Ongoing impacts from COVID-19 could mean broadcasters won’t hit their goal of launching ATSC 3.0 in 40 markets this year, according to Pearl TV’s Anne Schelle. The broadcasting group’s managing director commented as part of a remote panel at a virtual IABM conference and discussed the pandemic’s effects on ATSC 3.0 rollout plans.
Coming out of CES in January 2020, she said, the industry was in a good position to launch ATSC 3.0 in 40 markets this year, including multiple new TV models with built-in support for the new over-the-air broadcasting standard. But the pandemic has essentially delayed plans by about a quarter compared to where it should be at this point.
Much of that delay comes from travel restrictions and the inability to have crews on-site to install and set up new equipment. However, Schelle mentioned a significant amount of work is being done remotely now to continue deployments in several markets, including TV makers testing their new models to ensure compatibility. She pointed to markets like Phoenix, where a significant amount of setup and testing were carried out remotely.
Sinclair recently announced its first ATSC 3.0 station will go live later this month in Las Vegas, and stations in Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and East Lansing are currently listed as FCC-approved and actively prepping for their own launches. At the moment, six markets across the country have an ATSC 3.0 station up and running, including Dallas, Phoenix, and Orlando. Schelle said more ATSC 3.0 announcements should follow this summer as states slowly begin to open up.
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