At the NAB Show New York, Pearl TV, the coalition of U.S. broadcast companies transitioning to NEXTGEN TV, has announced it has developed a FastTrack program to accelerate development and retail availability of low-cost upgrade accessory receivers.
The program will create a diverse market of accessories that will bring NEXTGEN TV features to 91% of households that have displays with an HDMI input, but are not equipped with NEXTGEN TV technology.
“This new program will make it easier for companies interested in jumping into the NEXTGEN TV device ecosystem to design, manufacture and sell upgrade accessories,” states Anne Schelle, managing director of Pearl TV.
“While we’ve seen continued success of the transition, the ATSC 3.0 standard is not backward compatible. This program helps solve that. With a simplified process, accessory price points will decrease making it more affordable and easier for consumers to enjoy NEXTGEN TV even without an enabled television.”
NEXTGEN TV is the first major overhaul to the Advanced Television Systems Committee’s standard for receiving over-the-air (OTA) signals in 25 years. There are more than 120 television models that support NEXTGEN TV at retail from Hisense, LG, Samsung and Sony. Now broadcasting in more than 50 markets reaching 55% of U.S. households, NEXTGEN TV is expected to reach 75% of U.S. television households by the end of 2023.
The FastTrack program seeks to provide support to manufacturers interested in making devices that support the full NEXTGEN TV service feature set—enhanced video, audio and the interactive features that will bring more content and modernized viewing guides. The detailed device requirements will be updated continuously to aid manufacturers as NEXTGEN TV evolves.
The FastTrack program will help accelerate the availability of devices for consumers by guiding device makers through the NEXTGEN TV logo and other conformance requirements—including security and regulatory compliance, testing, and opportunities for distribution and marketing partnerships.
By 2024, more than 75% of all televisions sold are expected to be available with dual HDTV and NEXTGEN TV reception. Having an affordable alternative to investing in a new NEXTGEN TV receiver without a built-in display is essential to meet the portion of the potential viewing audience that does not have television sets that support the standard.
“NEXTGEN TV is experiencing hockey stick growth among consumers and broadcasters, yet some viewers with television sets bought prior to 2020 have yet to enjoy the rich features of the standard,” comments Rob Folliard, senior vice president, government relations and distribution at Gray Television.
“Device makers can now address this issue with full support and guidance to manufacture and market compatible products that consumers need and want to enjoy over-the-air television service for free.”