On Monday, January 31, the island nation known for reggae music and jerk chicken propelled its television broadcasting well into the 21st Century, as Television Jamaica Ltd. joined the U.S. and South Korea as the only three nations in the world to offer viewers NEXTGEN TV broadcasts.
The ATSC 3.0 standard is now in use at TVJ, which airs everything from newscasts to daytime animated series, and select second-run syndicated programming.
Leading the switching on ceremony for TVJ: A new Jamaican Minister with responsibility for Information, Hon. Robert Morgan. The ATSC 3.0 signal went live just after 6:30pm local time.
How many Jamaican TV viewers watched is the key question, as access to new ATSC 3.0-compatible televisions at a cost Jamaicans can afford will prove to be the key test to NEXTGEN TV’s rollout in the island nation.
That said, TVJ put NEXTGEN TV into action in order to abide by the Jamaican government’s decision to enforce a ATSC 3.0 transition no later than January 2022.
TVJ in December 2021 became an official member of ATSC Inc., and it has commenced consultations with U.S. and South Korean experts, as well as with local television set retailers, advertisers and other stakeholders on the next steps. Up to 20 similar transmission sites are being commissioned into service, bringing 95% coverage of Jamaica that is targeted for NEXTGEN TV.
TVJ is a member of the RJRGLEANER Communications Group, parent of 12 media brands.
“What TVJ and the RJRGLEANER group have done is not only invested in its own business, but it has invested in the digital future of Jamaica…I am impressed with the commitment shown to making government policy a reality”, Minister Morgan said.
The ATSC 3.0 installation was conducted by an all-Jamaican engineering team.
RJRGLEANER CEO Gary Allen notes that some $12 million USD was invested in the transition, with half of the funds tied to the first transmitter, now in operation in the Jamaican capital of Kingston.