UniMás Makes History In Phoenix With ‘Next Gen’ Transmissions


LAS VEGAS — The first next-generation TV signal in the Phoenix Model Market is “en el aire,” thanks to Univision Communications and Pearl TV.

“Today’s announcement is just the first Phoenix station to transition to ATSC 3.0, with additional partner stations to be added soon,” Pearl TV Managing Director Anne Schelle said on Monday at the 2018 NAB Show.

KFPH-CD 35, the Univision-owned UniMás affiliate serving Phoenix, is now using the new ATSC 3.0 standard.

The next-gen signal accompanies the ATSC 1.0 signal the station will continue to largely rely on to reach Hispanic audiences across the Valley of the Sun. But, it is a big step forward for ATSC 3.0 and the Phoenix Model Market project — the first collaborative single-market effort to plan for and implement a transition to next-generation over-the-air television broadcasting.

With KFPH’s launch of its next gen signal are several new are consumer electronics manufacturers who have joined the Phoenix Model Market effort: LG Electronics; Sony; Samsung; and Channel Master. Also in the mix are technology contributors Dolby Laboratories; TitanTV; and Unifsoft; and signaling and technical experts BitRouter; Meintel, Sgrignoli, & Wallace; and Yotta Media Labs.

LG Electronics is the first consumer electronics manufacturer to supply integrated ATSC 3.0 television receivers for evaluation and monitoring in Phoenix. The company is already marketing dual reception ATSC 3.0/1.0 TV products in South Korea.

Sony Electronics will supply televisions, demodulators and application development tools for ATSC 3.0. Supplementing the partnership announced at 2018 CES, Sony will collaborate with Pearl TV, not only in developing the Electronic Program Guide, but also in testing technology and service models to insure the customer experience is of the best quality and drives engagement.

Samsung brings their expertise to the Phoenix Model Market project having rolled out ATSC 3.0 TVs widely in South Korea. Their success in Korea will help Phoenix focus on evaluation of features such as HDR and immersive audio for the ultimate entertainment experience. Additionally, Samsung’s support of ATSC 3.0 applications and online services will facilitate the testing of advanced features for next-generation TVs in the U.S.

Channel Master, which is based in the Phoenix metropolitan area, will supply a variety of reception antenna products and lend its professional signal evaluation expertise to the Phoenix Model Market project, including development of future products designed to enhance digital TV reception.

participate in the project, and today’s announcement paves the way for a long line of broadcaster and technology companies to collaborate and make the Phoenix Model Market a success,” Schelle said.

E.W. Scripps Company, Fox Television Stations, Meredith Local Media Group, Nexstar Media Group, TEGNA Inc., Telemundo Station Group, Univision Communications, Arizona State University/PBS and Pearl TV are planning the comprehensive effort for the Phoenix, Arizona TV market to show how next-generation ATSC 3.0 technology can be deployed while maintaining existing digital TV service for viewers.

At the Phoenix Model Market kiosk in the “Road to ATSC 3.0” exhibit at the NAB Show in the Grand Lobby of the Las Vegas Convention Center, Sony is detailing the capabilities of the ATSC A/344 standard for interactivity, with a Sony-designed run-time environment that will show broadcasters how interactivity can occur with next-generation TV.

The system is designed to be very flexible, allowing adaptive ad insertion and messaging displayed with real-time object delivery over unidirectional transport as well as dynamic adaptive streaming over HyperText Transfer Protocol. These are commonly known as ROUTE and DASH and can operate seamlessly to enable new experiences such as loyalty and viewing history offerings like coupons and purchase choices.

Using an ATSC 3.0 receiver provided by LG Electronics, Yotta Media Labs is showing off a prototype application that local broadcasters could use with ATSC 3.0, allowing the viewer to access and discover content through a modern TV guide embedded in the broadcaster’s channel. The sample ATSC 3.0 app shows a potential experience that over-the-air viewers would get on smart TVs connected to the internet. The Yotta Media Labs demonstration will show a consumer-friendly experience, with just enough common elements between broadcasts to avoid confusion when viewers switch channel, but with a system that would still allow networks and affiliates to retain their individual identities.

Meanwhile, Arizona PBS and Pearl TV on Monday launched a project in Phoenix to demonstrate the enhanced interactive learning capabilities made possible by ATSC 3.0.

Lonna Thompson, EVP/COO and General Counsel of America’s Public Television Stations (APTS), said, “The Model Market Project will place Arizona PBS’ popular kids channel (8.4) on the new ATSC 3 tower, enabling interactive learning during program viewing and providing a richer experience for the viewer.”