The Truth About 3.0 OTA TV: We Break Down the Rumors




Teenager girl with remote control laying down and watching tv eating popcorn.

Teenager girl with remote control laying down and watching tv eating popcorn.This week the FCC approved the new 3.0 OTA TV standard. This was quickly followed by a host of negative stories about 3.0 OTA TV and many questions.

We want to break down some of the most common rumors around 3.0 OTA TV.

First, let’s talk about negative news. The truth is negative stories are profitable. A story that says everything is great will not get the traffic a doom and gloom story will.

Second, take a look at who is running these negative stories. Often they have connections to the cable TV industry. Cable is understandably concerned about 3.0 TV. With 3.0 you will get better reception, 4K, more channels, and a host of other features that will make cutting the cord easier than ever. That is definitely something cable does not want to have happen.

So here are some of the most common rumors broken down.

If you would rather watch my breakdown you can find a YouTube video about OTA 3.0 here:

Rumor: You Will Need a New Antenna

No you will not need a new antenna. An antenna is a dumb device that picks up all signals out there: FM, AM, TV, etc. The chips in your TV decode the signals and display the images. Just like how a 40-year-old antenna in your attic still works with the new digital TV, today’s antennas will work with 3.0 TV.

Rumor: You Will Need Internet to Use 3.0 OTA

No you do not need Internet to use 3.0 OTA TV. The new 3.0 OTA does have some similarities to home Internet in the way it transmits data, but it is not Internet.

Your 3.0 compatible TV or tuner box will have everything it needs for you to watch OTA TV without the need for home Internet. So even without internet you can enjoy everything you get with your antenna now and more.

Could 3.0 use the internet? Yes if you set it up 3.0 could use the internet to access additional content etc. For example, clicking on a ad could open up a web browser for you to buy the product etc.

Yet you will NOT need an internet connection to watch 3.0 OTA TV.

Rumor: 3.0 OTA TV Can Turn on Your TV

This one is partly true. 3.0 OTA TV does have the ability to turn your TV into a weather radio. If you set 3.0 OTA up for weather alerts, you can use your TV as a weather radio to receive weather alerts. This is an opt-in feature that will work just like weather radios do now, but it will be more accurate.

If you turn on the alerts feature instead of getting alerts to full counties, the new 3.0 OTA TV standard can send weather alters to specific areas (or one town) that are (is) being affected (think tornados, hurricanes).

This works because of the ability to use GPS location with a weather alert system for far more accurate alerts.

Rumor: 3.0 OTA TV Will Have Annoying Custom Ads

This one is partly true, because 3.0 OTA TV will allow for area-specific ads. Just like with the weather radio, TV stations can target ads to a town. Now you will just see ads from your town or area.

Sling TV and YouTube TV already use targeted ads. This helps them keep their prices low to offer more content. The same will be true with 3.0 OTA TV. Advertisers can buy ads only for the areas they want the ad to be seen in. They no longer need to buy ads for a massive area.

This will save advertisers money and help TV stations make more money to expand their OTA content.

Rumor: You Will Need a New TV

This one is not true. The FCC requires TV stations that move to 3.0 OTA to offer the current OTA standard for five years after the move. That means if a station moves to 3.0 OTA TV next year, the day they turn on 3.0 OTA the clock starts for five years to still offer the current standard.

LG is already selling TVs in South Korea with 3.0 TV tuners. South Korea has had 3.0 for some time, and LG is adding the new 3.0 TV tuners to TVs they sell in the United States next year.

If you don’t want to buy a new TV you won’t have to to enjoy 3.0 OTA TV. Several companies say they will have dongles or set-top boxes for sale soon that will let you connect your antenna to the box and the box to your HDMI port on your TV.

With that said we are looking at six to seven years before anyone is forced to upgrade their TVs or devices.

Rumor 3.0 Tracks What You Watch

This rumor is true. Cable TV also tracks what you watch for ratings. With the current standard, companies tried to do surveys, but there is no good way to track OTA viewership.

Now 3.0 OTA TV will report back what you are watching, which will help keep your favorite shows on the air. Most OTA services, such as DIRECTV NOW, and almost all cable networks do this.

Most services allow you to opt out of tracking, and I would assume that 3.0 OTA would be the same.

Why Should You Get 3.0 OTA TV?

There are several reasons to get 3.0 OTA TV. First, it offers free 4K TV. Second, it has a far better range meaning people who struggle to get OTA TV now will find it easier in the future.

Third, you will be able to interact with TV. For example, if you want to learn more about a TV news story, you can click on your screen to read more or see an in-depth video.

Fourth, the ability to use your TV as a weather radio with far better warnings is a huge selling point. (Especially if you live in tornado country like I do.)

With 3.0 OTA TV you will get more over-the-air TV stations, because the new standard does a better job managing the spectrum. In theory you could go from 4 stations per channel to up to 99. So channel 4 could be 4.99, but in reality it’s probably more like 50 or so subchannels max before quality breaks down.

There you go… breaking down the top rumors around 3.0 OTA TV.

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