A group of industry leaders1 have developed a concept of temporary channel sharing that supports the creation of an initial ATSC 3.0 station known as the “Lighthouse Station.” The Lighthouse Station will be the first to provide ATSC 3.0 services in a market, and will have its ATSC 1.0 signal carried by other partners in the business agreement.
Over time, as more consumer devices with ATSC 3.0 are available, additional stations in the business lighthouse agreement (ideally 4-5 in total) may convert to ATSC 3.0. The remaining stations will carry the converted stations ATSC 1.0 services. When consumer adoption is high enough, all stations may opt to convert to ATSC 3.0. Another option would be to leave one ATSC 1.0 station on for an extended period to serve consumers not yet converted to ATSC 3.0 receivers.
There are many technical considerations for stations planning to negotiate these business arrangements, including types of encoders, IP outputs and links and video streaming formats.
However, the necessary technology options will be available to support collaborative sharing agreements. This is a very promising concept that may ultimately be used to create temporary business arrangements between partners to foster the timely deployment of ATSC 3.0.
1American Tower, Dielectric, Ericsson, GatesAir, Harmonic, Hitachi, Meintel Sgrignoli & Wallace, Pearl TV, Sinclair Broadcasting Group, and Triveni Digital