This week on FreeCast’s Executive Vlog, Irwin Podhajser delves deeper into the OTT and OTA discussion we started two weeks ago. Specifically, he’ll touch on the growth from analog to digital television and the introduction of ATSC 3.0.
Podhajser begins this segment by mentioning ATSC 3.0, which is what the industry considers “NextGen.” But in order to understand that, we’ve got to travel backwards to the early days of TV sets. “If you go back to the late 1940s and 50s, the television technology started to take off. It was analog and it stayed analog all the way into the late 2000s,” Podhajser starts. “And if you’re as old as me, you remember what it was like to have these rabbit ear antennas on top of your TV set. You had to get up, change the channel and mess with the rabbit ears and sometimes put aluminum foil on it.”
Reminiscing on these times, Podhajser recalls the joy of being able to access up to five television stations in his youth. That is, up until the introduction of cable. “Well then cable came along and said, ‘Hey, why settle for just a few channels when you can have 30 channels?’ And then it became 100 channels, and now it’s 1000 channels on the cable systems, and more and more people ditch those rabbit ears for cable.”
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Up until about 2009, cable was entirely analog. Then, the digital revolution took place and many stations made the switch over. “When you tuned in to Channel 7 with your rabbit ears, that’s all you got was Channel 7,” starts Podjajser. “ But when the digital conversion took place, all of a sudden, 7.1 is FOX, 7.2 is another channel. Then there’s 7.3, 7.4, and technology over the last twelve years has increased to where some TV stations actually have .10, .11, .12.”
With this influx of increased channel catalogues, digital antennas could pick up anywhere from 50-70 local channels. “You have this entire infrastructure of television, over the air television out there that has just been booming for the last twelve years. And it’s the reason why a lot of people were cutting the cable cord.”
The TV expansion did not stop there, however. “A few years ago, it was decided that we need to have another standard, another digital standard. This one is called ATSC 3.0, or next gen television, which is an even better digital version of television. So instead of having a .10 or .11, you can now have a .30,” said Podhajser.
With all this expansion came the introduction of 4k TVs, 8k TVS, and HDR television. “But the big thing it becomes about,” continues Podhajser, “is that it becomes IP. Internet Protocol television.” What does this mean? “It (referring to TV) becomes much more mobile friendly [and has] a lot less interference [than] before.”
Previously, two separate “Channel 12s” would clash and fight over airwaves, causing interruptions in signals. Podhajser claims this is no more: “[As] a matter of fact, where they meet it’s going to be a stronger signal, which is what’s going to make this a lot more mobile friendly. Now there are so many bells and whistles that ATSC 3.0 is going to bring to the television infrastructure.”
How This Affects FreeCast & SelectTV
Podhajser next touches on how this affects SelectTV, the super aggregation app created by FreeCast, inc. “[SelectTV] can be used on phones. So all of a sudden you have a television standard that’s mobile friendly, a super app in SelectTV that can be on any mobile device… There’s a lot of potential there.
“You can have hundreds and hundreds of channels that are broadcasting from local TV stations right into mobile devices. Also, the benefit to television versus the internet is [that] no matter how much you make the pipe of an internet bigger and faster? It’s still one to one. The beauty of television, it’s one to many. You can take one movie and deliver it to 4 million people, all at the same time.”
Podhajser closes with promises of specifics on OTA and SelectTV merging in the coming weeks, but for now, check out any of the past Executive Vlogs via the playlist below.
Executive Vlog Playlist
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