Get ready to start hearing a lot more about the new NextGen TV system in the coming weeks.

That’s because broadcast television group Pearl TV and its Phoenix Model Market Partners are starting a multi-million dollar on-air and online awareness campaign scheduled to run over the holidays into early January to make sure you know about the new free over-the-air digital broadcast platform. Among many things, the platform is designed to bring more robust transmission capability and a host of advanced new picture and sound benefits.

Pearl TV announced Monday that the coordinated multi-market consumer awareness campaign will be undertaken by local broadcasters, who are now simulcasting signals in NextGen TV over-the-air (OTA) broadcasts (also known at ATSC 3.0).

The new NextGen TV service began to rollout in markets across the country earlier in the year and has now reached more than a dozen cities, Pearl TV said. But a viewer’s ability to view any of these new stations is dependent on having a new digital TV tuner, either built into one of the select available ATSC 3.0-capable televisions that began to be sold this year, or added-on through one of several outboard tuner solutions available from third party manufacturers.

The Pearl TV business group of broadcasters said it is working with TV manufacturers to introduce the new service and its capabilities together to drive these new receiver sales and to raise consumer awareness to the flexible new broadcast platform branded NextGen TV. Many of the new supporting televisions will either carry the NextGen TV logo or will advertise it in their manuals and/or on marketing materials, store signage and on product spec sheets.

Unlike the national transition from analog to digital television broadcasting, known at ATSC 1.0, which was completed in the United States on June 12, 2009, and on August 31, 2011 in Canada, the upgrade to new system ATSC 3.0 (NextGen TV) is being undertaken by broadcasters on a voluntary basis, market by market. Broadcasters adding the new system will be required to continue to support both ATSC 1.0 and the new ATSC 3.0 signals simultaneously for an as yet unspecified length of time, so that no one is left stranded.

But the new system offers many new compelling features for both viewers and broadcasters, alike. This includes the ability to support high resolution TV signals, although to start this appears to be only up to Full HD 1080p, potentially along with high dynamic range (HDR), likely using the HLG profile in most cases. However, broadcasters have the liberty to support any of the new advancements they choose. New NextGen TVs will receive these signals and display them to the best capabilities of the display device.

The system will also allow advanced new digital surround sound formats, with potentially many more channels. It will also support new Voice + audio control, which means viewers with hearing issues won’t have to turn up the volume as loud to hear dialog. Again, the implementation of these features will be up to the local broadcaster to decide when an what to deliver.

The format was designed to work as a hybrid with IT services and technologies, which should enable transmitting supplementary data during live events, like sports, as well as providing interactivity in advertising and other content. This will also help broadcasters offer highly accurate ratings information and to deliver targeted advertising to provide viewers with the messaging that is most relevant to them. The system is also designed to be future upgradable so the latest technological advancements can be added onto a future amended platform without the need for a wholesale system swap out.

“Almost every week, we’re seeing stations sign on with NextGen TV channels, adding a whole new dimension to TV viewing with brilliant video and new audio experiences like Voice +, one of many features of the new Dolby Audio system.  We’ve been working to help stations transition and now we’re bringing to select markets a new brand campaign that stations will promote on-air and through their online channels. We’ve produced spectacular new TV spots that introduce that capabilities of NextGen TV, and we’ve launched a consumer-friendly website that will help viewers identify the channels transmitting in NextGen TV and the right models to purchase from our consumer technology partners LG Electronics, Samsung, and Sony,” stated Anne Schelle, managing director of Pearl TV, which counts more than 750 stations in the Pearl membership.

“This initial effort is all about awareness, and we’ll be testing how these messages reach consumers.  Buyers of NextGen TV sets will want to know more about the benefits of owning one of more than 20 new sets from LG Electronics, Samsung, and Sony that are now at retail and available soon.  We want consumers to understand that the NextGen TV experience from local stations will be getting better and better, as more functions and features are added down the road.  Based on feedback from this initial campaign, we will refine our messaging and push ahead to extend our efforts later in 2021 as new NextGen TV models and manufacturers are introduced,” Schelle explained.

The NextGen TV television advertisements were developed by Hothouse, an Atlanta-based, integrated marketing agency.

As the campaign gets underway, keep an eye out for its three main elements. These include: on-air advertising with market-customized TV spots that showcase NextGen TV’s capabilities and retail availability, a consumer website that highlights cities with a number of stations already on-air and links to NextGen TV-equipped receivers, and online promotions executed by individual stations in each target market that will encourage consumers to learn more.

These messages in the “Future of Television” campaign will highlight the capabilities of NextGen TV, including its marriage with internet connectivity. ATSC 3.0 stations will be able to personalize news, sports, live events and shows with interactive features that give viewers the content most relevant to them. Other functionality (again dependent on what the broadcasters chooses, and the capabilities of the television and receiver used) includes the following:

•           Up to 4K (not likely to be very common to start) with High Dynamic Range video

•           Movie theater quality sound

•           Added voice clarity with Dolby audio system Voice +

•           Consistent volume across programs and channels

•           Enhanced Internet Content on demand

Pearl’s members include more than 750 TV stations, some of which cover the 9 largest TV markets and the largest broadcast companies in America. Participating broadcast companies include: Cox Media Group, Graham Media Group, Gray Television, Hearst Television Inc., Meredith Local Media Group, Nexstar Media Group, Sinclair Broadcast Group, the E.W. Scripps Company, and TEGNA, Inc.

 The Group’s Phoenix Model Market is a collaborative effort with a dozen Phoenix, Arizona TV broadcasters who are launching next-gen TV service market wide, as a model for the TV industry.  Participating TV groups and stations in the Phoenix Model Market include: Arizona State University’s Arizona PBS (KAET), Arizona Television’s KAZT Channel 7 (Independent),  Fox Television Stations’ KSAZ (Fox) and KUTP (MyTV), Meredith’s KPHO (CBS) and KTVK (Independent), E.W. Scripps’ KNXV (ABC) and KASW (CW), Telemundo Station Group’s KTAZ (Telemundo), TEGNA’s KPNX (NBC), and Univision’s KFPH-CD (UniMas) and KTVW (Univision).

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There are 20 television models that have built-in NextGen TV tuners from three leading TV brands including: LG Electronics, Samsung, and Sony. In some cases, these tuners will be activated through forthcoming firmware updates.

“At CES 2020, companies unveiled a number of new products optimized for the NextGen TV standard. Now, consumers can simply look for the NextGen TV logo as they shop for new TVs – an easy way to make sure their televisions can deliver all the benefits of NextGen TV,” said Brian Markwalter, senior vice president, research & standards, Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which developed the initial NextGen TV logo, marketing campaign and testing procedures.

LG, which has a big stake in ATSC 3.0 development, is offering NextGen TV support in three series of OLED models, covering a mixture of large screen sizes and 4K UHD and “Real 8K” resolution in supporting sets. All of LG’s 2020 NextGen TV models sit at or near the top of the company’s 4K and 8K OLED TV model ranges and include the following (click the provided links for the latest availability and pricing).

Three of LG’s OLED series support NextGen TV in 2020, with a total of six models from which to choose. The GX or Gallery Series (55-, 65-, and 77-inch sizes), WX or Wallpaper series (65- and 77-inch sizes), and 8K ZX (88-inch size) are in LG’s top-tier and will support the feature, while the CX and BX models do not.

2020 LG 4K & 8K OLED TVs With NextGen TV

LG 55CXPUA 4K OLED TV, $1,396.99

LG 65CXPUA 4K OLED TV, $1,896.99

LG 77CXPUA 4K OLED TV, $3,496.99

LG 55GXPUA Ultra-thin 4K OLED TV, $1,896.99

LG 65GXPUA Ultra-thin 4K OLED TV, $2,596.99

LG 77GXPUA Ultra-thin 4K OLED TV, $4,296.99

LG 65WXPUA Ultra-Thin 4K Wallpaper OLED TV Series, $3,999.99

LG 77ZXPUA 8K Ultra HD OLED TV Series, $19,999.99

LG 88ZXPUA 8K Ultra HD OLED TV, $29,999.99

2020 Samsung 8K and 4K OLED TVs

Samsung’s 2020 8K QLED TV models this year feature built-in NextGen TV tuners. ATSC 3.0-ready models were able to tune in NextGen TV out of the box. No critical updates will be necessary, although Samsung said it will issue future updates (as needed) to support broadcasters. The feature is supported in the company’s Q800T, Q900T and Q950TS 8K QLED TV model series.

Samsung Q950TS Flagship 8K QLED “Bezel-less” Full Array LED LCD TVs

Samsung 85-Inch QN85Q950TS Top of the Line 8K QLED TV, $11,997.99

Samsung Q900T 8K Full Array QLED TVs

Samsung 85-Inch QN85Q900T 8K QLED TV, $8,497.99

Samsung 75-Inch QN75Q900T 8K QLED TV, $6,497.99

Samsung 65-Inch QN65Q900T 8K QLED TV, $4,497.99

Samsung Q800T 8K Full Array QLED TVs

Samsung 65-Inch QN65Q800T 8K QLED TV, $2,129.99

Samsung 75-Inch QN75Q800T 8K QLED TV, $3,997.99

Samsung 82-Inch QN85Q800T 8K QLED TV, $4,497.99

2020 Sony X900H 4K Full-Array LED-LCD TVs

Sony, however, is betting the greatest interest in the new NextGen TV system will come from cord cutters who are typically more price sensitive. ATSC 3.0 tuning is offered this year in one of the company’s mid-range 4K Ultra HD LED-LCD TV series. Sony said an OTA firmware update will be required for ATSC 3.0.

Sony X900H 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Full Array LED-LCD TV, $998.99

Sony X900H 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Full Array LED-LCD TV, $1,399.99

Sony X900H 75-Inch 4K Ultra HD Full Array LED-LCD TV, $1,798

Sony X900H 85-Inch 4K Ultra HD Full Array LED-LCD TV, $2,598

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By Greg Tarr

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