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What’s the REAL DEAL with Next Gen Broadcast TV (ATSC 3.0)? – Guest Post

A Note From Luke: The new 3.0 Over The Air TV standard is about to change how we watch free over the air TV. Yet there is great confusion about what that means for cord cutters. So I reached out to Antenna Direct a leading manufacturer of antennas in the United States to help us understand what the new 3.0 standard means for cord cutters.

So today here is a guest post from Antenna Direct laying out what you need to know about the new 3.0 over the air TV standard: 

There’s been a lot of buzz recently about Next Gen Broadcast TV, more technically known as ATSC 3.0, what it means for you, what it means for antenna manufacturers, and when it will happen? Well, we decided to demystify this exciting, trending topic, and give you an inside peek into Next Gen Broadcast TV and provide you with our thoughts on what your overall experience will be.

We are often asked, “will we need a new antenna for Next Gen Broadcast TV signals?” The answer is simple… no, you will not need a new antenna! The TV antenna you have will work great. In fact, antennas, after the transition to Next Gen Broadcast TV, can be smaller and will work better because of this new robust transmission. To enjoy Next Gen Broadcast TV in all of its glory, you will need to use a TV antenna.

Another awesome feature (especially for those who like to travel around the U.S. in your RV) is that you’ll be able to use the TV antenna on smartphones and tablets while driving along the streets and highways without the need to scan for channels! This will make road trips 287% more enjoyable! No more, “are we there yet? We’re bored. There’s nothing to do!”

The up and coming ATSC 3.0 standard will give TV stations incredible reporting capabilities. Right now, stations depend on data from Nielsen, which isn’t always accurate and is from a smaller sample size. With the new ATSC 3.0 standard, stations will receive instant data on how a show or station is doing, thanks to the new 3.0 chips being installed in the newer TV’s. Here is a quick example, at the end of a news cast, the station can see how many people were watching their station and for how long. That data is incredibly valuable!

A few new features that we’re excited about include expanded programing, enhanced audio quality similar to theaters, personalization to the shows you want to watch, a modern user interface, in-home streaming to other devices, multi-language sub-channels, and the Emergency Alert System.

The Emergency Alert System is a GAME CHANGER for the U.S.! Let’s say there is an Amber Alert in your area. You will immediately receive more precise, local warnings on the bottom of your TV screen that you can click on, enlarge, and see additional details of the child, a picture of the suspect (if possible), and picture of the type of vehicle. As more information comes out during these alerts, the alert system will be updated and send you notifications.

Same goes for the severe weather. You will receive localized warnings for fast-moving weather conditions and get this, there is a possibility your TV will even turn on to alert you of an approaching storm. These safety/security features are wonderful to keep you and your family safe and in the know.

Advertising is a major selling point for Next Gen Broadcast TV. The advertising can be targeted based on your personal profile from your social media account, which means stations have more information about the people watching their network. This is great for broadcasters because they will be able to send targeted ad spots to you, and it’s a win-win for the advertisers because they can reach their target audience and not have a huge advertising expense.

Here’s an example, let’s say you own a car dealership and your target audience is within 10 miles of your car lot. Instead of spending $10,000 on commercials that would reach the entire viewing area, you could spend a fraction of this money, and reach only the people who live within 10 miles of your dealership. How cool is that? As a viewer, you will start receiving advertising that is specific to you, your location, and your personal interests.

These ads are more than just a commercial, they are now bi-directional, which means that they are interactive. If you’re interested in the product being featured and would like more information, you can use your remote to click on the ad that takes you to a webpage to purchase the product or services directly from your TV. It’s simple and a great way to capture an audience.

Essentially, Next Gen Broadcast TV is helping to create an OTA Skinny Bundle, allowing stations to offer upgrades at a monthly price, such as video on demand, view previously aired shows (aka binge-watch and catch up on all your favorite shows), and other paid premium content like different camera angles for live sports. This is an exciting time to be in the broadcasting business!

This isn’t going to be a quick change over to Next Gen Broadcast TV. Meaning it’s not going to happen at the flip of a switch. Unlike the last over-the-air transition, this is not a mandatory switch for broadcast TV stations owners, so you won’t have to go out and by a new TV anytime soon. You will not lose your current local, broadcast TV networks either because TV stations will be broadcasting in its current standard called ATSC 1.0, and simultaneously transmit in ATSC 3.0 during the transition. The 1.0 and 3.0 standard transmission won’t happen for a long time to come. The first TV’s with the 3.0 chips will begin to show up on the market next year, but the initial launch is planned for 2019. By 2020, Next Gen Broadcast TV should be making a splash across the U.S. market. However, TV station owners are required to transmit in 1.0 and 3.0 for public safety purposes. Also, it might take a few years to work out all the kinks, which is expected for a major undertaking like this, but don’t worry. There will be plenty of time for you to also make the transitions to Next Gen Broadcast TV.

Altogether, Next Gen Broadcast TV is a be a huge game changer for U.S. citizens, broadcasters, advertisers, and for us at Antennas Direct. We’re anxious to see it all kick into gear and to experience Next Gen Broadcast TV in all of its glory!

Again thank you to Antenna Direct explaining what the new 3.0 over the air TV standard means for cord cutters. Its great to hear from an antenna manufacturer about all things to come. New additions like 4K, better weather coverage, and more. For now it looks like all we can do is sit and wait for the grat things to come. 

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43 Responses to What’s the REAL DEAL with Next Gen Broadcast TV (ATSC 3.0)? – Guest Post

  1. Spencer Karter September 6, 2017 at 7:38 am #

    I’ve got a question about ATSC 3.0 and robust signals. Will it be more than 100 likes like 250 mile range or just 100 miles? I do live in Greenville, SC/Asheville, NC market and I do get some Columbia, SC stations OTA. Will I get Charleston, SC stations with new ATSC 3.0 standard?

    • Phuq_Me September 6, 2017 at 3:02 pm #

      ATSC is not magically going to change the shape of the earth or the laws of psychics.

      • Spencer Karter September 8, 2017 at 11:55 am #

        SMH! Thanks a lot for the BAD NEWS! >:(

  2. NCAviator September 6, 2017 at 8:03 am #

    This was a good article. I wish the guest writer would have talked more about the upgrade paths for current TVs and also about the 4K possibilities. Will there be 3rd Party HDMI products we can buy to give us ATSC 3.0? Think the BRICKs we have now for streaming.

    • Phuq_Me September 6, 2017 at 3:05 pm #

      I’m sure they’ll be some sort of converter box for sale. Broadcaster can’t do 1080p now they aren’t going to do 4K. Doing 4k limits how many subchannels they have to basically what they have now. Maybe less if stations decide to do channel sharing to save money.

  3. Dogman September 6, 2017 at 8:44 am #

    Also, does this 3.0 make our current TiVo Roamio OTA units obsolete??

    • Kravimir September 6, 2017 at 2:09 pm #

      Yes, after all stations in your area complete the transition (if they even all decide to make the transition to only transmitting via ATSC 3.0), current OTA DVRs will be useless unless some kind of adapter box is somehow made for them. But the start of the transition is more than a year away and the transition period is very likely to take a few years.

      Might not many of us who own an OTA DVR right now be wanting to upgrade to a newer one by then anyway?

  4. Owl September 6, 2017 at 9:25 am #

    Doesn’t this seem a little Big Brother-ish? What if you don’t want TV stations tracking your viewing habits? The only thing I see here that I see as a benefit to the viewer is the better signal reliability, so maybe some of the stations in my area can be received without breaking up several times during a show. Everything else seems to be to someone else’s benefit, and potentially intrusive. I don’t want data flowing out of my TV back to anyone, period, full stop, end of story! And I don’t want to have to unplug my TV to keep it from turning itself on because someone else decides there is something I should be forced to watch.

    • CX1 September 6, 2017 at 12:09 pm #

      This would never happen to benefit the viewer. It is happening to wring money out of OTA.

      • Barbara R November 16, 2017 at 3:32 pm #

        How would OTA run if it isn’t financially supposed. Would it be run by volunteers at their own expense?

    • Evan September 6, 2017 at 4:35 pm #

      I don’t care about tracking. What I hate I’d that only greedy corporations are allowed to make money with my personal information without any consideration. What am I getting out of it? If I have something of value then I must be fairly compensated. Such us the law of contracts. Where is my money. Pay me to use my information.

      • Barbara R November 16, 2017 at 3:30 pm #

        They use the data to decide which shows you want to watch. There has to be a way to do that. Corporations are not automatically evil. Who do you think produces the shows you watch and runs the infrastructure needed to bring them to you. All of it run by people like you doing their jobs.

        • TaiPeng November 19, 2017 at 5:38 pm #

          Media types only guess what we want based on their affluent bias which is wrong most times.

          • Mount Spokane Photography December 13, 2017 at 10:09 pm #

            Actually, Neilson sends out weekly TV watching logs to tons of TV watchers and pays them a few $$. That data is what is used to decide if a show stays or goes, and what type of new show is added. Its basically used by advertisers to decide if the big bucks they pay is getting watched, they pay more for popular shows.

            Its a flawed system at best, kinda like Voter polls. It can be way off, and a show you like might be dropped as a result.

            Having shows shown that are your favorites might be a improvement, you don’t have to select from among shows that others like.

            Live OTA stations are not in great financial condition because of Cable TV, Satellite TV, and Internet based TV. I see this as a attempt to keep them from going off the air entirely. I live in the country with limited Internet bandwidth, and don’t want a TV set that eats into that, so I’m looking for more info as to how that will work with no internet connection.

  5. REP September 6, 2017 at 9:29 am #

    2019? That is still two years away. Pretty long.

    • Phuq_Me September 6, 2017 at 3:00 pm #

      Not really 2 years go by fast.. And 2019 is actually 482 days away.

  6. Scott Blanchard September 6, 2017 at 12:55 pm #

    Best article content to date on this site. Meaningful content that actually tells me something I don’t know. Articles like this are the antidote to the continuous stream of “Here’s Everything Coming to X Service…” filler fluff that perhaps I’m the only one that never reads.

  7. Jj September 6, 2017 at 1:34 pm #

    So this will be used to spy on us, make ads more annoying, charge us money, & allow broadcasters to remotely turn on our TV.

    • Carl Maynor September 7, 2017 at 9:31 am #

      Got a cell phone? You are being spied on. Obviously have a computer. You are being spied on. Got a store reward card? You are being spied on. Drive a car in a city? You are being spied on. While it isn’t right, it’s been happening for a long time. Only option is to move to the country and live off grid.

  8. Phuq_Me September 6, 2017 at 2:58 pm #

    I disagree with antennas being smaller. If you want an antenna OPTIMIZED for the new channels 14-38 UHF TV band it would have to be larger. As the mid band would be channel 26 vs channel 33 for antennas designed for the current 14-51 TV band and channel 41 for those still using antennas from the 14-69 era. Also since many TV stations are moving to hi-VHF it seems an antenna that can get those signals in is now a must for many more people.

    • Evan September 6, 2017 at 4:38 pm #

      Most people have computers surely they can do this for free? C++ programs are the most advanced there is.

      • Phuq_Me September 7, 2017 at 6:58 am #

        what does that have to do with anything I said? Most people BUY antenna and wouldn’t know how to properly make one themselves. Anyway an UHF antenna property optimized for channels 14-36 would larger than one properly optimized for channels 14-51 or 14-69

        • Evan September 7, 2017 at 7:00 am #

          Why do we need antennas when we have computer tv tuner software that does the same thing over the internet?

          • Phuq_Me September 8, 2017 at 3:59 am #

            If you are getting the signals OTA they going to require an antenna. Unless you live like less than a mile or 2 from the towers then maybe not. Do you not know how radio signals work?

          • Evan September 8, 2017 at 4:31 am #

            Tell me about radio signals.

          • Phuq_Me September 8, 2017 at 4:11 pm #

            Use Google. And quit being wise guy.

          • Evan September 8, 2017 at 6:21 pm #

            I use Bing. I stopped using Google when they started using Google doodles to promote homosexual rights and other liberalbpolitics at odds with me. I use Bing. Nature photos are unpolitical and I can hide news that I don’t care about. Wise guy? I’ll let you explain that one. What good are conversations if nobody wants to converse?

        • FiscalHawk October 11, 2017 at 8:16 am #

          WRONG. You need to understand 3 things, lo-VHF 2-6, hi- VHF 7-13 and UHF 14-51 all require seperate antennas to maximize efficiency.

          You aren’t going to get one antenna that will cover all bands and be optimized, it’s just not physically possible.

          An optomized 14-36 antenna will require less physical space than a 14-51 antenna.

          I suggest you do some investigation of antenna designs by and antenna engineer who is currently working on optomized designs for all these bands.

          http://imageevent.com/holl_ands;jsessionid=tcrebbx131.camel_s

          • Phuq_Me October 11, 2017 at 9:12 am #

            Don’t correct me. Do you read? I specifically mentioned UHF only.

            “Anyway an UHF antenna property optimized for channels 14-36 would larger than one properly optimized for channels 14-51 or 14-69”

            And I stand by that statement. Oh thanks for linking to a website I’ve been aware about for oh 8 years now. I only have it bookmarked. f–king idiot. please ask the owner of that website. He will confirm what I say.

  9. Evan September 6, 2017 at 4:32 pm #

    How about we return to the days of TV tuner software? What was so wrong with that? No antennas were needed or required.

    • Daniel Richards September 7, 2017 at 2:52 am #

      what TV Tuner software didn’t require an antenna? I remember back when HDTV first launched I bought a little USB Tuner device that you attached an Antenna to then you could get channels on your Computer, but I don’t remember anything that allowed computers to watch channels without an antenna.

      • Evan September 7, 2017 at 6:37 am #

        Didn’t Windows Media Center just use a TV tuner video card to use tv tuner software to stream local TV content for free? It worked for us in the country ni antennas required.

        • Daniel Richards September 7, 2017 at 2:11 pm #

          the TV Tuner cards still needed an antenna connected to them

          • Evan September 7, 2017 at 2:38 pm #

            Does an apartment with a coax outlet have any signals on iy if they don’t get service via the cable company?

          • Daniel Richards September 7, 2017 at 8:42 pm #

            depends how the apartment complex has things setup

      • Evan September 7, 2017 at 6:41 am #

        http://hauppauge.com still sells stuff for PCs but I have a Mac Pro that has not been updated by Apple in 5 years.

        • Daniel Richards September 7, 2017 at 2:14 pm #

          pretty sure thats the company that made that USB tuner I had

  10. Daniel Richards September 7, 2017 at 2:44 am #

    targeted advertising NO THANKS, better have a way to OPT OUT of that one, really don’t want to need an ADBLOCK for my TV just to maintain my privacy.

  11. Len Mullen September 7, 2017 at 4:14 am #

    This article explains why ATSC 3.0 will not be successful. It is simply a product no consumer needs and therefore no broadcaster will benefit from. There is no need for an inexpensive new antenna, but the consumer will need an expensive new tuner. Whether the consumer chooses to replace televisions, add/upgrade set top boxes, or stream from some router to a set top box, the transition will be expensive. The ability to stream to a cell phone already exists. Not only can I stream from a local antenna over wifi, I can already stream from a remote antenna using a HDHomerun or something similar. Been doing it for years. With unlimited data plans, OTT is just fine for this niche. The Emergency Alert System is hardly a game changer. It was the justification for broadcast television 100 years ago. Anyone not getting alerts on their televisions already? While broadcasters will be able to simulcast, the recent reallocation of bandwidth to cell phones, physical space requirements at the broadcast facility, and the cost of managing a redundant stream will slow implementation. ATSC 3.0 is really about monetizing broadcast television — better data, more expensive commercials, and pay tv are what ATSC 3.0 is all about. The ATCS 3.0 advocates have not published data about early adoption because there is no pent up demand. Worse (for them), a lot of consumers watch broadcast television with nothing more than an antenna, a coax run, and a television. It took a five year head start for ATSC 1.0 tuners to make significant headway despite the relentless warnings about the transition the the concurrent arrival of HDTV. This time, there will be no mandate, no vouchers, and no transition. ATSC 3.0 is the second coming of 3D TV — an expensive technology no one wants.

  12. Len Mullen September 7, 2017 at 4:22 am #

    ATSC 3.0 will arrive as a pay tv service for those who do not have terrestrial high speed internet. It is a replacement for satellite not ATSC 1.0. People will get a free or subsidized router when they sign up for a pay service like Netflix or DirecTV Now and watch using a Roku app. Tuners will make their way into televisions as hybrids (ATSC 1.0 plus ATSC 3.0), but no one will care. The Industry will lobby relentlessly for FCC mandates and subsidies, but the premium providers will spend just as much to thwart these efforts. In ten years, broadcast television will look pretty much as it does today.

  13. David Fisher November 17, 2017 at 2:20 pm #

    So when the ATSC 1.0 gets cut off, then existing TV’s used for OTA broadcasts will either need an adapter, get e-cycled, or be simply used as monitors for streaming PC systems. Once a cutoff date it set, then new ATSC 1.0 only HDTV’s for sale should have a label stating the cutoff date date for ATSC 1.0.

  14. jjimg1474 November 17, 2017 at 2:57 pm #

    Before reading the article, I was wondering why two members of the FCC voted no. After reading the article I see why.