Snippet: FCC, Give Broadcasters An ATSC 3.0 Task Force ☇

Shared on February 6, 2023

Harry A. Jessell for TVNewsCheck:

NAB President Curtis LeGeyt and a contingent of broadcasters made the rounds at the FCC a couple of weeks ago, during which they admitted that the industry’s transition to ATSC 3.0 had “stalled” and that the entire push for the new broadcast standard was “in peril,” according to the required public notification of their visit.

The admission should not come as a surprise to anybody who has been closely following the rollout of 3.0. It’s been more than five years since the FCC authorized use of the standard, and I haven’t found anybody outside the range of this column who knows what it is.

With all the focus on the mini-collapse of streaming services (price hikes, less choices, and enshittification), another area in the media world is changing—ATSC 3.0 is a new standard that would eventually replace current ATSC 1.0 (aka digital TV) signals with technology that supports higher resolution, better reliability, and richer multimedia capabilities (including ad targeting…gag). Most TVs sold today would need a converter box to receive this signal, which seems like an even bigger ask than during the analog-to-digital transition in 2009.

Maybe it’s because I originally wanted to work in that industry and have slowly watched consolidation on the business side mixed with a fight to stay relevant, but broadcast TV just feels like it’s already dead and hasn’t figured it out yet. Even in big markets with resources, local news seems to cover headlines at surface-level and focus on fluff pieces like “what’s trending on Twitter” rather than reporting on in-depth things in the community. Conglomerates have also made it so that so much content is generated and distributed across multiple stations so the “local” newscasts don’t even feel that local anymore. Some stories are just plain wrong and poorly-researched. That’s not even getting into the primetime content on most of the broadcast networks feeling stale. At this point, if I was running the NAB, I’d be asking how we make broadcast TV relevant again and maybe treat our viewers like they’re not morons. Then again, it’s easier to say that an upgrade to 4K will fix everything.

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