The FCC gives 4K, next-gen TV the green light

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved plans for the launch of next-generation TV broadcasting that could include 4K programming, improved interactive services, and more targeted advertising.

Commissioners voted 3-2 to give TV stations permission to start broadcasting in the ATSC 3.0 format, an updated version of the current ATSC 1.0 format used for over-the-air broadcasts.

The new format promises to offer better, more robust reception and make possible a number of new services and features, but it’s incompatible with the current format, so consumers will need to buy new TVs or converter boxes. Unlike the analog-to-digital conversion of 2009, the government isn’t planning to offer free or subsidized equipment.

Instead, the FCC is mandating that for an as-yet undefined period, TV stations simulcast their programming in both formats. That should ensure viewers won’t lose access to major networks, but the rules don’t specify that the simulcasts remain at the same quality, so there are concerns that TV stations could downgrade to a standard-definition signal to save bandwidth.

It’s one of several worries put forward by the two commissioners who voted against adoption of the FCC proposal.

“I think we need to better understand the consumers at risk of being left behind,” said Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel. “I also think we need to better understand targeted advertising on television and the implication for privacy, use of encrypted signals and the susceptibility to hacking and malware.”

Nevertheless, three commissioners–including FCC Chairman Ajit Pai–voted in favor, citing the possibility for greater educational services, localized emergency alerts, and data broadcasts for first responders among the benefits.

The first broadcasts could be on the air as early as spring 2018 and are likely to launch in Phoenix. A group of TV stations has chosen the Arizona town as a technology test market for the service.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Check Also

Apple Pay Adds 25 New Banks and Credit Unions in U.S.; bunq in Spain and Italy

Posted by Evan Selleck on Mar 20, 2018 in Apple Pay ...

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This