Pearl TV broadcasters welcome FCC easing of SFN regulations

Tuesday, January 19th, 2021
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Pearl TV Broadcasters Laud FCC Decision on Distributed Television Systems (DTS) as One Way to Speed NextGen TV Deployment, Enhance Reception and Services for Viewers

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Pearl TV broadcaster business group today applauded the decision by the Federal Communications Commission to give broadcasters more flexibility when using a Distributed Television System (DTS) for NEXTGEN TV broadcasts using ATSC 3.0. Public and commercial broadcasters had sought the refinement of Commission rules, in order to ensure that a local broadcaster could better serve its market of viewers.

The FCC concluded in its order that “by modestly easing limitations on DTS transmitters and providing additional clarity in our rules, we can help unlock the potential of DTS at this crucial time when many stations are considering migrating to the next generation broadcast television standard (ATSC 3.0)” and that this action affords “broadcasters greater flexibility in the placement of DTS transmitters can allow them to enhance signal capabilities and fill coverage gaps, improve indoor and mobile reception, and increase spectrum efficiency by reducing the need for television translator stations operating on separate channels,” according to the recent FCC Report & Order.

“We’re pleased that the Commission adopted this change to the rules on Single Frequency Networks, since it will help broadcasters roll out NEXTGEN TV more quickly and more efficiently. Pearl TV worked closely with the National Association of Broadcasters to develop an approach that had broad support across the industry and we’re glad the FCC adopted this proposal. NEXTGEN TV offers exciting opportunities for over-the-air television and mobility services like infotainment and alerting to connected cars. The use of Single Frequency Networks by television broadcasters – a transmission method similar to cell phone transmissions – can increase capacity and provide better signal coverage for viewers watching indoors, as well. This rule change will enable broadcasters to deploy transmitters that deliver these benefits in an economically beneficial way. Pearl and our Phoenix Model Market partners launched an initial Single Frequency Network system in Phoenix, Arizona last year to test the concept and demonstrate the result of improved coverage and in-building reception,” said Pearl TV managing director Anne Schelle.

NEXTGEN TV is now available in more than 20 cities and from nearly 90 broadcasters around the country. Local stations can now personalize their news, sports, live events and shows with interactive features that give viewers the content most relevant to them. NEXTGEN TV is a feature built into a growing number of new televisions and set-top receivers. NEXTGEN TV is designed to be upgradable so that the experience advances with the latest technology. NEXTGEN TV features will vary by device and by broadcaster as commercial service becomes available in local markets, but key benefits include stunning 4K Ultra HD and High Dynamic Range video, movie theater quality sound, added voice clarity with the “Voice +” Dolby dialogue enhancement audio system, consistent volume across programs and channels, and enhanced Internet content on demand.