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.
By: Jeff Baumgartner
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.
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.
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.
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
Winter is here for cable and satellite TV operators.
American consumers are cancelling traditional pay-TV service at a much faster rate than previously expected, according to research firm eMarketer.
In 2017, a total of 22.2 million U.S. adults will have cut the cord on cable, satellite or telco TV service to date — up 33% from 16.7 million in 2016 — the researcher now predicts. That’s significantly higher than eMarketer’s prior estimate of 15.4 million cord-cutters as of the end of this year. Meanwhile, the number of “cord-nevers” (consumers who have never subscribed to pay TV) will rise 5.8% this year, to 34.4 million.
“Younger audiences continue to switch to either exclusively watching [over-the-top] video or watching them in combination with free-TV options,” said Chris Bendtsen, senior forecasting analyst at eMarketer. “Last year, even the Olympics and [the U.S.] presidential election could not prevent younger audiences from abandoning pay TV.”
Overall, 196.3 million U.S. adults will have traditional pay TV (cable, satellite or telco) this year, down 2.4% compared with 2016, eMarketer predicts. By 2021, that will drop to 181.7 million, a decline of nearly 10% from 2016. The number of pay-TV viewers 55 and older will continue to rise over the next four years, while for every other age cohort the subscriber tallies will decline.
By 2021, the number of cord-cutters will nearly equal the number of people who have never had pay TV — a total of 81 million U.S. adults. That means around 30% of American adults won’t have traditional pay TV at that point, per eMarketer’s revised forecast.
There’s a caveat on these numbers: eMarketer’s estimates for pay-TV viewers do not include “virtual” internet TV services, such as Dish Network’s Sling TV, AT&T’s DirecTV Now, Hulu’s live TV service, or YouTube TV. But industry analysts say over-the-top TV subscription services so far have not offset declines in traditional pay television. Moreover, the cheaper OTT packages typically include fewer channels, so the growth of “skinny” TV bundles implies net household losses for many cable networks.
Seeing the writing on this wall, several TV programmers have launched or are prepping direct-to-consumer streaming services themselves. CBS in 2014 launched All Access, while Disney has set early 2018 for the debut of a no-cable-needed ESPN OTT package (although that will exclude NFL and NBA games). In addition, five media companies — A+E Networks, Viacom, Discovery, Scripps Networks Interactive and AMC Networks — reportedly have joined forces to create a non-sports streaming bundle of cable programming to be priced at under $20 per month.
For the TV biz, there’s another worrisome trend: People are watching less traditional television. For the first time, in 2017 average TV viewing in the U.S. is expected to drop below 4 hours per day, eMarketer predicts.
Average time spent watching TV (excluding digital) among American adults will drop 3.1%, to 3 hours 58 minutes this year. Digital-video consumption, meanwhile, continues to climb. U.S. adults will consume 1 hour 17 minutes of digital video per day on average in 2017 (excluding time spent viewing video on social networks), up 9.3% year over year, according to eMarketer.
With the U.S. pay-TV base eroding faster than anticipated and average TV viewing time dropping, eMarketer cut its TV ad-spending forecast for 2017 by a little over $1 billion.
This year, TV advertising will increase just 0.5%, to $71.65 billion (versus the firm’s previous $72.72 billion forecast). As a result, the TV sector’s share of total U.S. media ad spending will drop to 34.9% (vs. 36.6% in 2016) and is expected to fall below 30% by 2021.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that 22.2 million U.S. adults were expected to cancel pay-TV service in 2017; in fact, eMarketer’s estimate represents the cumulative number of cord-cutters projected by the end of the year.
By Kevin Downey, Komando.com
Have you cut the cord yet? Are you familiar with that expression?
You’ve probably been hearing that term a lot lately, including on Komando.com. It refers to people cutting the cord on cable TV or satellite TV.
Comprehensive Results of the Study will be Presented on September 29 at Forward 2016 – Broadcast Television’s Annual Leadership Conference
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–GfK, a trusted leader in market research, in collaboration with TVB, the not-for-profit trade association for local broadcast television, today announced preliminary results from the “Media Comparisons 2016” research study with findings that American consumers spend more time with television than all other ad-supported media platforms combined. The study also revealed that consumers overwhelmingly trust local broadcast TV news over any other source.
Fresno numbers are much higher than the national average. Almost four in ten homes with an 18- to 34-year-old resident rely on broadcast-only or Internet-only alternatives.
Mohu study puts pay TV near bottom of food chain
Author: Mike Farrell
Digital antenna maker Mohu released a consumer satisfaction study Wednesday that seems to fly in the face of industry efforts to improve customer service, with respondents putting their cable company just a step ahead of Congress and disease-carrying vermin.
According to the survey, 50% of respondents said they held an unfavorable view toward their cable company, compared to 72% that said they had an unfavorable opinion of Congress and 92% that said they did not enjoy the company of cockroaches. No word on where rats, ringworm, or the Senate ranked in the study.
By Sean Pendergast
Tuesday, April 26, 2016 at 6 a.m.
In team sports, to fans and spectators, ultimate victory is a simple concept. One winner takes home one trophy each season in each sport. Peyton Manning’s hoisting of the Lombardi Trophy, confetti raining down onto the Villanova basketball team after their title-winning buzzer beater — to fans, those are the images of success.
Behind the scenes, though, to the power brokers and franchise owners who move the chess pieces in our sports universe, true “victory” is far more inclusive. To them, success is measured in dollars, and while only one team can lift the trophy at the end of each season, for several years now, the money has piled up sky-high for every single team owner and major college president, regardless of how good or bad their teams have been.
“… local broadcast television remains the preferred outlet for NFL viewership”
TVB President and CEO, Steve Lanzano stated, “Game after game and season after season, ratings data confirms that local broadcast television remains the preferred outlet for NFL viewership. This year’s Thursday Night Football airings were another tremendous win for local affiliate stations, with local CBS household ratings and male 25-54 ratings as high as 13 times and 10 times greater, respectively, than viewership on NFLN. Local television continues to dominate the live sports category with reach, engagement and influence that remains unrivaled by any other platform, providing marketers with a unique opportunity to optimize the results of their brand promotion, especially during the NFL season when fans and viewers are highly engaged with this immensely popular programming.”
Updated: Ratings analysis shows viewers prefer watching NFL on broadcast over cable
1/19/2016 02:57:00 PM Eastern Last updated at 1/19/2016 03:38:38PM
As the NFL playoffs reach the semifinals, the big winner so far is local broadcast television.
Viewers prefer to watch the games on broadcast TV over cable, according to an analysis of ratings from Nielsen data conducted by the local broadcast nonprofit trade association TVB.
So you’re an AT&T U-verse customer and you flipped on your TV to watch this month’s NFL playoffs — only to discover a static screen and a message that “This channel is temporarily unavailable and we are working to return it to you soon.”
You might have checked the news and learned the channel was blacked out due to a transmission fee dispute between WSVN, Miami’s Fox affiliate, and AT&T.
By Anne Badalamenti
Time Warner Cable Outage Strikes Carolinas
Over the weekend, thousands of Time Warner Cable subscribers experienced cable outages, internet outages, and even phone outages. The outages lasted for hours. People were frustrated they were missing Week 16 NFL action, unable to stream Netflix, etc. And understandably given the ever-increasing cost of cable and internet. This type of outage is nothing new, unfortunately. They seem to occur with such frequency that folks acknowledge it’s part of the package when they sign up with a provider like TWC.
December 26, 2015
The price of pay-tv is proceeding greater for all customers, with a number of Satellite Television businesses and the country’s greatest wire recently saying price increases that’ll take effect.
DirecTV and Tis & AT Uverse, that are today part of the exact same organization, introduced a week ago that their prices may increase Jan. 28, beginning. The increases will be different for clients, but funnel plans various foundation deals and advanced stations might find increases which range from $2 to $8 monthly. New year price increases for DirecTV have grown to be an almost yearly event, using the organization January, increasing costs by around 6 percent.