What should we expect from ATSC 3 OTA in the near future?

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IRJ
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What should we expect from ATSC 3 OTA in the near future?

Post by IRJ »

I am starting this thread as I am trying to understand exactly what we might be able to receive in terms of ATSC programming OTA in the coming 6 - 12 months and beyond.

My understanding is that ATSC 1 has allowed stations to broadcast OTA in 720P and 1080i

My understanding is that ATSC 3 will allow stations to broadcast OTA at 1080P and with multiple sets of ATSC 3 hardware can and will EVENTUALLY allow for 4K transmission OTA.

But I have just been told, on an AVS Forum for ATSC Charlotte, that as NO Network is currently providing any 4K source, that the local OTA Station in the whole of the USA cannot currently broadcast 4K and that this is unlikely to change any time soon.

So our 2021 benefit will be upgrades to 1080P, HDR and better audio etc, but no 4k.

kyl416
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Re: What should we expect from ATSC 3 OTA in the near future?

Post by kyl416 »

So no one loses any existing programming, there's a mandatory 5 year ATSC 1.0 simulcast period before stations can voluntarily shutdown ATSC 1.0 and go to standalone ATSC 3.0 signals, which would leave enough bandwidth for 4K. Until then they have to operate "Lighthouses" where multiple stations in a market share one or two ATSC 3.0 signals in exchange for those stations carrying ATSC 1.0 simulcasts of all of the subchannels of the station(s) that converted to ATSC 3.0. But with no mandate for stations to convert to ATSC 3.0 by a certain date, no mandate for manufacturers to include ATSC 3.0 tuners in all TVs sold in the USA by a certain date, or any plans for a coupon program for converters, odds are it will last longer than 5 years since no station, network or their advertisers will want to lose a significant portion of their OTA audience by eliminating ATSC 1.0 service before most of their viewers have the ability to receive ATSC 3.0 broadcasts.

Also, there already is one station broadcasting 4K over the air, but it's only a LPTV station in Idaho carrying Insight TV UHD encrypted as part of a subscription OTA service called Evoca. (LPTV stations are exempt from the 5 year ATSC 1.0 simulcast requirement, so they don't have to offer their ATSC 3.0 bandwidth to other stations in the DMA)

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Re: What should we expect from ATSC 3 OTA in the near future?

Post by xmguy »

kyl416 wrote: Fri May 21, 2021 1:06 pm So no one loses any existing programming, there's a mandatory 5 year ATSC 1.0 simulcast period before stations can voluntarily shutdown ATSC 1.0 and go to standalone ATSC 3.0 signals, which would leave enough bandwidth for 4K. Until then they have to operate "Lighthouses" where multiple stations in a market share one or two ATSC 3.0 signals in exchange for those stations carrying ATSC 1.0 simulcasts of all of the subchannels of the station(s) that converted to ATSC 3.0. But with no mandate for stations to convert to ATSC 3.0 by a certain date, no mandate for manufacturers to include ATSC 3.0 tuners in all TVs sold in the USA by a certain date, or any plans for a coupon program for converters, odds are it will last longer than 5 years since no station, network or their advertisers will want to lose a significant portion of their OTA audience by eliminating ATSC 1.0 service before most of their viewers have the ability to receive ATSC 3.0 broadcasts.

Also, there already is one station broadcasting 4K over the air, but it's only a LPTV station in Idaho carrying Insight TV UHD encrypted as part of a subscription OTA service called Evoca. (LPTV stations are exempt from the 5 year ATSC 1.0 simulcast requirement, so they don't have to offer their ATSC 3.0 bandwidth to other stations in the DMA)
""Lighthouses" where multiple stations in a market share one or two ATSC 3.0 signals in exchange for those stations carrying ATSC 1.0 simulcasts of all of the subchannels of the station(s) that converted to ATSC 3.0"

Thanks for explaining more this method.

CBme
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Re: What should we expect from ATSC 3 OTA in the near future?

Post by CBme »

IRJ wrote: Fri May 21, 2021 12:01 pm I am starting this thread as I am trying to understand exactly what we might be able to receive in terms of ATSC programming OTA in the coming 6 - 12 months and beyond.

My understanding is that ATSC 1 has allowed stations to broadcast OTA in 720P and 1080i

My understanding is that ATSC 3 will allow stations to broadcast OTA at 1080P and with multiple sets of ATSC 3 hardware can and will EVENTUALLY allow for 4K transmission OTA.

So our 2021 benefit will be upgrades to 1080P, HDR and better audio etc, but no 4k.
" with multiple sets of ATSC 3 hardware can and will EVENTUALLY allow for 4K transmission OTA" - Do not know what you mean by "multiple sets". Stations could broadcast 4k today and you could tune it. They are not doing so for the reasons Kyle mentioned (and that they aren't capturing in 4k so most anything they would currently send would just be uprezzed).
"So our 2021 benefit will be upgrades to 1080P, HDR and better audio etc, but no 4k." - 1080p that some stations are sending may not be 1080p sourced, just upscaled or de-interlaced. Not necessarily any better than your TV's deinterlacing. And given the bitrate it could look worse (though in general most are reporting their channels look the same or possibly a little better than the atsc 1 version). There are no stations broadcasting in HDR (to my knowledge) and may not be in 2021. The pipeline most (all?) currently use doesn't have HDR capture.

Net is it is a watch and wait without expectation of anything notable happening anytime soon.

karabekian
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Re: What should we expect from ATSC 3 OTA in the near future?

Post by karabekian »

Another near term ATSC3 feature is station apps being sent over the air. Detroit already has a couple on channels 4 and 7, but I don't believe they work on the HDHR.

The apps i'm seeing on my TV pretty much just allow you to view on-demand style content and scheduling information. It will be interesting to see what they do with them in the future.

autodidact
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Re: What should we expect from ATSC 3 OTA in the near future?

Post by autodidact »

ATSC 3.0 provides for an accessibility feature for the visually impaired called 'Audio Description'. In between dialog, a narrator gives brief spoken descriptions of the scene. On my Sony A90J TV I can't turn this feature off on the ATSC 3.0 signal. On my HDHomeRun I don't know of any way to turn it on (though I don't need it personally). I hope we see fixes for this.

kyl416
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Re: What should we expect from ATSC 3 OTA in the near future?

Post by kyl416 »

Descriptive Audio isn't ATSC 3.0 specific, it just uses the SAP feed and is also available on ATSC 1.0 and even analog TV. It also can carry Spanish audio and some PBS stations use it to carry their sister NPR station. The disability act from about a decade ago required the broadcast networks and the highest rated cable channels like USA, Disney and Nickelodeon to start offering Descriptive Audio for a certain percentage of programming.

On your Sony, you have to switch the audio stream in either one of the menus or via the audio/sap button on your remote. On the HDHomerun app you can access it by clicking the "SAP" icon on the navigation bar.

autodidact
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Re: What should we expect from ATSC 3 OTA in the near future?

Post by autodidact »

I have no doubt that ATSC 1.0 broadcasters met the federal mandate exactly as you describe and that some broadcasters might cut corners and meet the mandate in ATSC 3.0 broadcasts by providing a 'Complete Mix' as the standard calls it, in SAP. But if you take a look at the 'A/342 Part 1, "Audio Common Elements"' document which you can download here: https://www.atsc.org/atsc-documents/type/3-0-standards/ a separate 'Audio Description' component is defined, which I don't think was part of ATSC 1.0. I believe it's this that my devices are having trouble with. My Sony TV has a distinct 'Audio Description' toggle in the user interface. It doesn't work correctly just now, but I fully hope and expect that a firmware update will fix that.

autodidact
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Re: What should we expect from ATSC 3 OTA in the near future?

Post by autodidact »

After suffering through a live broadcast of Law and Order SVU with full commercial breaks on KSNV, I note the following. I can switch between two SAP's on the HDHomeRun labeled 'Eng Stereo Audio' and 'Eng 5.1 Audio'. The former has the extra audio which I will call VDS. On my Sony TV there are two SAP's but both are labeled 'English'. So I think the problem on the TV is that the broadcaster is using the old technique of putting VDS into an SAP instead of providing a discreet Audio Description component. That would explain why the Audio Description toggle on the TV doesn't have any effect. Also I think the two SAP's on the TV both get mapped to the 'Eng Stereo Audio' feed. So it's more of an SAP bug than an Audio Description bug.

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