Sinclair Broadcast will test new broadcast standard in Dallas market

Sinclair Broadcast Group and several partners plan to build out the infrastructure to run a trial of Next Generation TV, a new mobile-friendly broadcast transmission standard, in the Dallas television market.

Hunt Valley-based Sinclair and partners Nextstar Media Group and Univision Local Media said Wednesday they had reached an agreement with American Tower Corp., a wireless and broadcast infrastructure provider, to build and operate single-frequency network sites to broadcast the signals around Dallas.

The standard will allow consumers to access unlimited live local and national news, sports and entertainment shows in ultra-high definition on tablets, laptops and smartphones without having to use cellular services.

The test is a first step toward a national launch of the updated transmission system, the 3.0 version of the industry’s current 1.0 digital standard, Sinclair said. The single-frequency network will allow for testing and deployment of next-generation services, which, besides mobile viewing, are expected to include improved over-the-air reception, zoned programming and advertising, broadcast services to vehicles and advanced emergency alert systems.

“With the FCC’s approval of the ATSC 3.0 standard, broadcasters are eager and ready to demonstrate its many capabilities, business opportunities and consumer benefits,” said Chris Ripley, president and CEO of Sinclair, in Wednesday’s announcement. “This is an exciting time for television broadcasters as we deploy new technologies that will allow us to provide advanced nationwide business models that benefit consumers and allow us to remain competitive.”

Nextstar Media owns, operates or programs 170 TV stations, including affiliates of NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, MyNetworkTV and The CW, while Univision runs Univision Network, the nation’s most-watched Spanish-language broadcast network in the country, and other networks.

Sinclair is awaiting the Federal Communication Commission’s decision on its proposed $3.9 billion takeover of Tribune Media, which would cement the company’s spot as the nation’s largest broadcaster, with control of 233 television stations that reach 72 percent of U.S. households.

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