Hey everyone, you’ll see the ATSC 3.0 Next-Gen Tune Technology. The first product I noticed was a new portable ATSC 3.0 mobile receiver made by the company QE. This tuner is small yet very powerful. What we have is a mobile ATSC 3 receiver. It’s a cool tuner in there that can tune any channel, any ATSC 3 channel. Turn this on, and then you pick up your phone. This is a Bluetooth device, so it will pair with your phone over Bluetooth. You have an app on your phone; you open it up, and you can tune to any ATSC 3 channel. Again, you can either get it on Bluetooth to your phone; you can get it over Wi-Fi to your home network; or you can plug it into the TV directly with a USB port and receive it that way.
Inside a glass display were several ATSC 3.0 set-top boxes from Zidwell Bit Router, aka the Zapper Box, Tolka, Tableau, V-Box, Digicap, and Gaian. The V-Box was on display in a separate booth. It’s a network tuner that connects to your home’s internet service and can be accessed on multiple devices in your home, including a regular TV, tablet, and even a smartphone. In addition to live Next-Gen TV broadcasts, the V-Box can also access on-demand features now available in several markets.
I was told that some of the set-top boxes within the glass display are currently in the process of becoming NextGen certified and will be sold to the public later this year. Speaking of NextGen certification, there was a presentation that talked about the importance of purchasing an ATSC 3.0 tuner with the NextGen logo to ensure it’s compatible with all current and future features of ATSC 3.0. More on this in a future video.
Sinclair and One Media had several displays showcasing on-demand and interactive features of Next-Gen TV, including a survey, weather information, live Doppler radar, and Amber Alerts with pictures. This feature, in particular, seriously has the potential to save lives.
The ATSC 3.0 radio demo was really cool. It appeared more finalized than what was shown to me at CES back in January. I was able to go through and select any of the radio stations. Just like with the on-demand content feature, these radio stations are from a real ATSC 3.0 broadcast signal available in Las Vegas and Baltimore markets for anyone with the NextGen tuner, and it’s expected to expand to more markets in the future.
The company Freecast Home revealed a unit that appears to be a rebrand of the HDHomeRun, but with their software. It integrates content from local TV channels along with over 600 free live streaming channels. You can either watch the channels live or search for content based on category.
This display highlighted how PBS in Miami was the first TV station to deliver live video over the NextGen TV Internet Protocol, thanks to LG. With this, if someone is able to pick up part of an ATSC 3.0 signal that’s too weak to fully decode, they would still be able to access a live broadcast through an internet connection.
Scripts showcased on-demand content within a Next-Gen tuner that comes through the internet. What we’re showing here is the Run 3TV application that’s for broadcasters. So here’s what a consumer would typically see at home: They could choose a stream or a channel. This is now tuning to the over-the-air broadcast, but it’s also pulling up the Run 3TV application. With that, we can go to the station’s website and find all of these pieces of information. Maybe it’s a story about the City of Las Vegas City Council. I select that, and bam, now you’re watching our news report for two minutes and 19 seconds that comes from the ABC affiliate. This is delivered through the internet, right to the TV. There’s also some other work that can be done. A station could say, Hey, I want to provide an app with something very simple like the weather. Because the TV is plugged into an Internet Protocol connection, we know the general address of the TV, although not the personal specifics. Now it’s very easy to pull up the weather.
Samsung showed off HDR10+ from an NFL game on this TV. Sangean Labs showcased their usual ATSC 3.0 smartphones and chipsets. We saw this at CES back in January and back in 2020. NBC Universal and Pearl TV revealed advanced audio accessibility features. The second audio program within the TV broadcast can now handle Dolby audio compared to mono on the current TV standard.
So, I’m here with ATSC President Madeline Nolan to ask a few questions about the future of ATSC 3.0 and what’s going on at NAB. Thanks so much for joining me, Madeline. It’s a pleasure to be here. Thank you for having me. So, my first question is, what advancements have you seen in ATSC 3.0 technology since CES? A lot of advancements have happened, and some of them are on the set-top box side. So we’ve seen new set-top boxes coming out; they’re getting smaller; they’re getting less expensive. This one is very close to earning the Next-Gen TV logo, which is super important. So we’re very excited about that. We thought they might have the logo in time for the show on there; this is close. So that’ll be coming very soon, and then there are others that are right behind them. What’s really interesting is that they are getting the logo, which is super important, and there’s a proliferation of them. They’re multiplying like bunnies, so now we have a case full of different ones that are new to CES. I was pretty excited about that. But I think some of the announcements are also pretty exciting.
That’s awesome. And what announcements are going on? I overheard that there is a certain market that might be finally launching ATSC 3.0. Do you want to tell me which market that is? Well, sure, but we’ll tease it just for a little bit. The first thing I want to say is that there’s one market that’s more important than the one you’re thinking of, which is the market where I live, which is, of course, the most important one. No, I’m kidding, but my home office is in the Boston market, which is among the 25 markets that launched this year, which is pretty amazing. So we’re up to around 70 markets launched, with over 60 percent of the population able to receive signals. And the one that you’re talking about is, drum roll, Philadelphia. Yeah, yeah. So we finally had an announcement that CBS would be the host station in Philadelphia. And broadcasters, of course, have plenty of things to work out and testing to be done, etc., etc., but we’re looking at, I think, what they’re anticipating is this summer. That’s awesome. And I understand there’s a lot of hard work behind the scenes to get Next-Gen TV launched in those markets. So I applaud the broadcasters for officially announcing in Philadelphia that Next-Gen TV is coming. Yes, and I also heard no official announcement, but I heard that New York is very, very close. So fingers crossed on that. Again, nothing official, which would mean that the last really big market is Chicago. So any other things you want to mention about Next-Gen TV that have happened here at NAB or just future things going on? Well, I think that the announcement by FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel on Monday may be a game-changer. What the FCC has done is they have formed a new workgroup, which is going to be a public-private partnership to start the conversation about how we can reduce 1.0’s footprint and ultimately Sunset 1.0 so that we can complete the transition. So of the three main work items, the first two are the most interesting for this transition. The first one is: how are we going to make sure that all the consumers are going to be fine? And the second one: how are we going to complete the transition? The third one is how the regulatory environment is going to look after the transition. And we’ll let the FCC worry about that. But the first two are amazing.
It’s great to hear they have a task force going on because prior to that, it was up to the broadcasters, and it’s very tricky to get Next-Gen launched in the market, you know, just by broadcasters working together. Now there is potentially an organization that will help; it can help speed things up and launch Next-Gen TV in markets that may not have it yet. Yeah, and I think that it’s going to take all of us to push this thing finally to its conclusion. I don’t think the broadcasters could have done it themselves at any point. However, what the broadcasters have proven is that this technology is that important. They’re putting in their money and their time; they’re putting this on the air, and it’s a voluntary thing. And yet, here it is. So, I always thought to myself, when you have a non-backward compatible thing that is voluntarily being rolled out, it had better be good; otherwise, why would you do it? I have to say the Boston stations look amazing. You are going to love it in Philadelphia. The video is immediately noticeably better; it’s like Pops, and we’re not even at 4K yet. The thing that’s most exciting to me, and this might be kind of fun for your viewers, is that the ATSC 1.0 sticks are mostly about 20 miles away from my house, and my antenna is optimized for those. The ATSC 3.0 stick is more than twice as far away from my house as those; the antenna did not change angle, and the reception is better. And this is a mod code; I know your rears are smart; they know what a mod code did. This is a mod code that can handle five HD signals and an SD signal, and the reception is rock-solid. So I’m so excited.
Yeah, it sounds like the future is very promising. Again, thanks so much for taking the time for this interview and giving my viewers some very great information. Well, thank you, Tyler. Much appreciated.
Beyond ATSC 3.0 tech at NAB, there was some antenna tech from Televised. Their Smartcom is one of the only true antenna combiners on the market that lets you combine up to three antennas on the same coaxial cable without negatively impacting reception. I include a link to it in the description below. Televised also had a new indoor antenna on display along with ATSC 3.0 broadcast equipment for TV stations. I must say it’s pretty amazing that this company handles both the broadcasting and receiving sides of over-the-air television.
One display outside of the Next-Gen TV booth seemed to have a problem with TV reception, and I just had to say this looks like someone needs an antenna recommendation from Antenna Man. The Next-Gen TV Korean Alliance was also at NAB. While Next-Gen TV may seem relatively new in the United States, it’s been the official TV standard in South Korea for several years now. We are definitely still in the early stages of it, with some bumps in the road, but from what I’ve seen at NAB, the future should be more smooth.
More affordable external Next-Gen tuners are expected to come on the market soon, which I’ll now be able to review at my house compared to a hotel room. With the announcement that the Philadelphia market will finally launch ATSC 3.0 this summer, thanks again for watching this YouTube video, and be sure to stay tuned to my YouTube channel as I will be showcasing a lot more ATSC 3.0 and Next-Gen TV tech in the future as the products are released. So, thanks again for watching, and have an awesome day.