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NAB Show Reimagines Future

20/03/2017

LAS VEGAS-What awaits at the 2017 NAB Show: A reconfigured FCC, a reshuffled spectrum marketplace, a newly opened door to next-gen TV broadcasts. And that's before anyone even hits the show floor.

The industry has been busy in the past year, and as broadcasters head back to the Las Vegas for the show (April 24-27), expect to see issues like regulation, standards and new technology implementations dominate discussions.

AFTER THE AUCTION

This year's NAB certainly looks different, particularly when one considers what the broadcast spectrum auction means for the industry.

Seen as equally intriguing and vexing, depending on who you ask, the first step in the complicated dance known as the broadcast spectrum auction was completed in January. Heading into NAB for the first time since the completion of the auction, companies like 21st Century Fox, Tribune Media and Gray Television will receive millions as part of the FCC's airwave spectrum auction. As of press time, the auction had successfully repurposed 84 MHz of low-band spectrum, including 70 MHz of licensed spectrum and 14 MHz for unlicensed use.

Although TV station owners are expected to net about $10 billion, some have been disappointed by the auction results, starting with the NAB itself.

Wireless providers spent years promoting the specious spectrum crisis claim, said NAB Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton after the first stage of the auction. Yet when they had the chance to solve this alleged crisis, the carriers suddenly closed their wallets.

The next issue sure to be discussed during the show: the channel repack, a process that was set to begin near the beginning of April. The goal, NAB said, is to develop the right repacking plan and transition schedule that avoids service disruptions.

Broadcasting also took a big step forward on next-gen TV. In February, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would allow broadcasters to use the next-gen ATC 3.0 broadcast transmission standard on a voluntary, market-driven basis.

It's a step that helps to encourage the voluntary adoption of next gen TV, NAB's Wharton said. This innovative broadcast transmission standard offers free and local TV viewers the promise of higher-quality pictures and sound, mobile viewership, datacasting and lifesaving interactive emergency information.

This is just one of the steps taken by new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who took over the big chair at the commission in January.

In the weeks since his ascent to chairman, Pai has been busy working to untie a number of Tom Wheeler-era regulatory knots, including initiating a new pilot project that would give the public a clearer look at how the agency does its job, considering the modification of long-standing media ownership rules, and taking specific moves on the AM radio revitalization front.

So far, those decisions have garnered warm praise from the NAB. Both items will foster technological innovation, increase opportunities for minority and female owners, and create new and unique services for consumers, Wharton said after the release of notices on next-gen TV and AM radio.

Drones will be big at NAB Show this year. Last month, 300 drones flew above the NRG Stadium in Houston to pull together a synchronized dance of lights for Lady Gaga at Super Bowl 51.

Photo credit: Intel
LINK: http://www.tvtechnology.com/resources/0006/nab-show-reimagines-future/...
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