Hi everyone, AntennaGuy here AntennaJunkies.com. I’m very excited to share some news that ATSC 3.0 Tuner Kits are now available to purchase and start streaming crystal clear HDTV content in 4K. Airwavz.tv has recently release a ATSC 3.0 Tuner Kit that is capable of picking up ATSC 3.0 signal directly from broadcast towers. Included in the ATSC 3.0 TvXplorer Kit are the following:
1 Detachable 24″ antenna 75 ohm F/ with SMA connector
1 6″ USB (blue) Extension Cable
1 Year Technical Support
Before you get too excited though I should point out that this ATSC 3.0 Tuner Kit is going to set you back a few dollars…about $2,000 to be exact! This means that for most of us common folk ATSC 3.0 tuner hardware is still a little out of reach. The good news is it won’t be for long! This is no different than any new and innovating technology about to hit the market. Remember when 4K televisions were first being demoed back in 2012, before their wide-spread release? Getting your hands on one of those sets back then would have set you back literally thousands of dollars. Now you can pick one up for a few hundred bucks. How about the cost of getting your hands on an 8K television as of the writing of this article? ATSC 3.0 tuner hardware is no different.
What Is TvXplorer?
TvXplorer is a ATSC 3.0 tuner hardware and software bundle mainly targeting prosumers – someone who is involved in the design, manufacture, or development of a product or service. The bundle will provide instant access to both UHF (Ultra High Frequency) and VHF (Very High Frequency) television ATSC 3.0 technology, otherwise known as NextGen TV. With the ATSC 3.0 tuner (known as a RedZone Receiver) and the accompanying TvXplorer Windows 10 compliant software you’ll be able to tune in broadcasts directly from TV towers broadcasting ATSC 3.0. Included in the software are developer tools for measuring things like RSSi (Received Signal Strength) and SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio). And of course the software will be capable of not only receiving ATSC 3.0 signals but also be able to playback the audio and video in high definition. Check out this short one minute video showing TvXplorer in action!
What ATSC 3.0 Will Mean for OTA TV and Cord-cutters
I’ve done several articles on ATSC 3.0 here on the site, and I encourage you to check them out after you’re done here:
That said, I think it’s appropriate to go over some of the key features that ATSC 3.0 promises to deliver for cord-cutters like you and me.
Better Picture Quality
ATSC 3.0 tuner hardware promises to deliver improved over-the-air reception receiving broadcasts in pristine 4K resolution. Supporting this will also mean high dynamic range, wide color gamut, and frame rates upto 120 frames per second. What does a 120 frames per second mean you might ask…check out the YouTube video below that does a great job visualizing it. In order to broadcast in 4K, ATSC 3.0 will leverage the H.265 codec which means better quality and better reception both indoors and outdoors.
Improved Audio Quality
Another exciting aspect of ATSC 3.0 is the immersive audio it will deliver. ATSC 3.0 will include native support for 7.1.4 audio configurations that can be scaled up to 22.2. ATSC 3.0 will standardize on the AC-4 audio format for digital broadcasts.
Now this is an interesting one. ATSC 3.0 promises to deliver digital broadcasts directly to your mobile devices in much the same way that your WIFI currently does. Of course your smart devices will need to have installed an ATSC 3.0 tuner which likely won’t be to market any time this year or next. In fact, with all the buzz around 5G that also promises to deliver 4K directly to your phone, it is likely that we’ll see 5G tuner hardware before ATSC 3.0 tuner hardware in our smart phones. It’s very exciting that we have these two somewhat competing technologies, ATSC 3.0 and 5G on the horizon…what a time of innovation we are living in! Of course our tablets and phones are not the only devices that will be capable of this mobile viewing experience. Televisions in our vehicles will also have a direct link to ATSC 3.0 provided they are outfitted with ATSC 3.0 tuner hardware as well.
Now the downside of ATSC 3.0 tuner hardware…
Now for the downside of the new standard and its related ATSC 3.0 tuner hardware. Today’s tuner hardware will not be able to receive signals transmitted using this standard. That’s right, if you want to receive ATSC 3.0 you will need to purchase dedicated ATSC 3.0 tuner hardware. The good news is your current antenna will be able to receive the 4K signal without issue, particularly if you’ve recently purchased one that is future ready. Here are my top 3 picks for a 4K ready HDTV antenna if you’re looking to upgrade.
Any one of the antennas listed above will pull in current and future over the air digital signals without issue. The other important thing I should mention is that the rollout of ATSC 3.0 and its related hardware is going to take time. In fact, broadcasters that adopt the new ATSC 3.0 standard are still mandated to transmit a simulcast in ATSC 1.0. That means there is still some time for us, and ATSC 3.0 tuner hardware to come down in price.
Well I hope I’ve given you a couple of things to think about and get excited about for the very near future. Please come back and visit the site often, I have many articles here on AntennaJunkies.com that discuss the installation, testing, and troubleshooting of HDTV antennas, IPTV and other cord-cutting options. If you enjoyed reading this article and want to check out some more great articles right here on AntennaJunkies.com, be sure to check out these ones below!
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