Minneapolis TV stations launch NEXTGEN TV broadcasts

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2023 
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Minneapolis Television Stations Launch NEXTGEN TV Broadcasts

  • Five local stations bring enhanced video and audio, interactive applications and upgradable technology to their existing free, over-the-air services
  • Launch event that marks the beginning of NEXTGEN TV service in Minnesota and celebrates the collaboration among local stations will be held at the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication at University of Minnesota
  • National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) names Hubbard School as next host for NAB PILOT Next Generation TV Fellowship

MINNEAPOLIS — Minneapolis television viewers can now experience the future of broadcast television as five stations join to launch NEXTGEN TV. NEXTGEN TV is a revolutionary, free digital broadcast technology that utilizes the internet and digital applications powered by the ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard to present viewers with more news and entertainment choices while providing broadcasters with a more compelling and interactive way to deliver their content. The launch and new transmission standard will be commemorated today at an event hosted by the Minnesota Broadcasters Association, the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota, and Pearl TV with broadcast executives, government officials, and university students as the stations switch on the new transmission standard.

Minneapolis viewers can now access five additional channels over-the-air (OTA) for free with NEXTGEN TV: Sinclair’s WUCW-TV (CW, channel 23); Hubbard’s KSTP-TV (ABC, channel 5); CBS’ WCCO-TV (CBS, channel 4); FOX’s KMSP-TV (FOX, channel 9); and Tegna’s KARE-TV (NBC, channel 11). Local viewers can easily tune to each station for information about accessing NEXTGEN TV locally, rescanning information and how to purchase the right television set or accessory device to receive NEXTGEN TV.

Minneapolis viewers in the nation’s 15th largest TV market will now get the most out of live news, events and sports programming. Home to a bold sports market with professional teams spanning NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL, sports fans will have a lot to be excited about, as the interaction between them and their screens will be revolutionized with enhanced audio and video to deliver an even more exciting experience.

NEXTGEN TV also enables Minneapolis broadcasters to strengthen its emergency alert information, helping to make area communities safer during natural disasters or severe weather events. The new standard enables improved location-targeting with notifications sent to precise areas and viewers able to choose the language in which they want to receive the emergency information. Multimedia files can also be added, upgrading the alerts with detailed maps or images. In times of crisis, NEXTGEN TV’s sophisticated emergency alerting will enable viewers in that market to get all the information they need without affecting those not in the path of the emergency.

“As a vanguard in developing and deploying this revolutionary technology across the country, Sinclair Broadcast Group is proud to be the host station for this collaborative effort with other local broadcasters,” said Jerald Fritz, executive vice president for Sinclair’s ONE Media subsidiary. “Together we are enabling Minnesotans to experience all that the digital world of TV and data services has to offer.”

Coinciding with the launch of the new service, the NAB will announce at the event that the Hubbard School will become the host for its next PILOT Next Generation TV Fellowship. The NAB, and its PILOT program, are dedicated to advancing broadcast technologies and cultivating new media opportunities.

“Today we are delighted to announce that the University of Minnesota will become a host school for the PILOT Next Generation TV Fellowship. First launched two years ago, the fellowship is an immersive program designed to educate and introduce students to television broadcasting through practical experience. The program provides hands-on application development to four students from each of our host schools to leverage the capabilities of the next-generation broadcast TV standard,” said NAB Senior Vice President John Clark, emerging technology executive director of PILOT. “Students and faculty participating in this experiential fellowship will spend eight months working with industry experts to conceptualize and develop an ATSC 3.0 application or service and demonstrate it at NAB Show, the premier trade show serving the media and entertainment industry.”

Viewers watching these five channels can look forward to enhanced television viewing provided by NEXTGEN TV as a complement to streaming platforms, as NEXTGEN TV doesn’t compete for household bandwidth with over-the-top content, but is provided as a free over-the-air service.

A feature built into select new TV models manufactured by Hisense, LG Electronics, Samsung and Sony, NEXTGEN TV is widely available to consumers at retail across more than 100 models, starting at $599. While features may vary by device and broadcaster as commercial service expands in local markets, NEXTGEN TV is designed to be future proof, enabling a viewer’s television set to advance with technological improvements.

The first NEXTGEN TV certified upgrade accessory receiver from ADTH and powered with Tolka software is now available for order at an introductory price of $89. This device will soon be followed by a set-top box from Zinwell, available later this fall, adding to the growing market of affordable set-top products to help more viewers transition to NEXTGEN TV service.

“Minneapolis will now get the most out of live local news, events and sports programming, while giving its broadcasters a more compelling and interactive way to deliver their content,” stated Wendy Paulson, president of the Minnesota Broadcasters Association. “Today, and in the future, viewers will have a television experience that is more immersive, visually and audibly better, and it will continue to be enhanced as broadcasters continue to innovate with new features and content to deliver a more personalized viewing experience.”

The participating stations have worked together to ensure that current programming remains available to all viewers, regardless of whether their television service is provided over-the-air or by a cable or satellite company. Antenna viewers can simply rescan their TV sets to ensure full service. Cable and satellite subscribers do not need to take any action.

Links: ONE Media; NAB; Minnesota Broadcasters Association