At the Advanced Television System Committee‘s 40th anniversary meeting, the future of NetGen TV’s ATSC 3.0 was discussed. 3.0 is currently available in over 60 markets. Could this mean 1.0 will soon shut down as 3.0 takes over?
The Federal Communications Commission has already made known its plans to end 1.0 since last April, though a timeline for doing so has yet to be outlined. FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel said, “I think that a lot of people in this room believe that ATSC 1.0 needs to have a hard sunset target and that we should migrate to 3.0 at that point.”
FCC Commissioner Nathan Simington thinks that a gradual transition would be more fitting. “Having people preferentially gravitate towards the 3.0 content, and having new universal penetration of 3.0 and new devices are the goals that would make it easy to get a terminal date for 1.0, and it seems like it’s easier to accomplish by a pull than by a push.”
Instead of suddenly eliminating 1.0, Simington feels a natural shift will take place with consumers who will eventually embrace 3.0 and make 1.0 obsolete in the process. “Turning off 1.0 becomes totally non-controversial because then everyone will have forgotten it was there.”
More NextGen TV-certified box will come out soon, which will help accelerate consumers’ transition to 3.0.
Public broadcasters are another factor when deciding to shutter 1.0 entirely. They cover nearly 97 percent of the country and have petitioned the FCC to be exempt, which was not granted. However, the FCC issued a “presumptive waiver of the 1.0 signal requirement if a broadcaster didn’t have a viable simulcast partner in its area” under certain conditions.
A 1.0 to 3.0 “flash cut” was approved by the FCC if public stations gave its viewer base free 3.0 devices. “The trick here is the cost of devices must be covered by the public TV station. We need low-cost converter boxes. Their arrival is great news for us,” said Lonna Thompson.
NAB President and CEO Curtis LeGeyt said he was extremely grateful and excited about the FCC’s recent announcement. “I want to underscore just how meaningful this is, to bring this transition from where it is today to the completion…. The benefits of NextGen television are only going to be a reality for consumers only if we can get the entire country transitioned.”