CTA Warns FCC Over ATSC 3.0 NPRM


Of those who have voiced their opinion on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the Voluntary Adoption of ATSC 3.0, the Next-Gen TV standard, most have been highly positive about how the proposed rule will bring 4K Ultra HD, High Dynamic Range, advanced emergency alert information, mobility and other innovations to broadcast TV viewers acrtoss the U.S.

“It’s a win for innovation and a win for consumers,” said Consumer Technology Association (CTA) President/CEO Gary Shapiro.

But he’s concerned about one proviso in the NPRM.

“While well-intended, this initial version includes troubling language about a TV tuner mandate,” Shapiro said. “We stand by our initial joint filing supporting a voluntary, market-driven transition.”

At the same time, CTA supports the Commission’s tentative agreement that a TV tuner mandate is unnecessary.
“CTA has long been an advocate for the development of this voluntary rule and applauds the FCC’s swift work to make the most immersive broadcast TV viewing experience a reality,” Shapiro notes. “We look forward to working with the Commission to move the proposal forward as originally intended to bring the benefits of this standard to American consumers nationwide.”

As part of a greater effort to bring transparency to the FCC, the Commission on Feb. 2 released the details of a NPRM that would authorize television broadcasters to use the “Next Generation” broadcast television transmission standard associated with recent work of the Advanced Television Systems Committee — known universally as ATSC 3.0 — “on a voluntary, market-driven basis” while they continue to deliver current-generation TV broadcast service to their viewers.

ATSC 3.0 is being developed by broadcasters with the intent of merging the capabilities of over-the-air  broadcasting with the broadband viewing and information delivery methods of the Internet, using the same 6 MHz channels presently allocated for DTV.

Proponents say the new standard has the potential to greatly improve broadcast signal reception, particularly on mobile devices and television receivers without outdoor antennas, and will enable broadcasters to offer enhanced and innovative new features to consumers, including Ultra High Definition (UHD) picture and immersive audio, more localized programming content, an advanced emergency alert system (EAS) capable of waking up sleeping devices to warn consumers of imminent emergencies, better accessibility options, and interactive services.

The proceeding will see the FCC seek to adopt rules “that will afford broadcasters flexibility to deploy ATSC 3.0-based transmissions, while minimizing the impact on, and costs to, consumers and other industry stakeholders.”