Sinclair Broadcast Group Pushing New Cable Platform To Compete With Streaming Services

Nick Givas | Media And Politics Reporter

CEO of Sinclair Broadcast Group Chris Ripley said his company has launched a new platform to modernize the cable industry in an effort to compete with internet streaming services.

Sinclair is one of the largest broadcasting companies in the world and owns more television stations than anyone else in the country.

Its new system, ATSC 3.0, will combine OTA (over-the-air) television broadcasting with OTT (over-the-top) internet streaming to offer a new way of consuming content. (RELATED: Sinclair CEO Thinks Local News Network Will Survive Internet Surge)

“OTA has been around for 80 or so years. Most people see it as an antiquated way of consuming video,” Ripley told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “And based on today’s technology, they’re right. What we’ve championed is the next generation of the over the air standard.”

“With our new platform you can be in motion while you receive your data and can access services like Amazon Prime and Netflix while you’re on the move,” he continued. “We’ll also be able to transmit a larger amount of data to our viewers.”

When OTT and OTA converge, “customers will be able to have the same type of experience they have with streaming services, without having to cut the cord on cable,” Ripley said.

“There’s no reason why that can’t exist in normal TV,” he said. “We can use both over the air and the public internet to make for an even better experience than using an app.”

He also claimed the new format wouldn’t have any buffering issues and could tolerate an unlimited number of users. Ripley said synchronization is especially important for sports-lovers, as well as any other viewers of live events, for a high-quality stream.

Ripley stressed the new format is about improving the user’s overall experience and that the new interface is free.

“It’s about the user experience,” Ripley told TheDCNF. “It’s about the user being able to do things on demand or DVR or to have interactive overlays or integrating social media. It’s about being in motion while receiving content on your mobile device or tablet.”

Sinclair is also currently in negotiations to merge with media company Tribune, but state attorneys general in Iowa, Rhode Island and Illinois have come out against the deal. Ripley said there’s no reason to think the merger won’t proceed, despite the vocal outcry.

“We are making progress with the DOJ in terns of getting our plan approved,” he said. “There has been a lot of news flow around state AG’s and various people who have commented. It sort of becomes an invitation for everyone to come out and comment on your deal — It’s just the way the process goes, but we don’t expect any of that to impact our progress.”

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