Cord-Cutting

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Next Gen TV is free 4K TV with an antenna, and it’s coming this year

Cord cutters rejoice! Over-the-air TV is about to get a big upgrade: HDR, 120Hz refresh rates and better indoor reception. ATSC 3.0 is almost here.

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Comcast Van

Happy holidays from Comcast. Your cable bill is going up again.

Comcast is giving the gift of higher cable bills this holiday season.

Tens of millions of Xfinity customers will see their bills rise 3.6% nationwide, on average, the company said Thursday, as it boosts prices for broadband plans and hikes TV fees starting next week. Customers in the Philadelphia region have received notices of new prices effective Dec. 20, five days before Christmas.

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Comcast Sign

Comcast & Spectrum Are Raising Their TV Prices & Fees

By Luke Bouma on November 30, 2019 at 6:36 am CDT

Although there has been a lot of talk about Hulu raising the price of live TV, there has been little coverage about the cost of cable TV increasing. Both Comcast and Spectrum recently announced price hikes on TV customers.

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How to Improve Reception With Your Antenna When You Cut The Cord

An antenna is a great way to get a ton of 100% free HD channels. Not only will you get the big four – ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC – but you will likely also get a growing list of other channels. Antennas can also make great backups for when your internet is out but it can take a bit to get the most from your antenna.

So today we have 4 tips to help you improve the reception you get with your antenna:

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75% Of Homes Subscribe To Pay TV Service

By Artie Beaty | November 5, 2019

Even though pay TV providers are losing customers in record numbers, pay television might not be as dead as you think. New research from the Leichtman Research Group shows that 75% of homes subscribe to pay television in some fashion, including cable, satellite, or Internet delivered service. That’s down 9% from 2014 and  12% from 2009, but still surprisingly strong numbers.

What’s surprising though, is the average amount people are spending – $109.60 a month for subscribers – is up 6% from 2016.

Other highlights of the study include:

  • 60% of pay television subscribers have bundle from their provider – down from 67% in 2014
  • 83% of adults over the age of 45 have a pay television service compared to 64% of those ages 18-44
  • 87% of households with three televisions or more have a pay television service compared to 75% of those that have two televisions, and 52% of those with one television
  • 47% of all TVs have a set-top box, meaning this is the first year since 2010 that set top boxes are connected to less than half of all TVs
  • 27% homes have an over-the-air TV antenna
  • 54% of homes have a pay TV service and a streaming video service, while 21% have pay TV only and service, 20% have streaming only. 5% have neither pay TV nor streaming

So what does this tell us? That since the number of homes that pay for television is roughly the same as the number that receives some kind of streaming service, consumers are just fine piecing together content through different sources. This study was conducted by telephone, including landline and cell phones in September to October of 2019.


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Many HOA’s Illegally Try to Block OTA Antennas

By Luke Bouma on July 29, 2019 – CordCuttersNews.Com

We often hear that a home owner’s association (HOA) or other similar groups will not let someone install an antenna on their condo or house. Yet the rules are clear, you have every legal right according to the FCC to install an antenna even on a condo if you own it. Yes according to the FCC HOAs can not legally prevent you from installing an antenna on your house or condo as long as you follow some rules the FCC has set.

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Cord Cutters Need to Rescan Their Antennas Because Some Channels Are Moving According to The FCC

By Luke Bouma on June 24, 2019

A few years ago, the FCC auctioned off locals forcing many channels to switch channel numbers. This auction freed up space for things like 5G. Now the time has come for many local TV stations to switch channel numbers, meaning you need to rescan your antenna.

That is in addition to all the new locals that went live earlier this year and will be rolling out later this year. One or more of them may be right where you live; however, if you don’t look you will never know they are there.

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How the Growth and Evolution of the Over-the-Air TV Home Fits into Today’s Viewing Landscape

01-31-2019 – Over-the-air (OTA) TV—the programming that we all have access to even if we don’t have a cable or satellite programming subscription—is becoming a big thing again. In fact, it’s one of the best things to happen to cord cutters and cord shavers, as it offers them free TV through a digital antenna. Even better, with the shift to digital broadcasting a decade ago, they’re getting even more channels for free—and in great HD quality. Because of our comprehensive panel approach, our data is inclusive of all household types, including OTA, which allowed us to conduct deep insights and analysis in this important growing segment. So what do we know about OTA households? We recently dived into the data to find out more about them—particularly, how many there are, what they look like and how they consume media.

THERE’S A LOT OF THEM

According to May 2018 Nielsen population estimates, as detailed in our latest Local Watch report, there are over 16 million OTA homes in the U.S. That comes out to just over 14% of households. Back in 2010, that number was much lower—5 million less, to be exact. That’s an increase of almost 50% over eight years. And as an increasing number of consumers consider a more à-la-carte approach to their TV sources, there is opportunity for this segment to continue growing.

THEY’RE NOT ALL ALIKE

While many of us may equate OTA TV with “rabbit ears” and a physical dial on the TV set, today’s, OTA homes aren’t what they used to be—just like the technology isn’t the same. Today, these homes are a mix of audience groups that consume TV content in different ways. Some are standard OTA homes that access programming with a digital antenna, but most pair their OTA line-up with streaming services. As of May 2018, 41% of OTA homes are traditional, without a streaming service provider. That means the majority subscribe to a streaming service (59%). Nielsen data paints a vivid picture of these two very different groups, revealing some surprising gaps in age, ethnicity and income. Suffice to say, the only thing these households have in common is the absence of cable cords and satellite dishes.

To further muddy the waters, a third type of OTA home subscribes to a virtual video multichannel programming distributor (vMVPD), commonly known as a “skinny bundle,” which allows them to stream cable programs. This group falls directly into the streaming service segment (Plus SVOD) that makes up 59% of OTA homes. As of May 2018, it accounted for 8% of OTA, or 1.3 million homes.

A BRIGHT SPOT FOR BROADCAST

Three hours each day comes out to roughly 1,100 hours per year, which represents the amount of time the average adult in an OTA home spends watching broadcast content on TV. While that’s a big number, it can be deceiving. Behind the scenes, three very different audience segments (no SVOD; OTA + SVOD; OTA + SVOD w/vMVPD) make up that number. So which segment is watching the most content? Those without SVOD spend a whopping 4 hours and 51 minutes with broadcast TV each day. But, the story is different for the others. Higher fragmentation driven by internet-connected device usage brings broadcast viewing down, but SVOD homes with and without a vMVPD still clock over an hour per day. Cable viewing picks up steam with vMVPD access, but still lags behind broadcast viewing. Regardless of OTA home type, broadcast TV is a daily go-to source for content on the TV screen.

 

 


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Antenna Users: Rescan to Keep Getting Free TV

It’s important because many TV stations are moving to new broadcast frequencies

By James K. Willcox
July 26, 2018

With more of us looking to find ways to save money on our monthly TV bills, it’s no surprise that TV antennas have made a comeback.

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Cable’s Netflix bundling deals aren’t stopping customers from cutting the cord

They’ve tried to play nice. They’ve tried to play hardball. But nothing the cable companies do is stopping the affliction terrorizing the TV industry.

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Cord cutting test drive: We tried Mohu antenna for free TV channels

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. – We’d tried other over-the-air antennas before, and the results were dismal. A fuzzy picture, at best.

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Over 15 Million Americans Use an Antenna for FREE Over-the-Air TV

By Luke Bouma on July 5, 2018

Ten years ago, the antenna to receive over-the-air TV was a dying trend. Increasingly, Americans ditched antennas in favor of cable TV. Now that trend has reversed with the growth of cord cutting.

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VHF vs. UHF – Why OTA Frequency Bands Matter for Cord Cutters with Antennas

Over-the-Air (OTA) TV signals are distributed across two different frequency bands: UHF (Ultra High Frequency) and VHF (Very High Frequency). 

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Old House Handyman: Replacing TV antenna is ‘back to the future’

By Alan D. Miller | The Columbus Dispatch
Posted Jun 10, 2018 at 5:00 AM Updated Jun 10, 2018 at 12:03 PM

Like many other families, we bought “cable-ready” televisions because we wanted to take them home and hook them directly to the cable.

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ATSC 3.0: The future of free antenna TV is coming, eventually

Everything a cord cutter needs to know about free over-the-air 4K HDR broadcasts.

by Geoffrey Morrison | June 3, 2018 4:00 AM PDT

It’s been two years since we last wrote about ATSC 3.0, also known as “Next Gen TV,” and a lot has changed. But with the breakneck speed of change in other areas of TV — namely streaming video — the new version of free antenna TV is moving at a snail’s pace.

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Cord-Cutting On The Rise As Cable TV Rates Have Skyrocketed Since 2000

Are you one of the millions of Americans that are sick and tired of paying high rates for cable TV and satellite packages? Many are paying outrageous prices for dozens (or even hundreds) of channels that they probably don’t even watch. Given the rising costs of TV packages, more and more people are cutting the cord.

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HDTV Antenna Review: Top Picks From CR’s Latest Tests

More cord-cutting consumers are turning to antennas and free over-the-air TV

By James K. Willcox and Claudio Ciacci |April 06, 2018

TV antennas might seem like a relic of a bygone era, when the number of channels you received could be counted on one hand. But as consumers try to trim their ever-escalating cable and satellite TV bills, antennas are making a comeback.

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Fix-It Chick: Install an outdoor antenna to reach over-the-air digital channels

Installing an outdoor antenna is an easy way to stretch your entertainment dollars. Most homeowners can legally install an outdoor antenna, as long as it does not reach more than 12 feet above the roof line, does not create any safety risks and does not impede upon existing neighborhood covenants.

Step 1: Use an internet search to locate TV broadcast towers near the home. The Over the Air Digital TV website otadtv.com has a wealth of information as well as detailed maps and coordinates for tower locations. For those who want to dabble in geometry, mathematics and geography, technical data for optimal antenna location is available. Otherwise, pointing an antenna in the direction of the closest TV tower will usually suffice.

Step 2: Antennas can be mounted on the side of a home, on the roof or on a free-standing antenna tower. Antennas can also be installed in a home’s attic. Attic installations will reduce the signal strength and possibly limit the number of channels that can be received, but the ease of installation and the aesthetics of not having an antenna mounted on the outside of a home may outweigh the negative signal impact.

Step 3: Choose an antenna and mounting hardware that best suits the needs and budget of the homeowner. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and assemble the antenna and accessories.

Step 4: Use the existing television cable connections or run new RG-6 four-wire coaxial cable to the rooms where televisions will be used.

Step 5: Install a coax ground block where the cable enters the home. Run a 10 gauge or heavier grounding wire from the coax ground block to a grounding rod or earth grounded pipe.

Step 6: Determine the ideal location for the antenna based on the proximity of broadcast towers. Antennas work best when mounted thirty feet above the ground in an unobstructed space away from metal, wire and other signal blocking materials.

Step 7: Before mounting the antenna, attach the antenna cable to a working television and with the help of a friend, use the picture quality and channel reception to determine the optimal antenna mounting position.

Step 8: Mount the antenna in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Coat any screw holes with an elastomeric sealant.

Step 9: Run a grounding wire from the antenna to an earth grounded rod.

Step 10: Attach the antenna wire to the television cable and enjoy.

— Have a home improvement question for Fix-It Chick? Email it to Linda Cottin at hardware@sunflower.com.

Source: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2018/mar/24/fix-it-chick-install-outdoor-antenna-reach-over-ai/


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Cord Cutting

Study: 20% of U.S. Broadband Homes Use Antenna for TV

That’s up from 16% in early 2015, according to Parks Associates.

By: Jeff Baumgartner

Source: Parks Associates

In findings that highlight the growing cord-cutting trend, Parks Associates said that about 20% of U.S. broadband homes used digital, over-the-air antennas to access live TV near the end of 2017

That’s up from about 16% in early 2015, Parks Associates said, noting that the growth rate coincides with a steady decline of pay TV subscriptions against the backdrop of an increase in OTT video subscriptions.

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Free TV Keeps Getting Better: Welcome ATSC 3.0

Here’s everything you need to know about the next-generation wireless TV standard.

Lou Frenzel 1 | Jan 03, 2018

In November, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued new rules that will let TV broadcasters adopt the next-generation wireless TV standard designated ATSC 3.0. This new standard defines the specifications for ultra-high-definition (UHD) or 4K over-the-air (OTA) digital TV.

In case you haven’t noticed, TV has progressed to the 4K ultra-high-definition stage with its 3,840 × 2,160 pixel resolution. (3,840 pixels is almost 4,000, thus the 4K designation.) Big-screen LCD and OLED sets are now reasonably priced, and some UHD content at the new resolution is becoming available. If you have not experienced UHD on a big screen, give it a try.  You will want to upgrade immediately. In the near future, broadcasters will be able to offer this improved technology based on the ATSC 3.0 standard.

TV Today

Roughly 75% of households pay for their TV reception for cable or satellite distribution. But you can still get free over-the-air TV from your local broadcasters. It is estimated that about 17 to 21% of households get TV this way. Just put up an antenna and receive your local broadcasters— like ABC, CBS, NBC, CW, PBS, Univision, and a few others—at no charge.  More than a few households have “cut the cable,” so to speak, and moved to OTA TV to cut costs in the past few years.

Free TV currently uses the original high-definition (HD) digital format designated by the ATSC 1.0. The Advanced Television Systems Committee is that group of TV and electronic companies that put together the U.S. TV standards that are blessed by the FCC and then adopted by the broadcasters. TV sets are made to those standards. If you recall, the switchover from analog TV to digital TV (ATSC 1.0) occurred beginning in late 2008 and concluded in June of 2009.

Called HD TV, this digital standard offers 1080i and 720p resolution.  It greatly improves picture and audio quality while using the same 6-MHz-wide TV channels. Now 4K sets can get content via BluRay DVD, cable, and satellite.

The original digital TV standard used today, ATSC 1.0 employs 8VSB (vestigial sideband) modulation, a form of AM using an 8-level coding with a partially suppressed lower sideband to keep the signal inside the 6 MHz channel. MPEG-2 video compression is used. The error correction code is Reed-Solomon. Resolution is either 720 scan lines with 1,280 pixels or 1,080 lines with 1,920 pixels. Frame rates run at 30, 60, 120, or 240 frames per second. Bit rate in a channel is 19.3 Mb/s.

If you haven’t experienced OTA recently, go get an antenna and connect it up. There are lots available, and usually a simple indoor antenna is all you need. Take a look: It’s probably better than you’re thinking.

ATSC 3.0

The new standard was supposed to be ASTC 2.0, which was an upgrade to 1.0 to improve resolution and add new features, while maintaining backward compatibility with the original standard. But in the end, the standards group decided to toss the old standard and forget the backward compatibility issue. That led to the adoption of orthogonal frequency division multiplex (OFDM) modulation.

OFDM is far more spectrally efficient than 8VSB and offers better performance in multipath and non-line-of-sight environments. This permits the new standard to provide acceptable performance in mobile devices and indoor sets. The U.S. finally joins all the other digital TV standards in the world—like DVB in Europe, ISDB in Japan, and DTMB in China—that use OFDM.

ATSC 3.0 defines six levels of modulation, from QPSK to 4096QAM. Data rate in the channel can be as low as 1 Mb/s or up to 57 Mb/s. Data transmission will be an IP-based format like the common internet transmission. The Low Density Parity Check (LDPC) is the forward error correcting code. This new standard also has provisions for 2 × 2 MIMO at the transmitter and in the receivers to further improve the link reliability.

Other features include a more efficient H.265 video compression method. An improved audio compression is MPEG-H or Dolby AC-4. A curious uplink feature is also defined, which will permit viewer interaction services to be implemented. It uses single carrier frequency division multiple access (SC-FDMA) and HARQ format.

The adoption of 3.0 is voluntary by the stations and, if implemented, it would run in parallel with the existing 1.0 HDTV digital standard broadcasts in use today. It will take a year or so before TV stations install the ATSC 3.0 transmitters and TV sets become available. Definitely something to look forward to.

The big question is, can OTA broadcast TV survive the rapid trend in over the top (OTT) streaming? In the meantime, 4K UHD is terrific regardless of the source if you have not yet upgraded.

Source – http://www.electronicdesign.com/community-home/free-tv-keeps-getting-better-welcome-atsc-30