Coalition Files FCC Petition for Voluntary Use of New Broadcast TV Transmission Standard

April 13, 2016

NAB, CTA, APTS and AWARN Alliance Back Next-Gen TV

WASHINGTON – A broad coalition of consumer technology companies, commercial and public television stations and public safety advocates today filed a joint petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requesting local television stations and television receiver manufacturers be permitted to adopt a new over-the-air broadcast transmission standard on a voluntary, market-driven basis.

The “Next-Gen TV” standard was developed by the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC), a cooperative effort that includes the broadcast, consumer electronics, cable, satellite, motion picture and computer industries. Also known as ATSC 3.0, the IP-based standard specifies an entire next-generation broadcasting system, from the RF transmission through presentation to the viewer or listener. The new system would support innovative technologies such as Ultra High-Definition (UHD) TV, advanced emergency alert information, increased programming streams and channels, mobile broadcast TV, immersive audio, interactivity features and datacasting.

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA), National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) and the Advanced Warning and Response Network (AWARN) Alliance jointly filed the petition at the FCC.

The petition requests the FCC approve the core transmission technology for the new standard as an option for local broadcasters and receiver manufacturers. The petition also requests the implementation of certain rule changes to permit local simulcasting, enabling the new standard to be deployed while broadcasts in the current digital television (DTV) standard remain available without interruption to viewers.

The industry would deploy the next-generation standard in parallel with the existing DTV standard to address compatibility issues. Under the approach, a temporary “host” broadcaster in a market would agree to simulcast on its airwaves the other DTV signals of those stations broadcasting with the Next-Gen TV standard. The “host” station’s programming would reciprocally be carried as a programming stream by one of the stations deploying the Next-Gen TV standard.

No additional spectrum or government funds are required for the new standard, and consumers would have no equipment mandates. Pay-TV providers’ carriage of broadcasters’ Next-Gen TV standard signals would largely be determined through business agreements.

“This is an exciting time for the broadcast industry. Next-Gen TV will provide broadcasters with the voluntary option of offering a higher-quality viewing experience, an IP-based infrastructure and greater interactivity with viewers,” said NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith. “We believe our viewers will be the beneficiaries of new services ranging from breathtaking picture quality to in-depth emergency alerts and more personalized program content.”

“From 4K UHD TV to mobility and more, ATSC 3.0 offers consumers the most immersive viewing experience and more viewing options than ever before,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, Consumer Technology Association. “Our television manufacturers are excited to partner voluntarily with broadcasters, the public safety community and the ATSC to usher in this exciting new Golden Age of television technology and bring the benefits of this standard to devices throughout the home and beyond.”

“America’s Public Television Stations believe the Next-Gen broadcast standard will give us even greater opportunities to pursue our public service missions of education, public safety and civic leadership,” said Patrick Butler, president and CEO of APTS. “The FCC’s timely adoption of the new standard may also help public television stations save money by combining some of the investments needed to deploy the new standard and to affect the repacking transition required by the broadcast spectrum auctions.”

“AWARN will provide a resilient and pervasive emergency communications system for a 21st Century America, a major upgrade to systems we have now,” said John Lawson, executive director of the AWARN Alliance. “In response to manmade and natural threats, AWARN can deliver rich media, geo-targeted, and multilingual content — including video, storm tracks, evacuation routes, flood maps, and earthquake early warnings. And these alerts can reach millions of people simultaneously, even when the cellular network overloads or the grid goes down. ATSC 3.0 makes all of this possible.”

Elements of the Next-Gen TV standard will be on display at NAB Show April 18-21 in South Upper Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. In addition to featuring the first live Next-Gen TV broadcast in the U.S. originating from the “ATSC 3.0 Studio” (Booth SU16712), the “ATSC 3.0 Broadcast Pavilion” (Booths SU15709 – SU15814) offers broadcasters a variety of new equipment options and key technologies. The “ATSC 3.0 Consumer Experience” (South Upper Lobby) is providing demonstrations on the benefits of the new standard for viewers.

For more information about the Next-Gen TV standard, please watch this video produced by Pearl, a consortium of major U.S. broadcast companies working on the standard.

About NAB
The National Association of Broadcasters is the premier advocacy association for America’s broadcasters. NAB advances radio and television interests in legislative, regulatory and public affairs. Through advocacy, education and innovation, NAB enables broadcasters to best serve their communities, strengthen their businesses and seize new opportunities in the digital age. Learn more at

About CTA
Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™ is the trade association representing the $287 billion U.S. consumer technology industry. More than 2,200 companies – 80 percent are small businesses and startups; others are among the world’s best known brands – enjoy the benefits of CTA membership including policy advocacy, market research, technical education, industry promotion, standards development and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CTA also owns and produces CES® – the world’s gathering place for all who thrive on the business of consumer technologies. Profits from CES are reinvested into CTA’s industry services.

About APTS
America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) is a nonprofit membership organization established in 1979. APTS represents the overwhelming majority of the 171 public television licensees nationwide. The mission of APTS is to conduct – in concert with member stations – advocacy, planning, research and communications activities to foster strong and financially sound noncommercial television. APTS also works to ensure member stations’ commitment and capacity to perform essential public service missions in education, public safety and civic leadership for the American people.

About AWARN Alliance
The AWARN Alliance is a coalition of major broadcast television groups and technology companies that are supporting the rapid deployment of the Advanced Warning and Response Network (AWARN), which leverages the advanced emergency alerting capabilities of the ATSC 3.0 Next-Generation Television broadcast standard.

Article Courtesy NAB