It’s official: The two markets where Sunbeam Television owns and operates over-the-air stations are on target for bringing ATSC 3.0-powered NEXTGEN TV signals to viewers who have sets capable of receiving the “improved” digital broadcasts.
But, are those stations participating in the widespread launch of NEXTGEN TV in these respective locales?
The Commission on Monday (12/27) granted a group of license modification filings for CBS O&O WFOR-4, Univision O&O WLTV-23, NBC O&O WTVJ-6, and Telemundo O&O WSCV-51, which serve the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Key West DMA.
At the same time, the FCC granted license modification filings for CBS O&O WBZ-4 in Boston, along with those for Cox Media Group-owned FOX affiliate WFXT-25; NBC O&O WBTS-CD; The E.W. Scripps Co.’s ABC affiliate, WCVB-5; TelevisaUnivision’s WUNI-66; PBS Member station WGBH-TV; and WWJE-TV in Derry, N.H., the MyNetwork TV affiliate serving greater Boston.
What about Sunbeam’s FOX affiliate in Miami, WSVN-7, or its news-focused unaffiliated WHDH-7 in Boston? On November 7 the Commission granted Sunbeam’s filing of a License to Cover for Digital Auxiliary Construction Permit Application, with a April 1, 2023 expiration date.
But, no license modification filing for WSVN has yet to appear at the Commission.
Meanwhile, Berkshire Hathaway-controlled WPLG-10, the ABC affiliate in Miami, also appears to be absent from the Miami NEXTGEN TV rollout, as does The E.W. Scripps Co.’s WSFL-39.
This, perhaps, is emblematic of the uneven voluntary launch of ATSC 3.0’s NEXTGEN TV signals across the U.S. The NEXTGEN TV website confirms that the lone stations in the Miami market launching next week are WPBT-2, the market’s PBS Member station; and the aforementioned CBS, NBC, Univision and Telemundo affiliates.
On December 5, NBCUniversal began promoting its frequency move as part of a NEXTGEN TV upgrade scheduled to take place on Thursday, January 5, at 10am.
“If you use an antenna to watch TV, you must rescan your television after Jan. 5 at 9 a.m. to continue receiving this channel,” the WTVJ website post promoting the change says. “After this date, viewers with a NEXTGEN TV receiver will get an enhanced viewing experience.”
Up I-95 in the West Palm Beach market, five NEXTGEN TV signals are on the air. But, getting them is dependent on where you reside. At RBR+TVBR‘s editorial offices, the lone NEXTGEN TV signals — receivable via an outdoor antenna — will be the Miami-based stations. However, Boca Raton sits within the southern boundary of the West Palm Beach market, and getting NEXTGEN TV signals for WPTV-5, WPEC-12, WPBF-25 and WFLX-29, the “Big Four” networks in the market, may be difficult due to the power output associated with the ATSC 3.0-powered signals.
While the seven Boston stations are also set to fire up NEXTGEN TV broadcasts, it was WCRN-LD 34 that officially brought it to the market. It’s licensed to Tyche Media, a part of “SuperFrank” Copsidas’ Intrigue TV operation.