ATSC 3.0 and DRM Transition: A Historical Perspective

I understood perfectly fine... You presented a previous timeline of the analogue to digital transition, which took over a decade longer to complete than originally proposed, as a precedent of how the ATSC 3.0 transition will unfold.

What you failed to factor in was DRM and the incentive it gives to broadcasters to expedite the transition. DRM is now a tool they use to discourage anyone from watching FREE local broadcasts. In essence they are sending OTA back to the 50's... no recording, time-shifting, place-shifting, or commercial detection.

Broadcasters will monetize ATSC 3.0 in any way possible and make FREE OTA as difficult and confusing as possible with the goal of pushing the final 10%-15% of users to a paid product. To ignore that and pretend that this is the digital transition all over again with another 10-15 years of ATSC 1.0 shows a complete lack of understanding of the situation and driving forces behind the change.

1 Like

Has it really though? How many people are spending just as much or more on streaming services as they were with cable? If anything, I think changing demographics are more to blame than the "cord cutting" movement itself. A large portion of the younger demographic never subscribed or would have subscribed to cable to begin with, so there was no cord to cut.

All of the streaming services not named Netflix are struggling mightily.

So tell me why they're even bothering with DRM then. Clearly, they feel there's enough of a reason to bother so your logic doesn't hold water.

So why are broadcasters, who dragged their feet implementing a mandated ATSC-1 transition, pushing so hard to implement their non-mandated home-brew ATSC-3 spec? As usual, Follow The Money. DRM and Copy-Never flag is all about no DVR's. Well, at least no 3rd party DVR's. ATSC-3 may not require an Internet connection for simple playback on qualified hardware, but it's made to use it -- for "NextGen Features". Can't be around to watch your show when it airs -- no problem, you can rent the episode through your TV from the networks cloud DVR. Just give them your credit card and the possibilities are endless for them to nickel & dime you. Basic OTA TV (what we had in the 60's) will always be "free" to satisfy their use of the public airwaves. All those "NextGen Features" will come with a price.

Don't expect miracles from the FCC.

"Sunsetting the [ATSC] 1.0 signals will be a key area of engagement for the task force," [Sinclair CEO Chris] Ripley affirmed. He offered no timetable on when ATSC 1.0 signals would be shut down, but it could be years into the future, as few consumer television sets and aftermarket set-top boxes offer NextGen TV-compatible tuners, which are required to receive the signals.

He further said they are just putting that task force together now to determine when and how they might go about it. Thus, amazingly, it once again seems like the sky is not falling immediately.

For some context, my market does not even have 3.0 yet (the market next door does, which is why I am able to test). We've been "Coming this summer!" for three years, so call me a skeptic about the timing of that. But let's pretend that it actually does happen this go-round. That means that the earliest I need to worry about the sunset, then, is 2028. That said, even Ripley is talking about things happening in 2030 and beyond.

So basically, still plenty of time to stop the DRM train or overcome it technologically. Please contact the FCC.

1 Like

And now I'm putting my money where my mouth is:

Right now, this workaround is focused on streaming DRM TVE stations, but I believe when HDHR gets their 3.0 certification and I can tune into a DRM 3.0 station on their Windows app, then I'll be able to modify the code to capture that.


Notice on AVS forms thread for my local OTA area, mention of launch of ATSC 3.0 stations later next week.

Gonna be interesting to see they are DRM out of the gate or not. From the posts, only change is the 5 major networks, the ones that are 1080i, are going to be 1080p. And the 2 that are 720p, going to be, not much improvement. No 4K... and things are still kinda, iffy with Channels and ATSC3.0 stations i gather.

Enjoy OTA while you can, I see OTA TV evolving into a ton of schlock like what we see on the sub channels. All expensive worthwhile content will ultimately migrate to paid streaming platforms.

Yup, that's been my prediction for at least a year.

If OTA becomes the junkyard of content, it will die faster than anyone can imagine.

That might be exactly what they're aiming for.

It seems to me ota is just a victim of streaming the same way cable is. Most everything worth watching has went to streaming other than some local news casts and sporting events. The only thing it has going for it is that it remains free. I used to have several shows I watched on the broadcast networks. With the series finale of the blacklist...there is nothing for me anymore other than a few weeks of sports in the summer. Although my family watches dancing with the stars...and disney learned their lesson after making it a disney plus exclusive last they are bringing the show back to abc in the fall...a rare victory for new content coming back to a broadcast network after leaving.

While I don't doubt that the drop in viewship was a factor, the bigger one is the current WGA and SGA-AFSTRA strike. All networks lack content and need to fill their airwaves with something!

Enjoy anything while you can! This gramophone ain't gonna last forever! :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

ATSC 3.0 Lighthouse launched in NYC this week. 6 channels, 3 already encrypted (WCBS, WNBC, Telmundo)

1 Like

Might as well be shopping/informercials channels at that point. What a waste of space :nauseated_face::face_vomiting:

1 Like

That wouldn't affect me much. I use OTA primarily for sports, and the 630pm nightly news. The sports part is very important to me though.

1 Like

Agree! With the demise of the Regional Sports Networks, OTA for local sports may be making a comeback. At least in certain markets. D-Backs games are back on free TV.

Don't count on that lasting.

Interesting article about that.

1 Like