An Introduction to NextGen TV

Mark Nigon
July 15, 2022
It seems that as technology improves, new opportunities for consumers to engage emerge. For marketers, this creates new opportunities for consumers and brands to interact. The newest opportunity? NextGen TV. With its combined advantages of broadcast and broadband, it is taking consumers and advertisers by storm.

An Introduction to NextGen TV

The proliferation of CTV has only been made possible due to increased access (and adoption) of internet-connected smart TVs. So, it seems that as technology improves, new opportunities for consumers to engage emerge. It makes me think of Moore’s Law, which predicts that as computer processors get more powerful, smaller, and cheaper, the devices that use them get more powerful, smaller, and cheaper, too. For marketers, this means that new devices create new opportunities to expand how consumers and brands interact with one another.

 

One new technology that intrigues me tremendously is NextGen TV. This technology platform has rolled out across America for the past couple of years and is already used around the globe in countries like Jamaica and South Korea. According to ATSC.org, NextGen TV is:

the next generation terrestrial broadcast system designed from the ground up to improve the television viewing experience with higher audio and video quality, improved compression efficiency, robust transmission for reception on both fixed and mobile devices, and more accessibility, personalization, and interactivity.

 

For consumers, this means that — since the platform is built on the same Internet Protocol backbone as today’s streaming media platforms — it offers the combined advantages of both broadcast and broadband with features such as:

  • 4K UHD (Ultra High Definition) picture quality with high dynamic range today, with 8K capabilities available once upgrades are made over time
  • Multichannel immersive audio quality upgraded from 5.1 channel surround sound to 7.1.4 channel audio
  • Multiple channel options with interactive features over the air without the need for a larger antenna
  • The ability to watch broadcast video on mobile devices like phones and tablets, as well as in cars
  • An Advanced Emergency Alerts system designed to wake sleeping devices and provide video, audio, and text alerts, including evacuation routes (should the need arise in specific geolocations) due to the system’s geotargeting capabilities

 

Marketers can also expect to reap many benefits from NextGen TV once it’s fully rolled out and adopted by consumers. For example, advertisers can expect features such as more precise audience measurement tools and interactive ad targeting capabilities in real-time. This means local advertisers theoretically will not need to buy an entire DMA for their local TV campaign anymore, but rather could focus their ad messaging the same way connected TV does (perhaps down to the ZIP code level), but in local market programming previously only available through over-the-air TV and cable. The system is built with a suite of standards that can be updated in the future to allow for an evolution of options for delivery and engagement with content — fully interactive over-the-air TV! Needless to say, 27 years after the ATSC published the first television digital standards (ATSC 1.0), television is reinventing itself and evolving to meet the exploding demand for digital data and content, and so much more. Now you know why I’m intrigued. The time has come when traditional linear broadcast is going digital!

 

So, where is NextGen TV in 2022?

To date, NextGen TV is available in 58 DMAs across the United States, with an additional 17 DMAs pending, indicating the FCC has received an application for at least one station in the market to broadcast. But the technology is flying under the radar of most consumers, making the adoption of NextGen TV very slow. The slow rollout is happening as a result of four main reasons:

  1. The infrastructure investment at the station level is substantial, requiring new equipment and protocols to broadcast the signal
  2. The technology is still nascent, and as such, content has not been built to accommodate the new delivery system
  3. Consumers will need to purchase a 3.0 enabled TV receiver or converter box to pick up both the over-the-air and IP signals that the content will be delivered on, which has not been fully adopted yet
  4. The transition to 3.0 is voluntary, making it difficult for stations to prove ROI without the aid of a federal mandate to drive the adoption of the technology, along with product development and the marketing campaigns needed to drive consumer adoption of the technology

 

But make no mistake. The evolution is underway, quietly inching its way to the tipping point. In time, NextGen-compatible TVs will become cheaper and more readily available than ever before. The conversion to NextGen TV is inevitable, and when adoption occurs, it will seem as though it happened overnight. I predict it will change the way we watch, and for the first time ever, engage with over-the-air TV.

 

What does this mean for marketers?

At this point in time, there is very little for marketers to do other than patiently await the launch and adoption of NextGen TV in their markets. Since the technology is so new, and the full potential yet untapped, it’s likely that as time goes on, more and more features and opportunities afforded by NextGen TV will present themselves. However, at this time, the specific details needed to make informed decisions about NextGen TV aren’t yet available. That said, marketers should make themselves aware of this technology now so when opportunities become available, your brand is able to embrace the latest technology. Once marketers are able to take advantage of NextGen TV, their consumer will have enhanced live TV viewing experiences across devices, while their brand can benefit by leveraging targeted advertising opportunities that pair together the best that linear and digital video have to offer.

 

 

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