A public television station in New York City has turned on the region’s first ATSC 3.0 signal, which will carry the station’s main digital TV channel and a simulcast of five others.
On Monday, PBS member station WLIW (Channel 21) fired up its ATSC 3.0 signal, which is also known by the consumer brand name NextGen TV. In addition to simulcasting its main ATSC 1.0 signal, WLIW will also serve as the host broadcaster for simulcasts of WCBS-TV (Channel 2, CBS), WNBC (Channel 4, NBC), WNET (Channel 13), WNJU (Channel 47, Telemundo) and WMBQ-CD (Channel 46). WLIW and WNET are public broadcast outlets that share common ownership; WNBC and WNJU are owned by Comcast’s NBC Universal.
“This is broadcast television history in the making,” Neal Shapiro, the president and CEO of the WNET Group, said in a statement. “We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with WNBC, WNJU and WCBS on ATSC 3 as we navigate the challenges and opportunities of this digital evolution. I’m confident this partnership will ensure the best possible outcome for our New York area viewers.”
The launch of NextGen TV in the New York City region marks one of the rare instances of a public television station serving as the lighthouse broadcaster for ATSC 3.0 signals. In most other areas, a commercial broadcast station operates as the NextGen TV lighthouse.
WNET Group was chosen last year to operate the market’s first ATSC 3.0 signal, and quickly organized plans for a new transmitter and related equipment to be installed at One World Trade Center. The five other channels that are transmitting on WLIW’s NextGen TV signal also broadcast from that site.
It wasn’t immediately clear why the market’s other major broadcasters like WNYW (Channel 5, Fox), WABC (Channel 7, ABC) and WWOR-TV (Channel 9) weren’t part of the inaugural NextGen TV test broadcast.