PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE: Time to Double Down

The 2018 ATSC Next Gen TV Conference, “The Road to ATSC 3.0,” is one for the history books. The record attendance, passionate speakers and an unprecedented level of cooperation and enthusiasm speak volumes about where we are on the journey along the Road to ATSC 3.0.

Highlights of the May 23-24 conference, discussed in this issue of THE STANDARD, included four dynamite keynote addresses (including a surprise guest appearance by FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly), compelling presentations, insightful panel discussions, and the presentation of ATSC’s highest technical honor, the Lechner Award. And we were joined by the Society of Broadcast Engineers to officially launch a new SBE ATSC 3.0 certification program.

The substance of the two-day conference focused on early deployments of Next Gen TV powered by ATSC 3.0 and the myriad business opportunities not too far down the Road to ATSC 3.0.  We heard about the great work under way across the country and in South Korea that is delivering useful learnings for broadcasters preparing to launch Next Gen TV services – especially timely with the start of the spectrum re-pack in the U.S.

My main take-away, based on the industry momentum we’re seeing for ATSC 3.0, is that it’s time to double down on deployments. 

The Road to ATSC 3.0 had some fun rest-stops along the way, too, including the rousing performance at the reception by our own in-house band, The Multicasters –kicked off with a rousing rendition of the Willie Nelson classic “On the Road Again” – as well as my obligatory presentation of the coveted ATSC Rubber Chicken Award, this year to LG’s Madeleine Noland, commemorating her new role as Technology Group chair.

I wish to thank our keynoters, Dr. Jeff Cole, head of the University of Southern California’s the Center for the Digital Future; Sam Matheny, CTO at the National Association of Broadcasters; Pat Butler, president and CEO at America’s Public Television Stations, and Commissioner O’Rielly. 

Special thanks also to former FCC Chairman Dick Wiley for his heartfelt reminisces commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Digital HDTV Grand Alliance, which developed the core technologies at the heart of what we now call the ATSC 1.0 Standard, and to the many old Grand Alliance friends who interrupted their retirement to attend.

And a big thank you goes to my co-emcee, ATSC Board Chairman Richard Friedel of 21st Century Fox. Finally, thank you to our sponsors without whom such a robust conference would not have been possible. 

The Road to ATSC 3.0 doesn’t end by any means with our conference.  In fact, the industry is really just starting to embark on the road trip of a lifetime with ATSC 3.0.  Now is the time to double down on deploying Next Gen TV so consumers can begin to reap the benefits of the new standard.

Mark Richer, ATSC President