Next-gen TV Broad­cast­ing and HDMI

Sound & Vision - - LETTERS -

Here’s the kind of in­for­ma­tion I’d like to see in S&V. When will next-gen ATSC 3.0 over-the-air tuners ap­pear in tele­vi­sions? I know that the FCC ap­proved the new 4K broad­cast TV stan­dard in 2017. Will we see it in all de­vices that cur­rently have old ATSC 1.0 tuners? I would like the same up­date on HDMI 2.1 . When will we see it im­ple­mented in all man­ner of de­vices?

Barry A. Can­non Via email

We’re wan­der­ing into Q&A ter­ri­tory by ad­dress­ing these ques­tions in the let­ters sec­tion, but since they’re im­por­tant ones that will im­pact S&V’S ed­i­to­rial cov­er­age go­ing for­ward, I’ll go there any­way.

The Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Broad­cast­ers has spec­u­lated that TVS with built-in ATSC 3.0 tuners will ap­pear in time for the 2020 hol­i­day sea­son, though there’s a good chance that could slip to the fol­low­ing year. ATSC 3.0 is some­thing to get ex­cited about since the ben­e­fits the new TV stan­dard will bring in­clude Ul­tra HD res­o­lu­tion, high dy­namic range, high frame rates, and mo­bile re­cep­tion. That last point means you may be able to watch dig­i­tal broad­casts on a fancy smart­phone with a 4K/HDR dis­play.

A down­side to the new stan­dard is that it isn’t com­pat­i­ble with older dig­i­tal TVS— you will need ei­ther a new set to re­ceive ATSC 3.0 broad­casts, or an ex­ter­nal tuner much like the ones that were sold af­ter the orig­i­nal dig­i­tal TV tran­si­tion got un­der way. Another thing to know about ATSC 3.0 is that it’s not manda­tory for sta­tions to make the tran­si­tion. How­ever, with cord- cut­ting on the rise, there’s been re­newed in­ter­est in broad­cast TV, and ATSC 3.0 rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant enough up­grade that view­ers will be in­ter­ested.

Like ATSC 3.0, HDMI 2.1, too, is a sig­nif­i­cant up­grade, bring­ing ben­e­fits like 8K res­o­lu­tion and high frame rates, dy­namic HDR, and an en­hanced Au­dio Re­turn Chan­nel (EARC). And same as with ATSC 3.0, you will need new gear with HDMI 2.1 con­nec­tions— and new HDMI ca­bles as well— to take ad­van­tage of many of those new fea­tures. Since the new ver­sion was only re­leased in late 2017, no new gear ar­riv­ing in 2018 pro­vides HDMI 2.1 con­nec­tiv­ity out of the box, though that sit­u­a­tion is likely to change in 2019.—

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