ATSC 3.0 Coming to Hartford in October

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NashGuy

SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 24, 2009
1,019
521
Nashville, TN USA
Not sure if you're ignoring my point about the TV makers not ringing the bell marketing wise until ATSC 3.0 actually delivers something interesting on purpose or not. Eventually when you can do "cool new stuff" with ATSC then the TV makers will have an excuse to push it. Before that, they risk pissing off consumers. It's in a tiny fraction of markets right now, it's not time to make a huge hubub about it yet

It's the classic chicken-and-egg problem. TV manufacturers don't want to push a feature (which increases the build cost of their product) that no one cares about, but the national networks that produce the high-value content carried by stations have little incentive to support ATSC 3.0 when hardly any consumers have equipment that can take advantage of it (and even if they did, only a sliver would use it anyhow since only about 1 in 6 households watch OTA TV). The only group that *really* wants ATSC 3.0 to succeed are the non-network-owned local station groups (e.g. Nexstar, Sinclair, etc.) but, without a government mandate to force a conversion from 1.0 to 3.0, there's really not all that much they can do to spur its adoption.

I suspect the networks and even the local stations couldn't care less about 4K. If I were a betting man this is what I think the order of priorities are of what the TV stations want out of ATSC 3:
a. targeted advertising
b. paid services
c. increased signal reliability
d. ability to cram in more subchannels
.....
z. high quality 4K broadcasts
Except that "4K" has been a main buzzword that the National Association of Broadcasters has used in association with ATSC 3.0 since they began promoting the concept several years ago. If stations had the bandwidth and the networks were willing to offer them sports and primetime content in 4K, you can bet that they'd carry it. But, as I say, bandwidth is especially limited as long as its being divided between 1.0 and 3.0, forcing tower sharing. So 1080p HDR is the best one can hope for via 3.0 at any point in the foreseeable future.

The real value to local stations of having high-quality feeds (4K, HDR, etc.) is in being able to sell them to MVPDs for higher retrans rates. That's where the money is for local stations, not so much in free OTA broadcasting and the incremental ad revenue those viewers provide. That said, local stations could theoretically offer higher quality feeds to MVPDs than they broadcast OTA. This past summer we saw many NBC locals offer live feeds of the Olympics in 4K to certain MVPDs like Comcast and YouTube TV, even though they weren't even doing an ATSC 3.0 OTA broadcast. So those two things aren't necessarily linked.

As for targeted advertising via 3.0, yeah, I agree that that's of interest to stations but they'll likely need a minimum critical mass of 3.0 viewers before such an effort would be feasible/profitable. And of course, that feature has zero marketing appeal to consumers, so it does nothing to promote uptake.

My point here was that one less piece of hardware to plug in and configure. Yeah, an antenna with a networked tuner in it is a gateway tuner, but everyone has to have an antenna if they're doing OTA. A networked tuner is just one more hassle to setup physically. If it's integrated into the antenna, then that hassle is gone and the barrier to entry is no different than just an antenna and a TV

Given that an antenna easily connects to a gateway/external tuner by just screwing in a coaxial cable, I doubt we'll see an antenna physically combined with a tuner. The tuner will need to connect to power, which limits where it can be placed. Better to have the antenna completely separate so that any length of coaxial cable (including pre-existing wiring already in the walls) can be used between the antenna and tuner, allowing for optimal antenna placement for signal reception.
 
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JosephB

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 21, 2004
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Atlanta
Except that "4K" has been a main buzzword that the National Association of Broadcasters has used in association with ATSC 3.0 since they began promoting the concept several years ago
4K is what they'll advertise to consumers to get them to buy new TVs, but the quality of that 4K video will be garbage. They will cram as many subchannels, or, paid content, into their allocations that there will be no bandwidth for a quality 4K HDR signal

The actual reason they want people to switch to ATSC 3.0, though, isn't because they care about the quality of their video. It's because they can then do targeted advertising, DRM, and paid services
 
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NashGuy

SatelliteGuys Pro
Mar 24, 2009
1,019
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Nashville, TN USA
4K is what they'll advertise to consumers to get them to buy new TVs, but the quality of that 4K video will be garbage. They will cram as many subchannels, or, paid content, into their allocations that there will be no bandwidth for a quality 4K HDR signal
Yeah, they're continuing to talk about "4K HDR" but, as I said, the best we can probably hope for is 1080 HDR and we'll see if that even happens or if it's given enough bandwidth to look good.

ATSC 3.0 launched today in Houston and it's the biggest launch in any market so far in terms of the number of stations participating: ten, including the local ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, PBS, CW, My Network TV, Telemundo, Univision and Unimas. So all the major English and Spanish broadcast nets.

The press release put out about it mentions "Stunning 4K, High Dynamic Range (HDR) video" but of course all 10 channels being carried on 3.0 are in 1080p. They're only using two towers, so it's five 1080p channels per tower, which is pretty tight if they're keeping the S/N ratio and coverage area similar to a 1.0 tower.

The actual reason they want people to switch to ATSC 3.0, though, isn't because they care about the quality of their video. It's because they can then do targeted advertising, DRM, and paid services
In order to make any money off targeted advertising and paid services, they're going to have to get a sufficient number of folks actually using ATSC 3.0. I really don't see much there that's going to compel folks to buy a new external tuner, which means that the transition from 1.0 to 3.0 will be a slow one that depends on folks replacing existing TVs with new ones that happen to contain a 3.0 tuner. Based on what I've read about TV replacement cycles, I'd be surprised if 50% of the TVs in the US that are used for OTA TV viewing will have a 3.0 tuner in them before 2028. And that's an optimistic timeframe.



 

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