NEXTGEN TV will launch on CBS 2 News Chicago in February, one of the first rollouts scheduled for 2024.
The upgraded signal will launch on February 5, 2024, and is expected to provide free service to 3.6 million households. Viewers who use an antenna to watch TV must rescan their televisions after this date to continue receiving CBS 2 News Chicago. The content will remain the same, but audiences will see an enhanced viewing experience after this date.
CBS 2 News Chicago said the transition won’t affect cable, satellite, and streaming viewers.
NEXTGEN TV is on track to reach 75% of U.S. households in January and aims to give households a “future-proof” way to watch local stations. Millions of cord cutters have turned to antennas to watch broadcast networks like ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX for free in recent years.
The Horowitz Research group’s State of Media, Entertainment, & Tech: Disruption & Change report shows that 18% of households have a digital television antenna, up from 14% in 2021. The report also shows that younger viewers are more likely to have antennas compared to those over 50 years old. The 18-49 year old demographic usage of antennas increased to 23% in 2022. 58% of people who use them want to access news and other information from their specific community.
“There is still a healthy market for the live, linear local and hyperlocal broadcast news and information that digital antennas can deliver for free to consumers,” said Adriana Waterston, chief revenue officer and insights and strategy lead for Horowitz Research. “But consumer education is critical to drive awareness, continued adoption, and viewership. There are many consumers who would benefit from having a digital antenna but don’t know it’s an option for them. It’s in the best interest of broadcasters to make a concerted effort to change that.”
NEXTGEN TV is a free, over-the-air service. It is the first major overhaul to the Advanced Television Systems Committee’s standard for receiving over-the-air signals in 25 years.
NEXTGEN TV broadcasts in more than 70 markets and enables new features like 4K, high dynamic range video, consistent volume across channels, and Dolby’s Voice+ for additional voice clarity and movie theater-quality sound. NEXTGEN TV offers advanced emergency alerts, information, expanded and hyperlocal news, dual language capabilities, and enhanced internet content on demand.