Originally Posted by nathill
What do you (and others) think about my off the wall theory that ATSC 3.0 will ultimately be about existing stations putting all their signals on fewer transmitters and selling their licenses?
I go back and forth on this one. On the one hand, in smaller markets, there might be some cost savings from doing that, though likely it'll be well past the 5-year minimum simulcast rule before tuner penetration is significant enough to sunset 1.0 transmissions. That pushes just a little cost savings off by ten or more years. But, hey, five stations agreeing on the signal with the best coverage and splitting the power bill might be attractive, assuming they can hold that coalition together until they can sunset.
On the other hand, maintaining the license is an opportunity to expand programming. Once penetration reaches that mythical "significant level" to afford 1.0 sunset, stations can revert to their own channels and use the additional bandwidth for all kinds of things. In a non-duopoly market, I'd be tempted to end the channel-sharing, go back to my own frequency. Even loading up with whatever diginets are around in 10 years would likely bring in more revenue than the cost savings realized from splitting an electric bill.
Another thing to consider is that they might never get a significant-enough penetration of tuners and revert back to 1.0. Look what happened to AM Stereo. Even HD Radio isn't delivering what it promised and it now has quite a bit of tuner penetration, mostly in recent-model cars. You see some subchannel ratings blips here and there, but not what the industry had hoped for (which is their own fault, but I digress). Heck, most car owners likely don't even know there ARE subchannels, let alone how to tune them. This could translate to owners of Next-Gen televisions, who just hook the thing to the cable box or Roku and go on about their lives.