ATSC 3.0: Cord Cutter’s Dream or Tiered Internet Nightmare?

gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
The FCC has approved an innovation in digital broadcast television that could change everything you thought you knew about network TV. ATSC 3.0 is the first fully interactive, 2-way, IP-based broadcast standard that will behave more like a lightweight Internet than the passive, one-way broadcasts we know today.

It all sounds so great! When content from every corporation that wanted to crush the Net Neutrality Act rides into your home on a mini-Internet approved and subsidized by the same government that wants to spy on you and store all your personal information for later use against you - what could possibly go wrong?



Read: ATSC 3.0: Cord Cutter’s Dream or Tiered Internet Nightmare?
 
Bucknekked

Bucknekked

Audioholic Field Marshall
The FCC has approved an innovation in digital broadcast television that could change everything you thought you knew about network TV. ATSC 3.0 is the first fully interactive, 2-way, IP-based broadcast standard that will behave more like a lightweight Internet than the passive, one-way broadcasts we know today.

It all sounds so great! When content from every corporation that wanted to crush the Net Neutrality Act rides into your home on a mini-Internet approved and subsidized by the same government that wants to spy on you and store all your personal information for later use against you - what could possibly go wrong?



Read: ATSC 3.0: Cord Cutter’s Dream or Tiered Internet Nightmare?
Gene
Given how long it took to implement the HD broadcast standard from the time it was approved, I hope to be pushing up daisies by the time this turn of the crank occurs. In our household we "cut the cord" 2 years ago from the cable TV folks. We have been utilizing over the air broadcast TV in HD and enjoy it immensely ever since. We combine some streaming stuff ala Sling TV for things like ESPN and sports and we are happy campers.

The "eavesdropping" and data collection stuff is a pain. We read an article recently about Vizio TV's doing data collection and selling it as the result of a lawsuit. We have a new Vizio TV and low and behold when we went and looked, the options for the TV to gather data were indeed turned on. They are turned off now. Is the TV still gathering data? I actually have no idea even though I turned off the options.

Your point about us being spied upon is the world we live in. If it isn't the government, its the multi-national corporations who are every bit as bad. The only defense we have is knowledge. If we have places like AH where we can get educated on how to defend ourselves, we at least have a fighting chance.

Thanks for the update.
 
Wayde Robson

Wayde Robson

Audioholics Anchorman
In this article about ATSC 3.0 technology, I was most concerned with the prospect of a future where open-Internet becomes more rare.

ATSC 3.0 arrives at a time when statistically, the sum of Internet traffic using browsers and exploring the "open-web" is declining in favor of spoon-fed, "walled garden" experiences like apps and social media. Our preferences for the Internet use today involves jumping from echo chamber to echo chamber and never setting foot the ground. This version of the Internet is always trying to wrap a version reality that involves your personal preferences around you. And I believe this is a dangerous thing.

Even Google with its "rich snippets" is becoming an end-destination for people looking for a quick answer. Meanwhile Google's personalized search results are tailoring "reality" to your prejudices, your likes and dislikes.

ATSC 3.0 at its most potent will offer an over-air Intranet experience. I can see us clicking our Fox app on our phones or smart TVs and opening a live stream, even participating in live conversations about the news during a feed.

My fear is that despite Net Neutrality, we're building a walled garden around ourselves.

What if Facebook was a free wireless, over-air ISP that only offered Facebook? That's what a mature ATSC 3.0 will eventually do for network TV.

That's the basis of my projected "nightmare" scenario. The article itself got pretty long because at first I was fascinated with the technology, but then I started speculating on the future toward the end of the article.

We can protect ourselves of course by valuing the opinions of those with which we disagree. Value debate, value learning and always appreciate when you're built-in opinion or long-held belief is proved wrong. That's a good thing, it doesn't make one a bad person to change an opinion due to new evidence. But for those incapable, there will always be a place on the Internet where you escape back into an echo chamber, no dissenting opinions, no evidence required.
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
In this article about ATSC 3.0 technology, I was most concerned with the prospect of a future where open-Internet becomes more rare.

ATSC 3.0 arrives at a time when statistically, the sum of Internet traffic using browsers and exploring the "open-web" is declining in favor of spoon-fed, "walled garden" experiences like apps and social media. Our preferences for the Internet use today involves jumping from echo chamber to echo chamber and never setting foot the ground. This version of the Internet is always trying to wrap a version reality that involves your personal preferences around you. And I believe this is a dangerous thing.

Even Google with its "rich snippets" is becoming an end-destination for people looking for a quick answer. Meanwhile Google's personalized search results are tailoring "reality" to your prejudices, your likes and dislikes.

ATSC 3.0 at its most potent will offer an over-air Intranet experience. I can see us clicking our Fox app on our phones or smart TVs and opening a live stream, even participating in live conversations about the news during a feed.

My fear is that despite Net Neutrality, we're building a walled garden around ourselves.

What if Facebook was a free wireless, over-air ISP that only offered Facebook? That's what a mature ATSC 3.0 will eventually do for network TV.

That's the basis of my projected "nightmare" scenario. The article itself got pretty long because at first I was fascinated with the technology, but then I started speculating on the future toward the end of the article.

We can protect ourselves of course by valuing the opinions of those with which we disagree. Value debate, value learning and always appreciate when you're built-in opinion or long-held belief is proved wrong. That's a good thing, it doesn't make one a bad person to change an opinion due to new evidence. But for those incapable, there will always be a place on the Internet where you escape back into an echo chamber, no dissenting opinions, no evidence required.
Another way to look at this - it's big pipe. It will be delivered (for free/ads) to lots and lots of people. It could have both interactive content and possibly on demand. Who knows - it might be an alternative to crappy local cable tv provider. However I honestly think you're confusing this system (agreed - unnecessary complicated) to be thread to open internet - I think you're stretching it a bit here.

Actual solution to help prevent tiered internet is (for now) active Net Neutrality regulation by last FCC.
The real danger is it's current head is so deep in Telcos a$$ pockets that he promises to kill it under some completely false pretenses.

Also somewhat shockingly to me,but it's the second time I agree with Buck - I don't think we'll see this getting implemented any time soon - not sure about my lifetime (I hope to live to 120 :), but not surely in next 7-10 years.
 
Wayde Robson

Wayde Robson

Audioholics Anchorman
I think you're stretching it a bit here.
I agree, I am stretching a bit... it's a long-term extrapolation. In the article, hopefully I made it clear that ATSC 3.0 will be awesome for cord cutters and will give telcos a much-needed competitive kick. I can't wait to be able to watch a locally broadcast hockey game on my phone.

My extrapolation is just... assuming over-air networks see revenue generating opportunities out of becoming an app or a "wireless network" instead of a one-way broadcast. It's inevitable. If ATSC 3.0 takes 10 years broadcast networks will truly be the entertainment ghetto while Amazon, Netflix, iTunes, Play become the destinations of choice. If networks want to compete as broadcasters they'll have to step up.

However, they might be satisfied being 2nd tier entertainment studios. Maybe that's their future. It's all speculation.

I got the sense reading everything I've read about it so far that it won't take quite ten years to get it running, at least in some markets.
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
Wayde, You did a good job putting together this article and adding some of your own original content, but I'm not fully convinced that you're understand the technology and its limitations.
Immediate benefits for cord cutters are obvious - easier-to-receive digital TV transmissions means no reliance on a rooftop antenna, cable or satellite.
You do know - we are still speaking about OVER THE AIR signal. Yes, you would still need an antenna and rooftop one is still likely needed as yourself mentioned that digital transmission doesn't really work unless the signal is strong enough, very much unlike older analog TV.

But the new digital standard will make up for this with the inclusion of an adaptable frequency feature that the ATSC says will specialize in, allowing signals to travel further and to penetrate deeper into buildings and basements within range.
That means broadcast TV promises to be relevant again, even as you travel the subway.
I know you practically lifted that meaningless blog from here:
http://www.antennasdirect.com/blog/atsc3-0-what-do-you-need-to-know/

The only way this would really work in real world - is then all old VHF TV station would stop using 30-300Mhz band (which already supposed to do that by end of 2015) and this new fancy ATSC will reuse same old VHF. It's the physics is what will allow to travel further and transverse walls better, not the "adaptable frequency feature ". Yes - they will use new and better signal modulation schemes to improve signal/noise, it's just phrasing you used rubs me the wrong way.

If anyone interested to read actually a bit more technical explanation it here:
http://atsc.org/newsletter/atsc-3-0-where-we-stand/
Written by Dr. Richard Chernock, the chief science officer of Triveni Digital, head of the Technology Group 3 working on developing ATSC 3.0 broadcast TV standards.
He's even looks like engineer:
http://www.ibc.org/speaker-library/rich-chernock
Doc of Science was from MIT in the field of nuclear materials engineering.
 
mtrycrafts

mtrycrafts

Audioholic Slumlord
...

The "eavesdropping" and data collection stuff is a pain. We read an article recently about Vizio TV's doing data collection and selling it as the result of a lawsuit. We have a new Vizio TV and low and behold when we went and looked, the options for the TV to gather data were indeed turned on. They are turned off now. ....
Where in the TV menu was this option under?
 
MR.MAGOO

MR.MAGOO

Audioholic General
If you're worried about eavesdropping and data collection then never open the curtains or buy anything which requires an internet connection. :p
 
Wayde Robson

Wayde Robson

Audioholics Anchorman
I know you practically lifted that meaningless blog from here:
http://www.antennasdirect.com/blog/atsc3-0-what-do-you-need-to-know/

The only way this would really work in real world - is then all old VHF TV station would stop using 30-300Mhz band
Thanks for the info BSA, you're right. I am not the most qualified to offer opinions on over-air reception capabilities so I did indeed let experts speak for me by linking to some of the sources. I understand it's over-air, but also that the present digital over-air transmissions are limited in their ability to penetrate buildings and earth.

I have an HDTV with a digital tuner that is basically useless where it sits in my basement. The most I've been able to do is run a small antenna out a basement window and still got nothing. But, I don't use it for that. Any boost in signal strength would be helpful and if I don't have to put up a rooftop antenna I might consider using my tuner. Presently it's just not possible for me because I live in a condo. I'm thinking there must be others who are in the same boat.

I appreciate you offering this info though, perhaps I should give it an edit to provide a bit more skepticism about claims of being able to antenna-less reception in basements and deep inside buildings. Now that you mention it... those claims would seem consistent with what we normally call... "hype". What do you think?

Wayde
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
Thanks for the info BSA, you're right. I am not the most qualified to offer opinions on over-air reception capabilities so I did indeed let experts speak for me by linking to some of the sources. I understand it's over-air, but also that the present digital over-air transmissions are limited in their ability to penetrate buildings and earth.

I have an HDTV with a digital tuner that is basically useless where it sits in my basement. The most I've been able to do is run a small antenna out a basement window and still got nothing. But, I don't use it for that. Any boost in signal strength would be helpful and if I don't have to put up a rooftop antenna I might consider using my tuner. Presently it's just not possible for me because I live in a condo. I'm thinking there must be others who are in the same boat.

I appreciate you offering this info though, perhaps I should give it an edit to provide a bit more skepticism about claims of being able to antenna-less reception in basements and deep inside buildings. Now that you mention it... those claims would seem consistent with what we normally call... "hype". What do you think?

Wayde
Like I said, antennas not going away totally, but they may be smaller and integrated into some form of all home tuner as you've mentioned.
To better help you use your current basement tv's ota you should best use more engineered approach by using site below. It could help to gauge what kind of reception is expected and what kind of antenna is required without guessing necessary direction and expected channels:
http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29

Like I said, If they going to re-use VHF band for digital ota ,that should improve things noticeably from quality of reception and possibly range of transmission.
Current Digital OTA broadcast use UHF bands
  • 470–512 MHz: Low-band TV channels 14–20 (also shared for land mobile 2-way radio use in some areas)
  • 512–698 MHz: Medium-band TV channels 21–51 (Channel 37 used for radio astronomy)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultra_high_frequency#United_States
As you can see VHF bands are much lower in frequency => Longer wave lengths => less susceptible to be stopped by 1ft wall.
Math is done here easy the way: http://www.wavelengthcalculator.com/
For example 82MHz frequency has about 3.66m wavelength - which is about 12ft long. Compare that to 600Mhz band which has wavelength of only 0.5m - about 1.6ft - much more likely to get stopped by exterior wall.

On the other hand lower frequency usually means slower general transmission speed, but they do have nucular (pun intended) scientists working on it, so I guess they know better.
 
Bucknekked

Bucknekked

Audioholic Field Marshall
Where in the TV menu was this option under?
mtrycrafts:
on a Vizio manufactured between 2011 and 2016 (other brands and model years will implement the same feature with other names) you turn it off like this:
To disable the Smart Interactivity feature on the models with the VIA Plus interface, press the Menu button on the remote to open Settings, select System, followed by Reset and Admin. Then scroll down to Smart Interactivity and switch it to off.

If you're worried about eavesdropping and data collection then never open the curtains or buy anything which requires an internet connection. :p
tongue in cheek is funny about tin foil hats and big brother etc etc. I have always been rather non emotional about the topic as a general problem. But, when I saw the lawsuit against Vizio for spying on its clients without telling them and selling all their TV watching data, it raised an eyebrow as I looked at my new Vizio TV. My eyebrow remained raised as I looked at menu items and saw that my TV was indeed doing just as the lawsuit said. When I turned the feature off my only thought was, "that's one thing turned off, I wonder what else is being gathered that I don't know about". Then my eyebrow resumed its normal non emotional state.

As you said, most eloquently, if this stuff worries you, then make sure your tin foil hat is on securely, the drapes are drawn, and that nasty internet thing is nowhere near you.:p But, seriously, there's no escaping some form of observation/inspection/monitoring if you connect and use the interconnected world around you. It just comes with the territory.
 
Bucknekked

Bucknekked

Audioholic Field Marshall
Also somewhat shockingly to me,but it's the second time I agree with Buck - I don't think we'll see this getting implemented any time soon - not sure about my lifetime (I hope to live to 120 :), but not surely in next 7-10 years.
BSA, I don't know who's worried about that more: you or me. :)
 
Wayde Robson

Wayde Robson

Audioholics Anchorman
Where in the TV menu was this option under?
We walk you through some of the menu settings in this article on Vizio and few other major brands.

Hardware and software companies disguise "spying" under "helping to make it a better experience". Which may be true and innocent enough, but in the fine print of EULA they usually maintain the option of selling your information to advertisers along with your personal demographic information.
 
W

wiyosaya

Audioholic
Personally, I am looking forward to ATSC 3.0.

The biggest reason is that they are getting rid of the reliance on 8VSB in ATSC 1.0 which was an analog modulation schema for a digital signal. On researching this, I am sure that you will find that signal strength was not reduced with the transition to ATSC 1.0. What happened was that the digital broadcast using the analog modulation schema was overly sensitive to multipath reception problems. Multipath problems are what caused ghosting, etc., when airplanes flew overhead with analog TV. What happens is that the signal comes from multiple directions at the same time, and current digital tuners find it difficult to figure out which of these multiple signals is the true signal, and this causes the dropout, and in worst cases, an inability to get stations that are nearby.

I've done a lot of research on this because I live in an area that is near to strong local stations, but have difficulty receiving them because of my geographic location. There are other regions that have this same problem - one in particular that I know of is near Boston.

However, there are many areas that do not have this problem and ATSC 1.0 reception is far superior to what was available with analog transmission.

ATSC 3.0 gets rid of 8VSB and adopts a modulation schema that is not susceptible to multipath interference which should vastly improve reception for those who are now having difficulty.

Also, reception will be available for mobile devices, however, it is my understanding that this form of reception will be bandwidth reduced - in other words, the material that mobile devices will receive will be compressed more than the signal for those who are in a home, for instance. The antenna requirements for a mobile device will be much less than those that are required to receive the primary, i.e., intended for fixed receivers, however, you will still need an antenna. In fact, to receive the best possible OTA signal, you will need an antenna. However, with an antenna, you may be more likely to receive the mobile signal from distant stations and this may allow OTA reception of distant stations that have never before been possible.

As far as privacy goes, I'm a cord cutter, too. I built a HTPC, and I will continue to use such a setup. I will not use a "smart TV" other than as a display device for the HTPC. I've turned off, as much as possible, all the invasive settings on Windows 10.

But, need I suggest staying off facebook or other invasive sites, using only session cookies for anything that you do not want to remain logged into. This clears all the information that sites like google collect such that if you are not logged into google, they will have no clue who you are and will not tailor your results outside of the time that you have your browser open. There are many other practices that can be adopted to avoid invasive practices.

Assuming consumer protection is not weakened with the current administration in the US, my bet is that you will still be able to opt out of invasive practices. Also, companies engaging in invasive practices are likely to be discovered by privacy advocates, hackers, etc.

Personally, I'll approach the issues when ATSC 3.0 hits my area. However, I recommend that the issues be thoroughly researched if they concern you as there will likely be ways to turn it off or avoid it.

With any change in technology, there have always been concerns. Personally, I don't think that such concerns should stand in the way of innovation.
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
I'm far for the expert on subject differences in modulation and from my limited research is does seems that OFDM modulation (or a variation of it) is better handling multipathing (compiling image from several, possibly noise sources, into one noise less signal).
That said - there are conflicting research as to 8VSB vs OFDM such as original FCC research said this:
The report recommended in conclusion that receivers be linked to outdoor antennas raised to roughly 30 feet (9 m) in height. Neither 8VSB nor COFDM performed acceptably in most indoor test installations.
And then there is data from re-test:
Retests that were performed using the same COFDM receivers with the addition of a front end band pass filter gave much improved results for the DVB-T receiver, but further testing was not pursued
TV Technology: Is the modulation scheme based on orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing?

Richer: Yes, the physical layer uses OFDM.

TV Technology: Does it bear a resemblance to DVB-T2?

Richer: There are some elements that are similar to DVB-T2, but also some new ingredients.

TV Technology: Elements such as… ?

Richer: OFDM, some coding rates, modulation types, and guard interval parameters are common with DVB-T2.
I so seems that COFDM modulation is best fit for moving objects TV reception (cars, smartphones etc...)
but it may or may not actually improve in-door reception.

My speculation is that they will repurpose some of old VHF band for this and their efficiency claims I think mostly down to HEVC/h.265 video codec which is massive improvement over DVD era mpeg2 codec.

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8VSB
http://www.tvtechnology.com/news/0002/atsc-30-mark-richer-details-phys-layer-cs/277129

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DVB-T2
 
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gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
Here's the latest update on this topic. Product will be hittintg the markets soon!

 
ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Ninja
Here's the latest update on this topic. Product will be hittintg the markets soon!

Hi.
Link seems to be broken.
EDIT: working now, Thanks! :)
 
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highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
The prospect of TVs spying is one reason I would prefer that they be but purely as monitors, rather than having functions that won't be used, helpful or as useful/functional as when those features are built into other streaming devices. While those other devices will likely spy on us, I would prefer that my electronics not spy one me, by committee.
 
Wayde Robson

Wayde Robson

Audioholics Anchorman
@Wayde Robson Much better article second time around. It looks like like did your homework :)
Thanks!

While researching this one I read my way through a kind-of rabbit hole around ATSC 3.0. Putting on my "conspiracy" hat, I really would like to delve into its chances of the broader success some envision for it.

Advocates for the technology seem to talk about it delicately right now, probably because its future remains uncertain. That some major broadcasters in major markets will make it available for some TVs is all we're sure about at present. But nothing beyond that is a slam dunk. And it's capabilities seem to go way beyond just being another digital broadcast medium.

It's difficult to find anyone close to the technology speaking critically about it in either its capabilities or its chances of success. This makes it difficult to gauge exactly what "successful ATSC3.0" really looks like.

The blue sky vision has it being a second wireless Internet. Or it may never be anything more than what it will be by the end of 2020.

I was tempted to try and diagram the "who benefits" equation. Mass-communications industry is tightly wrapped, with wireless network companies that own or are partnered with TV networks. So, it's difficult to tell who would end up competing with who if ATSC3 tuner-chips found their way into every phone.

I really wish the technology the best, the more competition the better for us consumers. So, I hesitate to seem critical of it. But a lot needs to go right over the next couple of years for it reach its "blue sky" potential.
 

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