LG isn't getting much support over its stance on NextGen ATSC 3.0

Mike Wheatley

If LG Electronics was hoping to win wider industry support when it said it would omit ATSC 3.0 NextGen TV tuners from its premium 2024 TV models, it is likely to end up disappointed. That’s because its fellow TV manufacturers have all signaled they intend to keep supporting the standard.


Earlier this week, it was revealed that LG had told the Federal Communications Commission that it had decided to stop integrating the new ATSC 3.0 tuners with its premium TVs next year. It means they won’t support the next gen, over-the-air broadcast signals that are slowly being rolled out in the U.S.

LG’s decision came after it lost a patent lawsuit against a Maryland-based company called Constellation Designs, which co-developed the ATSC 3.0 standard. It’s notable that Constellation is not part of the existing ATSC 3.0 patent pool handling fees, which collects royalties on behalf of those companies that contributed to the disparate intellectual property rights.

Constellation argued that its contributions were worth more money than it was currently getting, and a U.S. judge ultimately sided with it and increased the royalties due from $3 to $7 per ATSC 3.0 tuner.

At the time there was speculation that other TV makers might side with LG in the dispute, but that no longer appears to be likely.

Samsung Electronics told HDGuru that it refuses to comment on the position of its competitors, and will also not comment on its future roadmap. However, Samsung has supported ATSC 3.0 on virtually all of its premium TVs for several years already, as opposed to LG, which has only supported it on its highest-end products. That suggests Samsung is far more committed to ATSC 3.0 already, and would make it seem unlikely that it will change its plans.

Sony has also become an enthusiastic supporter of the standard, and has integrated ATSC 1.0/ATSC 3.0 tuners in most of its TV models for a number of years already. A spokesperson said NextGen ATSC 3.0 has been in almost every Sony TV model since 2021, and suggested it will continue to do so in future models.

Hisense was the most forthcoming, telling HDGuru that ATSC 3.0 will definitely be supported in its 2024 TV models. The company is something of a latecomer to the party, having only shipped its first NextGen TVs in the second half of 2022. In 2023, the ATSC 3.0 standard was a feature of all its higher-end models.

The ATSC 3.0 standard, which is marketed as NextGen TV, is a new broadcast signal standard that is attempting to merge traditional digital broadcasting with enhanced digital signal transmissions and internet connectivity. This will enable traditional broadcasters to deliver more functional and interactive content. The ATSC 3.0 standard promises better signal quality overall that’s powered by the orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing technology that’s already found in WiFi and mobile wireless networks. ATSC 3.0 also supports three-times as much bandwidth as ATSC 1.0, and includes the HEVC H.265 video codec, which is used for broadcasting 4K content with high dynamic range and Dolby Atmos surround sound.

NextGen TV also enables data-casting, emergency alerts and bi-directonal educational programming via a dedicated return channel, thanks to its hybrid internet support. Broadcasters can also take advantage of this to expand the available bandwidth to add more content features and better targeted ads.

It’s taking some time for NextGen TV to become the norm. Last year, the U.S. Consumer Technology Association said 3.2 million TVs with ATSC 3.0 support were sold in the country, representing 8% of the total amount. However, it says that figure will rise to 12% in 2023. By the end of the year, there will be a cumulative total of more than 10 million TVs with ATSC 3.0 tuners shipped in the U.S.

Advanced Television Systems Committee President Madelaine Noland said the standard is being embraced faster than any other technology deployment she can recall. “The impact of this patent situation is likely very limited, according to one prominent electronics industry market analyst,” Noland told HDGuru.