The First FCC Approved Public ATSC 3.0 OTA TV Stations Will Go Live on July 1

Last week, the FCC started to approve applications from TV stations that want to switch over to ATSC 3.0 OTA TV. Now the FCC has approved a low-power broadcast in Portland, WatchTV, to start offering ATSC 3.0 service in K28GG-D of Medford, K14SC-D of Ashland, and K25GA-D of Redmond/Prineville on July 1.

This will be the first set of stations to go live with the ATSC 3.0 for public use inside the United States. WatchTV already had an experimental license to allow testing of ATSC 3.0. Now it will be able to go full time.

There are some ATSC 3.0 tuners out there, but broadcasters have promised more options are coming soon.

Here is everything you need to know about ATSC 3.0:

What is ATSC 3.0?

ATSC 3.0 is a new standard that will bring a long list of new features to over-the-air TV. Two main features that will excite cord cutters are 4K HDR picture with better sound and better over-the-air TV coverage.

There are also other great features such as detailed custom weather alerts and Internet active news stories.

Will you need a new antenna?

No, you will not need a new antenna. An antenna is a dumb device that picks up all signals out there: FM, AM, TV, etc. The chips in your TV decode the signals and display the images. Just like how a 40-year-old antenna in your attic still works with the new digital TV, today’s antennas will work with 3.0 TV.

Will you need a new TV?

The good news is no, but you may need a new box. The FCC requires TV stations that move to 3.0 OTA to offer the current OTA standard for five years after the move. That means if a station moves to 3.0 OTA TV next year, the day they turn on 3.0 OTA the clock starts for five years to still offer the current standard.

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