ATSC 3.0 vs NEXTGEN TV: “SuperFrank” explains the difference


Last week, representing the LPTV Broadcasters Association, its founder and president Frank Copsidas attended the ATSC 2022 NextGen Broadcast Conference in Detroit.

“I came away excited about ATSC 3.0 and how it has evolved over the past year,” he says. “As my head swam with information, I narrowed it down to the core of what I absorbed in simple terms.”

Copsidas, in the clearest terms, distinguishes ATSC 3.0 from NEXTGEN TV. It’s simple, but some may consider the two to be the same thing.

He says, “ATSC 3.0 is the standard/platform for the broadcast industry. NextGen TV is the consumer side. NextGen TV is just one aspect of deploying ATSC 3.0, but ATSC 3.0 has more, such as streaming data.

With that, Copsidas advises consumers and broadcasters to forget everything they know about traditional broadcasting. This is a good thing. “ATSC 3.0 broadcasters are moving towards a digital, one-way broadcast system, but providing data on a one-to-many basis,” he says. “This offers huge benefits as the appetite for data doubles every year. ATSC 3.0 puts broadcasters in the world of data broadcasting.

In fact, Copsidas does not view a NextGen TV any differently than an internet browser on an internet-connected device. “With a two-way return path through the internet, ads can be targeted to an individual viewer,” he says.

Who is watching? “It scared me a bit,” admits Copsidas, “but in the future, virtual intelligence will be able to tell which of the people watching TV on the sofa in their living room is most focused on the TV and post the ad that best suits that person!

How broadcast companies decide to use their broadcast bandwidth will determine their future, adds Copsidas. “Broadcasters must provide a streaming programming channel to be FCC compliant, but that leaves a lot of bandwidth to do as you see fit,” he notes. “More programming? radios like Sinclair Broadcasting Group launched in Seattle? Software updates for cars? Distance learning? First responder data delivery? Sports betting? You name it.

On the equipment side, ATSC 3.0 “has become enormously simplified over the past year,” notes Copsidas. In the vendor display area during the Detroit affair, Copsidas was impressed after seeing a single rack space product including the encoder, gateway, and dynamic PSIP. “Prices also come down as new products are released,” he says. “Expect to see many new ATSC 3.0 deployment products, both. Hardware and in the cloud, at NAB 2023.”

The ATSC 2022 NextGen Broadcast conference also inspired Copsidas to take action, as its broadcast company Tyche Media/IntrigueTV filed paperwork this week with the FCC for a NextGen TV license to WCRN-LD in Boston. “Unlike CPs, we have to wait to be cleared to send, but we also need time to execute the required notifications,” he says.

WCRD will deploy ATSC 3.0 using a Ateme Encoder and Enensys Gateway.


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