Columbia ISA
Audio – Video

Search Columbia ISA

What you don't know about your 4K TV

4K TV was introduced around 2012. Since then and up until 2021, these TVs have a digital tuner built-in for over-the-air broadcasts based upon the ATSC 1.0 standard. Chances are very good that your 4K TV you bought a few years ago has an ATSC 1.0 tuner. The ATSC 1.0 standard is limited to 720p and 1080i high definition video. You need ATSC 3.0 tuner for 4K video.

In addition, up until 2020, local TV broadcasters sent out video signals in high definition with no more than 1080i resolution. What, you say? Yes, that's correct, your 4K TV is not capable of 4K over-the-air video resolution, that is unless you use a ATSC 3.0 converter. But my TV is 4K you say. It has to be 4K capable. Yes, it is 4K capable. However, you are only going to get 4K from sources other than broadcast for a while. For local broadcast TV stations, in order to get 4K you need the following:

1. 4K TV with internal ATSC 3.0 Tuner or external ATSC 3.0 TV converter box for an ATSC 1.0 4K TV
2. Local broadcast TV station with ATSC 3.0 broadcast capability and sending out as 4K video.
3. The TV show content being broadcast is in 4K

Even in 2022, there are many areas broadcasting in 4K, but not all cities have 4K broadcasts and even the ones that do, may be broadcasting a particular TV show in only 1080p. Many of their sub-channels may be broadcasting in only 480p video. So even if you have a brand new TV with an ATSC 3.0 tuner, and there are many which still have ATSC 1.0 tuners, you still may not be getting 4K video on your broadcast TV channel.

Eventually, new TVs will have ATSC 3.0 tuners, however your local TV stations may not have the money to upgrade to ATSC 3.0 broadcasting. In addition, TV stations do not have to upgrade, at least for years, unlike the 2009 conversion from analog to digital TV which was mandatory for full power stations.

The networks, and their affiliates, spent a small fortune to upgrade their local stations from analog to digital. Going to 4K will be expensive and not all stations see the need.

The difference in picture quality between 4K and HD is relatively small compared to the difference between HD and standard-definition.

Currently, it’s unclear how much programming will be available in 4K. In the initial test markets for 3.0, stations are still doing simulcasts of existing 720p HD or 1080i HD broadcasts, suggesting there’s little urgency to go to 4K.

Share on Twitter

ATSC 3.0, the new standard:
ATSC 3.0 includes benefits for reception, meaning you should be able to receive more channels of higher quality without the need for a large antenna. Audio quality is increased as well. While ATSC 1.0 uses Dolby AC-3 — an audio format that is limited to 5.1 channel surround sound — ATSC 3.0 uses the newer Dolby AC-4 for broadcasts of up to 7.1.4 channel audio, and it supports object-based sound formats like Dolby Atmos.

Additionally, ATSC 3.0 utilizes Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex (OFDM) as part of its core encoding, compared to the 8VSB encoding used for ATSC 1.0, which means that the transmission and reception of ATSC 3.0 content should encounter far less interference than older 1.0 broadcasts.

4K video resolution is 3840 x 2160 pixels, or 2160p. A Full HD 1080p image is 1920 x 1080. 4K screens have about 8 million pixels, which is around four times what 1080p can display.

8K video resolution has four times more pixels than 4K images, measuring 7680 x 4320 pixels, which equates to a total of 33,177,600 pixels.

List of TV stations in USA

ATSC 3.0 Nextgen TV

Columbia ISA Audio Video