find out more about people watching TV. From the Sinclair and Nextstar statement:


“With the proper technology and data gathering methodologies, Nexstar and Sinclair expect to capture significant and meaningful information relating to consumers’ actual viewing and consumption behaviors. As a result, broadcasters will no longer have to rely on expensive third party measurement services with small sample sizes and unverified results.”

This opens up new ways to make money. It will help advertisers be more efficient, and “broadcasters will realize greater efficiencies in reaching and monetizing a significantly larger advertising market,” the statement says.

Deadline also points out that the standard is not backward-compatible, meaning consumers would have to buy new TVs.

Stephen Babcock

Stephen Babcock is Market Editor for Baltimore and DC. A graduate of Northeastern University, he moved to Baltimore following stints in New Orleans and Rio Arriba County, New Mexico. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Baltimore Fishbowl, NOLA Defender, Times-Picayune and the Rio Grande Sun.


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