Broadcasters participating in the Phoenix Model Market launch of next-generation TV service today announced the addition of a Single Frequency Network in Arizona’s largest media market, a move that will give enhance reception for viewers and broaden the reach of broadcasters transmitting to NEXTGEN TV sets.
KASW, a CW affiliate owned by The E.W. Scripps Company, has put into service one of the first Single Frequency Network (SFN) installations, with the assistance of the Phoenix Model Market participants. The Federal Communications Commission first approved use of an SFN in the Phoenix market in 2018.
Hitachi-Comark is providing the transmission equipment required at both the South Mountain and Shaw Butte SFN node locations. The tower and transmission facilities are provided by American Tower Corporation (NYSE: AMT). Both companies have provided tremendous supportive help in making this installation a success.
ETRI, (Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute) as well as manufacturers, Cleverlogic, Agos and KaiMedia, based in South Korea, will provide the test equipment as well as technical support required to calibrate the SFN.
“A Single Frequency Network makes use of multiple strategically placed transmitters placed on the air within the coverage area on the same channel and carrying the same services. This increases the signal level available for over-the-air viewing and decreases the viewer’s need for a more complex receiving antenna, while enabling future use of mobility services to NEXTGEN TV-equipped devices as found in automobiles. The objective results of SFN performance will be shared with the broadcast industry, and this project will truly be an International effort,” explained Pearl TV engineer David Folsom, who has worked with the TV broadcasters as well as the equipment manufacturers to make the Phoenix SFN a reality.
KASW is acting as the host station, with sharing agreements to carry the simulcast of its sister station, the Scripps-owned KNXV (ABC), as well as KSAZ (Fox) and KUTP (Fox Xtra) as next-generation TV broadcasts. All these services are carried within the same physical channel but they will appear as their originally assigned channels on all NEXTGEN TV receivers. Television manufacturers are now offering more than 20 different models of NEXTGEN TV sets from the industry’s most popular Smart TV brands.
Since it was first announced almost three years ago, the collaborative effort to operate the Phoenix Model Market has both provided a test bed for development of next-generation TV service and as a research location to gauge consumer interest in the new capabilities of the ATSC 3.0 transmission standard. Designed to bring together broadcast with broadband content, the new broadcasts are capable of delivering up to 4K Ultra HD, video with High Dynamic Range and Wide Color Gamut, and an immersive audio experience with Voice Plus control over foreground and audio elements. The result is a much more lifelike and impactful viewing experience, with the additional capability of streamed local content delivered by local broadcasters.