A new pay-TV service called EVOCA that leverages the NextGenTV ATSC 3.0 over-the-air (OTA) broadcast TV system kicks off its service with an “Early Access” offer today in the Boise, ID market.

The first-of-its-kind ATSC 3.0-based OTA pay-TV service, EVOCA launched with a cost-reduced “early access” program Monday for within-range Boise residents. The service promises to deliver “unmatched audio and video clarity and a variety of quality, must-watch TV programming for less than $50 per month.” But Early Access customers will get the service for $20 per month through the remainder of the year.

The service is structured like a cable television package delivered over-the-air and via the internet using new conditional access technology afforded by the new ATSC 3.0 specifications. The service assures lower-cost cable-like content without hidden fees for those inclined toward cord cutting along with “some of the most popular video-on-demand programming.”

It uses a hybrid OTA/IP-based multichannel platform with a supplied indoor OTA antenna and proprietary set-top box called “Scout” to access EVOCA broadcast channel frequencies that more effectively deliver content to the home without the typical IP buffering limitations.

Built by Edge Networks, EVOCA promises to eventually ramp up to more than 80 channels including: news, sports, local and live TV channels along with VOD offerings in HD and 4K, for the $50 per month fee. The service will not offer any premium streaming Internet services like HBO at launch but hints that it may be adding premium channels in the future as the service ramps up.

Edge Networks is among a handful of companies that the FCC has granted permission to deploy ATSC 3.0 technologies with conditional access. In the coming months, “EVOCA will share additional updates about additional programming partners and rollout plans beyond Boise,” the company said.

The company currently operates using two TV stations in the Boise launch market. It is targeting second and third-tier markets like Boise to start because the smaller population bases generally afford available OTA channel spectrum and are typically under served by multi-channel video programming options.

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In the new age of NextGenTV, companies like Edge Networks have been granted special ATSC 3.0 permissions, without the encumbrance of maintaining pre-existing in-market broadcast station that would require it to simulcast the established ATSC 1.0 station for at least the next five years, as most other stations getting in ATSC 3.0 around the country now are required to do.

EVOCA’s proprietary Scout receiver and an OTA antenna are optimized to pick up and seamlessly deliver the channel package. Unlike virtual multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) like Sling TV and YouTube TV that also offer Internet-delivered live streaming channel packages, EVOCA has fewer bandwidth limitations from impacting Internet traffic and pipeline bandwidth, although the OTA signals are limited to some degree by the available bandwidth of each station allocation.

The company said the EVOCA ecosystem is will “deliver 4K Ultra HDTV programming as it becomes available.”

Boise residents are invited to visit the website Evoca.tv to sign up for the “early access” program offer, entailing “an exclusive introductory rate of $20 per month through the end of 2020, as well as the HD antenna and receiver.”

“EVOCA will roll out to all residents of Boise in late 2020 with additional markets to follow in 2021,” the company said.

“EVOCA will unlock a wide variety of programming for over-the-air TV, including channels in up to 4K ultra high-definition quality. After years of development, we are finally ready to launch what we believe will become a top choice for next-generation television programming,” stated Todd Achilles, EVOCA president and CEO. “With the power of our exclusive ATSC 3.0 broadcast towers and our ‘Scout’ receiver with industry-first capabilities, we can deliver the highest quality, reliable programming at an affordable cost.”

EVOCA Early Access subscribers will receive the following for a monthly subscription of $49 ($20 through 2020):

• EVOCA receiver, aka Scout, offering reliable broadcast audio and video clarity and growing on-demand library from leading video content providers
• 45+ channels, with more to come – full, updated list at www.evoca.tv
• HD antenna

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By Greg Tarr

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