ROAD TO ATSC 3.0: Spotlight Santa Barbara

Nation’s First Small-Market ATSC 3.0 Station is On the Air

Next Gen TV powered by ATSC 3.0 is now on the air in Santa Barbara, Calif.  Family-owned News-Press & Gazette Company (NPG) is investing to bring ATSC 3.0 broadcast TV to the nation’s 124th market.

“NPG is proud to hoist the flag for Next Gen TV here in southern California,” said NPG Co-Owner Eric Bradley.

The groundbreaking broadcasts will show TV stations in the nation’s mid- to smaller-sized markets how Next Gen TV will enhance services for local viewers, marrying broadcast and broadband services for the first time, while delivering lifesaving advanced emergency advisory capabilities.

NPG Co-Owner Eric Bradley highlights the benefits of ATSC 3.0 for Santa Barbara viewers.

Delivering Lifesaving Emergency Alerts

NPG’s broadcast stations in Santa Barbara received recognition and honors from local civic organizations after the stations provided dozens of hours of non-stop commercial-free live news coverage during significant brush fires and deadly mudslides in late 2017 and early 2018.

“NPG is choosing to launch ATSC 3.0 service in Santa Barbara for an array of reasons, one being the multiple natural disasters that have taken place over the last two years.  This new standard will allow us to deliver highly localized news and emergency information to an even wider variety of devices.  That means faster alerts when there is potential danger,” said Bradley.

NPG operates local broadcast stations in a number of smaller markets including California, Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, Texas and Missouri.  It purchased KSBB-CD and KEYT-TV in 2012 and has since been investing heavily in technology, programming and personnel. The transition to the next generation of television technology is the logical next step, according to Mike Meara, President of NPG Broadcasting.

Marrying Broadcast and Broadband

“ATSC 3.0 devices will merge broadband and broadcast delivery services in a powerful new way that will allow us to provide highly localized news, advertising and a whole array of television services to our communities,” said Meara.

Bradley highlighted the ATSC 3.0 standard’s ability to offer viewers to access information, entertainment and data services using applications as they do on smartphones, computers and over-the-top devices such as Roku, Apple and Android TV.  Television programming, video on demand and wireless data services will be available without paying for data download charges wherever broadcast transmitters reach today, he explained. 

“NPG is committed to supporting economic development and community improvement efforts in all of its markets.  This is an important way we can continue that mission. Broadcasters play a vital role in the growth, safety and support of the cities where we work and live,” said Bradley.

Santa Barbarans enjoyed learning about Next Gen TV at the launch event.

Leveraging Partnerships

NPG partnered with the National Association of Broadcasters, the Pearl TV business alliance and technology providers to launch the new ATSC 3.0 standard in Santa Barbara on KSBB-CD.

“Thanks to help from the NAB, Pearl TV, GatesAir, Unisoft, TitanTV and Triveni Digital, our 3.0 transmitter is live on-the-air and is ready to deliver to our community.  We look forward to future partnerships with technology companies, content providers and community partners to leverage the strengths of this innovative technology,” said NPG Broadcasting Technology VP Jim DeChant.

NAB Executive VP Dennis Wharton expressed his enthusiasm about “local TV stations working diligently to bring the new standard to market” with broadcasts under way in Cleveland, Portland, Baltimore, East Lansing, Chicago, Phoenix and Dallas.

“This new broadcast standard will unlock pro-consumer, innovative services such as better quality broadcasts, diverse programming streams, greater interactivity and mobile viewing. Experimental efforts are an important step in this process and NAB will work alongside NPG to ensure the success of the important Santa Barbara trial,” said Wharton.