Losing over the air spectrum=more TV channels


Crazy as it sounds, in a roundabout way the loss of more over the air channels in the latest spectrum auction will lead to even more ota channels.

To explain, the following was posted by me on my blog...

ATSC 3.0 Next-Gen TV

Thought I'd share what little I know about the new ATSC 3.0, and that's not much.

Basically OTA digital TV is currently using what is known as ATSC 1.0 to bring us the super sharp picture and digital subchannels that we all enjoy today but ATSC 3.0 promises to make things even better. Below is a list of some of those things I've heard about it.

1. Better picture quality
ATSC 1.0 is capable of 1080 video quality whereas 3.0 will be able to do 4K

2. Each TV station will be able to add more subchannels without hurting picture quality. How many no one seems to know but I do recall reading somewhere that the number could be as high as 100. I asked about that in a forum and was told they could maybe do a 100 radio stations but no way 100 TV channels

3. Better reception with small indoor TV antennas. It can penetrate walls much better than what we have now

4. Mobile reception. This kind of goes hand in hand with #3 above. Apparently it was tested in a moving vehicle with great results...even when the vehicle went into a tunnel.

Did I mention better reception?

5. It can interact somehow with the internet but an internet connection is not needed to watch ATSC 3.0 TV

6. It can be set up for local emergency alerts even if the TV is turned off. Not sure if that feature is with a internet connection only

Saved The Worst For Last

7. We'll need to purchased either a new TV set or a 3.0 converter box, and this time the government isn't going to give out discount coupons for the converter boxes

No one's sure when ATSC 3.0 will start rolling out (I've heard sometime in 2019) but once they do the broadcasters must continue transmitting their main channel on ATSC 1.0 for a minimum of five years per FCC regulations. Apparently they won't have to transmit their subchannels on 1.0 unless they choose to.

Fringe Reception

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Good post, Tim, and thanks for confirming some of the rumors I've been hearing about the future of OTA TV Broadcasting. I suspect all or most of the stations currently transmitting the major networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS) that cover large population centers will continue broadcasting after updating their equipment, but many of those same stations also have to change channels/change their transmitting antennas and associated equipment and both of these ventures will be very expensive. I bet many Independent stations will choose to shut down do to those expenses. Per what you wrote, it doesn't mean those channels will be unavailable, because they could become sub-channels from the above mentioned major players.

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I thought I read somewhere that the FCC wasn't going to mandate any TV station to upgrade to ATSC 3.0. I read that the new standard was going to be put in place, but it would up to the individual TV stations to decide, if they want to upgrade to ATSC 3.0. I see the big English & Spanish speaking networks upgrading to ATSC 3.0. The minority owned TV stations would likely remain on ATSC 1.0 for some time (especially those operating LPTV stations. One thing is for sure, 2021 has been set for the few remaining analog stations (mostly channel 6 stations operating as Franken FM stations) would be forced to convert to digital, or go off the air. For Chicago, I would expect WJYS and LPTV stations W25DW-D, WCHU-LD, & WESV-LD to stay on ATSC 1.0 (unless the 3 stations combine their funds to buy new equipment, as they're being displaced, & will channel share in the repackaging. I don't know if WOCK-CD will have the money to upgrade. I know Weigel Broadcasting will have the money to upgrade their 3 stations (WCIU, WWME-CD, & WMEU-CD) to ATSC 3.0 (they're already authorized to test channel 23 (WWME-LP) for ATSC-3.0)It's unknown if Daystar will spend the money to upgrade WDCI-LD to ATSC 3.0. They're not utilizing their existing bandwidth as it is, as they're only broadcasting a digital channel in 1080i HD.
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