The newest standard of over-the-air television, also known as ATSC 3.0 or NextGen TV, is supposed to bring better visual and audio quality to broadcast television. But the killer app may actually be in watching games in real time and sports betting.
That’s according to Scripps Sports President Brian Lawlor, who told Cord Cutters News in an interview that he believes the low latency, or lag time between when events occur and what you actually see it, will be good enough that it will be a boon to those looking make bets on the game. You can see that latency in effect when watching a streaming game — you’ll often get an alert on a phone of a touchdown scored or interception made seconds or even minutes before it actually appears on your feed.
Some companies are addressing this, with YouTube TV now giving you the option to permanently reduce the broadcast delay in exchange for some potential playback problems. But many “live” streaming services still have delayed feeds.
Watching a NextGen TV feed, which just requires an antenna and a compatible tuner or TV, eliminates that lag.
“It allows sports fans to have truly live engagement,” Lawlor said.
The other benefit from NextGen TV is the ability to create “pop-up” channels in the programming guide. Because the ATSC 3.0 signals are IP-based, broadcasters can create temporary channels that your connected TV or tuner is smart enough to recognize. Lawlor said he could see a separate pop-up channel dedicated to sports betting, or some other ancillary content, launch during a big sporting event.
NextGen TV is expected to hit a critical point before a big sporting event: the Super Bowl. The TV standard is expected to covering 75% of the U.S. population in 75 markets, which Advanced Television Systems Committee President Madeleine Noland said was key to getting the broadcaster, retailers, and network excited and willing to promote the technology.
About 5.5 million NextGen TV-enabled television sets are expected to ship this year, a rise of 13% from the number of TVs that shipped in 2023, according to the Consumer Technology Association, the group behind CES. The ATSC believes sales will really hit the masses in 2025.