Long-time readers may recall that I’ve long covered the development and roll-out of ATSC (Advanced Television Systems Committee) digital television in the United States, both conceptually and hands-on (not to mention teardowns), the latter in both California and Colorado, and in both fixed and mobile reception forms. And courtesy of the cord-cutting phenomenon, a growing number of folks still desirous of local news and other regional programming are discovering “free TV” courtesy of an antenna on the roof or wall and the ATSC tuner built into their television. So it seems that ATSC has now hit its stride; not a full-blown sprint, mind you, more like a comfortable lope, but still sustainable.
Technology doesn’t tend to stand still, however, which is why the standards committee is now pushing ATSC 3.0 at us (with specs finalized in time for announcement at the 2018 CES, subsequent to formal approval by the U.S. FCC (Federal Communications Committee) the prior November). The obvious upfront question that many of you are likely thinking right now is, what happened to ATSC 2.0? Within that answer is the core of my skepticism as to whether ATSC 3.0 will ever amount to much, either … but I’m getting ahead of myself.