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Stations Launch ATSC 3.0 Broadcasts in Las Vegas

Sinclair Broadcast Group, Nexstar Media Group and the E.W. Scripps Co. on Tuesday began broadcasting using the new ATSC 3.0 Nextgen TV format at their stations in Las Vegas.

The new standard is designed to better mesh with internet-like technology and is expected to give viewers better pictures and sound and enable mobile reception. The stations are also working to develop new data broadcasting services.

“Today’s announcement is the realization of two decades of work, and we are proud to share this moment with Nexstar and Scripps as we usher in a new era of television with Nextgen TV,” said Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley. “With Las Vegas leading the way, select audiences will soon enjoy a more personalized and immersive experience, with better access to news and media than ever before. Looking ahead, we are eager for continued collaboration within our industry to fully realize the promise of Nextgen TV, and are excited to bring this innovation to audiences across the country, forever changing the way we use, and think of, broadcast television.”

Short-term the revenue impact will be limited until consumers buy new receivers and sets.

The new technology should help the stations better monetize its advertising inventory because of enhanced targeting capabilities, Ripley said. It also helps to protect content against piracy, he said.

The standard is capable of providing precision GPS services and efficiently send commands to internet-of-things devices, Ripley said. The biggest opportunity could come with the biggest mobile device, the automobile.

“As cars get more and more autonomous, they will demand more connectivity and data and our distribution system is ideally suited to send out large files to large geographic regions,” Ripley said. Sending 3D maps to vehicles is one application that has already been tested with automakers.

“Our successful collaboration with Sinclair and Scripps has brought Nextgen TV to Las Vegas. We look forward to cooperating with other broadcasters to roll out this new technology across the country,” said Perry Sook, CEO of Nexstar.

“Residents of Las Vegas will be among the first in the country to enjoy the immersive audio and video experience associated with this technical advancement,” said Brian Lawlor, president of Local Media for Scripps. “As we have seen in recent weeks, local television continues to play a critical role in the information and entertainment needs of families across America. Las Vegas will shortly benefit from an exciting modern viewing experience from local broadcasters.”

Ripley said that the broadcast business has commitments in hand to light up 3.0 in about 70% of the country.

“It does take some time and it took us about a year to do this Las Vegas deployment, so it's a little bit like herding cats and getting it all figured out,” he said. “This is a huge moment for us as an industry. Getting the first one's always the hardest and we have 25 cities that we are anticipating deploying in this year. So the ball is rolling as they say and it's just going to snowball from here.”