Howard U’s WHUT Serves as Hub for DC’s NEXTGEN TV Broadcast Collaborative


Howard University public television channel WHAT is called upon to play a leading role in bringing the NEXTGEN TV in the DC area when the service launches in November.

The service will deliver “high quality video up to 4K including HDTV, immersive sound with Dolby interactive features and capabilities ”, according to Sean Plater, Managing Director of WHUT. After a series of discussions with other stations, WHUT was chosen as the “flagship station” to “bring the service to life,” Plater said.

It will provide service to four other stations in the Washington, DC market in addition to its own station, including WTTG, WJLA, WUSA, and CMR. The Pearl Television The broadcast group manages the NEXTGEN TV Broadcast Collaborative at Howard University.

The station has devoted considerable effort to “structuring and implementing the service,” according to Plater. He is particularly excited about the potential opportunities with data, including “emergency alerts, smart city apps, and educational apps,” he said. Plater notes that the service will be better able to target localized content to viewers in certain DC communities. As Plater says, the development process “is evolving day by day and we see this as an exciting opportunity to better serve our audiences across DC, Maryland and Virginia.”

“WHUT has also worked with the [National Association of Broadcasters] to create an innovation laboratory, ”he adds. “In collaboration with the NAB, WHUT offered a series of seminars teaching Howard University students about the NEXTGEN TV standard, and in particular its impact on their lives.”

Much of the effort is designed to “develop the next generation of diffusion technologists with Howard University,” according to Sam Mathény, CTO and Executive Vice President of NAB.

In fact, Plater reports that “two Howard University students will spend a year at NAB exploring the NEXTGEN TV apps. Already, a student application is being tested in the lab.

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