The National Association of Broadcasters Ask The FCC Not To Get Involved in The ATCS 3.0 Patent Lawsuit That Forced LG To Stop Selling NextGen TVs





Back in September, one of the biggest sellers of TVs announced that it would stop making TVs with the new ATSC 3.0 NextGen TVs OTA tuners included. This comes as earlier this year, LG lost a patient case from a company claiming to hold patents over some of the technology included in ATSC 3.0 Next Gen TV.

ATSC 3.0 Next Gen TV promises to offer even more options for free over-the-air TV. Including someday in the future 4K free over the air. Now, though, its future is put in danger by patent owners claiming to own part of the technology used in ATSC 3.0 Next Gen TV.

Right now, there is a lot of uncertainty over patents with the Next Gen ATSC. Now that LG has lost its case with Constellation Designs, LLC, it says it will have to pay an extra 125% in patent fees for every ATSC 3.0 NexGen TV it sells.

“This challenging and uncertain patent landscape has forced LG to make the difficult decision to suspend the inclusion of ATSC 3.0-compatibility in its 2024 television lineup for the United States. This decision was not made lightly, because LG has been a vocal ATSC 3.0 advocate, a strong supporter of local broadcasters, and a leading developer of television products with the latest NEXTGEN TV technologies. Going forward, LG will, of course, continue to monitor the patent landscape and its effect on LG’s own product roadmap and overall industry dynamics. ” LG said in a statement to the FCC.

LG has asked the FCC to look into how it can help address issues over patents related to the ATSC 3.0 Next Gen TV technology. Currently, most patent holders are working to make it easy to license patents for companies wanting to build ATSC 3.0 tuners. A few though, according to LG are not working together to make it easy to build TVs with the new tuners.

Now the National Association of Broadcasters or NAB has come in to ask the FCC not to get involved. In a FCC filing, the NAB says the FCC can do little to help with this lawsuit and should focus its energy on helping to push ATSC 3.0 forward. “We urge the Commission to take no further action at this time with respect to the patent marketplace but, rather, to continue to monitor the market consistent with its approach in the DTV transition. Finally, we urge the Commission to continue to look for opportunities to speed the deployment of ATSC 3.0 service and the adoption of 3.0 equipment, including by allowing broadcasters greater ability to differentiate their service during the transition.” The NAB said in its filing to the FCC.

Because of all of this, LG will stop making TVs with ATSC 3.0 Nextgen TV tuners in its 2024 models. It says it will watch what happens and could return to making TVs with the new tuners in the future.

“LG’s decision to suspend support for NEXTGEN TV products in 2024 because of an ongoing patent dispute is unfortunate, but we are hopeful that the matter can be resolved.  In the meantime, we continue to project that total NEXTGEN TV sales will cumulatively top 10 million units by year end.” Said Anne Schelle the managing director of the Pearl TV broadcaster group.

The question now is what will happen with this patent issue. At this time, LG is appealing the ruling. If the patent stands, it is very likely other TV manufacturers could find themselves forced to pay royalties they didn’t expect or stop selling ATSC 3.0 products. For now, we will have to wait and see what the court decides.

If you want a quick breakdown of everything happening with this patent fight over ATSC 3.0 Lon.TV has a great video on it.

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