I am a retired broadcast engineer. I repaired and maintained audio, video and RF equipment before retirement.
The switch from the old NTSC television standard to ATSC made perfect sense to me. There was just not enough resolution in the NTSC signals to drive a large screen television set. The picture looked awful at anything like a reasonable viewing distance. Large screen televisions were getting cheaper and cheaper, so something had to be done.
Now I can sit 9 foot away from a 46 inch Toshiba and see a great picture on the main program of the physical channel. Even at 2 feet away from the set, the picture is still great. My set is now 10 years old and I have repaired it once, so I am due for a new larger set. I believe that I could watch an 80 inch television set at 9 foot away and still be completely satisfied with the picture quality.
So what is to be gained by a switch to ATSC 3? Not much will be gained by the viewer and that is why this changeover is going to be voluntary. (For the moment.)
The argument of 8VSB vs OFDM modulation is an old one. OFDM handles multipath better than 8VSB but it requires a higher transmitter output power. How will OFDM work at the current 8VSB transmitter power levels? The switch to OFDM will not benefit most of us at all.
Next we have to consider that these new television sets would require an internet connection for some features. (Also known as the ‘return data path’.) How long will it take for broadcasters to make that internet access required for a few of their programs? No thanks, high speed internet service is not free.
I currently record and watch old television programs or movies. Why do I need a 4K set for that? Does anyone believe that the broadcasters will start to air a lot of 4K material, any time soon? Don’t hold your breath! I am still seeing a lot of programming formatted for NTSC. Nine years after NTSC transmitters were shut down and about 20 years after the transition had been mandated.
The truth is that broadcasters are not currently using all of their 6MHz channel bandwidth for their main channel. If necessary they could improve their main program video by reducing the compression. But that would require eliminating 1 or 2 of those additional programs which they have all added to their physical channels.
This update from ATSC 1 to ATSC 3 is not about a dramatic improvement in perceived picture quality! Ask yourself what over-the-air broadcasters want out of this change.