Phoenix Model Market Launches First Next-Generation Television Channel with Local Univision-Owned UniMás Station

First Collaborative, Single-Market Transition to ATSC 3.0 Now Underway as Additional Key Partners Join Model Market Project

PHOENIX--()--The first next-generation TV signal in the Phoenix Model Market is “on the air,” with KFPH-CD Channel 35, owned by Univision Communications Inc., now transmitting UniMás network programming using the new ATSC 3.0 standard.

“All of the media companies that are participating in the Model Market have pledged to participate in the project, and today’s announcement paves the way for a long line of broadcaster and technology companies to collaborate and make the Phoenix Model Market a success”

“Today’s announcement is just the first Phoenix station to transition to ATSC 3.0, with additional partner stations to be added soon. We are also simultaneously preserving ATSC 1.0 signals for viewers in coordination with other broadcasters in the Phoenix market,” said Pearl TV Managing Director Anne Schelle as she announced the new service on opening day of the annual NAB Show in Las Vegas. The Phoenix Model Market project is the first collaborative single-market effort to plan for and implement a transition to next-generation over-the-air television broadcasting.

“We are excited to be pioneering the next generation of broadcast television with our UniMás station in Phoenix. ATSC 3.0 allows us to continue innovating and providing our audience with a unique, best-in-class viewing experience,” said John Eck, Chief Local Media Officer.

New to the Phoenix Model Market effort are consumer electronics manufacturers LG Electronics; Sony; Samsung; and Channel Master; technology contributors Dolby Laboratories; TitanTV; and Unifsoft; and signaling and technical experts BitRouter; Meintel, Sgrignoli, & Wallace; and Yotta Media Labs.

“More announcements are coming, because the Phoenix Model Market is an open test bed environment and we plan to work with additional suppliers and share our findings broadly with the industry,” Schelle said.

Consumer Electronics Manufacturers:

  • LG Electronics is the first consumer electronics manufacturer to supply integrated ATSC 3.0 television receivers for evaluation and monitoring in Phoenix this spring. LG is already marketing dual reception ATSC 3.0/1.0 TV products in South Korea.
  • Sony Electronics will supply televisions, demodulators and application development tools for ATSC 3.0. Supplementing the partnership announced at 2018 CES, Sony will collaborate with Pearl TV, not only in developing the Electronic Program Guide, but also in testing technology and service models to insure the customer experience is of the best quality and drives engagement.
  • Samsung brings their expertise to the Phoenix Model Market project having rolled out ATSC 3.0 TVs widely in South Korea. Their success in Korea will help Phoenix focus on evaluation of features such as HDR and immersive audio for the ultimate entertainment experience. Additionally, Samsung’s support of ATSC 3.0 applications and online services will facilitate the testing of advanced features for next-generation TVs in the U.S.
  • Channel Master, which is based in the Phoenix metropolitan area, will supply a variety of reception antenna products and lend its professional signal evaluation expertise to the Phoenix Model Market project, including development of future products designed to enhance digital TV reception.

Technology Contributors:

  • Dolby is providing encoding and decoding technology to add key audio features with Dolby® AC-4 and is working closely with video delivery expert Harmonic on the implementation of this ATSC 3.0 next generation audio format in their broadcast and OTT workflows.
  • TitanTV, Inc. is providing the Electronic Service Guide services for the Phoenix Model Market Initiative, built on the company’s robust delivery platform and expanded to include rich media content. Titan TV is supporting next-generation TV with responsive Program Guides and Service Announcement metadata services.
  • UniSoft is providing their ATSC 3.0 Signature File Generator which performs cryptographic signing of applications and signaling tables.

Signaling and Technical Experts:

  • BitRouter will provide their ATSC3pro, a PC/Linux based ATSC 3.0 single stream professional receiver, to view ATSC 3.0 broadcasts, collect signal quality data and test ATSC 3.0 applications. The ATSC3pro is based upon BitRouter’s ATSC3pak which integrates the ATSC 1.0 and ATSC 3.0 standards into a single software product.
  • Meintel, Sgrignoli, & Wallace (MSW) is retained to install and commission the new ATSC 3.0 transmitter as well as to manage the integration of the ATSC 3.0 upper layer equipment for the station. In addition, MSW is working with the project participants on the initial testing of the RF signal in the Phoenix Market to establish base-line signal performance.
  • Yotta Media Labs is providing technical consultation to the Model Market Project, working to develop a prototype navigation guide that could be deployed by ATSC 3.0 broadcasters.

The latest companies to join the Phoenix Model Market project join technology companies Dielectric, Enensys, GatesAir, Harmonic and Triveni Digital, whose involvement was announced earlier.

“All of the media companies that are participating in the Model Market have pledged to participate in the project, and today’s announcement paves the way for a long line of broadcaster and technology companies to collaborate and make the Phoenix Model Market a success,” Schelle said.

E.W. Scripps Company, Fox Television Stations, Meredith Local Media Group, Nexstar Media Group, TEGNA Inc., Telemundo Station Group, Univision Communications, Arizona State University/PBS and Pearl TV are planning the comprehensive effort for the Phoenix, Arizona TV market to show how next-generation ATSC 3.0 technology can be deployed while maintaining existing digital TV service for viewers.

Model Market Demonstrations at NAB Show

At the Phoenix Model Market kiosk in the “Road to ATSC 3.0” exhibit at the NAB Show in the Grand Lobby of the Las Vegas Convention Center, Sony will detail the capabilities of the ATSC A/344 standard for interactivity, with a Sony-designed run-time environment that will show broadcasters how interactivity can occur with next-generation TV. The system is designed to be very flexible, allowing adaptive ad insertion and messaging displayed with real-time object delivery over unidirectional transport as well as dynamic adaptive streaming over HyperText Transfer Protocol. These are commonly known as ROUTE and DASH and can operate seamlessly to enable new experiences such as loyalty and viewing history offerings like coupons and purchase choices.

Using an ATSC 3.0 receiver provided by LG Electronics, Yotta Media Labs will demonstrate a prototype application that local broadcasters could use with ATSC 3.0, allowing the viewer to access and discover content through a modern TV guide embedded in the broadcaster's channel. The sample ATSC 3.0 app shows a potential experience that over-the-air viewers would get on smart TVs connected to the internet. The Yotta Media Labs demonstration will show a consumer-friendly experience, with just enough common elements between broadcasts to avoid confusion when viewers switch channel, but with a system that would still allow networks and affiliates to retain their individual identities.

New Website Provides Model Market Information

Phoenix Model market partners also today launched an informational website to provide information about the Model Market for Phoenix viewers, to fully inform the public about the ATSC 3.0 testing that has just begun in Phoenix. The www.phoenixnextgentv.com site provides advice for viewers, including notifications that cable and satellite viewers are not affected by the over-the-air signal changes.

Model Market Objectives

The Phoenix “model market” project will create an open test bed for the mutual benefit of all stakeholders in the TV ecosystem. The project has several objectives, including confirming basic TV service parameters and performance, determining the appeal of next-generation high dynamic range video and immersive audio content to consumers, assessing TV application features and implementation requirements, testing interactive and addressable advertising functionality, testing cable integration and determining consumer device and service appeal. Creating an end-to-end model system will help foster industry consensus and drive ecosystem development. This includes development of the “lighthouse” concept to keep legacy digital TV available for all viewers while new ATSC 3.0 services are being launched.

About Pearl TV:

Pearl TV is a business alliance of Cox Media Group, the E.W. Scripps Company, Graham Media Group, Hearst Television Inc., Meredith Local Media Group, Nexstar Media Group, Raycom Media, and TEGNA Inc. Pearl TV’s membership includes companies that operate more than 300 network-affiliated, local stations across the country.

Contacts

Arland Communications
Dave Arland, 317-701-0084
Dave@ArlandCom.com

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