Get ready to hear more of the term “hybrid TV,” if things go according to plan.
Madeleine Noland, president, Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC), was joined by Nick Colsey, VP, business development, Sony Electronics to discuss NextGen TV/ATSC 3.0 at a CES talk, “NextGen TV — New Opportunities for Broadcast & Broadband.”
HYBRID TV COMES OF AGE
Though not strictly limited to the subject, they focused on “hybrid TV.” Hybrid TV, one of ATSC 3.0’s daughters, marries a digital over-the-air (OTA) signal with the internet (OTT) to provide interactivity, an enhanced picture (and sound), along with almost unlimited options of content manipulation via apps. That last point is open-ended since, well, the vast majority of what will be developed hasn’t been thought of yet.
All that is possible due to NextGen TV/ATSC 3.0’s HTML5 IP foundation. “All the people who know how to make web pages, [will] know how to make broadcast apps,” Noland said. That alone opens up a world of possibilities.
Noland says, “It’s not just about ‘TV’ anymore.” She adds, “Since it is an IP-based systems we can send whatever data to whatever device” be it TV receiver or whatever IoT device. “Maybe I need to talk to your crockpot …” Noland offers.
Okay, maybe you don’t want your TV talking to your crockpot, but the point is that it could, if someone wanted their TV and crockpot to be on speaking terms.
Perhaps it’s a future Stephen King novel plot.
Moving to an unexplored commercial angle for television is the concept of ad personalization.
NextGen TV should provide for the development of a system similar to the internet’s “cookies.”
Eventually, a TV or app would learn viewer preferences (and probably demographics), so that immaterial ads are overridden with more relevant ads (possibly with the same success of current browsers wherein you are bombarded with ads for an item you just recently purchased).
Another target-rich environment is expected to be the automobile. “One of the most interesting receiver types is going to be the car,” Noland said. Other than the obvious onboard entertainment possibilities (hopefully limited to the passenger seats), possibilities include improved emergency alert delivery, maintenance and performance monitoring, in addition to the obvious internet connectivity and all that brings with it.
Cosley pointed out that CES is becoming a car show in many ways (Sony has a considerable auto manufacturer clientele). He said that at a testing facility in the Detroit area, they’ve been testing ATSC 3.0 reception in cars — on the highway and moving between cities.
ATSC 3.0 ON THE INTERNATIONAL STAGE
But NextGen TV/ATSC 3.0 isn’t simply a U.S. phenomenon.
South Korea has been the pioneer, having been using the system since 2017. It plans to be exclusively operating on ATSC 3.0 by 2027.
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India, a country where actual TV ownership is minuscule and most viewing is via smartphone, is open to ATSC 3.0 because of its platform agnosticism and seamless ability to place content and data onto any IoT device.
REMIND ME, WHY ATSC 3.0?
Since no particular company owns the specification, it is effectively an open standards system, allowing for adaptation and development by anyone.
Noland and Colsey even made a case for remote learning via NextGen TV and hybrid TV. For broadband-squeezed homes, hybrid TV can use OTA to deliver much of the lesson, while OTT can handle the interactivity and feedback on the limited broadband pipe. Due to the advanced coordination inherent in ATSC 3.0, this should work smoothly.
Currently, NextGen TV is available in over 45 markets in some form or another across the United States and is expected to cover 75% of the population by summer 2022.
Want more information? Watch: “NextGen TV — New Opportunities for Broadcast & Broadband.”