The Pearl TV, the coalition behind the advancement of the NextGen TV (ATSC 3.0) hybrid over-the-air/IP TV broadcasting transition, announced this week some of its latest efforts to help get new reception equipment in consumers while incentivizing TV broadcasters to make the necessary investments to build out new technology broadcasting platforms.

By building on both ends of the chicken-and-egg adoption process, it’s hoped that the NextGen TV (NGTV) transition will gain better traction.

From the broadcasting end, Pearl is trying to demonstrate the possibilities for enhanced profit taking from new digital advertising and other technologies to encourage a more rapid upgrading and adoption of ATSC 3.0 TV stations across the country, while expanding U.S. consumer viewership at the same time.

To get more NextGen TV-ready sets and add-on TV dongles into consumer homes, Pearl TV is using a FastTrack program to help bring NextGen TV (NGTV) features to 91% of U.S. households with HDMI-enabled digital TVs that are not yet ATSC 3.0 equipped.

The program will help advance availability of devices to let consumers add on ATSC 3.0 reception to existing equipped TVs by guiding device makers through the NextGen TV logo and other conformance requirements, including security and regulatory compliance and testing, as well as promoting opportunities for distribution and marketing partnerships, Pearl TV said.

“By 2024, more than 75% of all televisions sold are expected to be available with dual HDTV and NGTV reception,” Pearl TV said. “Pearl TV’s FastTrack program will expand access to affordable accessory devices allowing TVs that aren’t originally NGTV compatible to get the benefits of NGTV including better sounds, video quality and interactive features.”

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According to Pearl: NextGen TV is the first major overhaul to the Advanced Television Systems Committee’s standard for receiving over-the-air (OTA) signals in 25 years. There are more than 120 television models that support NextGen TV at retail from Hisense, LG, Samsung and Sony. Now broadcasting in more than 50 markets reaching 55% of U.S. households, NextGen TV is expected to reach 75% of U.S. television households by the end of 2023.”

Among numerous new benefits, NextGen TV will enable the delivery of up to 4K (and eventually higher) resolution with High Dynamic Range (HDR), enhanced internet content on demand, and better audio enabled by Dolby Audio technologies with added voice clarity provided by Dolby’s Voice +, and consistent volume across channels.

“Broadcasters and consumer electronics manufacturers will build on the success of the new standard and introduce a NGTV holiday brand marketing campaign to deepen consumer awareness and engagement,” Pearl announced. “The television campaign will commence across the U.S. late November 2022 and run through February 2023.”

This FastTrack program was developed to help manufacturers interested in making devices that support the full NGTV service feature set—enhanced video, audio and the interactive features that will bring more content and modernized viewing guides, the group said. The detailed device requirements will be updated continuously to aid manufacturers as NGTV evolves.

“This new program will make it easier for companies interested in jumping into the NGTV device ecosystem to design, manufacture and sell upgrade accessories,” stated Anne Schelle, managing director of Pearl TV. “While we’ve seen continued success of the transition, the ATSC 3.0 standard is not backward compatible. This program helps solve that. With a simplified process, accessory price points will decrease making it more affordable and easier for consumers to enjoy NGTV even without an enabled television.”

In a concurrent effort to make more compelling NGTV stations available, Pearl TV is in the process of expanding support for digital video advertising technology through a so-called “RUN3TV” web TV platform aimed at delivering greater revenue generation via server-side ad insertion (SSAI) technology.

During an NAB Show in New York this week Pearl said, “adding digital monetization capabilities creates a game changing opportunity for over-the-air broadcast services,” said Anne Schelle, managing director of Pearl TV. “Expanding on the unique ability to deliver hybrid television service and better engage with their viewers, broadcasters are easily able to integrate with their existing over-the-air and connected TV monetization platforms.”

RUN3TV now supports server-side ad insertion and client-side reporting. These tools are used to enable video advertising in various scenarios, including over-the-top content delivery, connected TV (CTV) uses, advertising-based video on demand (AVOD) and free ad-supported television (FAST) channels.

The RUN3TV support for SSAI includes the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s video ad serving template (VAST), dynamic adaptive streaming over HTTP (DASH) ad insertion specifications and the 3.0 broadcast standard, Pearl said.

The tech partners supporting SSAI, including Google Ad Manager, Madhive, Amazon AWS Media Tailer, Magnite, Springserve and Freewheel, are at work on their integrations. At present, NextGen TV broadcasters in 25 markets use these ad tech partners, it said.

“Connected TVs continue to be a driving force behind turning the TV screen into a full-funnel marketing tool, bringing together the premium environment of television with all the tools digital has and more,” said Madhive CEO Adam Helfgott.

“Now, with NextGen TV and the RUN3TV framework, we can bring these capabilities to over-the-air delivery, so that broadcasters can leverage our high-fidelity technology, such as our proprietary connected TV device graph of 100 million households, to deliver local-at-scale precision,” he said.

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By Greg Tarr

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