The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) has begun work on ATSC 3.0, which will eventually supplant today’s ATSC 2.0 standard – and it won’t be backwards compatible. That may mean another transition someday like the one from analog (NTSC) to digital (ATSC) a few years ago. Or, perhaps more likely since that transition was really about reclaiming broadcast frequencies than television itself, ATSC 2.0 & 3.0 will live side by side, with newer services introduced on 3.0, and a gradual transition.
But the ‘about’ in the subject of the post is quite relative, since we’re talking years before ATSC 3.0 is finalized. Keep in mind that the ATSC was formed in 1982, and the first standard was accepted by the FCC in 1996. Granted, developing the first generation of the standard was a lot more work, and a lot more contentious, than developing the next generation should be. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised to see ATSC 3.0 emerge closer to 2020 than 2012.