Apple TV and ATSC 3.0

I’ve had the 4 tuner HDhomerun for about a year now. I have a LG 4K tv and AppleTV 4K. I have all the video settings set per online and here instructions. It doesn’t seem like I can tell a difference from 3.0 channels and 1.0 channels. On Fox NFL playoff games I thought the 1.0 channels looked better.
Am I missing something or is 4K not really here yet?

OTA station resolution will still be whatever the local stations choose to broadcast. ATSC3 just uses newer codecs to free up bandwidth so that they can broadcast up to 4k. Whether and when they will is entirely up to them.

For example, my Fox affiliate still broadcasts in 720, even for programming that’s available on the Fox app in 4k. Slightly frustrating, but it’s a slow moving transition.

ATSC 3.0 does not automatically mean 4k! At least, NOT until the lighthouse era passes, and everybody is ATSC 3.0, which will free up the needed bandwidth for 4k.

All my local ATSC 3.0 stations are at best, 1080p HEVC. Which is hard to distinguish from 1080i ATSC 1.0 stations.

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I don't watch sports at all on 3.0, its about 10 times worse than the 1.0 feed. Prime time however looks awesome. I'm not sure if they are de-interlacing (at the station) better than the ATV or they are sending the original 1080p feed before it is interlaced. It's still a science experiment...

I also bought the HDHR Flex 4K recently. 4K OTA is not live in the U.S., and you may not even be guaranteed 1080p. Local implementation is all over the place; my Fox affiliate's ATSC 3.0 broadcast is still 720p60, and you really have to squint to see the difference between the 3.0 and 1.0 broadcasts. There are less artifacts for fast moving graphics in 3.0, but to me that's not worth $200 for a new tuner box.

Right now the main benefits of 3.0 are wider reception and (maybe) lower-sized recordings because they use HEVC. Sound is a bit worse, and Channels doesn't support closed captions on 3.0 stations yet.

My fox affiliate is 1080P60 ... all my ATSC 3.0 Stations in Portland ORE are 1080P60... and all are much better video than 1.0.

How do I tell how my locals are broadcasting? All 4 are listed as ATSC 3.0

Stats .... They all play fine on my AppleTV 4K no dropped frames or bad audio.

At this time none of the broadcast networks are supplying their affiliates with anything above 1080i or 720p. The current ATSC 1.0 encoding scheme just cannot handle that bandwidth. So until all stations go ATSC3.0 and are not sharing bandwidth in the Lighthouse configuration then the best they can do is 4 streams at 1080P. Mind you that 1080P is not native from the network master control, it is a locally created up convert at your local station, so it is not much better than your HDR TV taking the OTA 1080i signal and doing its local up convert, which all tv's do. Once Lighthouse phase is done then the stations have the option to go 4K, but again the network master control feed to them would need to be in 4K for it to matter, otherwise it is just another up convert for no real gain. ATSC 3.0 is still in the experimental phase with two different encoding techniques being employed by stations across the country. One major network I know of because I worked for them for 28 years is in the process of converting their entire plant to 1080P, but its a huge multi year project involving production and transmission facilities in multiple sites nationwide. Millions of dollars involved and has to be done while keeping legacy equipment on line. Not an easy task. It is not worth a major investment at this time in your home gear as it may/will need firmware upgrades that may/not be available to you in the future.

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Please tell me how you got the Stat. information displayed. Is it part of ChannelsDVR or another app?

While viewing a stream, press/swipe down to access the quick guide, then right to access options. Then select “Show Stats.”

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Thanks @Edwin_Perez @alai for the info on displaying Stats for specific channels. Broadcasters in my local area (Boston) are switching to ATSC 3.0 this week, with at least one big channel (ABC affiliate WCVB) supposedly cutting over today (Jan 26). It would be more helpful if the Channels app had an icon or some other marker in the Guide to indicate that a particular channel is ATSC 3.0. I know that 4k content remains limited but it would be nice to know if my local CBS and Fox channels are transmitting the upcoming NFL conference championships and Super Bowl in 4k. How can I request this feature?

FYI, my Channels setup uses an HDHomerun Flex (which I believe has ATSC 3.0 on two of its four tuners) that feeds several Apple TV 4Ks, including a new 2022 model, and a couple of LG OLED 4K TVs.

You can write to your local stations, but there is no way 4K will be broadcast over the air in the U.S. with our current implementation of ATSC 3.0 in the next week. Probably not even next year. If you have TVE access, Fox is providing “4K streams” (upscaled 1080p with HDR) of the NFC Championship and Super Bowl through their apps.

Could be helpful in the future, but right now it’s pretty easy to determine which channels are ATSC 3.0 because they all have channel numbers above 100. WCVB’s new ATSC 3.0 signal will be on 105.1, while they continue to broadcast ATSC 1.0 on 5.1.


P.S. That does NOT work if there's an active recording going on. Just be aware of that.

Thank you for the quick response, really appreciate it. :slightly_smiling_face:

@regtor : did you have any luck with the ATSC 3.0 channels in Boston?

I'm also in Boston with a Silicon Dust HDFX-4K. I have tried rescanning to find the ATSC 3.0 channels, but they are not yet showing up for me.

Here's the article link that told me it was time to start looking: ATSC 3.0 NEXTGEN OTA TV is Now Live in Boston | Cord Cutters News

@marstonstudio Yes, I can pull in several of the ATSC 3.0 channels with full video and audio (in addition to the "regular" ATSC 1.0 channels - the HDHomerun will not 'replace' them):

102.1 (WGBHNX)
104.1 (WBZ
105.1 (WCVBNX)
115.1 (WBTS
125.1 (WFXTNX)
150.1 (WWJE
166.1 (WUNI*NX)

Channels 131.1 through 131.4 also show up on my guide but the signal is too weak.

Here's what I know, courtesy of the "Boston OTA" thread over at AVS Forum. As I understand it, the ATSC 3.0 channels are all being transmitted from a tower in Hudson and not the various station towers. I can confirm that the 7 channels are are coming in with basically the same signal strength (the "Show Stats" per the Channels is in the pic below (from last week), signal strength for all channels in the 66% range). I am in Melrose and my antenna is pointed south and a bit west towards Needham. Hudson is farther from me and more to the west.

None of the ATSC 3.0 broadcasts are in 4K, all are in 1080p (my Apple TV is upconverting to 4K). All are also broadcasting in HEVC. My understanding is that at some point each of these stations will use their existing transmitters to broadcast ATSC 3.0. I sure hope so as they are closer to me and with a much better signal strength (usually 100%).

I recommend checking out the Boston OTA thread at AVS - at least the last 10 pages or so (there are over 700...)

Thanks for all the info, and the pointer to the AVS thread, I'll dig in there :slightly_smiling_face:

I'm in Arlington MA and so far my scans have not turned up anything, I'll keep looking


Your best bet is to post in the Silicondust ATSC 3.0 forum.