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NVISA Proposes the Creation of a National NextGen TV Demo Channel

"We think we can all agree that the broadcasting industry needs the ATSC 3.0/NextGen technology update"

This story was originally published by our siter publication TV Tech. 

Worried about the lack of consumer awareness of NextGen TV/ATSC 3.0, the NextGen Video Information Systems Alliance (NVISA) is asking the industry to begin a strategic discussion of how broadcasters could collaborate on the launch a national NextGen TV demo channel.

The proposed channel would allow owners and retailers of NextGen devices to see, hear and interact with NextGen Broadcast and build awareness for the many advanced technologies enabled by 3.0 broadcasts, the group said.

As an initial step, NVISA is hoping to convince the industry to set up a task force to examine the proposal and discuss how it might be implemented.

Four our Radio World readers, Fred Baumgartner, a member emeritus of NVISA, provided some context: “NextGen Broadcasting is just that – Broadcasting. ATSC 3.0 is a far better distribution platform in every way than anything we’ve had before. The NVISA proposal suggests that a national demo channel would demonstrate radio, TV, and most importantly the interactive services that enhances radio and TV. Radio audio is already in the NextGen mix. With any luck, sometime soon, we’ll listen to radio with far better reach and penetration, and far better digital/interactive services than we can do today. None of this is magical thinking, but it is a game changer.”

In an open letter, the organization noted that “we think we can all agree that the broadcasting industry needs the ATSC 3.0/NextGen technology  update — to preserve and broaden broadcasting in an intensively competitive media space. However, the  superior capabilities of NextGen broadcast are not yet understood by viewers. Owners of NextGen TV devices often don’t even realize that they have NextGen enabled TVs. Few outside the industry have experienced its extraordinary abilities.”

“Much of the nation already has coverage from at least one station,  and our first adopters are purchasing NextGen receivers,” the group noted. “Coverage is now substantial. However, growth  in consumer and retailer awareness of NextGen TV is sluggish. We believe that collaboratively we can speed up adoption and innovation by providing a first-rate public facing broadcast service that highlights the superiority of NextGen Broadcast. Further, we believe that at  this early stage, working together is preferable to uncoordinated individual efforts.”

In addition to the open letter to broadcasters and industry organizations, the NVISA also addressed a number of issues regarding the proposal.

Initially, the group said that it is “attempting to convene an executive-level roundtable (or task force) to discuss, examine and  execute strategic initiatives to drive consumer and retailer demand for NextGen Broadcast. The proposal first on the table is the launch of a national, high quality, broadcast `demo channel.’ More  than a `barker channel’ looping content, we would expect that this would have continuous  programming that is constantly improved over time. Likewise, ancillary services like interactive program  guides, emergency alerting and informing, and business models like dynamic ad insertion, data  distribution, real-time betting, etc., would be cooperatively added as they mature. This initiative is unique, in that it moves beyond brand-specific marketing to a cross-industry and cross platform initiative for the purpose of deepening the understanding and usage of ATSC 3.0 capabilities at  both CE retail locations, and consumers themselves.”

The group added that they hope to convince “key stakeholders across the industry — broadcasters, manufacturers, content providers and more – to pool resources to launch a true NextGen Broadcast service available nationally to those who will elect to utilize it.”

To build support for the proposal the letters asked individuals to bring up the idea within their organization to build “grass-roots” support.

While “the roll out of NextGen Broadcast at a station-level is very much on course, with much of the population  within the coverage area of an ATSC 3.0, NextGen transmitter,” ATSC 3.0/NextGen TV is still in a “simulcast” era” comparable to the early days of FM radio, the group said.

“As first-generation FM receivers came on the market, early FM  stations `simulcasted’ the content of their successful AM stations,” the group said. “Demand for FM finally took off when  FM offered unique, high-quality content.”

To speed the adoption of NextGen TV the group stressed that “we must move from simulcast to showcase. Simulcasting HD is the obvious launch  strategy, but it is not an adoption strategy.”

NVISA urged those who are interested in the proposal or who have comments on the idea to contact them at [email protected].

The group also said it would be proposing a time and place for a meeting on the subject at a later date.

More information on the group is available here.

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