There is a lot of chatter right now related ATSC 3.0 / NextGen TV and DRM and it being the ruin of Channels DVR.
Expand to see some of those conversations...
Because of this, I want to calm the waters a bit by providing a little historical context with the SD to HD Digital Transition in the United States.
Part 1: Preparing for the Transtion
- 1980: Original HDTV recommendations published
- 1987: FCC forms Advisory Committee
- 1996: FCC finalizes technical requirements through massive compromises and backroom deals
Part 2: The Mandate
- 1996: Congress mandates that all broadcasts must be on digital signals by the end of 2006 so that the analogue frequencies can be returned to the government
- 2005: With only 3% of American homes able to receive DTV signals, the deadline was pushed back to the end of 2008 and later extended to the middle of 2009
- 2009: The mandated transition officially ends
Part 3: The Reality
- 2009: Low powered stations and repeaters are given an extension to make the transition and shut down their analogue signals
- 2011-2015: The remaining analogue signals are supposed to be shut down
- 2022: The last analogue TV Station in the United States shuts down
Part 4: The Next Generation
- 2013: ATSC asks for proposals for a standard for the next generation of digital broadcasts
- 2014-2017: Various tests of next generation ATSC signals
- 2017: FCC approves a voluntary transition to ATSC 3.0--not a mandated one like with ATSC 1.0--which requires, among other things, that once a station makes the transition they must continue their 1.0 signal for at least 5 years
- 2020: First permanent ATSC 3.0 signal launches in the United States
Part 5: The Future
- 2023: 60% of households fall in a market with an ATSC 3.0 signal, though most are in the early testing phase
- 2025: Las Vegas becomes the first market that could shut down their 1.0 signals, but does not as ATSC President Madeleine Noland noted that she expects the transition period to be at least 10 years
- 2028: ATSC 3.0 compatible televisions and converter boxes finally reach critical mass (slight majority), meaning 1.0 signals may be reasonable to begin to be shut down
- 2047: The last ATSC 1.0 signal in the United States shuts down but it hardly matter due to changes in content delivery technologies over the prior decades
The moral of the story is: things change and take a lot longer than expected. Yes, a lot of scary and terrible things are being proposed, tested, and implemented right now, but we hardly know where the future will be and how it will all end up. ATSC 3.0 is not a completely defined standard like 1.0 was and is being industry driven. DRM is just a technical methodology that may be able to be worked around or abandoned entirely. Don't make any rash decisions right now and let's see where the chips fall. After all, this is about entertainment, nothing truly vital.