ATSC 3.0: How cord-cutters should plan for antenna TV’s big upgrade

    The broadcast TV trade has been hyping a brand new normal for over-the-air channels over the previous couple years. It’s referred to as ATSC 3.0, or Next Gen TV.

    The advantages of this normal are clear: Better reception, 4K HDR video assist, Dolby Atmos and DTS-X assist, on-demand video, and presumably even streaming to cellular gadgets and cars. (The normal additionally has additionally some iffier facets, equivalent to targeted advertising.) But ATSC 3.0 comes with one large caveat as properly: While the brand new normal will work with any antenna, it’s incompatible with the ATSC 1.0 tuners constructed into immediately’s TVs, converter containers, and DVRs. To make the most of Next Gen TV, cord-cutters will want new {hardware}.

    All of which has made me marvel at what level it not is sensible to put money into the present technology of antenna TV. With ATSC 3.0 set to roll out within the prime 40 U.S. markets this yr, and with some TV makers beginning to construct ATSC 3.0 tuners into their 2020 units, has the time come to carry off on shopping for TVs or over-the-air DVRs that solely assist ATSC 1.0?

    The reply, as of early 2020, is “probably not yet.”

    Next Gen TV: Where it stands now

    Here’s what we all know for certain in regards to the forthcoming rollout of ATSC 3.0:

    The prime 40 U.S. markets as ranked by Nielsen plan to have no less than one ATSC 3.0 broadcast up and working this yr, with a further 20 markets to comply with. Collectively these will cowl about 70 % of the inhabitants. (A full checklist of markets getting ATSC 3.0 in 2020 is obtainable at this link.)

    As for {hardware}, Samsung has introduced that it’ll assist ATSC 3.0 in 13 of its 8K TVs in 2020, whereas LG will assist the usual in six of its OLED units. Sony will supply ATSC 3.0 in its X900H vary, totaling no less than 20 TVs with Next Gen TV assist this yr.

    Beyond that, issues get squishy. Dave Arland, a spokesman for each the ATSC 3.0 requirements physique and the broadcaster tech consortium Pearl TV, stated discussions are underway with different TV makers, so it’s potential that extra TVs will arrive in 2020; however for now, the tech is destined for high-end televisions.

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