Cable TV Test of Next-Generation ATSC 3.0 Television Coming to Portland, Oregon

Dec 15, 2020 | Newsroom

Television providers are working together to test how NEXTGEN TV signals could best be transmitted by cable TV systems

Portland, OR – December 15, 2020 – Broadcasters supporting the Phoenix, Arizona Model Market project for NEXTGEN TV along with broadcaster group Pearl TV today announced that they have begun initial testing of NEXTGEN TV over limited cable infrastructure, through a cooperative effort with Comcast. NEXTGEN TV is utilizing ATSC 3.0, the landmark technology now being deployed across the country that is designed to merge over-the-air with over-the top TV content.

The Phoenix Model Market Partners are now working closely with Comcast in Portland, Oregon to explore how to deliver NEXTGEN TV services to Comcast’s infrastructure in an effort that will require significant technical collaboration.  This work could give the industry a foundation for a “real world” technical example of how to transmit ATSC 3.0 over hybrid fiber-coaxial infrastructure.

“While the Phoenix Model Market continues to expand its testing capability, we will be working together with industry leader Comcast to test out compatibility between both the current cable and future broadcast architecture in the Portland market.  We want to ensure that our viewers over cable can enjoy the enhanced video and audio experience that NEXTGEN TV plans to offer,” explained Anne Schelle, Managing Director of Pearl TV, which is also managing the Phoenix Model Market implementation.  “Seven local broadcasters are now on the air with NEXTGEN TV in Portland, so it makes sense to work with a major operator in the area like Comcast to determine what’s needed to distribute this new capability to cable customers,” Schelle said.

“We’re excited to participate in this important work to advance NEXTGEN TV using the new features of ATSC’s 3.0 set of standards. While it is still very early in the process, this short-term integration effort will provide broadcast partners, manufacturers, and our technical groups valuable insights into the performance of the technology. We are currently exercising our links with the broadcast ATSC 3.0 over-the-air transmission signal, as well as adding more fiber link resources to our local headend as an important first step,” said Jerry Parkins, Sr. Director of Digital Technology and Standards for Comcast.

The initial stages in the collaboration will develop the technical capability to pass along NEXTGEN TV’s 4K Ultra HD content through cable and eventually to enable further features such as High Dynamic Range (HDR10), Wide Color Gamut and the ATSC 3.0 standard’s advanced immersive audio capabilities.

In July, seven leading local television stations in Portland, including KATU (ABC), KOIN (CBS), KGW (NBC), KPTV (Fox), KOPB-TV (PBS), KRCW-TV (CW) and KPDX (MyNet), became among the first in the nation to begin broadcasting with NEXTGEN TV. Based on the same fundamental technology as the Internet, digital applications, and other web services, NEXTGEN TV can support a wide range of features currently in development, such as immersive audio and video (up to 4K), broadcasting to mobile devices, personalized viewing tools, and advanced emergency alerts providing rich media instead of simple text messages.

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About Pearl TV:
Pearl TV is a business organization of U.S. broadcast companies with a shared interest in exploring forward-looking broadcasting opportunities, including innovative ways of promoting local broadcast TV content and developing digital media and wireless platforms for the broadcast industry.  Pearl’s membership, comprising more than 750 TV stations, includes nine of the largest broadcast companies in America: Cox Media Group, Graham Media Group, Gray Television, Hearst Television Inc., Meredith Local Media Group, Nexstar Media Group, Sinclair Broadcast Group, the E.W. Scripps Company, and TEGNA, Inc.

About the Phoenix Model Market:
The Phoenix Model Market is a collaborative effort with a dozen Phoenix, Arizona TV broadcasters who are launching next-gen TV service marketwide, as a model for the TV industry.  Participating TV groups and stations in the Phoenix Model Market include: Arizona State University’s Arizona PBS (KAET), Arizona Television’s KAZT Channel 7 (Independent),  Fox Television Stations’ KSAZ (Fox) and KUTP (MyTV), Meredith’s KPHO (CBS) and KTVK (Independent), E.W. Scripps’ KNXV (ABC) and KASW (CW), Telemundo Station Group’s KTAZ (Telemundo), TEGNA’s KPNX (NBC), and Univision’s KFPH-CD (UniMas) and KTVW (Univision).

Media Contact:
Dave Arland
(317) 701-0084