LEAD1 Byte of the Week: The Future of Television

For consumers that don’t want to pay for cable, satellite or streaming TV, ATSC 3.0 or Next Gen TV, the new television transmission standard, could signal a big shift in the way we currently consume media.

Cutting cable TV subscriptions is the trend, but if you are a sports fan, your alternatives for viewing, whether satellite or streaming, can be expensive.

A growing number of consumers are turning to a technology that many of us grew up with—over-the-air antennas or OTA—to slash their $100-plus monthly subscription costs. In the coming years, these rabbit ears may become an even more viable option for cord cutters because of a new technology, ATSC 3.0 or Next Gen TV, which should be introduced in the US in late 2020. This new standard has already been implemented in Korea for several years.

ATSC 3.0 is a way to bring together ultra-high definition Over-the-Air or OTA broadcasts with Over-the-Top or OTT programming that uses broadband internet to distribute programming like Netflix. NextGen TV allows high resolution broadcasts coupled with personalized advertising. In the future, 3.0 will make it possible for consumers to watch broadcast TV on their mobile phones and in self-driving cars.

What does that mean for the future of sports viewership?

Broadcasting rights for several major sports leagues are expiring over the next few years. If broadcasters can offer interactive elements to sports production, like those offered by digital platforms such as Amazon, an avenue for new bidders for sports rights could open. That would be good news for college sports in the future.

For consumers who don’t want to pay for cable, satellite, or streaming TV, 3.0 could signal a big shift in the way we currently consume media.