This story is part of, where our editors will bring you the latest news and the hottest gadgets from fully virtual CES 2021.
, continue to . Free over-the-air shows are part of the present, at least in the 23 markets where they are currently available. And other stations will be online soon. The goal is to have stations in 98 cities across the country, including major metropolitan areas, to be live and broadcast by the end of the year.
It’s good that TV manufacturers lovehave started rolling out more models at which can decode NextGenTV broadcasts. And you don’t want for now, the long-awaited external tuners are also coming, which can connect to any TV and to activate reception. A tuner from Silicon Dust is now available and one from BitRouter will ship in a few months, with more on the way.
Here’s a look at what 2021 has in store for free 4K live.
Stations are coming soon to big cities
Stations in 23 markets are already broadcasting NextGenTV. They are all small and medium cities like Austin, Las Vegas, Portland, Seattle, etc. 16 additional markets are expected to come online by the summer. Atlanta, Boston, Orlando, and Washington, DC to name a few. By the end of the year, 59 more cities are expected to have access to NextGenTV. These include large cities like Los Angeles and New York. In total, this should cover about 70% of all American households.
Something to keep in mind. Just like the HDTV rollout 20 years ago, don’t expect every station in your area to broadcast NextGenTV right away. Upgrading from the current version of ATSC to 3.0 is not mandatory, so some stations may never switch over. There are financial benefits if they do, which you can read.
And even if a station is broadcasting in 4K, that doesn’t mean all of its programming will be in 4K. We are still in the early days. It took years for all TV shows to be in HD and we early adopters were forced to watchSD for what seemed like an eternity.
You can see when the stations in your city and which will start broadcasting on WatchNextGenTV.com.
TVs with NextGen tuners
If you’re in the market for a new TV, there are a bunch of them that have built-in NextGenTV tuners. The list below is a mix of 2021 andwhich are probably still available. Expect more announcements in 2021.
LG: 55-, 65- and 77GX, 65WX, 77- and 88ZX.
Samsung: Q800T, Q850T, Q900TS and Q950TS
Sony: X900H, 55-, 65-75- and 85X90, as well as.
You don’t need a new TV for NextGenTV, but you will at least need a tuner to receive the signals.
Right now, you can buy the HDHomeRun Connect 4K ($ 200, which turns into around £ 150 or AU $ 260). It’s not quite what you might expect, as there is no HDMI output. Instead, it streams NextGenTV content to devices on your home network, whether they are smartphones, tablets, computers, etc.
Most TVs will not be able to play this content directly. Instead, you’ll need something in between that can run the HDHomeRun app, like an Apple TV 4K or an Xbox Series X / S. With four tuners, two of which are NextGenTV, multiple people in your home can watch different programs at the same time. In a few months, the company will also launch a version with a built-in DVR. Essentially it will be a “whole house” DVR for NextGen and live HD content.
BitRouter aims to make its first shipments of its ZapperBox M1 tuners in the second quarter. You can reserve one now for $ 249. These small boxes are more traditional tuners with an HDMI output for direct connection to any TV. They also have HD tuners (aka ATSC 1.0) and have HDR, Wi-Fi, and wired internet. There is no internal storage, but BitRouter is planning a software update to allow network attached storage devices. They also plan to add, always via a software update, the possibility of broadcasting the content of this box on your smartphone or tablet, not just on the TV connected via HDMI.
Expect to see more tuners hitting the market in 2021 and beyond.
Live cable channels
Last year, a company called Edge Networks launched the Evoca TV service in Boise, Idaho. Its intention is to bridge the gap between free over-the-air content and pay-cable service, particularly in markets underserved by both types of television broadcasting. They do this using the bandwidth potential of NextGenTV. Hope to expand to other small markets in the future. As of now, however, they have over 60 channels, now including the 4K Insight TV channel.
Evoca is not intended to replace cable or live broadcasts in most markets. It is an attractive alternative for smaller markets that have fewer channel choices and high cost or limited speed Internet options. You can find out more about.
In addition to covering television and other display technology, Geoff takes photo tours of museums and cool places around the world, including nuclear submarines, massive aircraft carriers, medieval castles, airplane cemeteries and more.
You can follow his exploits on Instagram and YouTube, and on his travel blog, BaldNomad. He’s also written a bestselling sci-fi novel about city-sized submarines, as well as a sequel.