I dunno. This article is about the introduction of ATSC 3.0, and it just shows
how disjointed the effort is. To me, there is a lot of BS semi-informed
posturing going on here. Some examples:
"But one could also surmise that the hardest part is upon us now—marketing a
new technology to a public barely aware of its existence or its potential."
You mean, even less of a difference than there was last time around, and not
the slightest bit of advertising? Honestly, with the semi-truths one sees
(only) from the trade press, any wonder why people don’t get it?
And then, this, for heaven's sake:
"LG Electronics, one of the key players in developing the standard, said, 'When
there is a critical mass of ATSC 3.0 commercial broadcasting in the United
States, we will be there.'”
"Likewise, Samsung, which was also involved in the standards process, told TV
Technology that 'Samsung engineers played a leading role in the development of
the standard, and we are well-positioned to implement it in cutting-edge
consumer devices as the market develops.'”
All I can say is, wow. Talk about back asswards. So the perennially clueless
can go on claiming that "there's no demand out there," as if they're saying
something profound, or even remotely intelligent.
Merry Christmas, meantime!
Now It’s Up to Us
December 21, 2017
By Tom Butts
Nov. 16, 2017 could go down in the annals of the U.S. television broadcast
history as a fateful day for our industry. Whether that fate leads to a
reinvigoration or the death knell of broadcasting is up to us. With the
official approval of ATSC 3.0 aka Next Gen TV, we enter a new era.
To paraphrase the late Tom Petty, the waiting isn’t the hardest part of this
transition. Rather it was the development of the standard over the past five
years that required the dedication of hundreds of engineers to create the most
advanced broadcast standard in the world. But one could also surmise that the
hardest part is upon us now—marketing a new technology to a public barely aware
of its existence or its potential.
Whatever you think of how the move to DTV was conducted, there was at least an
acknowledgement that a government-backed transition was essential to
maintaining a system that provided free access to news and information,
especially during times of crisis. The ability of broadcast to operate and
provide widespread information to the public during emergencies when cellular
networks can break down provides an advantage that no other current
communications technology can match.
Next Gen TV enters a market saturated by a plethora of media choices, some of
which were still on the drawing board when development of the standard began
half a decade ago. During the move to digital, broadcasters were required to
publicize the transition to the public and had the backing of mandates. Now,
apart from certain public service obligations and rules that require
duplication of programming and information to maintain a basic service on ATSC
1.0, our industry has a lot more freedom to chart its own course.
After the FCC vote last month, the various groups involved in the development
of the standard issued their usual congratulatory comments, but one statement
stood out among the others as a precursor to how we could see this transition
unfold. LG Electronics, one of the key players in developing the standard,
said, “When there is a critical mass of ATSC 3.0 commercial broadcasting in the
United States, we will be there.” Likewise, Samsung, which was also involved in
the standards process, told TV Technology that “Samsung engineers played a
leading role in the development of the standard, and we are well-positioned to
implement it in cutting-edge consumer devices as the market develops.”
While it’s no surprise that these consumer electronics giants would take a
cautionary approach towards developing ATSC 3.0-compatible devices in the near
future, LG’s “critical mass” comment should serve as a warning to broadcasters
that the burden is on us to provide the market for ATSC 3.0 and that the
technology will have to stand on its merits alone and not rely on government
mandates. At this stage “if you build it, they will come” applies more to the
consumer electronics manufacturers than it does to consumers.
Will next month’s CES provide any clues on the availability of Next Gen TV
devices? Most likely not; as Gary Arlen reports in his show preview, there will
be plenty of “meetings” but don’t expect to see much in the way of marketable
devices yet. And that makes sense; the future of ATSC 3.0 won’t rely on
dedicated hardware products but rather the integration of the service into
existing platforms. Despite its promise of higher resolutions and improved
audio, the traditional living room television set will not necessarily play a
key role in the success of ATSC 3.0.
What will play a key role is local broadcasters who will have to make the
decision on whether to get onboard now or wait for the market to develop.
Publicizing the potential of ATSC 3.0 will be crucial and it was somewhat
disappointing that, at least in Washington, the local television stations
decided that the vote for a new standard was not important enough to mention on
the evening news.
While FCC Chairman Ajit Pai touted the vote as “historic,” it’s important not
to forget the warnings from the dissenting commissioners. Concerns over privacy
and a lack of backward compatibility that could require consumers to purchase
new TV sets are legitimate and deserve careful consideration. It’s up to us to
prove that such concerns will be addressed and resolved over the course of this
In a final note, I would be remiss without acknowledging the individuals who
helped lead this massive technological undertaking. There are far too many to
mention here but it must be noted that Mark Richer, president of the ATSC and
Dr. Richard Chernock, who lead the Technology and Standards Group played
critical roles in managing the process and ensuring that deadlines were met.
Congratulations to them, the ATSC staff and members and hundreds more involved.
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