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What You Need to Know About ATSC 3.0 – Part 2


On Nov 16 2017,  the Federal Communications Commission in the US voted 3-2 to approve the ‘voluntary rollout’ the ’Next Gen TV’ Over-the-Air (OTA) TV standard otherwise known as ATSC 3.0.

Ajit Pai FCC

While this paves the way for local broadcasters to begin work on delivering next generation broadcast signals, stations are required to continue broadcasts in ATSC 1.0 signals for at least 5 years after they make the switch.

What’s the Deal With ATSC 3.0?

If you haven’t read ‘What Cord Cutters Need to Know About ATSC 3.0’, click over there and check it out. Part 2 will be here when you get back.

The TLDR though is ATSC 3.0 will offer 4K HDR picture quality, immersive surround sound, improved signal reception and emergency alerting. Sounds cool, right?

Unfortunately there are some not-so-cool downsides that come with it.

This next generation TV technology also provides the technology broadcasters need to sell targeted advertising based on your viewing habits, just like Google and Facebook do based on which websites you visit.

And it’s also not backwards-compatible with the tuners inside your current TV and/or Over-the-Air TV gear, so if you want to be able to take advantage of the improvements you’ll need to invest in new TVs, DVRs, or converter boxes.

Want to Watch ATSC 3.0 TV Today? You’re Out of Luck:

Korea ATSC 3.0

While it is possible for TV stations to start broadcasting in this new standard, there are only a handful experimenting with this new technology. Both Phoenix and Cleveland stations have also recently announced plans to become testing grounds.

But getting back to gear, it’s not clear how consumers in those test markets are supposed to watch those next generation TV test broadcasts.

Although your current Over-the-Air TV antenna will be able to receive the new signals, there are no TVs, no converter boxes and no DVRs on the market in North America today that support Next Gen TV.

In fact, manufacturers in the United States don’t even have access to chipsets or tuners capable to decoding this new standard.

If I Can’t Watch ATSC 3.0 Today, Then When?

Unlike the transition from analog to digital TV in the early 2000s, there are no deadlines or timelines set out by the FCC for Next Gen TV. The transition is instead being driven by market adoption, which means identifying the ‘when’ requires a bit of a crystal ball.

Broadcasters who can afford the equipment and manpower investment will likely jump on board the next generation TV bandwagon over the next three years or so.

Early consumer adopters can expect next generation capable TVs, converter boxes and DVRs to arrive around 2020 or later.

2023 is the earliest date any station could legally discontinue simulcasting the current ATSC 1.0 broadcasts, at which time you would need to purchase a new TV, converter box, or DVR to watch your local TV stations Over-the-Air.

By 2025 (ish), the transition should be mostly complete. That is, unless TV technology changes so much before then that this technology gets leapfrogged by something else… Like what happened with ATSC 2.0.

What Does FCC’s Decision Mean for Tablo OTA DVR Users?

Tablo Dual Lite OTA DVR Hero Packaging

Since ATSC 3.0 isn’t backwards compatible with current technology, your current Tablo OTA DVR won’t be able to receive these new signals. However, because today’s OTA broadcasts will be available until at least 2023, you’ll be able to continue enjoying Tablo for the next 6 years or longer.

If you’re wondering when to expect an ATSC 3.0 Tablo, the answer is TBD.

As we mentioned earlier, the chipsets and tuners we’d need to make this next generation ready Tablo OTA DVR aren’t even available yet. We’re obviously going to keep an eye on the rollout and if/when the technology exists and the market seems ready, we’ll get to work on it.

Read ‘What Cord Cutters Need to Know About ATSC 3.0 – Part 3’ HERE

Additional Reading:

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How to restart your phone/tablet

Sometimes, just restarting your smartphone or tablet can clear up issues with apps. The links below will provide detailed instructions on how to force close your Tablo app. 

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Android smartphones 

Most Android smartphones and tablets can be restarted by holding the POWER button and then selecting RESTART or POWER OFF and RESTART from the POWER OPTIONS menu.

NOTE: Newer Samsung devices require you to hold the POWER/SIDE button and VOLUME DOWN to make the POWER OPTIONS menu appear. On the Google Pixel 6, hold the POWER and VOLUME UP buttons.

How to force close your Tablo app?

Sometimes, just restarting the app can fix things. The links below will provide detailed instructions on how to force close your Tablo app. 

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