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DHagan4755

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jul 18, 2002
2,147
5,725
Massachusetts
With "NextGen TV" (the marketing term for ATSC 3.0) slowly rolling out across the United States, would it make sense for Apple to make an Apple TV with an ATSC 3.0 tuner?

NextGen TV is supposed to have better OTA (over the air) reception than ATSC 1.0 & allow 4K broadcasts over the air. One of the annoying experiences with an Apple TV is if you use other sources on your TV. An Apple TV with an ATSC 3.0 tuner would allow people to watch free OTA broadcasts without the hassle of needing to use their other TV remote to switch inputs. Many of the new TVs by Samsung, Sony, and LG have ATSC 3.0 tuners built-in.

Or do you guys think that OTA broadcasts will be replaced by FAST streaming services (free ad supported television) like Tubi & Pluto?
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
7,598
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New Jersey Pine Barrens
I sure wouldn't want to pay anything extra for such a feature. I use the AppleTV because I can't get over the air TV in my rural location, and frankly I wouldn't be interested even if I could.
 

satcomer

Suspended
Feb 19, 2008
9,115
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The Finger Lakes Region
I sure wouldn't want to pay anything extra for such a feature. I use the AppleTV because I can't get over the air TV in my rural location, and frankly I wouldn't be interested even if I could.

It depends because that means changing frequencies for broadcaster to up 4K media! from 1080i therehaave been for last 25 years! So all their internal equipment will have to be updated for all those the "cut the cord"!
 

HobeSoundDarryl

macrumors G5
OP, get 4K tuners now with SiliconDust HDHomeRun 4K box. It comes with TWO 4K tuners and two HD tuners. Apps like Channels make it work flawlessly on AppleTV. I use it every day. It shares over-the-air signals on the home network and iDevices and Macs can use it too all around the house (wifi or ethernet). Channels can be set up so you can access your local stations even when away from home.

Link up a hard drive and use it for your own personal DVR, fully within your own control, no capped spacing tiers and no ongoing subscription costs to access whatever you record. But what if you fill up that space? Add another hard drive. And then? Another if you like.

I would NOT want Apple to build a 4K tuner into AppleTV, as Apple would charge their premium and one tuner is generally not enough these days (even for the single person, living alone). 2 tuners at Apple markups would probably put AppleTV ATSC3 in Mac Mini (pricing) territory.

This is an ideal "separates" thing in which a person can get any number of distinct tuners needed for their household and they will all work with AppleTVs we already own instead of having to buy a new one. I have 10 HDHomeRun tuners (in 3 HDHR boxes) on my network right now. It's great!!! All AppleTVs, iDevices and Macs around the house can use them to watch anything.
 
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oneMadRssn

macrumors 603
Sep 8, 2011
5,952
13,935
I would NOT want Apple to build a 4K tuner into AppleTV, as Apple would charge their premium and one tuner is generally not enough these days (even for the single person, living alone). 2 tuners at Apple markups would probably put AppleTV ATSC3 in Mac Mini (pricing) territory.
I agree. Two other reasons:

First, tuners require a whole bunch of additional hardware that would cause the AppleTV to double in size and electrical complexity. A tuner requires an RF circuit with amplifiers and demodulators and signal processors. Usually that RF circuit needs to be on a distinct ground plane to control for interference. Those components would produce additional heat that would need to be dealt with. I am much happier having all that stuff in a separate box.

Second, a tuner is best closest to the antenna, which is not necessarily where my AppleTV is. My antenna is in the attic, so I have my HDHomeRun tuner in the attic right next to it. This allows for using a very short coax cable, minimizing signal loss and interference, and removing the need for amps and preamps. It is much simpler to propagate the tv signal digitally to all my devices over ip/ethernet (albeit it took some work to run an ethernet cable up there). So it's a huge plus to be able to keep the antenna-coax circuit to an absolute minimum.
 
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DHagan4755

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jul 18, 2002
2,147
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Massachusetts
OP, get 4K tuners now with SiliconDust HDHomeRun 4K box. It comes with TWO 4K tuners and two HD tuners. Apps like Channels make it work flawlessly on AppleTV. I use it every day. It shares over-the-air signals on the home network and iDevices and Macs can use it too all around the house (wifi or ethernet). Channels can be set up so you can access your local stations even when away from home.

Link up a hard drive and use it for your own personal DVR, fully within your own control, no capped spacing tiers and no ongoing subscription costs to access whatever you record. But what if you fill up that space? Add another hard drive. And then? Another if you like.

I would NOT want Apple to build a 4K tuner into AppleTV, as Apple would charge their premium and one tuner is generally not enough these days (even for the single person, living alone). 2 tuners at Apple markups would probably put AppleTV ATSC3 in Mac Mini (pricing) territory.

This is an ideal "separates" thing in which a person can get any number of distinct tuners needed for their household and they will all work with AppleTVs we already own instead of having to buy a new one. I have 10 HDHomeRun tuners (in 3 HDHR boxes) on my network right now. It's great!!! All AppleTVs, iDevices and Macs around the house can use them to watch anything.
To my knowledge there is scant terrestrial 4k broadcasting happening. Most of the TV stations across the country broadcasting the new ATSC 3.0 signal are still in HD. The reason for this is that the FCC requires stations to simultaneously broadcast both ATSC 3.0 & the legacy ATSC 1.0 signals. This requirement causes a data crunch for broadcasters. Therefore, your box upscales the 720p or HD broadcast, which has less compression artifacts with ATSC 3.0, up to 4k. Supposedly 1080 looks great upscaled to 4k on ATSC 3.0.

The ATSC 3.0 signal is H265 & from my reading, many broadcasters may opt to broadcast 1080p/60 HDR instead due to the amount of infrastructure costs imposed on a station to go fully 4K.

There's a guy named Gary on YouTube whose channel, "The Everyday Dad," would score a tech review in part on a "fiddlyness factor." Your setup sounds like a lot of fiddling that the average consumer probably wishes to avoid.

An integrated ATSC 3.0 tuner in the Apple TV, even optionally, would be intriguing, which is why I created this post.

There's a "Zapper box" ATSC 3.0 tuner out with a review from Antenna Man on YouTube. To anyone interested, it's worth watching the whole thing if you're new to the whole "NextGen TV" situation. The company intends for it to run Android at some point.

You don't think Apple could do something better?

I will grant you Apple would charge their premium. However, with talk of portable NextGen capable phones & tablets in the future, this may be an area to keep an eye on.
 

HobeSoundDarryl

macrumors G5
It didn’t feel “fiddly:”
  1. I hooked antenna into the standard cable jack that would be required on this hypothetical AppleTV.
  2. I hooked one ethernet cable into the same switch to which the ethernet cable from my AppleTV connects.
  3. Then I plugged it in so it would be powered.
  4. Done.
So the unique fiddling vs. the concept is either #3 (one more thing to plug in)… and maybe #2 for those who lean on wifi for AppleTV. In exchange for #2 + #3, I get two 4K tuners and two HDTV tuners instead of just one… and it slings video to up to ALL Apple technology in my home instead of only one box hooked to only one TV.

Whether an Apple app or Channels app, an app will be required to display channels, so I consider that “the same” effort to get it functionally working.

The bigger point is that you can have what you want now or you can leave it a wish that Apple probably never fulfills. Why? Because they would rather profit from renting/selling/subscriptions of the same content. Modern Apple has little interest in free, only in how they can get their 30% for other people’s creations.

If you actually want this on AppleTV, get it by the way it already works (and has for some time now). Else, I’ll wish for a deluxe AppleTV right with you just to keep Apple developing “the hobby.” I very likely wouldn’t buy it unless it was the only option and I needed another AppleTV.

As to all that earlier stuff, yes, my locals are jamming simulcast HD signals into ATSC 3, H.265 streams. But Apple adding a 4K tuner to AppleTV (or that Zapperbox and similar) wouldn’t have any effect on that either. Should any local broadcaster opt to start broadcasting 4K, this box is ready to receive those signals now... and existing AppleTVs and a prior generation AppleTV 4K is ready to display them.

And a correction: HDHomeRun is just "passing through" whatever signal is being broadcast by the local stations, not upscaling as you imagine. AppleTV or iDevices or Mac simply get whatever the broadcasters are offering. There's no new processing of the signal. It's actually the AppleTV itself that is doing the upscaling when hooked to a 4K television. If a local broadcaster(s) would transmit anything in 4K, this box will receive it in 4K, pass it to AppleTV (or iDevices or Macs) in 4K to be displayed at 4K on a 4K television or scaled for the iDevice or Mac screen.

Lastly: here's the same reviewer talking up this option from when it launched a few years ago...


...and here's a very obvious (first few seconds) Apple guy talking this 4K tuner box up more recently...


He seems to illustrate the playback option of using Silicon Dusts own app on his screen, but Channels and PLEX (apps) can work with HDHomeRuns too, as can some other hardware. Even TVs with "old" DLNA technology will recognize the boxes on the network and be able to play anything they receive directly.
 
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DHagan4755

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jul 18, 2002
2,147
5,725
Massachusetts
you can have what you want now or you can leave it a wish that Apple probably never fulfills. Why?

You've misunderstood my post. This is not something I want now nor is it something that I'm wishing for. It was merely to start a discussion on a future Apple TV. As I also asked:

do you guys think that OTA broadcasts will be replaced by FAST streaming services (free ad supported television) like Tubi & Pluto?

I'm mixed on the Apple TV. I have one but it's honestly easier to just use the Google TV that comes installed on my Sony.
 

HobeSoundDarryl

macrumors G5
My apologies. It sounds like you really wanted a poll.

Nevertheless, those interested in the topic may find some of those posts helpful. I certainly enjoy free HEVC television over the air on my AppleTVs and other Apple hardware now. Frankly, using it as my TV "set top box" makes it far more useful than anything else I do with it.

To your poll, I'll hope Apple builds one for people who want one... but not for those who don't want/need them (so they don't have to pay extra for a feature they don't want/can't use). If Apple would (and I don't think they would), it would very likely jack the price much higher than other options like the one I shared.

To your "fast streaming question", services like Pluto, Stirr, Distro actually fold right into the Channels app... merging into one guide "to rule them all." Personally, I much favor that than jumping (and hunting) app to app to app.

I do NOT think fast streaming will replace over the air... mostly because fast streaming tends to lack the same content (for example, live (popular) sports and what is generally the highest rated new shows) and, at least so far, the advertising model for them seems WORSE than traditional over the air or cable: ads just popping in the middle of some streaming video (like it does when watching YouTube video) and highly repetitive ads (same ones over and over, sometimes 2, 3 or more times in a row (back to back to back)). Some services are stereo audio only vs. what is generally 5.1 audio for over the air (a very noticeable audio difference). Some services seem to have some trouble with fast-moving content, such as the occasional sports one can watch on them- it just looks funny, like frames are missing- vs. over the air.

That said though, I DO enjoy the free channels that come with such services and am watching them regularly. If I had to give up one or the other, I'd likely give up the fast streaming services "as is" because the "big 4/5" networks tend to have the higher quality, popular, first-run shows and local live sports while the fast streaming services tend to be mostly in-the-can stuff as if Netflix was splintered into hundreds of channels, sans the Netflix originals and/or newer stuff on Netflix.

If fast streaming can eventually forge deals to deliver the over-the-air offerings at quality as good as it is now, my opinion would likely change.

To AppleTV vs GoogleTV, AppleTV offers things that GoogleTV can't... particularly "walled garden" stuff not deliverable through the AppleTV+ app. If you can want an "iPod for your television," that's its exclusive hook. Else, Google TV (and Roku and Amazon, etc) can scratch a lot of the main streaming box itches for much less cost than AppleTV.
 
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