Next-gen TV Broadcasting and HDMI
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.—