Inside HDHomeRun’s big bet on ATSC 3.0

    Late final month, SiliconDust took a leap of religion and began taking orders for a brand new HDHomeRun TV tuner on Kickstarter.

    If all goes to plan, the HDHomeRun Quatro 4K would be the first exterior ATSC 3.0 tuner for customers when it launches in September. Like different HDHomeRun tuners, the Quatro 4K will seize over-the-air broadcasts from any antenna and stream the video to telephones, computer systems, and linked TV gadgets round the home. But in markets the place ATSC 3.0 is out there, the tuner will assist broadcasts in as much as 4K decision with as much as 7.1.4 encompass sound, whereas additionally bettering reception and permitting for brand spanking new options reminiscent of on-demand video.

    I have to admit that that is occurring ahead of I anticipated. When I last covered the state of ATSC 3.0 gear in January, the one dialogue of exterior tuners got here from distributors promoting costly {hardware} for business testing. While some TV producers are integrating ATSC 3.0 with their high-end units, no consumer-grade tuners appeared to be forthcoming. (ATSC 3.0 isn’t backwards suitable, so it would require both a brand new TV or an exterior tuner to look at any stations that use the brand new commonplace.)

    Only six U.S. stations are broadcasting in ATSC 3.0 right now, and whereas 60 markets are anticipated to deploy the usual this 12 months, particulars are murky on particular channels or content material assist. I used to be curious to know why SiliconDust was leaping in early, so I interviewed CTO Nick Kelsey and buyer liaison Nathan Betzen to search out out.

    Why now?

    Kelsey stated the Quatro 4K got here from a need to maneuver broadcast TV ahead. While a lot of firms are creating software program and middleware for ATSC 3.0, the present {hardware} for receiving the brand new commonplace is price prohibitive. At least for now, SiliconDust sees the Quatro 4K as primarily for engineers and different folks within the business, together with some early adopters.

    “There’s obviously a pretty big adoption chicken-and-egg problem,” Kelsey stated. “We figured the only way to help the situation was to come out with product availability.”

    Getting the worth down

    Kelsey stated the Quatro 4K is worthwhile at its $200 Kickstarter worth, and he doesn’t count on that worth to rise in September, when SiliconDust plans to launch the tuner extra broadly. If something, the worth might go down.

    That’s stunning on condition that business tuners can price as much as $1,000, and that the prevailing Connect Quatro tuner sells for $150. While Kelsey stated the modulators required by ATSC 3.0 are extra complicated and costly, price financial savings comes from the truth that SiliconDust is mass-producing {hardware}, which no different exterior tuner distributors are doing but.

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