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MLB Quietly Pioneers The U.S. ATSC 3.0 TV Era With World Series Broadcast

A local TV station in Cleveland is ushering in the era of next-generation TV broadcasting with the first live ATSC 3.0 broadcast of The MLB World Series.

Using the newly-standardized ATSC 3.0 transmission system, the experimental station is simulcasting network and local programming from local Fox affiliate WJW-TV as the hometown Cleveland Indians host the National League’s champion Chicago Cubs at Progressive Field.

 The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) received an FCC experimental license to operate a full-power Channel 31 transmitter in Cleveland as a living laboratory for broadcasters and manufacturers creating the next-gen TV service. The ATSC 3.0 broadcasts are using the transmitter and broadcast facilities of WJW, the Tribune Media-owned Fox affiliate in Cleveland. Tribune Media also owns the Cubs.

 In addition to the support of Tribune Media, Fox and the NAB, the ATSC 3.0 World Series broadcasts are made possible by technical contributions of GatesAir, LG Electronics, Harmonic and Triveni Digital.

 Richard Friedel, 2016 chairman of the Advanced Television Systems Committee, the standards development organization developing and documenting ATSC 3.0, spearheaded the project. “This is a defining moment for the future of television. Together with Tribune Media, the NAB and our technology partners, we are showing the FCC and our fellow broadcasters that next-gen TV is a grand slam,” said Friedel, executive VP/GM for Fox Networks Engineering and Operations.

 Tribune Broadcasting’s director of engineering operations Bill VanDuynhoven echoed Friedel’s remarks (and the baseball analogy): “With this test station we’re swinging for the fences, putting the new transmission standard through its paces to demonstrate that ATSC 3.0 technologies are real and can deliver meaningful benefits to broadcasters and viewers alike.”

 Sam Matheny, NAB EVP/CTO, called the new TV test station a platform for demonstrating the big league capabilities of the ATSC 3.0 suite of standards. “ATSC 3.0 standards are nearing completion, and over the coming months in conjunction with partners, we expect to test real-world next-gen TV applications like UHD TV, interactive services, targeted advertising, advanced emergency alerting, and more.”