4K Over The Air TV ATSC 3.0 What You Need to Know

Do you enjoy watching free over the air television? Some changes may be coming soon. Most broadcasters will be upgrading to a new broadcast standard called ATSC 3.0 or The Next Generation Broadcast Television Standard. This will allow OTA TV signals to be broadcasted in 4K. It will be an upgrade from the current 1080p (ATSC 1.0). This is not a mandatory switch for broadcasters. So it will be a slow transition and give viewers plenty of time to make the switch. It will require some equipment changes. Most people should be able to use their existing OTA antennas with the new ATSC 3.0 broadcast. All aspects of the new standard have not been hashed out. So some things may change. In this article, I will explain what this new broadcast standard will offer, what changes you will likely need to make and what to expect.

What is ATSC 3.0?

ATSC 3.0 is the latest version of the Advanced Television Systems Committee standards. This committee defines how television signals are broadcast and received. Currently, OTA television is being broadcasted using ATSC 1.0. This standard was implemented in 1996 and finalized in 2009.

Television

If you want to take advantage of the new broadcasts it will require a converter box or a new 4K TV with an ATSC 3.0 tuner. There are rumors that new 4K TV’s will soon be available with ATSC 1.0 and ATSC 3.0 tuners. This would resolve backward compatibility. This new equipment will likely not be available until 2020.

4K

4K Over The Air TV ATSC 3.0 What You Need to Know

ATSC 3.0 has many new improvements like 4K UHD broadcasts. Picture quality upgrades that include high dynamic range, wide color gamut, and frame rates up to 120 frames per second. This will give the viewer a clearer and crisper image. To broadcast in 4K it will require the use of the H.265 codec which means higher quality. Using this codec, higher resolution signals can then be broadcasted without an increase in bandwidth, which is good news for broadcasters. It allows them to keep their current 6MHz band.

Better Antenna Reception

ATSC 3.0 will have better reception indoors and use OFDM broadcast technology. This could require a smaller antenna for some viewers.

Audio Improvements

There are audio improvements as well. ATSC 3.0 will allow for Dolby AC-4 broadcasts of up to 7.1.4 channel audio surround sound and support object-based sound formats like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. The current audio standard is limited to just 5.1 channel surround.

Internet Integration

This new standard will also have an online component that will allow for broadcast viewing on modern connected devices like smartphones, tablets, and computers. There will also be an option for video on demand. Separate content will also be sent over IP and then integrated before being displayed. This will allow for more tailored content like ads and emergency alerts geo-targeted to your area.

Slow Roll Out

Again this is not a mandatory switch like the previous analog to digital upgrade. It is being done on a voluntary basis. This new standard is still a few years away and broadcasters are required to keep broadcasting using the old ATSC 1.0 for the foreseeable future. The rollout will likely be a slow one.

Image courtesy of winnond at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Conclusion

I have a feeling the 4K switch will take a lot longer than FCC anticipates. Ultimately, it will depend on the broadcasters and consumers to foot the bill. Time will tell if this transition gains much ground. As of now, there are not many broadcasters making the switch, just a few test markets. I am going to wait and see how this new transition plays out before upgrading any of my equipment. If you are excited about receiving this new format be patient, this could take some time! Please consider subscribing to this website and stay up to date for the switch to ATSC 3.0.

July 1, 2019 0

Installing an Over The Air Antenna on a Boat

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About Johan
I started this site to educate the public on alternative ways you can watch television besides subscribing to cable. I have been in the audio-visual business for over 20 years. I also have an extensive computer networking background. I am a Microsoft Certified Professional and CompTIA Network+ Certified Technician. I hope you will find my articles and reviews helpful in conscious uncabling.

2 Comments

  1. Definitely will wait! Things change and become outdated so fast in the technology world. Nothing wrong with our current TVs 4K or not. Thanks for the update.

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