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ATSC 3.0 — Joining the Over-the-Air 4K/HDR Revolution

Feb 4, 2021 | News & Analysis

In 2020, more than 6 million U.S. households cancelled their pay TV package, bringing the total number of “cord-cutter” households to 31.2 million. Meanwhile, the latest generation of televisions boast a new technology, called ATSC 3.0, which has the potential to revolutionize TV consumption.

In 2020, satellite TV services lost more than 2.7 million subscribers ( Q1, Q2, Q3). That’s on top of the 3.7 million subscribers satellite TV services lost in 2019 and the 2.4 million lost in 2018. That means that at least 9 million abandoned dishes are cluttering up the skies all across America.

What if these Dish and DirecTV masts could be recycled and used again with an old-school type of TV antenna? With ATSC 3.0, it could be worth it, depending on the television market. In Las Vegas, four stations made the switch in May 2020.

DirecTV dishesNearly 10 million satellite TV dishes have been abandoned in the past three years alone. ATSC 3.0 offers many opportunities to recycle satellite masts for regular over-the-air (OTA) TV duty that delivers ultra-high definition 4K television without a cable or satellite bill.

What makes ATSC 3.0 so special? ATSC 1.0 officially introduced HDTV to the U.S. market in 1996. On April 26, 1999, NBC became the first network to offer regularly scheduled HD programming with “The Tonight Show starring Jay Leno.” There is no ATSC 2.0, because it was considered largely as outdated by time it was ready to launch, so the ATSC committee skipped it and launched 3.0 in 2017.

ATSC lets recipients with an ATSC 3.0-compatible television, like the LG G1 ($TBD) pictured above, and an ATSC 3.0-compatible TV antenna ($60.00) receive over-the-air television broadcasts in 4K UHD with HDR (high-dynamic-range imaging), wide color gamut (WCG), and also high frame rate (HFR).

That means that regular old television would put both cable and satellite TV to shame. We’re going to post a YouTube video soon that shows how to mount a TV antenna onto a DirecTV satellite mast. Since receiving 4K TV with HDR-quality video without cable or satellite TV service is sure to revolutionize TV watching, we believe there is a big opportunity brewing potentially in plain old television.

Michael Tchong

Michael Tchong

Founder, Author, Adjunct Professor, Futurist

Michael Tchong is a distinguished analyst renowned for his expertise in scrutinizing and dissecting societal, cultural, and technological trends. His invaluable insights serve as a cornerstone for guiding businesses and organizations towards more informed decisions regarding their products, services, and innovation strategies.
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