In a surprising turn of events, LG Electronics has announced its decision to withdraw support for the much-anticipated ATSC 3.0 standard in its televisions from next year onwards. This move comes as a result of the company’s concerns about a “challenging and uncertain patent landscape,” as reported by LightReading via ZatzNotFunny. ATSC 3.0, also known as Nextgen TV, is hailed as the next-generation broadcast format promising revolutionary features including 4K TV, high dynamic range (HDR), Dolby Atmos audio, and interactive applications, all available for free over-the-air.
ATSC 3.0 marks a significant advancement in broadcast technology. Unlike its predecessor, ATSC 1.0, which brought digital technology and HD video, ATSC 3.0 is an internet protocol-based system. This design enables seamless viewing of broadcast TV on modern connected devices, aligning television technology with contemporary digital standards.
The rollout of ATSC 3.0 has been gradual, with some popular budget TV brands such as Vizio and TCL opting not to support the standard. LG’s decision to abandon ATSC 3.0 support in its TVs follows a legal battle over patents with a company holding crucial ATSC 3.0 patents. The loss in this patent fight prompted LG to urge the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to examine how companies owning ATSC-related patents, but not adhering to reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) terms, can obstruct the introduction of advanced technologies in the market.
A spokesperson from LG emphasized the importance of a fair and inclusive patent landscape, stating, “Without a clear and fair framework for patent usage, the industry faces hurdles in bringing innovative technologies to consumers. We believe it is essential for companies to commit to reasonable terms, fostering an environment where innovation can thrive.”
For South African consumers eager to experience the benefits of ATSC 3.0, the options are limited. Sony’s A90K OLED, LG’s G2, and select models from Hisense and Samsung are among the few choices offering ATSC 3.0 support. The reluctance of major TV manufacturers to fully embrace ATSC 3.0 poses challenges for enthusiasts expecting a swift transition to the new broadcast standard.