ATSC 3.0 Coming to Hartford in October (3 Viewers)

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NashGuy

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The way I read it, the signal will be more robust even if you are using a 1.0 tuner.
You're right that 3.0 signals are more robust and less susceptible to interference than 1.0 signals, which are pretty fragile.

To be specific, 1.0 signals often suffer from something called multipath interference, where the signal waves reach the antenna from slightly different directions at split-second differences in arrival time. This can often happen when something is moving/changing shape anywhere near the antenna, such as wind blowing through trees, or an airplane passing low overhead, or car driving by the house. The result is that the 1.0 tuner produces a picture that momentarily pixellates and/or freezes and/or has an audio drop-out or distortion.

Fortunately, ATSC 3.0 does not suffer from multipath interference at all. In fact, it's designed to perform better when it receives and combines the same signal from multiple directions, which is why 3.0 stations have the option of placing multiple smaller broadcast towers around an area (almost like a cellular network) rather than just rely on one big tower near the center of the metro area.

So yes, viewers should be able to get easier, more reliable reception with 3.0 than 1.0, even with small indoor antennas. But unfortunately, those advancements in 3.0 do nothing to benefit viewers still using a 1.0 tuner. Nashville has had two 3.0 stations running for over a year now but I'm still just using a 1.0 tuner. Nothing has changed for me, except that various stations have changed their broadcast frequencies and all the channels have been crammed into fewer stations now that two of our local towers are doing 3.0 instead of 1.0. This, of course, has resulted in slightly worse picture quality due to greater compression of the 1.0 signals.
 

raoul5788

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Okay, I read it wrong. Too bad, it would have been nice to see improved ss.
 

NashGuy

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Where's the incentive for people to spend money to get something they perceive as little or no value added? I fear this will be like 3D all over again, or theater quality sound. They may remain niche products, as NashGuy said.
Yes, your comparison to 3D TV is exactly what I've been thinking may happen with ATSC 3.0. I could be wrong, of course. The challenge with 3.0 is that it needs collaborative support from three or four groups to achieve lift-off and succeed: local stations, national broadcast networks, TV/electronics manufacturers, and the government.

So far, the only group showing any real commitment to 3.0 is local station owners (mainly Sinclair and Nexstar, the two largest).

But unlike the previous analog-to-digital (1.0) transition, the government has not issued a mandate that TV manufacturers must include 3.0 tuners or that stations must adopt it. And for those stations that do adopt it, there's no mandated cut-off of their 1.0 signal. Also, there's no government subsidies for tuners/converter boxes for consumers. So the whole thing is voluntary, which isn't necessarily bad, it just means that all the other players have to work together to spur consumer adoption.

As I said, only a very few of the most expensive model TVs from the top 3 premium brands have opted to include 3.0 tuners so far. Aside from that, the only option for consumers right now is the external HDHomeRun Flex 4K (with 2 hybrid 3.0/1.0 tuners and 2 1.0-only tuners) for $200. We'll see if that changes with the 2022 TV models.

As for the broadcast networks, there have been rumors (nothing stated on-the-record) in the past few years that a couple of them (I think Fox and maybe CBS) said they plan to make their content available to their 3.0 affiliate stations in 1080p HDR. (The consensus seems to be that there won't be enough shared bandwidth on 3.0 stations, at least in the next few years, to support 4K, and most 4K TVs do a good enough job of upscaling high-quality 1080p HDR so as not to make much perceivable difference by consumers versus true 4K HDR.) But so far that hasn't come to pass. (And if/when it does, you can be sure that the networks will also make those shows available in true 4K HDR on their own streaming services, e.g. ABC's Hulu, NBC's Peacock, CBS's Paramount+.)

OTOH, the networks have shown at least a bit of support for 3.0 by broadcasting a few of their owned-and-operated affiliate stations in 3.0; Fox and CBS each have a handful of their O&O stations on 3.0 now while ABC appears to have one. NBC doesn't appear to have any yet. Perhaps when ATSC 3.0 launches in the Los Angeles and New York City markets, where the big 4 networks have their flagship O&O stations (e.g. WABC, KNBC, etc.), we'll see the networks step up with more support for what 3.0 can do by making their primetime shows and sports available in 1080p HDR with Atmos audio and perhaps interactive features like viewer polls. Without that level of support from the networks, it's hard to see consumers caring enough about the new format to seek it out.
 
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Scott Greczkowski

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Are the 3.0 tuners that much more expensive than a 1.0?
As stated above only the new expensive TV's have them built in. The only stand alone tuner available at the moment is the HD Homerun Flex units. And that's not a real tuner as it does not hook up to your tv and does not support all the 3.0 features such as interactive and subscription tv.

Hopefully we start to see real tuners that plug into your TV via HDMI soon.
 

raoul5788

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As stated above only the new expensive TV's have them built in. The only stand alone tuner available at the moment is the HD Homerun Flex units. And that's not a real tuner as it does not hook up to your tv and does not support all the 3.0 features such as interactive and subscription tv.

Hopefully we start to see real tuners that plug into your TV via HDMI soon.
I meant the cost of the tuners in tvs. Would it cost that much more to make them 3.0?
 

dweber

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This box looks like it might be good, if it does come to fruition:

Reserve Your ZapperBox M1 Now

Zapperbox keeps on pushing their release date further out. They now say between December 2021 and March 2022. Plus their price keeps increasing. It now costs $329 to reserve a box when it ships.

Silicondust HDHomeRun Flex costs $199.99 and it is currently available.

Personally rather than spend that much money for an external tuner box I would rather replace one of my older TVs with a new Sony XBR65X900H TV that has an ATSC 3.0 tuner and Dolby vision.


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cosmo_kramer

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Zapperbox keeps on pushing their release date further out. They now say between December 2021 and March 2022. Plus their price keeps increasing. It now costs $329 to reserve a box when it ships.

Silicondust HDHomeRun Flex costs $199.99 and it is currently available.

Personally rather than spend that much money for an external tuner box I would rather replace one of my older TVs with a new Sony XBR65X900H TV that has an ATSC 3.0 tuner and Dolby vision.


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I would replace my family room TV also if it were older. But, I just bought a new one last year, so that's not happening.....
 

navychop

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Let us not confuse what we might prefer to what these companies will shove down our throats.

I’ve come to accept that ATSC 3 is going to replace ATSC 1. Because the stations see a revenue stream in it that they don’t have today. And most viewers won’t see a difference, as they use cable or satellite.
 
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NashGuy

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As stated above only the new expensive TV's have them built in. The only stand alone tuner available at the moment is the HD Homerun Flex units. And that's not a real tuner as it does not hook up to your tv and does not support all the 3.0 features such as interactive and subscription tv.

Hopefully we start to see real tuners that plug into your TV via HDMI soon.
Network-connected "gateway" tuners like the HD HomeRun Flex are actually what the NAB showed on their website and elsewhere when they began touting the concept of ATSC 3.0 five or six years ago since those tuners can serve up OTA TV to any wifi-connected screen in the house, not just smart TVs but also tablets, phones and computers. I remember their conceptual artwork/copy also suggesting that the user might plug a USB hard drive into the gateway tuner for DVR features. (Speaking of which, we know that ATSC 3.0 allows broadcasters to embed copyright protection; it's an open question if 3.0 takes off if the big networks will allow their programs to be recorded or, if so, perhaps not allow the ads to be skipped. In exchange for DVR capability, they may even require the user to connect the tuner to the internet for data collection purposes and to insert targeted ads during playback of recordings. Who knows.)
 

NashGuy

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Let us not confuse what we might prefer to what these companies will shove down our throats.

I’ve come to accept that ATSC 3 is going to replace ATSC 1. Because the stations see a revenue stream in it that they don’t have today. And most viewers won’t see a difference, as they use cable or satellite.
The stations are *hoping* for a revenue stream in ATSC 3.0. Meanwhile, TV manufacturers mainly just see added costs, not additional profits/sales.

And we don't know that MVPDs (pay TV distributors) are going to pay anything more for the right to carry stations' 3.0 signals with enhanced picture and sound quality. (As you say, a big majority of Americans watch the broadcast nets via pay TV, not free OTA.) Although, for that matter, stations don't necessarily even have to broadcast in 3.0 to offer enhanced feeds to MVPDs. Many NBC local affiliates, including ours here in Nashville, did that very thing during this summer's Tokyo Olympics when they transmitted an alternate 4K or 4K HDR version of their primetime feed to Comcast and YouTube TV. I see no reason why we won't some more of that happen with pay TV systems capable of doing it (i.e. managed IPTV and OTT systems, probably not QAM or satellite) and such developments can be completely separated from ATSC 3.0.

One of the big revenue streams from 3.0 is supposed to (eventually) be data-enabled broadband-delivered targeted ads for those viewers who have their 3.0 tuner connected to the internet. But Comcast, Charter and other pay TV operators already have their own targeted ad platforms and I can't really see them letting the broadcasters run their own ad platforms through the pay TV operator's STB/app. Everything online is always about controlling the UI, collecting the user data, and handling the targeted ads.
 
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navychop

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I think it’s not so much getting more dollars out of cablecos and satcos. I think the holdback is getting those cos to carry the increased amount of programming ATSC 3 allows.
 

Brct203

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Looks like NBC will also be on the stream as well, that's all 5 major CT stations on one ATSC 3.0 stream.
does ATSC 3.0 use HEVC? 5 HD channels in one stream sounds like they might have to compromise a bit on quality...

As far as my take on adoption of ATSC 3.0, i'm a bit skeptical... In order for some new technology to be successful, it usually needs to either:
- offer vast improvement in quality or convenience over its predecessor (like CD over tapes/LP, DVD over VHS, etc...)
- be mandated by governments (and that does not always work)
- be reasonably cheap and widely available
- if the above conditions are not really met, backward compatibility can be enough inventive that allows the new product to simply replace the old one, like DVD players over Cd players, or BluRay over DVD players

Back in the 80's, when European countries were preparing for Direct-to-Home satellite broadcasting, the governments of several countries came up with a new standard that was better than PAL and SECAM, and of course much better than grandpa NTSC. It was called D2MAC and was a hybrid analog/digital format. It worked well, but it was expensive. Its picture quality was great but still SD and not all that much better than a good reception in PAL or SECAM. It did get some traction on some scandinavian satellite service in the 90's, as well as on a French satellite that got very few subscribers (because the same channels were available OTA...). So it failed to meet conditions 1, 3 and 4. It was originaly mandated by the French and German governments, but the mandate was dropped in the face of the real competition from SES with its Astra satellites (in PAL format).

With ATSC 3.0, without an FCC mandate to include it in all new TV sets, I think its only real chance is it becomes cheap enough that manufacturers just adopt it as "more functionality for the same cost", and broacasters play along and maybe we get to a point where some channels are available only in 3.0
 
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Scott Greczkowski

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Yes it uses HEVC. Even with 5 HD channels on one carrier it should look just as good if not better than the current HD channels on ATSC 1.0.


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