Remember the DTV transition? Here comes another one

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The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) board, meeting in Washington in two weeks, will probably decide to go ahead with plans to develop a new standard for TV broadcasting in the next five to 10 years, reports TVNewsCheck’s Harry Jessell. That will enable stations to broadcast more programming, more reliably to more places. But for viewers, it probably will also mean another messy transition similar to the June 2009 switch from analog to digital.

Jim Kutzner, PBS’s chief engeineer and the ATSC’s next-gen planning committee, says it’s time. “If you don’t start now, many years down the road you’ll be in the same place.” He points out this move is a hedge against the FCC’s proposal to take big swatches of spectrum from broadcasters and make it available to wireless broadband providers. “If the broadcasters are consolidated down into a smaller amount of spectrum,” he says, “then we will have far less spectrum to transition from where we are today to where we want to be in the future.”