ATSC 3.0: Tampa

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Triplesticks
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ATSC 3.0: Tampa

Post by Triplesticks »

I called several stations in the Tampa bay area and heard back from Reb Brownlow - Director of Engineering WFTS

1) They (ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, and MOR(CW)) are all scheduled to go live on December 1st, 2020
2) MOR(CW) will be the "lighthouse" station, which means it will be sending out the signal for everyone
3) MOR(CW) will be broadcasting on physical channel 18

I'm planning on placing my order for a Connect 4K in a few weeks, so I'll be ready for the Dec. 1st Go Live.

Triplesticks
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Re: ATSC 3.0: Tampa

Post by Triplesticks »

UPDATE

As promised 5 ATSC 3.0 channels showed up today (see below) on physical channel 18. I am able to tune and watch all 5 channels, including audio, using the HDHomeRun app from the Windows Store (20201029/1.1.301.0) on my Windows 10 PC. I have some occasional audio stuttering and video errors, but nothing too bad. I did have to manually download the update from the Windows Store to get the latest version of the app.

I haven't been able to get any of my Apple devices to work successfully on the ATSC 3.0 channels. They all work fine on the ATSC 1.0 channels:
  • iPhone SE 2020: IOS 14.1 and Apple Store app 20201117 (frozen image and no sound)
  • iPad 2020: IOS 14.2 and Apple Store app 20201117 (frozen image and no sound)
  • AppleTV 2020: tvOS 14.2 and Apple TV Store app 20201119 (video plays but jumps between all green and normal video. No sound)
All the content is regular HD (1080p/30 or 720p/30). I sent an email to Mr. Brownlow asking about their plans for 4K content.

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kyl416
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Re: ATSC 3.0: Tampa

Post by kyl416 »

There won't be enough bandwidth for 4K OTA content from the networks until they go to their own standalone ATSC 3.0 signals instead of a shared lighthouse signal. That won't happen until the mandatory 5 year ATSC 1.0 simulcast period is over and the stations decide that tuner penetration is high enough that they can safely convert their remaining ATSC 1.0 signals without losing a significant portion of their OTA audience. However with no mandate that manufacturers include ATSC 3.0 tuners or any plans to distribute coupons for free converters, the chances of them reaching that threshold within 5 years is slim.

Triplesticks
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Re: ATSC 3.0: Tampa

Post by Triplesticks »

I got a response from Mr. Brownlow and he confirmed some of what you posted. They don't have enough bandwidth in the lighthouse configuration to broadcast 4K and they won't until they "abandon ATSC 1.0 and start broadcasting 3.0 at each of our own towers." I'll follow-up with him to see if they have any idea how long they plan to test before moving to their own towers. Hopefully, it won't be 5 years or more. What you're saying regarding being market driven makes sense. We'll see how many TVs include ATSC 3.0 tuners at CES 2021 in January. Some of the high-end models got them this year and hopefully more models will get them next year. Having to potentially wait 5 years is depressing.

kyl416
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Re: ATSC 3.0: Tampa

Post by kyl416 »

The minimum 5 year ATSC 1.0 simulcast isn't market driven, it's a FCC requirement. In order for a station to convert to ATSC 3.0 all of their existing channels have to be made available in ATSC 1.0 on other signals in the market with a similar coverage area for at least 5 years so no one loses access to existing programming. The big problem is the damage has already been done via the repack, so there isn't enough room like there was for the DTV transition where stations had a transitional digital signal in addition to their existing analog signal, so we're stuck with a lighthouse style transition.

Now what happens after that 5 years will very much be market driven, like stations could choose to opt out of the lighthouse which would free up bandwidth. The new makeup of the FCC and congress could also end up taking a more proactive approach to ATSC 3.0 and make tuners mandatory in all TVs sold in the USA, crackdown on certain manufacturers who sold TVs with disabled ATSC 3.0 tuners and reneged on their promise to enable them via a firmware update, and introduce a converter coupon program to speed the conversion process along like what happened with the 2009 transition.

jasonl
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Re: ATSC 3.0: Tampa

Post by jasonl »

The whole point of the original digital transition was to sell 52-69 to the cell phone companies and give the government more money to spend. The ATSC tuner requirement happened as a way to facilitate that. The funding for the coupon program came out of the revenues from the selloff, and it was structured in such a way as to take as little of the revenue as possible. There's no incentive for the government to do anything for ATSC 3 since they don't stand to benefit from it, and there sure as hell isn't going to be a converter coupon program with no outside money to pay for it.

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