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From the Wire

LG is dropping ATSC 3.0 from its TVs next year

Imagine upgrading your TV to enjoy all the benefits of the latest broadcast technology, only to find out that one of its most prominent advocates, LG, is dropping support for it. That’s exactly what’s happening with ATSC 3.0, also known as Nextgen TV. LG has informed the FCC that it will no longer support this IP-based broadcast system in its upcoming TVs due to concerns related to the patent landscape. ATSC 3.0 promises advanced features like 4K TV, HDR, Dolby Atmos, and interactive apps, but LG’s decision raises questions about the future of this next-generation format.

LG is dropping ATSC 3.0 from its TVs next year

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ATSC 3.0: The Next-Generation Broadcast Format

ATSC 3.0, also known as Nextgen TV, is the next major version of the broadcast TV format. It is a significant step forward from the previous version (ATSC 1.0), which introduced digital technology and HD video. ATSC 3.0 is planned to be an IP-based (internet protocol) system, meaning it is built on the same protocols as most internet technology. This enables easy viewing of broadcast TV on modern connected devices, expanding the capabilities of broadcast TV. With features like 4K TV, advanced video and audio formats such as HDR and Dolby Atmos, and interactive apps, ATSC 3.0 aims to revolutionize the television viewing experience.

Features and Advancements of ATSC 3.0

ATSC 3.0 brings a range of exciting features and advancements to the broadcast format. Firstly, it introduces support for 4K resolution, offering viewers a sharper and more detailed picture quality. Additionally, it supports advanced video and audio formats like HDR (High Dynamic Range), which enhances the contrast and colors of the image, and Dolby Atmos, which provides an immersive three-dimensional sound experience.

Another notable feature of ATSC 3.0 is its ability to deliver interactive applications. This means broadcasters can offer interactive content, such as real-time polls, on-screen graphics, and additional information related to the broadcast. Viewers can actively engage with the content and have a more personalized and interactive TV experience.

LG is dropping ATSC 3.0 from its TVs next year

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ATSC 3.0 as an IP-based System

One of the key differences between ATSC 3.0 and its predecessor is that it is based on internet protocol (IP). This means that the broadcast signals are transmitted using the same protocols as internet data, allowing for seamless integration with connected devices. The IP-based nature of ATSC 3.0 opens up a world of possibilities for broadcasters and viewers alike. It enables the delivery of broadcast TV content to a wide range of devices, including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and even connected cars. This flexibility in viewing options ensures that viewers can enjoy their favorite shows and programs wherever they are and on any compatible device.

Potential Impact and Benefits of ATSC 3.0

ATSC 3.0 has the potential to bring about significant changes in the television industry. With its advanced features and IP-based system, it offers several benefits to both broadcasters and viewers.

For broadcasters, ATSC 3.0 provides an opportunity to provide higher-quality content and a more engaging viewing experience. The ability to deliver 4K resolution, HDR, and Dolby Atmos sound ensures that viewers can enjoy a cinematic experience from the comfort of their homes. Additionally, the interactive capabilities of ATSC 3.0 enable broadcasters to create unique and engaging content that keeps viewers hooked.

For viewers, ATSC 3.0 opens up a world of possibilities. The availability of 4K resolution and advanced audio formats means a more immersive and lifelike viewing experience. The interactive features allow viewers to actively participate in the content and access additional information related to the broadcast. Furthermore, the IP-based nature of ATSC 3.0 ensures that viewers can access their favorite shows on a variety of devices, making it more convenient and flexible.

LG is dropping ATSC 3.0 from its TVs next year

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Slow Rollout and Limited Support

Despite its promising features, the rollout of ATSC 3.0 has been relatively slow. Many popular budget brands, such as Vizio and TCL, have refused to support the new broadcast format. This limited support from budget brands restricts the availability of ATSC 3.0-supported TVs in the market, making it more challenging for consumers to adopt the new technology.

Furthermore, the coverage of ATSC 3.0 broadcasts is still limited. While the technology has been introduced in certain markets, it has not achieved nationwide coverage. This limited broadcast coverage hinders the widespread adoption of ATSC 3.0 and prevents viewers from fully experiencing its benefits.

LG’s Decision to Drop ATSC 3.0

In a surprising move, LG has announced that it will drop support for ATSC 3.0 in its TVs next year. This decision comes as a blow to ATSC 3.0, as LG has been one of the most prominent advocates for the next-generation broadcast format. The company cited the “challenging and uncertain patent landscape” as the primary reason for its decision.

LG is dropping ATSC 3.0 from its TVs next year

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Reasons for LG’s Decision

LG’s decision to drop ATSC 3.0 support can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, the company recently faced a patent fight loss with a company that holds multiple ATSC 3.0 patents. This loss likely made LG cautious about the potential legal hurdles and uncertainties associated with supporting the technology.

Additionally, LG expressed concerns regarding the patent holders’ refusal to commit to reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) terms. This lack of commitment to RAND terms can have a chilling effect on companies looking to bring advanced technologies to the market. LG’s decision to drop ATSC 3.0 support highlights the importance of resolving patent disputes and establishing clear guidelines for patent ownership and licensing terms in the ATSC 3.0 ecosystem.

Patent Fight Loss and FCC’s Involvement

The patent fight loss experienced by LG further complicated the situation. The company urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to investigate the issue and examine how certain companies’ patent practices can hinder innovation and technological advancements. LG’s involvement of the FCC highlights the need for regulatory oversight and intervention to ensure a fair and competitive landscape for technologies like ATSC 3.0.

LG is dropping ATSC 3.0 from its TVs next year

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Concerns over RAND Terms

LG’s concerns over the lack of commitment to RAND terms by patent holders reflect a wider industry issue. Many companies have raised concerns about the potential abuse of patents related to ATSC 3.0. The refusal to adhere to RAND terms can create barriers to entry for other companies and limit the widespread adoption of the technology.

The resolution of patent-related concerns and the establishment of clear guidelines for RAND terms are crucial for the successful development and implementation of ATSC 3.0.

Implications for LG TVs

LG’s decision to drop ATSC 3.0 support will have implications for its TVs and their compatibility with the next-generation broadcast format. LG TVs released after the decision will not support ATSC 3.0, potentially limiting the viewing options and capabilities for LG TV owners.

However, it is important to note that there are alternative options available for consumers looking for ATSC 3.0 support. Sony’s A90K OLED, LG’s own G2, and selected TVs from Hisense and Samsung are among the options that still offer support for the new broadcast format. Consumers should consider these alternatives if ATSC 3.0 support is a crucial factor in their TV purchasing decision.

Alternative Options for ATSC 3.0 Support

Although LG’s decision is significant, it does not mean that ATSC 3.0 support is completely unavailable. There are alternative options for consumers seeking TVs that support the new broadcast format.

One such option is Sony’s A90K OLED TV. Known for its exceptional picture quality and advanced features, the A90K OLED offers viewers a premium viewing experience with support for ATSC 3.0.

Additionally, LG’s own G2 TV continues to support ATSC 3.0. As the successor to LG’s previous models that featured ATSC 3.0 support, the G2 retains the same advanced features and capabilities that make ATSC 3.0 appealing.

Selected TVs from Hisense and Samsung also offer ATSC 3.0 support. These brands provide consumers with a range of options to choose from, ensuring that they can find a TV that meets their specific needs and preferences.

Industry Reactions and Implications

LG’s decision to drop ATSC 3.0 support has garnered attention from both the industry and regulatory bodies, such as the FCC. The implications of this decision are far-reaching and have raised several important questions about the future of ATSC 3.0 and its adoption.

From the FCC’s perspective, LG’s decision highlights the need for regulatory oversight to ensure fair and competitive practices within the ATSC 3.0 ecosystem. The FCC’s involvement in investigating patent practices and advocating for reasonable and non-discriminatory terms is crucial for the successful development and implementation of ATSC 3.0.

The impact on other TV manufacturers is another significant aspect to consider. LG’s withdrawal from ATSC 3.0 may create opportunities for other manufacturers to fill the gap and become leading advocates for the technology. This dynamic could lead to increased competition and innovation within the industry.

Potential Future Developments

The ATSC 3.0 landscape is likely to continue evolving, with potential future developments on the horizon. One key area of focus is the resolution of patent issues and the establishment of clear guidelines for RAND terms. Efforts to address these concerns will foster a more open and competitive environment for ATSC 3.0 and encourage widespread adoption.

Furthermore, the expansion of ATSC 3.0 support is expected as the technology matures. The slow rollout and limited coverage of ATSC 3.0 broadcasts are likely to improve over time, with more markets and regions adopting the new broadcast format. As a result, consumers will have greater access to ATSC 3.0 content and can fully experience the benefits it offers.

Enhanced features and applications are also anticipated for ATSC 3.0. As broadcasters and content creators explore the possibilities of the new technology, viewers can expect more interactive and engaging content, further enriching their TV viewing experience.

Conclusion

ATSC 3.0 represents a significant advancement in the broadcast TV format, offering viewers enhanced picture quality, advanced audio formats, and interactive applications. However, the slow rollout, limited support, and patent landscape challenges have posed obstacles to its widespread adoption.

LG’s decision to drop ATSC 3.0 support further complicates the situation, but alternative options are available for consumers looking for ATSC 3.0-compatible TVs. Sony, Hisense, and Samsung offer TVs that support the new broadcast format.

The industry’s reactions and the implications for the future of ATSC 3.0 highlight the need for regulatory oversight and resolution of patent-related concerns. With the resolution of these issues and continued development and expansion, ATSC 3.0 has the potential to transform the television industry and provide viewers with an exceptional and immersive TV viewing experience.

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2023/9/30/23897460/lg-drops-atsc-3-0-support-fcc-broadcast-tv