As you know, the Future of TV blog highlights the latest innovations in broadcast technology, broadcast issues in Washington and the many ways local broadcasters are central to their communities.
An example of broadcasters’ commitment to serving their local communities is the recently released video “Communicating Superstorm Sandy” that showcases the vital role broadcasters serve as “first informers” during emergencies. The video accurately captures the rapid response and lifeline support of local broadcasters when the devastating storm hit the East Coast last fall.
Included in the video are testimonies of local broadcasters as they worked around the clock to provide their neighbors with information to keep them safe. Dan Joerres, president/general manager of Baltimore’s WBAL-TV 11 says, “A local television station is out in the elements. Our reporters, our anchors, they’re there to tell the true story, to keep the public informed.” Susan Schiller, vice president and news director of Philadelphia’s KYW CBS 3, adds that broadcasters “have a public trust. It’s really a sacred public trust.”
Communities turn to their local broadcast stations every day for news, weather, traffic updates, original programming and more, but it is during times of crisis when viewers are reminded of just how important their local broadcasters are. Chris May, anchor, KYW CBS 3 noted, “We’re here every day. People know they can rely on us. They know we’re honest with them.”
Adds NBC Nightly News Anchor/Managing Editor Brian Williams, “Yes, local news is the first line of defense. I think it’s still the best conveyance method there is.”
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is also featured in the video and credits broadcast stations with disseminating live-saving information: “In the immediate aftermath of the storm my way to communicate to the folks in my state was through the broadcasters…”
Watch the video and let us know what you think of local broadcasters’ efforts to keep viewers safe.
Local TV stations from coast to coast are presenting more exciting ways viewers can enjoy broadcast TV on the go! Mobile TV (a service offered by local stations that uses the TV airwaves, not streaming over the Internet) gives you the option of taking your favorite morning show with you, watching TV instant replays while you’re sitting in the stadium or keeping your children occupied in the back seat of the car on long trips – and all without taking a bite out of your monthly data allowance!
By using the TV airwaves, local stations send content to your tablet, laptop or smartphone without the need for WiFi (so no annoying buffering!) But you need to be sure your device is mobile TV ready. Some phones and tablets have this built in. If you are an iPhone or iPad user, you just need a dongle (a small unit that plugs into your device to pick up the service).
Many viewers are already experiencing the benefits of TV on the go, and just recently it was announced that more cities will have mobile TV service in the very near future. Get ready Baltimore, Jacksonville, Fl. and Salt Lake City, you’re next! To find out if mobile TV service is already reaching your area, check out this coverage map.
On the West Coast, Seattle broadcast station KOMO-TV recently released the MyDTV app for iPad and iPhone users. Free through iTunes, this app allows users to receive KOMO-TV and other local TV stations, as well as record their favorite broadcast shows from channels available through the app. App users are then able to enjoy their recorded show at a later time, even if the device is no longer in the area where the show was recorded.
Broadcast TV continues to adapt to meet the changing needs of its viewers. So grab a dongle and get ready to enjoy your favorite shows anywhere, any time!
More than 92,000 media and entertainment representatives were in Las Vegas last week for the 2013 NAB Show. This annual conference is the premiere event for content and communications professionals from around the globe, especially those anxious to see what new technologies are on the horizon.
Among other things, attendees learned more about how they can watch their favorite local news and TV shows on the go without the need for WiFi or buffering at The Mobile TV Pavilion. Broadcasters are using their traditional airwaves to send content to cellphones, tablets, in-car entertainment systems and more. The top mobile TV companies demonstrated the technology, including explaining how a dongle can turn your iPhone or iPad into a traveling TV. Broadcasters’ mobile TV service is already available in half the country, and just last week 25 more stations announced they will deliver mobile TV in some of America’s largest cities.
4K TVs, the next generation HDTV, were also on display at the NAB Show. The screens on the exhibit floor were some of the largest available on the market – the image size is 3,840 by 2,160 compared to 1,920 by 1,080. 4K TVs boast the best picture quality, making them one of the most coveted items of TV loving Show attendees.
8K video (with 22.2 channel sound) was highlighted in the NHK exhibit at the NAB Labs Futures Park during the show in the “Super Hi-Vision” (SHV) presentation format. Continuous showings of SHV content were presented throughout NAB Show on a 300-inch screen in an 80-seat theater. NHK also showed a new SHV studio camera that captures images at a 120 Hz frame rate, along with a 60 Hz portable SHV camera. There was also an historic 8K event at the Show: For the first time in the world outside Japan, 8K video was transmitted and received over the air at the 2013 NAB Show, using two terrestrial TV channels.
Did you attend this year’s NAB Show? If so, you know that broadcasters in the U.S. and across the globe are constantly exploring innovations to better serve viewers. The future of TV is the content you want, when and where you want it.
Brackets have been made. New records have been set. Dreams have been achieved.
Over the past few weeks, Americans have gathered around their televisions to cheer on their favorite college basketball teams. Nothing brings people together like sporting events!
Nielsen reports that the 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament averaged 9.07 million viewers during the first two weeks of the tournament – up 11 percent from last year and the highest average in 19 years.
The regional game on Sunday averaged 12.82 million viewers, up 31 percent from last year’s tournament.
The Final Four games will be this Saturday, with Louisville taking on Wichita State and Syracuse going head to head with Michigan. Whether you plan to watch at home, in your favorite sports bar surrounded by friends or on your tablet thanks to the power of mobile TV, broadcast television will bring the winners, losers and can’t-miss-moments of the championship!
The Future of TV blog has highlighted the diverse program offerings that broadcast television provides to viewers – from coverage of local sports to Spanish-language programs, broadcast TV has something for everyone to enjoy! The best part is that there are no monthly fees attached – broadcast television is free, you just need an antenna.
Broadcast stations across the country use their side channels (also known as “multi-casting”) to provide viewers with more options at no cost. These side channels cover a variety of genres and interests, including travel, cooking, home improvement, sports and religious-focused programming.
With Passover and Easter taking place this week, remember to check your local broadcast stations’ side channels for religious programming, and enjoy a service from the comfort of your own home.
The upcoming spectrum incentive auctions have been a closely monitored issue on this blog, and it was the topic of a recent speech given by NAB’s Executive Vice President of Strategic Planning Rick Kaplan, one of the top experts on spectrum policy. Earlier this week, Kaplan spoke at the Media Institute’s Communications Forum luncheon, focusing on key issues that need to be addressed before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) moves forward with the auction.
Kaplan reaffirmed that broadcasters’ goal is to see the spectrum auction done right and with minimal impact on TV viewers so that stations can get on with the business of serving their local communities in traditional and innovative ways.
The FCC’s proposed spectrum incentive auction is the first of its kind, in which the government will offer some number of TV stations money in exchange for their spectrum (airwaves) licenses. In a process known as “repacking,” the TV stations that remain (those that do not want to go out of business) may be shuffled around by the FCC, as the government tries to free up large chunks of contiguous spectrum (airwaves) for wireless companies to use. This very complex process is what concerns TV broadcasters and viewers most. If not executed properly by the government, many TV viewers could be impacted and some will lose their free, local TV service.
In his speech, Kaplan noted the complex task that lies before the FCC, and pointed out some tough economic, engineering and policy questions that need to be addressed, such as:
- How will the FCC attract volunteers (stations that will turn in their spectrum licenses) and determine how much to pay them?
- How can we efficiently and effectively coordinate with Canada and Mexico (where U.S. airwaves overlap) to ensure that TV viewers in border states are not harmed?
- How is the FCC going to reimburse stations that are forced to move in the repacking phase and do so within their budget and the tight timeframe following the auction?
These questions are just a few that must be addressed by the FCC. If not carefully thought out and properly implemented, the spectrum auction will fail either because there will not be enough volunteers to give up spectrum or because the outcome of the auction could result in widespread harmful interference among both television and wireless services.
Kaplan also discussed some of the very challenging engineering questions the agency has yet to address. Most pressing is the FCC’s proposal to take different amounts of spectrum from TV broadcasters in different markets. Kaplan explained why this would lead to massive interference between broadcasters and wireless companies, potentially undermining the entire auction and leaving viewers in the dark.
To avoid this, Kaplan proposed four basic steps to maximize the likelihood of achieving useable and worthwhile nationwide bands of spectrum (airwaves) for the wireless industry:
- First, the FCC should lay out a number of nationwide repacking scenarios explaining how they could shuffle TV stations following the auction. This involves looking at a variety of options and focusing in particular on the more congested television markets.
- Second, from these scenarios the FCC can determine how many stations it needs to participate in the auction to achieve certain spectrum targets, and where those stations must be.
- Third, the FCC should estimate how much revenue it would, under each scenario, raise nationwide in a spectrum auction.
- And finally, the FCC should take its nationwide estimate and use those funds to ensure it entices volunteers in the markets where it really requires participants.
Kaplan ended his remarks by urging the FCC to work closely with all stakeholders in the auction process. To read Kaplan’s remarks in their entirety, please click here.
Broadcasters’ number one concern is for our TV viewers and ensuring that stations can continue to provide services – both traditional and new, such as mobile TV – for those who rely on free, local television.
The Future of TV Blog has been actively covering the latest developments on the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) incentive auction process, providing television viewers with information they need to know.
This week, the National Association of Broadcasters filed its second set of comments in response to the FCC’s notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on the spectrum incentive auctions that was released last fall. The principle theme of these comments is that the auction must be based more on sound engineering principles rather than economic theories.
Here are some highlights from NAB’s comments:
- Repacking broadcast stations simply to maximize spectrum recovery could do permanent damage to local TV service – especially in western states that rely heavily on translators.
- Moving forward with the FCC’s proposed band plan would cause serious interference problems for stations, wireless companies and viewers.
- Free, over-the-air television is a lifeline for millions of Americans. These viewers include traditionally underserved communities – people of color, foreign language speakers and lower income Americans. They stand to lose the most if the Commission repacks too aggressively.
- Protecting television viewers should be of paramount importance. There are still few details from the FCC about how the repacking process will be conducted. NAB urges a transparent process that preserves viewers’ access to the local television stations on which they rely.
The National Association of Broadcasters’ executive vice president of Strategic Planning, Rick Kaplan, broadcasters’ foremost expert and advocate on the upcoming broadcast spectrum auctions, addressed some of the concerns raised in these points in an earlier blog that focused on five main areas that local television stations – and their viewers – should watch as the FCC takes on the unprecedented task of auctioning broadcast TV spectrum.
Rest assured, we’ll continue to keep you updated on this issue. TV stations will continue to work closely with the FCC to ensure that the spectrum auction process follows the intent of Congress and that free, local television remains an indispensable service for the American people.
Continue reading the future of TV blog for all the latest updates on this issue and others that impact free, local broadcast TV.