The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved voluntary use of the Next Generation TV standard. Next Gen TV requires no additional spectrum and no government subsidies. As broadcasters continue to invest in the future of television to benefit viewers, the FCC should maintain a reasonable, flexible framework for Next Gen TV deployment.
The next generation of broadcast television technology will deliver lifesaving advanced emergency alerting, stunning pictures, immersive and customizable audio and improved reception to enhance and expand the broadcast viewing experience. Because the new technology combines the best features of broadcast television and broadband, Next Gen TV allows local stations to better personalize their broadcasts with information and interactive features to give viewers the content that is most relevant to them. Next Gen TV also supports enhanced mobile reception, so viewers can access unlimited live local and national news, the most popular sports and entertainment programs and children's shows on mobile devices over-the-air without having to rely on cellular data services. That means viewers won't run through their data cap, and there's no monthly fee – broadcast TV is free.
In 2017, the Commission voted to allow broadcasters to use the Next Gen TV standard on a voluntary basis. Stations electing to transmit using the Next Gen standard arrange to simulcast programming from another station's facilities using the current broadcast standard.
While there have been several experimental Next Gen TV stations operating over the past few years around the country, in 2020, broadcasters have committed to deploy Next Gen TV in the top markets, with further deployments rolling out in 2021, 2022 and beyond.
As broadcasters move to unleash the next generation of free broadcast television service, the FCC should continue to allow them as much flexibility as possible, to allow stations to provide the very best services for broadcast viewers.
To learn more about the next generation of television, visit nab.org/NextGen.