ATSC 3.0: Standard of Hope for LPTV

In the midst of the low, overhanging fog that seems to cling to the future of broadcasting as the FCC’s reverse auction stagnates, a ray of hope shined during the Low Power TV reception at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Orlando, Florida.

The current situation with the FCC’s spectrum auction has been likened to that of Goliath taunting the Children of Israel, bullying many low power stations into costly updates, channel sharing and in some cases, cutting their broadcast signal forever.

Irwin Podhajser, Vice President of Business Development for DTV America Corporation and board member with the Advanced Television Broadcast Alliance and DrTV

Irwin Podhajser, Vice President of Business Development for DTV America Corporation and board member with the Advanced Television Broadcast Alliance and DrTV, had a message for the underdog in the opening remarks of the evening.

“Telling the truth isn’t easy sometimes, and telling the truth to power is not easy because they don’t want to listen,” said Podhajser. “But, you’ve got to do it, and you’ve got to do it especially when the truth is as important as the truth we hold.”

Part of that truth is concerned with what the FCC hoped to gain from the auction, which is far more than spectrum for the growing demand in mobile streaming content.

“We told the truth to power six years ago,” he said. “We went to D.C. and we told the congressmen that there was no spectrum shortage. And sure enough, there really wasn’t a spectrum crisis. We told Congress that this auction was not going to bring in $20 billion to the U.S. treasury.”

Their prediction rang true, with the closing of the auction bringing in an estimated $6-8 billion. However, he and others in the LPTV industry also told Capitol Hill take a look at a new and upcoming standard, introducing them to ATSC 3.0.

“We said, ‘Give broadcasters a chance. Unshackle us and see what we can do,’” said Podhajser. “And now we see that ATSC 3.0 is not only going to happen, its going to happen a lot quicker than we thought.”

This new standard sets a faster pace for low power stations, allowing them to keep up with the growing demand for content across multiple platforms.

Vern Fotheringham, Co-founder and President of Edge Spectrum, Inc.

Vern Fotheringham is the Co-founder and President of Edge Spectrum, Inc., a company that is fully embracing the changes that the new standard will bring.

“Here we are today with a new standard that will bring us into parody with the cellular industry,” said Fotheringham. “The technology that underlies ATSC 3.0 is very similar to the technology embedded in our cell phones. So what does that mean? It means we’ll be good neighbors. It means we’ll be good complementary technologies. The ability of these networks to work collaboratively and cooperatively work together in ways that were never possible before are all part of the future.”

This is a welcome change for platforms that have traditionally lagged in broadcast standards. ATSC 3.0 means a giant leap forward for LPTV while still providing incredible room for growth in a world dominated by giants.

“We’ve been stuck in islands of connectivity… your broadcast assets have always been stuck behind a highly concentrated and rapidly consolidating media giants,” said Fotheringham. “You’ve been stuck behind the cable companies. You’ve been stuck behind the satellite operators. You’ve been stuck behind the national franchise major system licenses, ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, FOX.”

Dr. Randy Weiss, Co-founder of EICB and owner of International Broadcasting Network and serves on the Board of Directors of the Advanced Television Broadcasting Alliance

The new standard is the tiny rock that can slay a giant. It’s the ray of hope broadcasting has been looking for, and it’s all in the design.

The way the technology was developed allows stations to use “a wide range of different power amplifications where we need them to level out the reception for small-form factor devices like a cell phone, a tablet, or other portable devices or fixed devices at home,” said Fotheringham. “For a low-power tv station and a full power station, for the first time, there will be no detectable difference in signal received by the public.”

“If that’s not a message of hope, I don’t know what is,” said Fotheringham.

That message of hope continued from Dr. Randy Weiss, Co-founder of the LPTV network Excellence In Christian Broadcasting. Weiss is the owner of International Broadcasting Network and is a founding member and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Advanced Television Broadcasting Alliance.

“I’m going into the Promise Land.  I’m crossing over,” said Weiss in his closing remarks. “And I invite any of you that want to come along. Please join us.”

 

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Dear Fellow LPTV Broadcaster and Industry Leaders,

The auction has ended and most of us are still here.  While it was not only our hope but the hope of many others that the auction would not take place . . . it did, but it did not have the devastating effect that it might have had. 

The world after the auction looks different and amazingly so has a very bright future!

What does that future look like?  Not only the amazing possibilities of ATSC 3.0 but the landscape of a nation of people who are increasingly cutting their cable cords and looking for free, over the air, broadcasting content.

That’s why it’s more important than ever that you join the Advanced Television Broadcast Alliance.  Our board of directors have a combined 500+ years of experience which beginning with your membership we are going to start making more available to our members on an increasing basis.

Soon as an ATBA member, you will be eligible to start tapping into not only this brain trust through unique services available only to our members but regular news updates regarding our collective broadcast future.  We are exploring new ways to tap into information from Washington as well as important updates that will benefit you right there where you live.

The need for the ATBA has increased with the new opportunities that are becoming available for those of us who still know that the future of LPTV, Class A and Translators is bright!  Are you selling your station to local sponsors?  Are you maximizing your spectrum to the advantage that you truly can?  Are you struggling with FCC rules and regulations that you either don’t understand or can’t get explained?

The ATBA is developing a database of information to help you find the answers you need! 

In addition we are still working with the true decision makers in Washington.  Your ATBA has earned the respect and the ear of the true movers and shakers that continue to shape our collective broadcasting future.

So what can you do to get involved and begin to take advantage of these, and many other, benefits?  Join the ATBA today!  Your membership benefits will include:

  1. Members only access to hundreds of years of LPTV experience through our new “Brain Trust”
  2. Early entry to our annual NAB LPTV evening event with access to our special event guest(s)
  3. Exclusive digital content regarding real world information you need to know
  4. Eligibility for recognition for your hard work through our ATBA LPTV Awards
  5. Access to equipment manufacturers with discounts available especially for ATBA members!

To be honest you can’t afford not to be a member of the ATBA! 

We’re making it affordable because it’s a win – win!  When you join, you’re going to receive more than just the benefits listed above but also you’ll be aligning with hundreds of others who, like yourself, have a vested interest in the continued forward movement of free, over-the-air broadcasting.  It’s a win for your ATBA because we will increase our strength through numbers as we grow together.

So what’s the next step?  If you’re ready follow this link https://www.broadcastingalliance.org/join-us/ to sign up.  If you have more questions please don’t hesitate to call a member of the ATBA board of directors by calling this number (877) 214-4277.   You’ll get a rapid response!

Thanks for taking the time to read this note and for your ongoing passion for the future of communication in this great country.

Respectfully,

The Board of Directors – The Advanced Television Broadcast Alliance