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Baltimore TV stations launch new digital broadcast standards

Six television stations serving Baltimore began broadcasting Friday with ATSC 3.0, commonly known as NextGen TV, a new digital broadcast technology.

ABC affilitate WMAR-TV, NBC affiliate WBAL-TV, Fox affiliate WBFF, CW affiliate WNUV and Maryland Public Television affiliates WMPT and WMPB became some of the first stations in the country to broadcast with the new format. Baltimore is the 27th market nationally to introduce ATSC 3.0 broadcasting.

The participating stations have cooperated to ensure that current programming remains available to all viewers, regardless of whether their television service is provided over-the air or by a cable or satellite company. Antenna viewers can rescan their TV sets to ensure full service.

ATSC 3.0 is designed to be upgradable so a viewer’s television advances with the latest technology. Features available on ATSC 3.0 will vary by device and by broadcaster as commercial service becomes available in local markets. With ATSC 3.0, viewers can receive 4K high dynamic range video, movie theater quality sound, added voice clarity with Voice +, consistent volume across channels, enhanced Internet content on demand and advanced emergency alerting functions to keep viewers better informed.

BitPath, which is developing new data broadcasting services, led the planning process and coordinated efforts across the six stations. WBFF and WNUV will be charter members of the BitPath data broadcast network, launching later this year.

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