The FCC has voted 3-2 to endorse the new ATSC 3.0 TV standards. Already endorsed by many networks and the National Association of Broadcasters, the new voluntary standard is now in active tests in parts of the United States.
The new standard will change broadcast network presentation – opening up additional bandwidth to allow higher-grade 4K picture, enhanced audio and interactive layers not currently offered by over-the-air networks (such as multiple angles of live sporting events).
The endeavor aims to make over-the-air broadcast TV more competitive with internet-delivered or pay-TV offerings. The new standard would also let broadcasters activate a TV set that is turned off to send emergency alerts, and also raises significant privacy concerns by giving advertisers dramatically more data about viewing habits.
Because of simulcasts planned during a five-year transition period, current viewers with current TVs will be unaffected. The decision comes hours after the other landmark decision this week over local TV ownership rules.