NextGen TV is now available on six local Philadelphia television stations, but sadly most cord cutters will be unable to watch them. This comes as four of the six new ATSC 3.0 NextGen TV stations launched with DRM. Sadly at this time none of the ATSC 3.0 tuner boxes on the market support this Digital Rights Management or DRM standard. This means these tuners will be unable to show these new stations. This was first spotted by Lon Seidman on X.
Multiple manufacturers have announced plans to add support for DRM that will allow your TV to view these channels, but so far no external tuners support DRM for ATSC 3.0 NextGen TV. There are a handful of new TVs on the market or coming soon with the new DRM but most cord cutters opted for the cheaper external tuners.
The available channels are without DRM in Philadelphia ABC’s WPVI (ABC, channel 6) and FOX’s WTXF-TV (FOX, channel 29).
There are the channels locked with DRM that launched in Philadelphia CBS’s KYW-TV (CBS, channel 3) and WPSG-TV (CW, channel 57), NBC’s WCAU-TV (NBC, channel 10), and Univision’s WUVP-TV (Univision, channel 65).
Pearl TV is a broadcasting business group at the forefront of the transition to NextGen TV, which is said to be “future proof” by enabling television sets to advance alongside technological innovations.
“Today, and in the future, Philly viewers will have a television experience that is more immersive, with better picture quality, and enhanced audio features, and it will continue to be enhanced as broadcasters continue to innovate with new features and content,” said Anne Schelle, managing director of Pearl TV. “Broadcast television is one of the leading platforms for local news and NextGen TV nurtures and enhances local services for all Philly viewers.”
The good news for cord cutters is at this time both the ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard and the old ATSC 1.0 are both available in Philadelphia at this time.
Back in June 2023 the FCC announced they will be pushing back their deadline that would have let TV stations shut down their 1.0 signals to June 2027. The FCC did add, though, that they will reconsider this transition in 2026 to see if that date needs to change again. For cord cutters, this means your current TV will still get its free over-the-air TV. The FCC also said TV stations must offer the same content on both the 1.0 and 3.0 ATSC standers at least for their most popular programs.
NextGen TV is on track to reach 75% of U.S. households in 2023.