ATSC 3.0 vs. NEXTGEN TV: ‘SuperFrank’ Explains the Difference


Earlier this month, representing the LPTV Broadcasters Association, its founder and President Frank Copsidas attended the ATSC 2022 NextGen Broadcast Conference in Detroit.

“I came away excited about ATSC 3.0, and how far it has developed over the last year,” he says. “While my head was swimming with information, I have boiled it down to the core of what I absorbed in straightforward terms.”

Copsidas, in the plainest terms, distinguishes ATSC 3.0 from NEXTGEN TV. It’s simple, yet some may consider the two to be the same thing.

He says, “ATSC 3.0 is the standard/platform for the broadcast industry side. NextGen TV is the consumer facing side. NextGen TV is simply one aspect of ATSC 3.0 deployment, but ATSC 3.0 has more to it, such as datacasting.”

With that, Copsidas advises consumers and broadcasters alike to forget everything they know about traditional broadcasting. That’s a good thing. “ATSC 3.0 broadcasters evolve into a digital delivery system, one way but delivering data on a one-to-many basis,” he says. “This provides huge advantages as the appetite for data is doubling every year. ATSC 3.0 puts broadcasters into the world of data delivery.”

In fact, Copsidas sees a NextGen TV set no differently than the internet browser on an internet-connected device. “With a two-way, return-path through the internet, ads can be targeted to an individual viewer,” he says.

Who’s watching? “This freaked me out a bit,” Copsidas admits, “but in the future, virtual intelligence will be able to tell which one of the people watching TV on the couch in their living room is the most focused on the TV and deliver the ad that best suits that person!”

How TV broadcasting companies decide to use their broadcast bandwidth will determine their future, Copsidas adds. “Broadcasters need to deliver one streaming programming channel to be FCC compliant, but that leaves a lot of bandwidth to do as you see fit,” he notes. “More programming? Radio stations like Sinclair Broadcast Group has launched in Seattle? Updates to software for cars? Long Distance learning? First Responder data delivery? Sports betting? You name it.”

On the equipment side, ATSC 3.0 “has simplified tremendously over the last year,” Copsidas remarks. In the vendor display area at the Detroit affair, Copsidas was impressed after viewing a single rack space product that included the encoder, gateway, and Dynamic PSIP. “The prices are also coming down as new products roll out,” he says. “Expect to see many new ATSC 3.0 deployment products, both. Hardware and in the cloud, at NAB 2023.”

The ATSC 2022 NextGen Broadcast Conference also inspired Copsidas to take action, as his broadcast company Tyche Media/IntrigueTV filed paperwork this week with the FCC for a NextGen TV license at WCRN-LD in Boston. “As opposed to CP’s, we must wait until we are licensed to go on the air but we also need the time to run the required notifications,” he says.

WCRD will deploy ATSC 3.0 using an Ateme Encoder and Enensys Gateway.


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