What’s the REAL DEAL with Next Gen Broadcast TV (ATSC 3.0)?

This is a guest blog we wrote for Cord Cutters News. Be sure to check them out for more great cord cutting content. 

There’s been a lot of buzz recently about Next Gen Broadcast TV, more technically known as ATSC 3.0, what it means for you, what it means for antenna manufacturers, and when it will happen? Well, we decided to demystify this exciting, trending topic, and give you an inside peek into Next Gen Broadcast TV and provide you with our thoughts on what your overall experience will be.

We are often asked, “will we need a new antenna for Next Gen Broadcast TV signals?” The answer is simple… no, you will not need a new antenna! The TV antenna you have will work great. In fact, antennas, after the transition to Next Gen Broadcast TV, can be smaller and will work better because of this new robust transmission. To enjoy Next Gen Broadcast TV in all of its glory, you will need to use a TV antenna.

Another awesome feature (especially for those who like to travel around the U.S. in your RV) is that you’ll be able to use the TV antenna on smartphones and tablets while driving along the streets and highways without the need to scan for channels! This will make road trips 287% more enjoyable! No more, “are we there yet? We’re bored. There’s nothing to do!”

The up and coming ATSC 3.0 standard will give TV stations incredible reporting capabilities. Right now, stations depend on data from Nielsen, which isn’t always accurate and is from a smaller sample size. With the new ATSC 3.0 standard, stations will receive instant data on how a show or station is doing, thanks to the new 3.0 chips being installed in the newer TV’s. Here is a quick example, at the end of a news cast, the station can see how many people were watching their station and for how long. That data is incredibly valuable!

A few new features that we’re excited about include expanded programing, enhanced audio quality similar to theaters, personalization to the shows you want to watch, a modern user interface, in-home streaming to other devices, multi-language sub-channels, and the Emergency Alert System.

The Emergency Alert System is a GAME CHANGER for the U.S.! Let’s say there is an Amber Alert in your area. You will immediately receive more precise, local warnings on the bottom of your TV screen that you can click on, enlarge, and see additional details of the child, a picture of the suspect (if possible), and picture of the type of vehicle. As more information comes out during these alerts, the alert system will be updated and send you notifications.

Same goes for the severe weather. You will receive localized warnings for fast-moving weather conditions and get this, there is a possibility your TV will even turn on to alert you of an approaching storm. These safety/security features are wonderful to keep you and your family safe and in the know.

Advertising is a major selling point for Next Gen Broadcast TV. The advertising can be targeted based on your personal profile from your social media account, which means stations have more information about the people watching their network. This is great for broadcasters because they will be able to send targeted ad spots to you, and it’s a win-win for the advertisers because they can reach their target audience and not have a huge advertising expense.

Here’s an example, let’s say you own a car dealership and your target audience is within 10 miles of your car lot. Instead of spending $10,000 on commercials that would reach the entire viewing area, you could spend a fraction of this money, and reach only the people who live within 10 miles of your dealership. How cool is that? As a viewer, you will start receiving advertising that is specific to you, your location, and your personal interests.

These ads are more than just a commercial, they are now bi-directional, which means that they are interactive. If you’re interested in the product being featured and would like more information, you can use your remote to click on the ad that takes you to a webpage to purchase the product or services directly from your TV. It’s simple and a great way to capture an audience.

Essentially, Next Gen Broadcast TV is helping to create an OTA Skinny Bundle, allowing stations to offer upgrades at a monthly price, such as video on demand, view previously aired shows (aka binge-watch and catch up on all your favorite shows), and other paid premium content like different camera angles for live sports. This is an exciting time to be in the broadcasting business!

This isn’t going to be a quick change over to Next Gen Broadcast TV. Meaning it’s not going to happen at the flip of a switch. Unlike the last over-the-air transition, this is not a mandatory switch for broadcast TV stations owners, so you won’t have to go out and by a new TV anytime soon. You will not lose your current local, broadcast TV networks either because TV stations will be broadcasting in its current standard called ATSC 1.0, and simultaneously transmit in ATSC 3.0 during the transition. The 1.0 and 3.0 standard transmission won’t happen for a long time to come. The first TV’s with the 3.0 chips will begin to show up on the market next year, but the initial launch is planned for 2019. By 2020, Next Gen Broadcast TV should be making a splash across the U.S. market. However, TV station owners are required to transmit in 1.0 and 3.0 for public safety purposes. Also, it might take a few years to work out all the kinks, which is expected for a major undertaking like this, but don’t worry. There will be plenty of time for you to also make the transitions to Next Gen Broadcast TV.

Altogether, Next Gen Broadcast TV is a be a huge game changer for U.S. citizens, broadcasters, advertisers, and for us at Antennas Direct. We’re anxious to see it all kick into gear and to experience Next Gen Broadcast TV in all of its glory!