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
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.
Free over-the-air TV forms a huge part of what we cover here on Cordcutting.com, and for good reason. Surveys show that cord cutters are increasingly awakening to the potential of OTA TV, which offers many cord cutters the chance to watch local news and major network broadcasts for free.
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.
It’s a huge movement. It’s becoming cool not to pay for bloated cable subscriptions. The internet has made cable obsolete and cable companies know this but they don’t want you to know. Why pay for what you don’t use? It’s invisible clutter. My cable bill was $280 per month and now I pay $77 (not including the subscription services, some of which I was paying for already). You may not save as much as I’m saving because you may not have been paying as much. If you can save an amount that makes a difference in your life and you can meet your home entertainment needs, then why not give it a try? Here’s how I did it:
How much do you pay for cable? The first year with a new cable or satellite provider is generally affordable with the generous promotions, upgrades, and free channels provided. However, after the promotional period ends, our bills always see to creep up a bit more here and there.
Every year the bloating gets larger — an extra fee for that second box we hardly use, all the movie channels that we don’t watch often, the amount of taxes and additional fees we have to pay, and so on.
All of this leads me to my next question. Have you ever thought about cutting the cord on cable or your satellite provider?
By Jill Cataldo CTW Features
April 12, 2016
Dear Jill: I would be interested to hear your thoughts on cable or satellite television. I feel like our cable service is not worth what we are paying for it, but I don’t know what other options we have other than satellite, which costs about the same. I don’t feel like we are ready to completely cancel it, but I also don’t know what to do about the bill continually spiraling. — Robin S.
I’m sure this will surprise no one, but I’m a big fan of free, over-the-air television. Our family never had cable when I was growing up (that was a luxury to enjoy at friends’ houses!) and so my perspective on paying for television is likely somewhat different than those who have never known a world without cable or satellite TV at home. Even now, we have a rooftop antenna on our house, and the antenna has been the primary source of television reception for the majority of the years we’ve lived as a family.
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.
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.
By Gerry Smith BLOOMBERG NEWS
Friday December 25, 2015 5:13 AM
Your television-viewing bill is going up. Again.
While facing a growing number of consumers who drop pay-TV for cheaper online alternatives, Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Dish Network and AT&T all are planning to increase their prices early next year — at the risk of turning off more subscribers fed up with the rising cost of television.
By December 21, 2015
For a bunch of the big cable and satellite companies, it does indeed look like a very merry Christmas and a happy new year are on the horizon — but consumers can be forgiven for feeling a lot more grinchy about it. That’s because all the new nickels, dimes, and dollars that are going to line businesses’ big virtual pockets are coming directly from subscribers in the form of unasked-for price hikes.
By Mitch Lipka | Globe Correspondent November 27, 2015
Q. I switched my television service from cable to Dish because of increased pricing. Then I started getting increases from Dish. I don’t need a DVR service and 128 channels. My question is to you where can I find an affordable television, Internet, and/or telephone company for a senior citizen to enjoy these services at home? – BARBARA PANTOS, WORCESTER
Lloyd “Sonny” Crile traded his satellite TV service for a regular antenna last summer and says there’s no way he’s going back.
“To get the TV channels we wanted (on satellite), we had to take a package giving us about 200 stations,” said Crile, of Oxford. “When we really took a look at what we were watching, other than regular TV, it was only three or four of the 200.”
A report by PricewaterhouseCoopers finds dissatisfaction with bundle is driving customers to join cord-cutting trend