Posts tagged ‘local’

Summer 2012 – a blockbuster for consumers

Free, local television on the go. Tablets and other mobile devices with built-in TV tuners and antennas. New ways to avoid huge monthly data bills from wireless companies. The Future of TV blog has been keeping you apprised about new developments in mobile DTV technologies and now it’s time for consumers to start taking advantage of free, local TV in the palm of their hand!

At the NAB Show this week, broadcasters, vendors and technology organizations have been out in force… demonstrating the technology and new devices.

Some of the great new innovations include:

  • Consumer electronics manufacturers are bringing new mobile DTV-capable devices to market and developing external devices that will allow existing iPads and smart phones to receive live broadcast signals.
  • The Mobile500 Alliance is demonstrating its solution that offers live TV, DVR-type functionality for recording live TV, on demand programming, social media integration, closed captioning and interactive advertising.
  • New tuner devices, which are small adapters/dongles for iPads and iPhones will be available through online retailers this summer.

Read more about what broadcasters are doing to deliver the entertainment you love and the information you rely on to your mobile devices!

April 19, 2012 at 4:39 pm Leave a comment

And now for the weather

Your great-uncle may always know it’s going to rain because of the twinge he gets in his knee, but broadcasters need to take a little more scientific approach to the daily weather report.

New technologies are being debuted at this year’s NAB Show, many of them inspired by viewers just like you! These weather technology innovations include:

  • More realistic 3D and virtual graphics.
  • Closer integration of graphics engines with speedy data analysis.
  • Improved speed and resolution of mapping and radar data.
  • Hyperlocal and social media features added to storm tracking systems.
  • A new product that combines traffic and weather visuals.

Read more about how local viewers helped broadcasters innovate their local weather reports.

What do you think? Which one of these new technologies interest or intrigue you the most? Is there anything you would add?

Your local TV and radio broadcasters take their role as first informers very seriously – whether that’s alerting you to take an umbrella when you head out of the house, or alerting you to take cover because a tornado is fast approaching.

Stations are constantly innovating to deliver the critical information you need… anytime and everywhere you are. Stay tuned as the future of TV unfolds!

April 13, 2012 at 12:04 pm 1 comment

Concerned about mobile data charges? Broadcasters can help.

Guzzler. Hog. Pig. No, we’re not talking about gas pumps, but rather the potential for huge data bills with some of the new tablet devices on the market that are swallowing up data from cellular networks at a monstrous rate, especially those that connect using the 4G network.

We’ve mentioned new devices that will deliver TV to the palm of your hand with already built-in TV tuners and antennas (and therefore not using up your monthly data allotment in one day!), but did you know that there are other ways to get your local news and entertainment on the go?

More than 100 stations are broadcasting directly to mobile devices, with more coming online all the time. Anywhere you go, you’ll be able to watch your favorite programs, the local football game or check out the weather forecast. It’s hyperlocal content the way you want to receive it. And if your device has a USB port (like your laptop, netbook, etc.) you can also purchase an external dongle. A dongle (not much bigger than a flashdrive) merely connects to your computer allowing you to receive mobile optimized broadcast video for free.

So for those who are budget conscious (and who isn’t these days?) and concerned about using too much data, broadcasters are working daily on new and innovative technologies to continue bringing you the information and entertainment you seek and rely on every day for free.

April 4, 2012 at 11:46 am 3 comments

TV for your tablet? It’s on the way!

Local television stations are bringing your favorite programs and local news alerts to you the way you already live—on the go!The newest addition to the mobile technology market is this new tablet coming soon to retailers. What does this device have that others do not? For starters, it has a built in TV tuner and antenna.

This is something never seen in the mobile tablet space until now—a TV ready device. It’s been a high priority for broadcasters to develop new and innovative ways to deliver the content you rely on for emergency information and seek for entertainment, in ways relevant to you and your family. And more than 100 stations are already broadcasting directly to mobile devices, with more coming soon!

And while there’s been much discussion about Apple’s iPad 4G and the potential data costs to stream video , we think this new tablet is even more exciting as it delivers HD video content into the palm of your hand from local stations. Live, local, over-the-air TV is delivered for free—no expensive wireless data required!

What do you think? Has the Future of TV arrived?

March 28, 2012 at 4:54 pm 3 comments

Local TV and Radio – Always on. Always there.

Spring may bring April showers and May flowers, but it can also bring some devastating weather. When tornadoes  recently tore through  communities in the Southeast and Midwest, local TV and radio stations were  there to help keep their viewers and listeners safe every step of the way.

Viewers of KY3-TV reported they first received a text alert [warning a tornado was coming] from the TV station in the middle of the night, and turned to the station’s website for live radar. One viewer said after turning on the TV, ‘you were the only ones on the air. You saved my life.’”

After the storms, broadcasters swung into action to support their communities. Country music star Rodney Atkins partnered with local radio station WRIL in Pineville, Ky., to broadcast a concert –on local radio to raise funds for towns in Kentucky and Tennessee that had been devastated by the storms. WTHR-TV in Indianapolis and their viewers helped raise more than $500,000 for relief funds after tornadoes ripped through Indiana. And the list goes on and on. Even broadcasters not directly impacted by the tornadoes have pitched in to help.

WGAL-TV in Pennsylvania covers the area of Lancaster, Harrisburg, York and Lebanon. When they noticed that a number of towns in the Midwest that had been hit hard  had the same name as towns in their area, they “decided to launch [a] fundraising drive to support the American Red Cross in its work to bring relief to those who lost so much in these ‘sister towns.’”

Local TV and radio broadcasters are a lifeline for their communities before, during and after times of crisis . For critical information to stay safe during an emergency, turn to those who are always on and always there for you.

March 21, 2012 at 11:08 am Leave a comment

TV Stations Are Stepping Up to Inform Voters

You can’t turn on the TV without being reminded that it’s an election year. Around the country candidates are pounding the pavement, running hard for various seats. This November, voters will have the opportunity to elect a new president, new members of Congress and choose from thousands of state, county and local candidates for a variety of positions.

So how is a person supposed to know who all these candidates are and what they stand for? That’s where your local broadcasters come in. Local TV and radio stations are bringing political information directly to the voters.

Free air time means agenda-free citizenship,” a blog post from TVB.org, highlights some of the ways TV stations are using their airwaves and online assets to keep voters informed, including:

  • Stations in Ohio and Indiana affiliated with the Dispatch Broadcast Group will be contributing free political airtime, along with extended coverage of the conventions. They’ll also offer election-themed online content, notably Ohio’s WBNS and ONN stations’ “Candidate Match,” an interactive tool used to match a voter’s key issues and values with the most like-minded candidate.
  • Hearst Television stations’ are participating in “Commitment 2012,” which includes an election app that will allow voters an “anytime/anywhere” aspect for election information. They also have an exclusive deal with PolitiFact, “the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking website of the Tampa Bay Times.” Their stations will have original segments using the website’s “Truth-O-Meter.” (Read more)
  • Post-Newsweek Stations facilitate getting voter questions straight to the candidates through “Voter’s Voice.” “Voter Video Patrol” provides cameras to voters to document the issues facing their neighborhoods. “Meet the Candidate” segments are taped at the stations at no charge and run in local news. “Candidate Comparisons” is a side by side look at candidates’ positions and “Ad Watch” and “Truth Test” fact-check political ad claims.
  • Scripps Television Station Group’s “Democracy 2012” program includes a Florida-centric election information website for this complicated and pivotal battleground state. They’ve also added an “Ask the Candidates” area to their overall online election coverage. Along with the Center for Responsive Politics, they’re making searchable online databases available to research and track campaign contributions.

And, like all the over-the-air programming broadcasters already offer, all of this is free to the viewer.

What about your local station? Are they doing something interesting to keep you informed during this election season? Share your comments and ideas below.

March 12, 2012 at 2:57 pm Leave a comment

Bounce TV – History in the making

It was mentioned in a recent blog post that three new multicast broadcast networks have launched in the past year to serve the African American community.  We have introduced you to two of the three – KIN TV and Soul of the South TV. Rounding out our introduction of each of these trailblazing networks that are bringing valuable new (and free!) programming to viewers, here is an overview of Bounce TV, which made history by becoming the first multicast network focused on the African American community.

Launched in September of 2011, the founders of Bounce TV include Martin Luther King III, former Atlanta mayor and former Ambassador Andrew Young, and Rob Hardy and Will Packer, co-founders of Rainforest Films.

In honor of February’s Black History Month, the network is debuting its own original documentaries, “Our History,” covering topics from slavery to the Civil Rights movement to the explosion of Hip Hop each Wednesday night during the month (check here for the schedule).

Said Ambassador Young, “At Bounce, we believe we celebrate the African American community every month, every week, every day. Yet it is important as the country focuses on the contributions of African Americans to the advancement of civilization that we participate in a significant and meaningful manner. I strongly encourage people of all races and all ethnicities to watch Bounce TV every day, but particularly Wednesday nights in February.”

Bounce TV airs twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week on the digital signals of local television stations. Click here for broadcast information in your local area, and visit our content page to learn more about the numerous new channels available for free to viewers with a digital antenna.

February 29, 2012 at 4:42 pm 1 comment

Congress Protects Viewers in Spectrum Legislation

Recently, Congress voted on legislation extending the payroll tax cut, which included language authorizing a voluntary spectrum incentive auction. Viewers and broadcasters alike should be pleased with the outcome of this legislation that contains vital viewer protections, ensuring local over-the-air TV stations have the ability to innovate and provide viewers like you with the news, emergency information, sports and entertainment you expect and deserve. This result is due in large part to the advocacy of viewers who took action on this website to make their voices heard in the halls of Congress.

This is a great accomplishment, but our work is not finished. It is now up to the Federal Communications Commission to implement the legislation and conduct a spectrum incentive auction. We will continue working with Congress and the FCC to ensure that free and local TV is able to operate and innovate in a marketplace free of unnecessary regulation, preserving local television’s ability to provide viewers with the great services you currently receive and those on the horizon.

Continue visiting our website and blog for more information on how you can help to ensure an even brighter future for free, local television. And don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to stay updated on the future of TV.

Together, we are securing a vibrant and robust future for free, local over-the-air TV.

February 27, 2012 at 3:51 pm 2 comments

It’s cool to have rabbit ears again

Digital_AntennaIt’s not just those in the broadcasting community talking about The Best Deal Around anymore. Over-the-air antennas, affectionately dubbed “rabbit ears” are getting more coverage than ever these days, from high-profile tech blogs like Gizmodo to articles in the well-respected publications like Time and Wall Street Journal.

Why all the interest? Aren’t rabbit ears a relic of the past?

On the contrary – as  Avner Ronen, chief executive of Boxee, says in a recent Wall Street Journal article, “’Many consumers don’t realize [that by using rabbit ears] they can get these channels over the air in HD for free…’.”

Additionally, “the number of American households wired with only broadband and broadcast TV jumped 23% to 5.1 million in the third quarter of 2011 compared with the year-earlier period, according to a recent Nielsen study.” (Read more).

With this increase in households using only broadband and broadcast TV, Gizmodo notes that “Rabbit ears are a perfect complement to streaming; they’re inexpensive, and they let you watch a good amount of ‘event’ programming [such as awards programs, major sport events, etc.] live.” (Read more).

And, as Time points out, “Most places in the U.S. can get on average 30 to 45 channels over the air” for free. (Read more).

It’s not surprising more viewers are realizing the exciting and diverse channels all offered for free through broadcast television. And an affordable antenna is just the thing to help bring a world of high-quality content into your home. Could it be that rabbit ears are actually cool? We think millions of TV viewers would agree that answer is a resounding “yes.”

Sign-up for email alerts from TheFutureofTV.org  and check back on this blog to keep up on the latest news impacting free and local television.

February 23, 2012 at 3:05 pm 5 comments

The Changing Face of Broadcast TV

Broadcast television has come a long way since the days when there were only three networks (and thus only three channels!). Today broadcasters are focused on new innovations that enable them to deliver an ever expanding variety of new channels and viewing options for free to homes with a digital antenna.

When local TV stations began broadcasting with digital signals in 2009, it allowed them the flexibility to offer more channels for viewers through what is known as multicasting. These multicast channels are indicated as such on your TV. For example, if the primary TV channel is 53, then its multicast channels might be 53.1, 53.2 and 53.3 and they can each carry different programming.

Broadcasters are delivering on the promise of the digital TV transition, adding a dizzying array of new multicast channels, all available to viewers free of charge. In fact, in cities like Los Angeles, viewers can now receive more than 50 local television channels for free from local broadcasters.

For an ever-increasing population of minority viewers in America, broadcast television is offering exciting choices in ethnic, culturally relevant and in-language programming. For example:

  • In New York City, of the 32 multicast channels, 10 offer ethnic programming.
  • In Los Angeles, of the 57 multicast channels, 31 offer ethnic programming, including Spanish, Chinese, Armenian, Korean and Vietnamese.
  • And in Washington, D.C., 11 of the 24 multicast channels offer ethnic programming geared toward Spanish, Russian, French, Japanese, Arabic and Chinese.

Across the United States, broadcasters are also adding more mobile channels (known as mobile DTV) –  free broadcasts accessible on properly equipped mobile devices. This allows viewers to watch their favorite local news and network programs on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices without the need for a wireless data connection (and without data streaming fees).

See the stations in your area that are currently, or soon will be, broadcasting to mobile devices (information and graphic courtesy of SNL Kagan).

New data released from research and analysis firm SNL Kagan shows that the number of live, over-the-air broadcast TV channels has nearly doubled in the last year alone, jumping from 2,518 channels at the end of 2010 to 4,552 channels at the end of 2011. SNL Kagan reports, “That year-over-year increase of 2,034 live digital and mobile TV channels in the U.S. has a lot to do with expanded multicast network programming options from new startups such as Antenna TV, Bounce TV, Live Well, This TV, Me-TV, The Cool TV, The Country Network and others expanding their reach to more than 600 stations.” Learn more about multicast networks here.

SNL Kagan also reports that, “2012 should also be groundbreaking for broadcasters in that it will bring the first commercially available launch of live mobile TV channels on a major wireless carrier’s handsets …which includes 70-plus stations covering 33 TV markets and 50% of the U.S. population.”

Read the entire SNL Kagan report here.

Local TV stations are also engaging their viewers on multiple platforms in addition to traditional TV, offering streaming video on their website, connecting via social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and offering mobile apps for their viewers’ smartphones.

Broadcasters’ embrace of multicasting and mobile DTV is great news for viewers, who now have more choices than ever in free, over the air programming and viewing options. Whether it’s the high school football game, a Spanish telenovela, a night of programs celebrating Black History Month, or news on an impending storm, local stations are delivering diverse and innovative content for every viewer on broadcast TV.

The future of TV is now!

February 10, 2012 at 8:32 pm Leave a comment

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