Over-the-air very underdeveloped in the US?

Discussion in 'Over the Air TV By RabbitEars.Info' started by zeebre12, Jul 30, 2017.

  1. Why is OTA very poor in the US compared to the UK/Italy/Australia? The US has no platform like Freeview in the UK/Australia. Bar the main 6 broadcast networks there is very little. Over the last few years lots of subchannels have launched but nearly all are just classic TV from 60's/70's/80's and you can only get some in certain areas of the country. Whereas the UK has channels like Quest owned by Discovery showing How its Made/Wheeler Dealers/Mighty Ships and the recently launched Quest Red (Say Yes to the Dress/Animal Cops Houston/Cake Boss). I know most are repeats from Discovery/TLC but still. They also show first run shows like Alaska Haunting and Kindred Spirits. A&E also operate Blaze in the UK/Italy free showing Hardcore Pawn, American Restoration, Storage Wars. Sony also operate free kids channels like POP/Kix and Tinypop as well as other channel whereas in the US they only operate classic TV subchannel GetTV. Why are channels like this not available OTA in the US? These are all the channels available for free in the UK and what they show TV Guide | Freeview Italy/Australia also have a very developed free to air market with lots of channels like the channels available in the UK. With the increase in cord cutting will we see more investment in OTA?
    spongella likes this.
  3. Answer hasn't changed since the last time you asked. The USA has an extensive OTA system that is mostly owned by independent affiliates and not national broadcasters. The USA has a more extensive pay tv system than other countries and most of the programming is owned by the owners of those pay tv channels and they reserve it to fill time on their subscription channels. Perhaps it will change with the move to ATSC 3.0 but I doubt it. The local affiliates have been moving towards airing their own programming during non prime time hours, so they can keep more of the advertising revenue. You also have Netflix. Amazon, Acorn and other online providers picking up much of the foreign English language programming not picked up by subscription channels, so less for the OTA affiliates to look at purchasing.
  4. What is the ATSC really or what will happen?
  5. ATSC 1.0 is the current digital tv system. In the coming years broadcasters are voluntarily moving to ATSC 3.0 which is not backwards compatible with 1.0, but allows for hevc encoding and more efficient use of bandwidth. It will require new tuners in tvs/dvrs to receive.

    There are threads about it around here
    jamesjimcie likes this.
  6. What will happen regarding subchannels? Just more bandwidth for more channels? will we be able to get more subchannels in our areas?
  7. I get 51 OTA channels with little or no duplication.

    I suspect ATSC 3 will be a long time coming- over five years before it is widespread AND people commonly watch the ATSC 3 channel.

    And that's probably optimistic.
  8. I get 48 I think now, have a lot of them deleted down to 28 or so. Sinclair and Nexstar will be the ones making the big push for ATSC 3.0 other than that I don't see anything for at least 5 years either, probably more like 8-10.
  9. #8 spongella, Aug 1, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2017
    I think that over the last 30 years with the advent of cable TV, then satellite, then the Internet, generations who were brought up on TV using old fashioned rooftop antennas have slowly migrated to state of art reception. And subsequent generations, not being brought up with OTA probably have little awareness of the medium.

    Scan the rooftops of any city, 'nary a TV antenna graces the horizon but you'll see satellite dishes in their place. Back in the late 60's, while working at a local Radio-TV-Appliance store we put up many a Wineguard aerial with 300 Ohm twinlead and pointed it towards NYC. Those days are no longer with us. Not saying it's a bad thing though.
    It takes elbow grease and thinking to get an antenna outside/up on the roof, and the local TV- Radio repairmen mustered out of WW2 service with solid Radioman theory are deceased or too old.

    But OTA has it's advantages; it's free, regional, a good backup if pay services are lost, good for those on limited incomes,TV DX'ing still is possible, and it gives your mind a challenge when installing.
    jamesjimcie and norman881 like this.
  10. Cable and satellite started big in the U.S in the 80's and most took their bait. Back then it was reasonable $35 a month or so and lots to watch. The cable companies locked everyone in and started jacking up the prices so we have the mess we have today. There's no incentive to offer anything like freeview etc...when they've got folks right where they want them already. All about the $$$$$.
  11. Actually the opposite is true as has been pointed out numerous times here on the forum. Since the digital conversion OTA has been growing by approx 2 million households per year. Since 2013 the percent of households viewing via an antenna has grown from 7% to 17%. FCC estimates approx 54 million viewers now get their TV via an antenna. Studies also show that it's the younger population that is switching and people over 50 are more likely to subscribe to pay tv. Since people over 50 are seldom the target group for advertisers Nielson now monitors at least 15,000 antenna-only households. I currently receive 63 channels via OTA and I live out in the country, not in an urban area.
  12. But it is only a good backup if you're fully prepared to use it. Most don't even know where to start.
    DXing is going to be getting a lot harder as the repack progresses. Yes, there will be more low UHF and VHF, but there will also be quite a few more stations sharing the frequencies and more than a few engineered antenna arrays to prevent signals from going places they shouldn't. Let's not kid ourselves: DTV doesn't DX well and with the new, smaller playground, it isn't going to get easier.

    ATSC 3.0 may improve that situation but that's not going to be an option for quite a few years.
    jamesjimcie and spongella like this.
  13. DX'ng has been more challenging since the digital switch, granted. The hops are a lot shorter, and unlike analog where you could at least try to figure out a fading in/out fuzzy image, digital DX has frame freeze, and bizarre images when weak-signals occur. But one advantage is if the signal is strong enough a modern TV will display the channel/program information to give you direction where the station is located.

    As for the younger population switching to OTA, that's a new one to me. Not refuting the studies, just wondering how they are going about receiving OTA - the traditional home TV with roof antenna? Reason I am asking, last year I did a demo of OTA for my group at work. The younger folks were not too interested but the medium was new and amusing to them. Those over 40 acted nostalgic. I used a rotatable antenna inside the room for added effect. The cartoon shows were a hit, though.

    Thanks for the input guys.
    FTA4PA likes this.
  14. With the repack, there's likely to be more adjacency issues as stations will be only a channel away from each other in many cases where that isn't so much the case today.
    The younger population doesn't care much about linear TV I suppose.

    I expect that those who are interested are thinking about mud flap antennas as they're cheap and easy to set up. Of course when a backup to normal TV service is needed isn't when one wants to start looking for an alternative.
  15. I love my two mud flap antennas.
  16. Neither of my grown kids ages 32 and 37 have cable Tv. Most of my 7 grandkids have grown up with PBS OTA or like their parents watch streamed stuff. We have Sling at our house and 70 channels OTA
  17. The thing to keep in mind about FreeView is that is really isn't free. IN the UK there is an annual license fee that everyone pays just to own a tv.
  18. At the current exchange rate, that fee is just under $200/year or $32.41/month. Far from free.
  19. How does "just under" $200 a year equal $32.41 a month, which is nearly double that?...
  20. It doesn't.

    There are two payment plans: annual and monthly.
  21. The licence fee doesn't apply to just TV - you are legally obliged to pay it if you stream BBC to a computer.

    Given the quality programming that the BBC produce, many consider it good value!
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