Story 2015-08-07 GQFM Will ATSC 3.0 make your TV useless after 2017?

Will ATSC 3.0 make your TV useless after 2017?

in hardware on (#GQFM)
story imageConsumer Reports is sounding the early warning alarm that if the FCC adopts the upcoming ATSC 3.0 standard, expected to be completed in 2017, current TVs will go dark. ATSC 3.0 will be a completely new standard and incompatible with current broadcast systems. It is supported by a broad coalition of influential corporations, who are likely to aggressively push for adoption of the standard. Improvements include 4k/Ultra HD video, immersive audio, single frequency network technology, IP-based content, and much greater reception tolerance (eg. mobile, tunnels, etc.). Also, emergency alerts will including a digital wakeup bit that will power up your TV automatically and inform you of critical information, with maps, graphics, video, and text.

Today, there simply isn't enough TV spectrum available for broadcasters to simulcast both ATSC 1.0 and ATSC 3.0 signals, and no sign of willingness from Congress to subsidize the purchases of converter boxes, as was the case in the digital cut-over back in 2009. While there are actually more people using over-the-air TV than before the switchover, the "incentive auctions" and "repack" indicate much less interest in maintaining our OTA infrastructure, and more interest in auctioning it off to cellular phone companies for billions of dollars. From a peak of 486 MHz of TV bandwidth before 1983, the upcoming repack could reduce that to 210 MHz or less.

Will ATSC 1.0 be replaced after less than 20 years on the air (compared with the 70 year run of NTSC-M), or will ATSC 3.0 be a dead-end that goes nowhere, despite its influential supporters?
Reply 9 comments

As the US is a corporatocracy.. (Score: 1, Interesting)

by Anonymous Coward on 2015-08-07 19:53 (#GRN8)

I predict that they will pass this, as the people that benefit the most are the corporations.


Re: As the US is a corporatocracy.. (Score: 1)

by on 2015-08-07 22:05 (#GRZD)

They may WANT to benefit, but they won't because no one is stupid enough to buy into this crap.

broadcast TV only? (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2015-08-08 03:29 (#GSBR)

Maybe broadcast will change, but my guess is that TimeWarner and other cable/satellite TV systems will keep on working just fine with older TVs.

Re: broadcast TV only? (Score: -1)

by Anonymous Coward on 2015-08-08 07:55 (#GSRD)


What's really driving this? (Score: 2, Interesting)

by on 2015-08-08 12:40 (#GT7Y)

So who will really benefit here? hardware manufacturers? content providers?

I know all it does for me is make me even less likely to ever break down and buy a new TV (something I never did after the switch to digital... well, no point now!)

Re: What's really driving this? (Score: 2, Insightful)

by on 2015-08-08 13:41 (#GTBV)

I was thinking the same thing. TV technology seems to be changing fast, and yet what it delivers isn't all that different than it was in the 70s. How many times do they think I'm going to rebuy a device?

Re: What's really driving this? (Score: 2, Insightful)

by on 2015-08-10 16:29 (#GZSY)

If you are referring to the content that's on, you have an argument. If you are talking about the picture quality, you may or may not be correct. If you can get a signal, TV is much better than it was in the 70's even before the digital switch over. However, with the switch over, there are some locations like mine in a vast sea of a suburban sprawl in a major tv market that *had* good signal before the switch over and decent picture quality, but lost all channels except one after the switch over.

But the analog static, audio pop, v sync and general waviness is gone. Its as good as anything you can get from any internet source ( netflix, hulu, etc).

Re: What's really driving this? (Score: 1)

by on 2015-08-11 07:37 (#H1QS)

The switch to digital has also multiplied the number of channels available by approximately a factor of 3X. Most major stations now have multiple sub-channel showing films (ThisTV/Movies/GetTV/Grit/Escape) older TV shows (LAFF/AntennaTV/MeTV/Cozi/Retrotv/PBJ/Buzzr/Heroes&Icons/Decades), kids shows (Qubo/PBS Kids) various others (Create/LivWell/IonLife/MHz WorldView/NHK), and more.

OTA TV is now a lot like cable TV was in the early days... Best picture available, big selection of better-ish content, lots of groups trying to break-in and innovate, etc.

Re: What's really driving this? (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2015-08-16 18:21 (#HJAF)

Yeah it's kind of baffling to me, though of course quite welcome. The economics of finding advertisers, renting broadcast slots, overhead, etc. versus the small number of people still watching via antennas ... I don't quite get their incentive.