Entertainment / Universities

Howard U’s WHUT is serving as the hub for DC’s NEXTGEN TV Broadcast Collaborative

Readying an upgrade to the viewing experience on local TV, the Collaborative is eyeing opportunites to explore data and develop technology applications.

The home of WHUT. Photo by Wikimedia Commons user AgnosticPreachersKid, used under a Creative Commons license.

Howard University public television station WHUT is set to play a lead role in bringing the NEXTGEN TV to the DC area when the service launches in November.

The service will offer “high quality video up to 4K, including HDTV, immersive audio with Dolby features and interactive capabilities,” according to Sean Plater, WHUT’s general manager. After a series of discussions with other stations, WHUT was selected as the “lighthouse station” to “bring the service to life,” Plater said.

It will deliver the service to four other stations in the Washington, DC market besides its own station, including WTTG, WJLA, WUSA, and WRC. The Pearl TV broadcast group is managing the Howard University NEXTGEN TV Broadcast Collaborative.

The station has devoted considerable effort to “structuring and implementing the service,” according to Plater. It is especially excited about potential opportunities with data, including “emergency alerts, smart city applications, and educational applications,” he said. Plater notes that the service will be better able to target localized content to viewers in particular DC communities. As Plater puts it, the development process is “evolving day by day and we see this as an exciting opportunity to better serve our audience across DC, Maryland, and Virginia.”

“WHUT has also worked with the [National Association of Broadcasters] to establish an innovation lab,” he adds. “Together with the NAB, WHUT offered a series of seminars teaching Howard University students about the NEXTGEN TV standard, and particularly its impact on their lives.”

The effort is largely designed to “develop the next generation of broadcast technologists with Howard University,” according to Sam Matheny, CTO and executive VP of the NAB.

In fact, Plater reports that “two Howard University students will spend a year at the NAB exploring NEXTGEN TV applications. Already, an application of one student is being tested in the lab.”

Companies: Howard University

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