ATSC 3.0: What you need to know about the future of broadcast television
CNET.com reports that the next generation of broadcast TV is coming, whether you’re ready or not. Actually, no one’s ready, and that’s sort of the point.
ATSC, or Advanced Television Systems Committee, is the group that decides what over-the-air (and more) TV signals look like. Last year about 76 percent of US households subscribed to cable, satellite or fiber for TV, while 21 percent relied on antenna reception for at least one TV in the home. But that antenna number went up four points compared to 2014, according to the Consumer Technology Association.
The airwaves are still an important source of free TV for millions of Americans, and this is despite FCC auctions selling off TV spectrum to wireless carriers like T-Mobile. Free TV, however, is in for some big changes.
Back in the day, the ATSC decided on 1080i and 720p resolutions for digital and HDTV broadcasts, and today just about every cable or satellite show uses one or the other. Up next, not surprisingly, is 4K resolution, along with a host of other improvements including high dynamic range (HDR), better sound and even 3D (remember that?) and access via your phone.
Their standards and by extension, what’s next for over-the-air TV, will have effects that reach far beyond the people who get their TV via antenna. It could affect what you see and hear on your TV for years, maybe even decades, to come.