First official NEXTGEN TV stations go live in Las Vegas

Sinclair, Nexstar Media and E.W. Scripps said that their Las Vegas television stations today began broadcasting in NEXTGEN TV, the commercial name given to new ATSC 3.0 standards.

The new IP-based over-the-air broadcast standards, which have been in development for years, promise to deliver improved audio and video quality for consumers and interoperability with Internet-delivered content.

NEXTGEN TV will launch on four of Las Vegas' biggest broadcast stations: Sinclair's KSNV (NBC) and KVCW (CW), Nexstar's KLAS (CBS) and Scripps' KTNV (ABC). BitPath (formerly Spectrum Co) led the year of planning and coordinated efforts across the three media companies leading up to the launch. BitPath and industry consortium Pearl TV will now focus on accelerating the rollout of NEXTGEN TV across the country.

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"Today's announcement is the realization of two decades of work, and we are proud to share this moment with Nexstar and Scripps as we usher in a new era of television with NEXTGEN TV," said Chris Ripley, president and CEO at Sinclair, in a statement. "With Las Vegas leading the way, select audiences will soon enjoy a more personalized and immersive experience, with better access to news and media than ever before. Looking ahead, we are eager for continued collaboration within our industry to fully realize the promise of NEXTGEN TV, and are excited to bring this innovation to audiences across the country, forever changing the way we use, and think of, broadcast television."

Since NEXTGEN TV is IP-based, it can be integrated with broadband, 5G and other internet communication networks to enhance broadcasts with customizable features based on user preferences and targeted programming. The standards support 4K video and immersive audio, and will allow broadcasters to deliver service to mobile users. ATSC 3.0 will also eventually offer an advanced emergency alert system.

The broadcasters involved with the launch have assured consumers that all broadcast content will still be widely available over-the-air and via pay TV services, though consumers may need to rescan for channels. Broadcasters are under an agreement with the FCC to continue providing legacy ATSC 1.0 broadcast signals for five years after initial NEXTGEN TV launches.

To receive NEXTGEN TV, consumers will need TV sets with tuners that support the standard. At CES earlier this year, LG said it will offer six TV models (some 4K, some 8K) that support the standard. Samsung and Sony also said they will make a limited amount of TVs in 2020 that can handle NEXTGEN TV.