Free Over-the-Air (OTA) HD Antenna TV is about to get a major upgrade. The Next Gen TV is going to deliver stunning 4K digital quality broadcasts via the new ATSC 3.0 standard with capacity to deliver 8K! What does this mean for us cord-cutters you ask? That’s a great a question, and a question we intend to answer in detail throughout this article.
Next Gen TV – Means Better Picture Quality
Next Gen TV will mean a whole new viewing experience for over-the-air HD television viewers. Over 15-million 4K-UHD television sets have been sold over the past year and now television broadcasters will have a standard by which they can deliver crystal clear HD content in brilliant 4K quality. ATSC 3.0 is what makes Next Gen TV possible – it lays out a framework that builds upon existing Internet/IP technologies.
Below is the Next Gen TV – ATSC 3.0 protocol stack. I certainly don’t want to get too deep into the technical aspects of the standard and how it works, suffice it to say, what it means for us cord-cutters is an ultimate viewing experience.
For broadcasters, Next Gen TV provides a mechanism to elevate the user experience by delivering visually stunning television. 4K Ultra High Definition broadcasts will transmit over 8 million pixels, this is 4 times more than 1080p and 23 times that of Standard definition broadcasts.
Next Gen TV – Immersive Audio
Next Gen TV also promises to deliver big upgrades with respect to audio quality. Being touted as “Immersive Audio”, unlike stereo, or dolby surround sound, with Immersive Audio, sound is no longer restricted to be either in front of you or behind you. Now sounds will be all around you, from in front, behind, above, below, as if you were sitting in the center of a stadium with sounds flying all around you.
The beauty of Immersive Audio, is that you don’t necessarily need to spend thousands of dollars on sound equipment to experience it. Next Gen TV promises to deliver Immersive Audio quality from all you devices, such as, sound bars, computers, laptops, mobile devices and televisions.
Next Gen TV – Mobile Viewing
Next Gen TV also promises an incredible mobile viewing experience, delivering a 4K signal directly to your mobile smart devices. Similar to the way you can today over your home WIFI network with streaming services such as Netflix. The difference is next generation smart devices will have ATSC 3.0 compliant tuner hardware built right in to be able to directly receive digital broadcast signals.
This means whether you in your car, on a beach, or in a forest somewhere, provided you are within range of a broadcast tower, you’ll be able to stream crystal clear 4K content directly to your device. That’s totally awesome in my opinion! The one downside is because ATSC 3.0 and Next Gen TV is a completely revamped and new standard, it will render existing tuner hardware useless.
Now having said that don’t go throwing you tuner hardware in the trash straight away. Part of the requirement is that even when broadcasters do switch to ATSC 3.0 Next Gen TV, they are still required to broadcast for a period of 5 years using the old standard, ATSC 2.0. That means, if broadcaster start to change over in the next 3 years, (Sinclair already has plans to roll out Next Gen TV to 26 markets this year), they’ll still have to broadcast for another 5 years after that using the old standard.
I personally believe that our existing cord-cutter tuner hardware, such as the SiliconDust HDHomeRun EXTEND (2-Tuner) or the not to be denied Tablo 4-Tuner Digital Video Recorder will still have a place in our setup for at least the next 5 years to come. In fact, no tuner hardware that supports the new Next Gen TV standard has made its way to the consumer market yet. Dennis Wharton, executive vice president of communications National Association of Broadcasters, says,
The progress made on Next Gen TV has been remarkable. Lots of work remains, but we’re cautiously optimistic that consumers will see Next Gen sets in stores by Christmas 2020.Dennis Wharton, NAB
While it seems fairly certain that we will be seeing tuner hardware by end of 2020. The question of if major networks broadcasters will be aggressively changing over to the Next Gen TV by this date still seems to be unclear.
Next Gen TV – Big Brother is Watching!
This is where things get a little scary if you ask me. While Next Gen TV promises to bring huge visual, audio, and portability enhancements, it does so at the sake of our anonymity. The standard is touting it as “Addressable Advertising”, which in my opinion is a fancy way of saying, “Big Brother is Watching”!
What is Addressable Advertising? Basically it is a way for the television broadcaster to gather data about your viewing habits so that it can mine that data to customize content and advertisements to precisely what it is that you are interested in. This admittedly is a little scary to me, which again is why I always recommend
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This gives broadcasters an opportunity to really ramp up their ad revenues and is almost certainly the future of advertising. Of course all the details have not been worked out from what I’ve been reading, however, ads specific to your viewing habits, income level, ethnicity (determined by your viewing location) can all be dynamically slotted into local broadcasts.
Next Gen TV – Will Existing Antenna Hardware Work?
While Next Gen TV and ATSC 3.0 will render current tuner hardware obsolete, your existing antenna hardware will not! That’s right, any antenna you purchase today, or have already installed for that matter, will work perfectly fine to support Next Gen TV. The reason is Next Gen TV intends to broadcast over existing television frequencies so that HD antenna you purchased will be able to pickup 4K broadcast signals.
If you’re contemplating cutting the cable cord and have not yet made the leap, rest assured you are on the right website! Let me recommend a few antennas that will be sure to deliver great quality and crystal clear HD content.
Indoor Antenna Options:
While there are many indoor style antennas on the market. I’ve narrowed down to what I think are the best of the best. Of course, results are going to vary depending on your location, obstructions between you and the broadcast towers. However, I’ve personally had or have friends who have had good success with these three specifically.
- Mohu Curve 50 TV Antenna Amplified 50-Mile Range MH-110567 – this antenna boasts a 50 mile range, is elegant in design, and will allow you to receive crystal clear HD programming from your local broadcast stations.
- ClearStream ECLIPSE Amplified TV Antenna – another good performing indoor antenna. The Eclipse will provide a range of 50 miles or more, depending on you location, and won’t disappoint when it comes to reliable HDTV.
- Channel Master CM-4001HD FLATenna Ultra-thin Indoor TV Antenna – the cheapest of the three options, but no slouch when it comes to reliable HDTV reception. A classic flat-panel design, easy mounting, and a 35 mile range makes this little guy a great antenna.
Outdoor Antenna Options:
For outdoor antenna options, the landscape is full of options. I’ve done a complete review of what I think are the Best Outdoor Antenna’s on the market right now. Depending on what your needs are, there’s no one-size fits all solution. However, below are three options you won’t be disappointed with. They combine budget, with quality and range.
- RCA Compact Outdoor Yagi HDTV Antenna – this little antenna is packed full of power, which is why it usually gets my #1 spot. Not only will it deliver crystal clear HDTV within a 60 mile range, but it does so a at price point that can’t be beat.
- 8 Element Bowtie Indoor/Outdoor HDTV Antenna – if range is what you need then look no further than this superior quality HDTV antenna. The only reason it is not #1 is because it is considerably more expensive than the RCA Yagi antenna above. Otherwise, this guy would be my clear winner. It will pull HDTV signal from 70 miles away with ease.
- ClearStream 4 Outdoor HDTV Antenna – rounding out my #3 spot is this ClearStream 4 antenna. It’s stylish design is an eye-pleaser and it certainly delivers in quality. It’s patented design and 70 mile range makes it an easy choice to pull in your HDTV antenna signals.
Next Gen TV – Final Words
What Next Gen TV promises to deliver is truly awesome! I’m extremely excited for cord cutters like you and me alike as the future of entertainment is about to get a huge upgrade. Within the next two years we are going to see a huge influx of new technology to support Next Gen TV and the ATSC 3.0 standard.
But how much will this new tech likely cost?
That’s a very good question and one that is likely to remain seen. I would expect that, initially at least, the cost to adopt Next Gen TV will be quite high comparatively to current tuner hardware. That said, as consumer adoption and frankly broadcast adoption increases, prices will come down dramatically and quickly. I would expect to see early adoption to come in the form of usb dongles and television tuner integration, with set-top boxes soon to follow.
Well I certainly hope you’ve enjoyed this article, and are just as excited about Next Gen TV as I am. Be sure to check out some of my other equally interesting articles below!
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- Next Gen TV – The Future Is Now!
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