CES 2020: NEXTGEN TV shows up to party

My friends, I finally have some good news to report about NEXTGEN TV. You may know it as ATSC 3.0, but either way it finally showed up at CES. Kind of. Let me explain.

I was pretty excited to see this banner at the entrance to the Central Hall, right in the middle of everything. So, instead of heading to the busy Samsung and LG exhibits, I set out to find Booth 13329, which as you can see from the banner is where the NextGen TV people were.

Except they weren’t.

There is no booth 13329. The booths go from 12999 to 13500. Don’t believe me? I took a picture of the map to show you, so there.

It was then that one of the blog team spotted this on the map:

So, I headed over to booth 11329 (oops, typos happen) and I found the booth, right in the middle of a presentation.

NextGen TV is here, it’s real, and test broadcasts are going on. More importantly, there is an ATSC converter box available for sale! I can’t reveal details because we are in sensitive negotiations right now. But keep an eye on this blog, folks, because the moment I can tell you something publicly, I will.

Does this mean we’re any better off than I thought we were?

Well no.

Nothing has really changed other than finally seeing some people who are willing to talk about the prospect of ATSC 3.0. It looks good in theory, I’ll tell you that. The test broadcast was in 4K and featured everything you’d want out of a next-generation system. There was a very handsome program guide and a clear picture. Actual ATSC broadcasts are still in HD, because most test broadcasts are limited to showing the same content as is available on the regular ATSC 1.0 channel.

Has the timeframe changed?

Well no.

There’s still no official plan for adoption of ATSC 3.0, or NextGen TV or whatever they want you to call it. But, there was a lot of excitement and optimism. The little booth was filled with capacity which is pretty surprising because a lot of the show was extraordinarily empty. (More on that in other articles.)

So the hype is about…

I would say the hype is about the fact that this is finally moving into a phase where regular consumers could soon see it. Believe me friends, it has been practically impossible to find ATSC 3.0 reception hardware at any price. The chips and software all needed to be designed from scratch and the development costs at this point have been enormous. But, we’re finally getting close to the point where regular folks can start watching ATSC 3.0 television and enjoying the kind of features they want. This is exciting for broadcasters in the 50 or so cities who are participating in ATSC 3.0 trials.

Keep reading this blog, because we’re one of the only places you’ll find this kind of information about the potential next generation of television broadcasting. And, as soon as we have hardware to sell you, you can bet we will.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 6,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.