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Jamaica Steps into NextGen TV

By: , July 19, 2022
Jamaica Steps into NextGen TV
Photo: Michael Sloley
Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, with responsibility for Information, Hon. Robert Morgan

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Minister without portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, with responsibility for Information, Hon. Robert Morgan, says he is pleased that Jamaica has become a pioneer in the adoption of digital switchover technology.

Jamaica’s adoption of the technology – Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) 3.0, also referred to as Next Generation TV (NextGen TV), will see the country transitioning from analogue to a digital television transmission (DTT) system.

“We have seen the vision, the potential and the opportunities, and I think it is a credit to our local companies and their leaders that they have recognised how important it is to leapfrog the technology and move forward ahead of other countries,” Mr. Morgan said.

The Minister was addressing the ATSC boot camp and seminar VIP dinner held at the Ocean Coral Spring Resort in Trelawny recently.

With the switching on of two NextGen TV transmitters by Television Jamaica (TVJ) in January and July, Jamaica has joined South Korea and the United States of America in pioneering the deployment of ATSC 3.0, the world’s latest and most advanced television transmission standard.

Mr. Morgan said he is very pleased with the evolution of this standard, which will see more Jamaicans having access to information to improve their lives.

“It will not only expand the offerings by our various television companies but, primarily of interest to me, it will improve how Jamaicans receive information, not just in terms of the…broadcast quality, but also in terms of the types of information that they receive,” he said.

The Information Minister stressed that he is of the belief that the adoption of this revolutionary technology is one of the most important developments since the country’s independence.

“The fact that it has begun to manifest itself, starting in January, in the 60th anniversary of our Independence, I think it is symbolic of how important it is to us as a people,” he said.

Minister Morgan further noted that this ATSC 3.0 technology is important to the continuing evolution of media and free-to-air television.

“I think it will also free up sections of the spectrum so we can have more services offered in the space,” he said.

He added that there will now be the ability to meet the consumer where they want the information, noting that “it is no longer a case where the consumer is coming to us; we have to go to them”.

Of note, Mr. Morgan pointed out that ATSC 3.0 will now see a rebalancing of the competitive space, and greater equity in the country, as it can facilitate the transfer of packets of information to a student in deep rural Jamaica, who otherwise would not be able to get that information.

“There are still communities in Jamaica that don’t have Internet, don’t have cable, that don’t have cellphone service and their only source of information is their television… but if we have digital switchover at a particular standard, that just democratises the whole ecosystem,” he said.

In the meantime, Minister Morgan thanked the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica for the work it has been doing from 2003 in laying the groundwork for the country’s digital switchover.

ATSC 3.0 is a consensus-driven collaborative effort in the implementation of a television standard that can deliver 4K (screen resolution) High Dynamic Range (HDR) video, enhanced dialogue, on-demand viewing options, advanced emergency messaging and better reception.

The ATSC seminar and bootcamp delivered an in-depth technical workshop for station engineers preparing for the launch of NextGen TV. An overview of ATSC 3.0 technology was also provided and the opportunities it can create to benefit Jamaicans were also explored. It targeted a broad audience, including regulators, engineers, station managers and government authorities.

The event, which was held over four days, was presented by ATSC in collaboration with the Broadcasting Commission of Jamaica, the Spectrum Management Authority and the Digital Switch Over (DSO) Regulatory and Technical Committee.

Last Updated: July 19, 2022

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