WCRN TV 31 Boston has launched the region’s first ATSC 3.0/Next Gen TV platform. A cutting-edge technology, ATSC 3.0 datacasting and the NextGen TV/Radio technical platform is based on Internet Protocol (IP), transforming televisions into web browsers, opening a world of possibilities for the viewer. The service will also offer unlimited encrypted broadcast datacasting services to businesses and first responders.
NextGen TV offers 4K ultra high-definition video quality, theater-like sound, mobile reception and innovative new features to enhance and expand the broadcast viewing experience. NEXTGEN TV lets local TV stations better personalize their broadcasts with information and interactive features. Initially, four program channels will be offered to viewers in Boston, France 24, Retro TV, and Heartland TV, and Paranormal TV. To access these benefits, viewers will need an ATSC 3.0 receiver, now available on all new Sony TV models or through a set top box such as one made by Silicon Dust.
“NextGen TV is only one tool in the ATSC 3.0 tool chest. With IP Protocol, broadcasters can now deliver public or encrypted video, audio (including radio stations), and datacasting,” said WCRN’s CEO “SuperFrank” Copsidas. “A broadcaster’s ATSC 3.0 signal can now be divided into different delivery pipes, each with a unique IP delivery protocol for a particular use. It is a new alternative with unique qualities for multiple encrypted data delivery services, depending on the end user’s needs, be it a first responder, remote learning, signage, or a delivery truck.”
On the technical side, a joint project between Ateme, a global leader of video compression and delivery solutions, for the encoder and Enensys Signaling Server (Mediacast) and Broadcast Gateway (SmartGate), global designers and manufacturers of innovative professional solutions for the broadcast industry for the gateway are deploying a new, cutting edge product using WCRN for field testing. This ATSC 3.0 product is a work in progress and WCRN is utilizing its platform to develop cutting edge uses.
WCRN is working with Hudson, MA-based West Pond Technologies, the industry leader in broadcast datacasting to develop use cases for the ATSC 3.0 signal, from first responders to educational needs, transfer of data to delivery vehicles such as Fedex, to updating digital signage. “ We are excited to have this opportunity to partner with WCRN, field testing our innovative products and developing new uses in our home market of Boston,” said Steve Hastings, president of West Pond Technologies.
Peter Saad, Executive Director of the LPTV (Local Power TV) Broadcasters’ Association, stated, “We are thrilled that WCRN in Boston is joining 10 other members of our Association in launching this cutting-edge technology. The broadcast business is transitioning from a programming delivery platform to a data delivery service, given ATSC 3.0’s IP platform. With internet data demand expected to double every year for the next five years, UHF Spectrum is beachfront property and there is only a limited amount available. It is currently the most undervalued asset in the data delivery space.”
ATSC and Broadcast Datacasting (one to many) is gaining significant traction in the United States. The technology was deployed by education institutions throughout the US during the covid pandemic to deliver classroom instruction via encrypted delivery. First responders see the benefit of encrypted broadcasting, offering a proven and stable platform, turning a dispatch center to a television control room. On July 4, 2022, encrypted video was deployed for multiple first responder groups in Washington D.C.
Hyundai Mobis announced an ATSC 3.0 full entertainment system will be in two 2023 model cars. While the entertainment system will provide live television and an additional option to stream radio stations, the car’s software and navigation systems can be updated by broadcast datacasting, saving the auto manufacturers as much as 80% on update costs.
WCRN-LD is an LPTV (Local Power TV) station licensed to Boston, MA on Channel 31 owned by Tyche Media and part of the Intrigue TV Group of 10 owned and operated broadcast television stations throughout the US. WCRN’s four programming channels broadcast France 24 News, Paranormal TV, Retro TV, and Heartland TV. The other half of the available spectrum is reserved for datacasting use. WCRN is a member of the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association, the LPTV Broadcaster’s Association, the NAB, and through Intrigue TV, ATSC (Advanced Television Systems Committee). www.WCRNtv.com