Teenager girl with remote control laying down and watching tv eating popcorn.

The Truth About 3.0 OTA TV: We Break Down the Rumors

Teenager girl with remote control laying down and watching tv eating popcorn.This week the FCC approved the new 3.0 OTA TV standard. This was quickly followed by a host of negative stories about 3.0 OTA TV and many questions.

We want to break down some of the most common rumors around 3.0 OTA TV.

First, let’s talk about negative news. The truth is negative stories are profitable. A story that says everything is great will not get the traffic a doom and gloom story will.

Second, take a look at who is running these negative stories. Often they have connections to the cable TV industry. Cable is understandably concerned about 3.0 TV. With 3.0 you will get better reception, 4K, more channels, and a host of other features that will make cutting the cord easier than ever. That is definitely something cable does not want to have happen.

So here are some of the most common rumors broken down.

If you would rather watch my breakdown you can find a YouTube video about OTA 3.0 here:

Rumor: You Will 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.

Rumor: You Will Need Internet to Use 3.0 OTA

No you do not need Internet to use 3.0 OTA TV. The new 3.0 OTA does have some similarities to home Internet in the way it transmits data, but it is not Internet.

Your 3.0 compatible TV or tuner box will have everything it needs for you to watch OTA TV without the need for home Internet. So even without internet you can enjoy everything you get with your antenna now and more.

Could 3.0 use the internet? Yes if you set it up 3.0 could use the internet to access additional content etc. For example, clicking on a ad could open up a web browser for you to buy the product etc.

Yet you will NOT need an internet connection to watch 3.0 OTA TV.

Rumor: 3.0 OTA TV Can Turn on Your TV

This one is partly true. 3.0 OTA TV does have the ability to turn your TV into a weather radio. If you set 3.0 OTA up for weather alerts, you can use your TV as a weather radio to receive weather alerts. This is an opt-in feature that will work just like weather radios do now, but it will be more accurate.

If you turn on the alerts feature instead of getting alerts to full counties, the new 3.0 OTA TV standard can send weather alters to specific areas (or one town) that are (is) being affected (think tornados, hurricanes).

This works because of the ability to use GPS location with a weather alert system for far more accurate alerts.

Rumor: 3.0 OTA TV Will Have Annoying Custom Ads

This one is partly true, because 3.0 OTA TV will allow for area-specific ads. Just like with the weather radio, TV stations can target ads to a town. Now you will just see ads from your town or area.

Sling TV and YouTube TV already use targeted ads. This helps them keep their prices low to offer more content. The same will be true with 3.0 OTA TV. Advertisers can buy ads only for the areas they want the ad to be seen in. They no longer need to buy ads for a massive area.

This will save advertisers money and help TV stations make more money to expand their OTA content.

Rumor: You Will Need a New TV

This one is not true. 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.

LG is already selling TVs in South Korea with 3.0 TV tuners. South Korea has had 3.0 for some time, and LG is adding the new 3.0 TV tuners to TVs they sell in the United States next year.

If you don’t want to buy a new TV you won’t have to to enjoy 3.0 OTA TV. Several companies say they will have dongles or set-top boxes for sale soon that will let you connect your antenna to the box and the box to your HDMI port on your TV.

With that said we are looking at six to seven years before anyone is forced to upgrade their TVs or devices.

Rumor 3.0 Tracks What You Watch

This rumor is true. Cable TV also tracks what you watch for ratings. With the current standard, companies tried to do surveys, but there is no good way to track OTA viewership.

Now 3.0 OTA TV will report back what you are watching, which will help keep your favorite shows on the air. Most OTA services, such as DIRECTV NOW, and almost all cable networks do this.

Most services allow you to opt out of tracking, and I would assume that 3.0 OTA would be the same.

Why Should You Get 3.0 OTA TV?

There are several reasons to get 3.0 OTA TV. First, it offers free 4K TV. Second, it has a far better range meaning people who struggle to get OTA TV now will find it easier in the future.

Third, you will be able to interact with TV. For example, if you want to learn more about a TV news story, you can click on your screen to read more or see an in-depth video.

Fourth, the ability to use your TV as a weather radio with far better warnings is a huge selling point. (Especially if you live in tornado country like I do.)

With 3.0 OTA TV you will get more over-the-air TV stations, because the new standard does a better job managing the spectrum. In theory you could go from 4 stations per channel to up to 99. So channel 4 could be 4.99, but in reality it’s probably more like 50 or so subchannels max before quality breaks down.

There you go… breaking down the top rumors around 3.0 OTA TV.

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60 Responses to The Truth About 3.0 OTA TV: We Break Down the Rumors

  1. Unique_Username99 November 18, 2017 at 9:43 am #

    I seriously doubt you will see 4K over ATSC 3.0. That will defeat the purpose. You could have ONE channel at 4K and that’s it. Why do that when you can have 3 channels at 1080p. Or one 1080p and four 720p. Or a half dozen 720/1080i channels? Or various combinations. More channels = more ad money. Especially with the TV spectrum being culled down to channels 14-36 and in many areas channels 14-20 are useless because they are used for land mobile. ABC/NBC/ FOX on one channel CBS/CW/PBS on another. Can’t do that if they are going to be 4K

    • Cord Cutters News November 18, 2017 at 11:05 am #

      Not true with 3.0 OTA you could have multiple 4K channels according to people we talked with in the industry. 3.0 does a much better job managing the bandwidth and as we said in the post you could have up to 99 sub channels because of how efficient 3.0 is.

      • Scott Larson November 18, 2017 at 8:02 pm #

        99 subchannels would drop each channel’s bitrate to a maximum of 575 Kbps, and that’s at the minimum robustness setting (i.e. poor reception with lots and lots of dropouts). That’s enough bits for several channels of excellent audio, but it will produce ugly video even using HEVC compression.

    • TexMarque November 18, 2017 at 11:37 am #

      According to ATSC.org, 3.0’s signal is a multilayered signal (4) with newer compression standards using the entire 6 Mhz bandwidth. 1.0’s signal is a single layer using a variable bit composition often not using the entire 6 Mhz bandwidth.

      • Scott Larson November 18, 2017 at 7:49 pm #

        Where does it say that it doesn’t use the entire 6 Mhz bandwidth. I see 6 Mhz over and over and over in the standard.

        • TexMarque November 18, 2017 at 9:10 pm #

          As I understand it, the 6 MHz signal is sent at all times but encoded only with what it needs to carry with metadata and forward correction bits and filler bits when encoded. A standard carrier transport practice.

          • Scott Larson November 18, 2017 at 9:21 pm #

            Yes, that’s correct. The station may not be using the entire 19.4 Mbps data stream, but even when transmitting no data the signal occupies the entire 6 Mhz bandwidth.

          • Cord Cutters News November 18, 2017 at 10:29 pm #

            Its not just about using the 6 Mhz bandwidth but how it uses it. With the new IP system data can be sent at a much higher efficiency allowing for more data to be sent.

          • Scott Larson November 18, 2017 at 10:34 pm #

            Actually the IP protocol has more overhead than the MPEG transport protocol of ATSC 1.0/2.0. It’s not a huge difference, but IP provides more general services than MPEG-TS, and that’s why they selected it.

            The greater efficiency comes almost entirely from HEVC encoding and to a smaller extent the AC-4 audio encoding.

          • Cord Cutters News November 18, 2017 at 10:36 pm #

            Scott you and I may understand what HEVC and AC-4 mean but I bet 90% or better of the readers here do not. So we try to keep it at a level everyone can understand.

            Right now you are arguing systematics and ignoring the big picture here.

          • Scott Larson November 18, 2017 at 10:48 pm #

            Then please keep it simple and do not bring up things like “IP system data”. I’m sure 90% of your readers do not understand what this is.

    • CordCutting2017 November 18, 2017 at 1:35 pm #

      If you’re going to be uninformed about the subject then spare us the bandwidth and don’t post about it. Since you’re having a comprehension issue with this I’ll simplify it. Think back before you had broadband service from an ISP. Dial up came around and wooo everyone signed up for some AOL. Next came ISDN and everyone could go a little bit faster 128K. Next came the ability to bond channels together and you could boost that dial up through two lines to 112K. Anyway as things progressed look at it this way. Compression and newer technology let us go faster and carry more data on the same size pipe or wavelength.

      Remember back when you had to be WIRED into a device to get internet on your PC? Remember when WIFI 802.11B came out and you could get 54Mbps from it and then you had 802.11G which was a little bit faster, then there was 802.11N that came around and we were able to split off 2.4G/5G channels because our cell phones and microwaves distorted the 2.4G signals along with all of our neighbors competing for the same signal. Today we have 802.11ac that can reach speeds of 1Gbps+ depending on your hardware and there’s always something new coming out that fixes the deficiencies of the current standard.

      As companies design hardware that can better compress and transmit data you’ll see more for less on the same bandwidth. Since when you record your average hour long show off an antenna if you look at the space it takes up ~6Gigs/hr on the old MP2 format it’s considerably less space when you bump it to an MP4 compressed format and drops that down in size about 80% to 1.2Gigs/hr. Getting away from analog / ATSC signals back when “digital” came out is what enabled you to get more than 50-60 channels through the cable company. The compression / codec changes gave us these huge 200+ channel lineups through the same medium they’re were transmitted on before.

      Now they’re just amping it up again to allow things to be a bit “smarter” like going from a car phone, to the brick phone, to a flip phone, to IP3/IP4/IP5/IP6/IP7/IP8/etc. It will have a little more HP under the hood enabling you to do more than just call, upgrade to text, upgrade to internet, upgrade to broadcasting live from your phone. Basically our TV’s are trying to catch up with our “phones” but, it’s going to take awhile since the last major change for TV was back around 2000 when NTSC(analog) to ATSC(digital) prompted everyone to freak out about needing a “box” to keep watching TV. All of those phone improvements from being able to simply make a call to where we are today have happened in the same time period since the last major overhaul of our broadcasting systems.

  2. JerYnkFan November 18, 2017 at 10:40 am #

    All I really care about is improved range. If it allows me to go from zero channels currently to at least the major networks I’ll be more than pleased

    • Daniel November 18, 2017 at 3:50 pm #

      having longer range it what really matters here, I ditched DTVNow for Philo so 3.0 is my only hope to receive local stations at any point in the future (not that I really need them, but it would be nice to know they are there)

  3. DesignatedJizTowel November 18, 2017 at 10:46 am #

    I for one, don’t see a downside. I will hook up as soon as it’s available.

  4. TexMarque November 18, 2017 at 11:32 am #

    Right now, my attic antenna is supplying 3 TVs, 2 DVRs, and 2 tuners/w DVR capability. So it looks like I’m going to have buy a bunch of new equipment at the 5 year point.

    So, your point about tracking is that the stations or 3.0 system is using my antenna or is there an antenna in each tuning device. I can see this interactivity “feature” as an IoT using the cell phone network, the same as my electric meter does; is that correct?

    • CordCutting2017 November 18, 2017 at 1:07 pm #

      The TUNER will provide the statistics like your smart meter. Theoretically it should all be anonymous as well since you’re not likely to have to register a tuner into a database. I was looking over the standards the other day when it was being reported as passed by the FCC and the network protocols are similar to the Ethernet based standards we use on our internet enabled devices. The tuner will establish a 2-way link with the tower and from there it will send/receive data. Hell the built in guide on my TV currently picks up data from the tower through an antenna….. Anyway…. Big Brother knows all these days anyway.

      • TexMarque November 18, 2017 at 2:13 pm #

        Thanks for the reply.

        What tower are you referring to? a cell tower or the broadcast tower?

        The OTA guides in my receivers is from data contained in the 1.0 data stream from the broadcaster. Some fill them in, some don’t.

        • CordCutting2017 November 18, 2017 at 2:31 pm #

          OTA would be broadcast tower as cell towers are 2-way by nature. Current standards have them push the data to your “receiver”.

          • TexMarque November 18, 2017 at 6:49 pm #

            What exactly are you answering? I already know that the broadcast is coming from the broadcaster’s tower. What tower is sending and receiving the interactive part? I don’t see the broadcaster’s tower which is 37 miles away, so is this a cell tower?

          • CordCutting2017 November 18, 2017 at 7:05 pm #

            When 3.0 is implemented the transmissions towers will enable 2-way communication.

          • Scott Larson November 18, 2017 at 7:55 pm #

            2-way communication is absolutely not in the ATSC 3.0 standard because it is not practical in any way.

          • CordCutting2017 November 18, 2017 at 8:10 pm #

            Interactive, the view can control the viewing experience and will allow two way communications with the broadcaster, choose viewing angle on sports, etc




          • Scott Larson November 18, 2017 at 8:20 pm #

            The “two-way interaction” in the first article requires an Internet connection.

            The “two-way ENG” article is about Electronic News Gathering. It has nothing to do with ATSC 3.0 receivers.

            The “two-way digital transmission” in the third article also requires an Internet connection.

            There is NO two way radio communications in the ATSC 3.0 standard as of last month.

          • TexMarque November 18, 2017 at 8:48 pm #

            In the article above: “Rumor: You Will Need Internet to Use 3.0 OTA”. There is a discussion, it just doesn’t say how even tho it says that your antenna may be used. That is what my question is. I’m not a radio transmission engineer and can’t actually understand the specs when I read them.

          • Scott Larson November 18, 2017 at 9:17 pm #

            You simply won’t be able to use the interactive features if your receiver isn’t connected to the Internet.

          • Cord Cutters News November 18, 2017 at 10:04 pm #

            Not fully true as many of the so called interactive features just access data that is already being broadcast. For example if you wanted to learn more about a news story your TV can just pull from the on demand video that is already being broadcast. So there is no need to call back to the TV station. When you select the learn more feature your TV for the simplest way of explaining it just switches the channel to one airing more details.

            Will some features use internet sure they could but right now it is entirely possible for the TV to communicate back to the station using 3.0 without the need for internet.

            You will NOT need internet to watch OTA 3.0 TV.

          • Scott Larson November 18, 2017 at 10:08 pm #

            By what method will the television communicate back to the station without using the Internet?

          • Cord Cutters News November 18, 2017 at 10:11 pm #

            Could 3.0 use the internet? Yes if you set it up 3.0 could use the internet to access additional content etc. For example, clicking on a ad could open up a web browser for you to buy the product etc. Yet from people in the industry we have talked to 3.0 is capable of sending a signal back in a two way fashion for things like ratings. (From how it was explained to me.)

            Yet you will NOT need an internet connection to watch 3.0 OTA TV. So if you didn’t for example want to look at a product on their website you can still enjoy 4K TV for FREE with 3.0 TV.

            If you listened to our interview with the President of Antenna Direct you would have heard him talk about how 3.0 OTA TV is being looked at as a way to offer home internet. The technology is capable of being used as a data network for internet similar to how 5G works. Don’t believe me listen to the interview about 3.0 with the President of Antenna Direct.

            Scott I don’t understand your concern here if you want to use the feature great its there if not you can still enjoy all the TV you get now with your antenna and more.

          • Scott Larson November 18, 2017 at 10:16 pm #

            Could you please answer my question? Please note my question says “without using the Internet” so please exclude that from your answer.

          • Cord Cutters News November 18, 2017 at 10:17 pm #

            We did as stated 3.0 OTA will be capable theoretically of also sending data back. That is why its being looked at as a possible option for home internet delivery.

          • Scott Larson November 18, 2017 at 10:22 pm #

            “Sending data back”. Yes. By WHAT METHOD will this data be sent back???

            And please note I am NOT talking about the Internet.

          • Cord Cutters News November 18, 2017 at 10:33 pm #

            As I stated it is theoretically possible to build a 3.0 Tuner with the ability to re-transmit back. (As I already told you see our interview with the president of Antenna Direct.) There you will hear about how 3.0 OTA is being looked at as a option for home internet.
            Now if you are looking for the math on how that works sorry you will need to speak with a engineering who understands that.

            Scott you are arguing about something that is still in the early stages of testing and has not even started to roll out to the public. Right now we still do not fully know how it will be implemented.

            What we do know is all the audio and video aspects will be 100% OTA. Meaning everything you get with your antenna now and more will be available even if you do not have it connected to a internet.

            My recommendation to you Scott is not to worry right now as testing is going on we don’t have all the answers about 3.0. What we do know is it will open up a OTA to a lot more stations and a lot of great new features. So don’t worry 3.0 is going to be great for cord cutting.

          • Scott Larson November 18, 2017 at 10:45 pm #

            It is NOT theoretically possible to build a 3.0 tuner (I assume you mean transmitter) to transmit data from a person’s home for the following reasons:

            1. The FCC has not allocated a frequency spectrum for two-way television services.

            2. The antennas that televisions are connected to are too horribly inefficient for transmission of data.

            3. Each and every television will require a transmitter powerful enough to send data twenty or thirty miles back to the station and FCC regulations require every transmitter of this strength to be licensed.

            I worry because people here are already expecting that the ATSC 3.0 televisions they will buy will have fully interactive functions with the television stations without a connection to the Internet. You should make it clear that, at this time, there is NO plans for any fully interactive television by two way transmission through radio waves.

          • CordCutting2017 November 18, 2017 at 10:50 pm #

            The technology is there to do it through an aux device as small as an Apple Watch (guts thereof) if you think about the watches ability to be paired with an existing line of service through your provider yet when out of distance of your actual phone still be able to make/receive calls on its own. Just because someone hasn’t come up with a patent or licensing request doesn’t mean it won’t happen in the next couple of years let alone hijacking another available technology that is licensed to transmit and use it for another purpose. Look at big pharma and off label prescribing.

          • Optic November 20, 2017 at 4:42 pm #

            I agree with pretty much everything Scott and TexMarque said. I would also like to know how the communication back to the networks/transmitters works. I agree that transmitting back to the stations’ broadcast antenna via our rabbit ears, for example, will be a tall order. I pretty much think that they will use mobile internet technologies (i.e. 2G/3G/4G/5G) for it.

            Note that this doesn’t mean that the TVs will be on “the internet” necessarily, or have any general-use data connection. It will probably be a very similar scenario to what TexMarque described with electric meters. The broadcasters and/or TV manufacturers will make agreements for very low cost intermittent connections only to send data periodically. Even once a day would probably be sufficient to relay the info that “TV with unique identifier 123XYZ watched these channels at these times within the last 24 hours”, and this could easily be correlated to your near-exact location via triangulation with the mobile towers, and it all gets built up into a database of what exactly each TV watches. Then if they get your personal info somehow (name, age, address, etc – not very hard to do), they can basically add to your profile in a database somewhere where they know everything about you, including now what you watch on TV, when. Perhaps not on an individual basis because they won’t know who exactly was actually watching, but definitely possible on a household basis.

            However, there’s also a possibility that the data will be anonymized and reset regularly (ex: keeping only the information for the last 7 days). After all, how will they know if I didn’t sell my TV to my neighbor?

          • Optic November 20, 2017 at 7:02 pm #

            Replying to my own post. I found, thanks to a comment on Slashdot, a link to a (very) technical document regarding the “dedicated return channel” mechanism: https://www.atsc.org/candidate-standard/a323-atsc-candidate-standard-dedicated-return-channel-atsc-3-0/

            I’ve only briefly scanned it, but it appears that they do in fact plan to use the regular over the air antennas to communicate back to the broadcast antenna, theoretically up to 100km (62 miles), or use relays.

            They also link to an article on the privacy concerns regarding this new feature: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-14/ads-may-soon-stalk-you-on-tv-like-they-do-on-your-facebook-feed

          • RBBrittain November 21, 2017 at 6:36 pm #

            The “dedicated return channel” still requires a separate RF frequency to send data from the receiver back to the station. It would be easier for stations to use the Internet and/or cellular data than obtain new frequencies from the FCC for DRC.

          • CordCutting2017 November 18, 2017 at 9:47 pm #


             Targeted Advertising. Channel watermarking allows targeting capabilities, and ***the IP
            return path*** enables the ability to measure audience activity for broadcasters’ advertising
            customers. PP5

            Return Channel – in ATSC 3.0, a data transmission link from a viewer’s receiver back to the
            broadcaster’s facility. The return channel in ATSC 3.0 may use the internet or an ***RF
            transmission channel. PP77

            So, there’s likely going to be a tx/rx through RF or back hauled from an EU device to the station through a call home advertisement through the RF RX’d at the EU CPE. I’m not exactly sure how they would be able to generate a return path strong enough from a TV w/o putting in numerous agreements with cell providers to pick up the return packets. Either way it will be interesting to see once it’s up and running. One mention was they had a site out in LA up and running and planning on using Phoenix as a testing ground as well.

          • Scott Larson November 18, 2017 at 10:00 pm #

            Dude, that’s not in the standard. That’s only a speculative description of “return path” in the glossary, saying what it might be, not what it is! That’s why it says “may” instead of “will”, and that’s why it’s in the transition guide instead of the standard.

            There has been NO frequency allocation by the FCC for two way television services. Trust me. The FCC does not hand out frequency spectrum for services without a ton of paperwork and bureaucratic fanfare.

            It takes thousands of watts going to giant expensive towers to deliver reliable television to the viewers. Do you honestly think a tiny transmitter in a television connected to rabbit ears is going to be a reliable link back to the television station???

          • CordCutting2017 November 18, 2017 at 10:17 pm #

            Yes, the FCC is a bureaucracy just like any other governmental agency when it comes to moving on anything faster than a snail’s pace. What’s in the documents eludes to the probability of integrating either into the TV itself or some other means of communicating back to the station like a Nielsen type device would. We already hook our TV’s up to Ethernet to get enhanced features or to avoid buying a new “box” to watch an OTT provider content.

            If there were a TX function to be built into the TV itself then having it leapfrog to a RX wouldn’t be far fetched when thinking about RF technologies already in play. Why wouldn’t broadcasters want to have valuable data on users to sell advertising? Why wouldn’t studios want viewership numbers to track interest in a show? If they can find another way to spy on us and our habits to make more money they’ll put in the investment to gain the most that they can legally.

            If you’re going to use the ATSC 3.0 functions on your portable device i.e. phone,tablet,etc. they’ll have a back haul option readily available. For bandwidth charging there’s exceptions on the provider side that can make it transparent to the customer from a billing standpoint and just bill the stations on the backside of the deal for usage. i.e ATT giving free HBO and not charging for the bandwidth people use / DTVN users not paying for additional data

            I guess maybe I’m thinking beyond what’s out there in theory based on some of the documents that are available.

          • Scott Larson November 18, 2017 at 10:24 pm #

            Unfortunately it takes more than theory to send data through the airwaves. It takes FCC licensing, and no license means you can’t send data any farther than your WiFi router can.

          • TexMarque November 19, 2017 at 1:13 am #

            The return channel ***RF transmission channel. PP77. Basically, I see that as a cell phone connection on-demand. The TV broadcasters set up and support a market areawide network with a cell provider for short bursts of data to and from each responding 3.0 tuner. They know where the towers are physically and can target ads, etc. This would be another IoT use probably on a 4G LTE provider. My regional electric grid operator requests info from my meter every 15 minutes and this was started on 3G networks.The meter gets a request and sends back the data. With TV, the data is going to be larger, but not that much at any given time that ads and other info could all be done in small packets. This why the article states that a small antenna in the TV or tuner could do the job; it would not be using the television spectrum. But, hey, this is only a guess. A July 2016 CNET article stated that 3.0 was a hybrid system.

  5. Scott November 18, 2017 at 11:33 am #

    Good thorough Q&A. Thanks Luke. I agree that ATSC 3.0 has potential to be a truly disruptive game changer. At minimum, for those of us at edge ranges for OTA, it will provide welcome relief.

  6. Dennis Restauro November 18, 2017 at 11:53 am #

    You are correct that cable TV providers hate this. However, TV networks love it. If they make the switch to ATSC 3, they will be required to have a ATSC 1 signal. The FCC will allow the Networks to charge a broadcast fee for each to the cable company. This will potentially double broadcast fees for pay TV subscribers. In the end it’s more cord cutters. I think the problem many have however, is on principle. The main function of the FCC is to represent the public in matters of the public communications mediums. This FCC has continually sided with corporations over the public. While this decisions will have less of an effect on cord cutters like us, it’s another decision the FCC has made based on a corporations bottom line with little consideration for the affect on the public. They should at the very least do a pilot like they did the first time around with analog to digital. I’ve seen no plans for that as of yet.

  7. NCAviator November 18, 2017 at 2:00 pm #

    I would love to see the next Olympics in 4K. Remember when the first HD one was broadcast. The challenge will be getting the Broadcast stations to do the investment to broadcast ATSC 3.0. Making them have to do both standards for X number of years will make many wait to see how adoption is. Will cause the chicken and egg issue.

    I also think we are underestimating the Notification services importance. Given all the threats in communities now; we need a real and modern Emergency Broadcast System.

    I am also liking the new ESPN APP on Apple TV. I wish I could do the 4 screen service on the basic TV rather than in ONE APP. My understanding is that feature is part of ATSC 3.0.

    • CordCutting2017 November 18, 2017 at 2:28 pm #



      The other day I found some info on the transition where the broadcasters in each market will continue to carry the older transmission standards during the 5 year phase out period on a shared tower of sorts for simulcasting as required. Sharing the costs of maintaining the older equipment by simulcasting during the period while allowing other towers/transmission equipment to be upgraded.


      It’s going to be interesting while the consumer resists change as they have in the past when upgrading whether due to costs or otherwise. Mostly this comes down to content providers upgrading their offerings to include media that takes advantage of the new bandwidth. Remember when we switched to ATSC from NTSC and you had the black bars on the sides of the screen from lack of 16:9 content being produced and broadcasted. There’s still plenty of programming being broadcast in the 480/720 range that are upscaled to fit 1080 screens. 4K is probably experiencing this issue as well these days since the content being produced isn’t 4K native for the majority of what’s out there. Your typical cable box doesn’t support 4K nor does the cable company want to consume bandwidth for pushing it across the line. We’ll see more 4K through OTT/IP based systems than through the traditional means anyway until 3.0 is up and pumping out the media. I can’t imagine that you would want to be able to count the pores on Fox news anchors though. The other side of it is the content producers upgrading their cameras to 4K from HD. The other costs besides the cameras is the data capacity it would take for the raw signal from the camera to the storage racks. Less so for say a live broadcast of your local news even with multiple cameras feeding into the system.

      Switching to the IP broadcasting will be a big leap forward opening huge possibilities moving forward. If the OTA players make the investments necessary they could kill off non OTT providers by being able to provide better options.

    • Scott Larson November 18, 2017 at 7:52 pm #

      Ugh, the first Olympics broadcast in HDTV in the U.S. was delayed by NBC and broadcast the next day.

  8. Marc H November 18, 2017 at 5:42 pm #

    Are current 4k tvs able to display 3.0 OTA signals?

    • Scott Larson November 18, 2017 at 7:50 pm #

      None are in America.

  9. NashGuy November 18, 2017 at 6:36 pm #

    Good write-up, although I think there may be a misstatement in the part about needing the internet for 3.0. It’s true that you won’t need the internet to watch 3.0 broadcasts but I’m pretty sure that if you want a return path back to the TV station — for interactive content, for requesting and streaming on-demand content, etc. — that requires an internet connection. However, it *may* be possible for the broadcaster to track real-time viewer numbers through the OTA signal itself (without the need to use an internet connection as a return path).

  10. craig2web November 19, 2017 at 7:41 am #

    Can’t wait – the sooner, the better!

  11. Thile November 19, 2017 at 8:56 am #

    Thanks for this. I work at a TV station and have fielded calls about most of the rumors and myths you touched on here—especially the one about TV’s no longer working. Where do folks get this stuff?

  12. Dogman November 19, 2017 at 12:01 pm #

    Will the 3.0 signal pass thru a Sony AVR w/o any addiitonal dongles/equipment? I’m assuming the TiVo Roamio will need a dongle too??

  13. Brandon White November 20, 2017 at 7:45 am #

    Check out WRAL – they have been running ATSC 3.0 for over a year. It isn’t available for consumers (need to have the tuner mentioned in the article) but it is available in the US. I am not ready for 4k images for some of the NBC programs, though!


  14. carl_steve November 20, 2017 at 2:23 pm #

    This time around, I hope the FCC, broadcast networks, and local OTA stations do a better job of preparing the public for the switch. When 1.0 took hold, many people couldn’t understand why, all of a sudden, their old-style TV set quit working. They didn’t get that you needed to buy a converter box or a new TV.

    Like it or not, many consumers are not tech savvy (and many of the posts in this forum are WAY over their heads). For decades, they turned on their TV set expecting it to deliver the goods. They didn’t understand HOW the set worked, nor did they care. My parents (now deceased) never subscribed to cable or satellite, never owned or operated a VCR or microwave, never used a computer or mobile device, and had no idea what was meant by e-mail, the Web, or the Internet. The discussions with the general public about 3.0 need to be kept at a level that the average person can grasp. Otherwise, we’ll have a mess all over again.

    It also would be prudent for the FCC and other interested parties to remember that not everyone has gobs of money to spend replacing and/or upgrading their home electronics. When paying for health insurance and other necessities is in jeopardy (thanks to you know who), buying the latest and greatest TV set isn’t going to happen.

  15. mADMAN in MN November 21, 2017 at 8:53 pm #

    Fascinating give-and-take on a subject of great interest to me!

    Those of you with high levels of technical knowledge are especially important and NEED NOT worry about being “too technical” whatsoever. As is true in every search for knowledge, the learning curve compels seeking out definition of terms (jargon), building upon that, extrapolating from there and, above all, listening to divergent opinion.
    That is true, of course, only for those who wish to be informed on a given topic.

    My interest in the article itself was this:
    Rumor: You Will Need Internet to Use 3.0 OTA

    On a basic level, that remains to be determined.

    Several of the comments here indicate ways in which measurement could — easily — be accomplished.
    (And I’ll eagerly anticipate coming methods to DEFEAT such ‘tracking’ attempts.)

    ‘…to Use 3.0 OTA FULLY” would have been a better title for that section.


    As for those who’ve given up on (or never cared) about personal privacy…
    Fearlessly living in a glass house must be quite interesting.

  16. Sam S. November 25, 2017 at 2:04 am #

    please someone tell me that when 3.0 takes over the airwaves that you can still DVR your shows the reason i ask i saw somewere that the stations block you from recording the shows with something like a cpoyright chip in the tvs,,if anyone know about please reply back..

    • carl_steve November 25, 2017 at 10:59 am #

      From RokuGuide.com:

      “Next-Gen TV may “spell doom for over-the-air DVR”, according to Jared Newman in his latest Cord-Cutter Confidential column on TechHive. “The new ATSC 3.0 broadcast TV standard includes digital rights management (DRM), theoretically crippling DVR products like Tablo and TiVo.” But don’t worry about your DVR becoming obsolete any time soon: “U.S. broadcasters… have to simulcast their channels using the current ATSC 1.0 standard until 2023 at the earliest. If you buy a Tablo or HDHomeRun tuner today… you can expect to use that hardware for at least five years without issue,” Newman reports.”


    • TV Barrington November 25, 2017 at 4:27 pm #

      Yeah, this worried me as well when I saw Jared’s article on Tech Hive. The same 3 out of 5 that’s expected to vote to abolish net neutrality, were the same 3 out of 5 that sort of set this up too.So my concern is, that since Mr Pai of the FCC is the same person that was a lawyer for Verzion, I have a bad feeling that DRM could possibly have some level of an affect on the future of ATSC 3.0 OTA DVRs. When it comes to our government and the companies involved with the entertainment industry, over the decades I’ve learned to be a glass-half-empty type of person.