AVENTURA, FLA. — As 2023 began, those with access to NEXTGEN TV signals in South Florida were able to receive ATSC 3.0-powered broadcasts in the new digital television standard for CBS Stations’ WFOR-4, TelevisaUnivision O&O WLTV-23, and NBCUniversal O&Os WTVJ-6 and Telemundo-aligned WSCV-51.
The bigger story were the 7 stations in Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Key West not participating in the NEXTGEN TV rollout. Now, nearly one year after the Pearl TV-managed launch in the DMA, the ABC affiliate controlled by a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate is readying its transition to NEXTGEN TV.
WPLG-10, the top-rated standalone property owned by the Warren Buffett-led investment group, has confirmed that it is moving digital channels to upgrade its signal to NEXTGEN TV at 10am on Monday, December 4.
For those that use a digital antenna to receive “LOCAL 10,” a rescan of a television will be required. And, for the lucky few who have a NEXTGEN TV receiver or plug-in accessories designed to bring the new digital transmissions to older sets, they’ll benefit from better sound and picture — the big consumer calling cards of ATSC 3.0-powered NEXTGEN TV. For Mr. Buffett and the local leadership at WPLG, it ushers in an era of potential new dollars from addressable advertising, broadcast data solutions and powering the “Internet of Things” in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties.
WPLG is getting the word out with news stories appearing on its website, in addition to on-air messaging.
How have viewers taken to the news? “It’s like lipstick on a pig,” Jay Batone wrote on the WPLG website. “Great technology, same old TV programs.”
While trolls are inevitable in a world where anyone can comment on a news story, NEXTGEN TV’s rollout comes amid 5G broadband commitments from the FCC to bridge the gaps between haves and have-nots with respect to service. And, with more widespread broadband internet comes increased opportunities for streaming video — potentially leaving NEXTGEN TV behind, even with live sports and local news its biggest calling cards.
Then, there is the lack of unity among broadcasters in a market long known for technological advancement in broadcasting; FM radio took off in 1974 thanks to Cecil Heftel-owned Y-100, years earlier than most U.S. markets. As of today, Sunbeam Television’s FOX affiliate in Miami, WSVN-7; The E.W. Scripps Co.’s home for The CW, WSFL-39; and WFOR sibling WBFS-33, the MyNetwork TV affiliate for the market, have not announced NEXTGEN TV launch plans. On the Spanish-language TV front, Estrella Media and Spanish Broadcasting System’s Mega TV are also not involved in the NEXTGEN TV rollout in Miami, nor is America CV.