Evoca is a new TV service structured like cable television but delivered over broadcast TV spectrum at a much lower cost for consumers.
The new service, built by Edge Networks, will offer more than 80 news, sports, local and live TV channels in HD and 4K for about $50 per month. But Evoca isn’t cable, which is delivered over a managed network, nor is it a streaming service, which arrives via the public internet. Instead, it’s an IP-based multichannel service that uses the emerging NEXTGEN TV standard (ATSC 3.0) to distribute a bundle of channels via available broadcast spectrum.
Edge Networks is one of a handful of companies that have been granted FCC permission to deploy ATSC 3.0 technologies. The company currently has two TV stations in Boise, Idaho, which will be the first market in which Evoca is available.
Edge Networks CEO Todd Achilles said his company is starting in Boise because second and third tier markets are chronically underserved. The company will eventually expand into more markets.
Many more broadcasters are making the necessary upgrades so they can offer NEXTGEN TV – which promises improved over-the-air reception, mobile reception, immersive audio, deeper indoor reception, targeted advertising, automotive services and advanced emergency alerting. However, the same broadcasters are mandated by the FCC to continue simulcasting legacy ATSC 1.0 programming for five years so consumers don’t have to rush out and buy a NEXTGEN TV device to continue watching over-the-air television.
Edge Networks, on the other hand, is a broadcaster that never put out an ATSC 1.0 signal to begin with, so it’s not required to still dedicate time, effort and spectrum to maintaining those signals.
Evoca uses a proprietary receiver and an OTA antenna to deliver its channel bundle. Unlike virtual MVPDs like Sling TV and YouTube TV, the quality of Evoca’s service won’t potentially be impacted by available internet bandwidth or network conditions.
“Regardless of how many video games, movies or video conferences may be streaming, viewers will always experience a better quality picture and more reliable service than what they experience today,” said Achilles in a statement.
The company is targeting its service at the more than 50 million households in small- and mid-sized markets like Boise where bandwidth and broadband options are limited and cable or satellite is sometimes too expensive of an alternative.
In the coming months, Evoca will share additional updates about its content partners, pricing, channel lineup and rollout plans beyond Boise.