The NAB Punts On Streaming EAS Alerts

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has filed comments with the FCC that indicate it’s just too hard to for its members to deliver Emergency Alert System (EAS) notices via streaming apps:

the web-based architecture and infrastructure of streaming services make it impractical for such providers to monitor for EAS alerts or distribute alerts to only the areas and consumers for which an alert is pertinent. Moreover, it remains unclear how the FCC could extend the EAS rules to largely unregulated Internet streamers or ensure the reliability and security of EAS over the Internet. Therefore, NAB respectfully submits that the Commission should report to Congress that enabling EAS alerts to consumers provided through the Internet would be too complex and likely infeasible at this time.

Of course, it’s the NAB’s job to lobby on behalf of its constituents and solving this is an expense they’d obviously rather not incur. So maybe there’s a certain degree of disingenuity…

But the NAB does have a point – there are a lot of apps, of varying business sizes and nationalities, which could not or would not partake. So, what was left unsaid is that maybe the major device manufacturers (Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV) and ISPs (who already participate via their TV services) should collectively shoulder this burden. Much in the way smartphones and wireless carriers deliver EAS alerts, irrespective of which app we’re in at any given moment.

However, beyond the technical implications, what fascinates me here is the societal domino effect as a significant and growing percent of the populace moves on from (or never invested in) legacy media consumption trends. For example, my five year old daughter doesn’t even know what live television is (and her nearly 50 year old daddy has largely moved on).

3 thoughts on “The NAB Punts On Streaming EAS Alerts”

  1. But TiVo still delivers EAS alerts on recorded shows because it receives the alerts and displays them no matter what it is currently showing – whether its a recording or live (though I don’t use apps on Tivo often enough to know whether the EAS alerts interfere with these). Seems like, as you said, there should be something that the devices themselves should also be involved in handling — maybe even exclusively involved in handling.

  2. CableCARD spec requires device support of EAS, including out-of-band. So, yeah, my “live” word choice above maybe isn’t the best language and “linear” may be better. :) I assume streaming box manufacturers would push back as NAB is, but it’s probably the correct location to tackle this.

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