Possibly a more affordable ATSC 3.0 tuner box

I saw the following article on Cord Cutting Today newsletter. It claims to be official Nextgen certified, but I didn’t see anything about DRM encryption. At least it is currently less than $100, so more affordable than the ZapperBox.

Does nextgen cetified also mean A3SA certified? Does free-to-air mean the same as free-to-play?

Tolka ATSC 3 Stack enables viewers can experience NextGen TV free-to-air television programs on Android and Linux platforms.

The ADTH NextGen TV Box allows ATSC 3.0 NextGen TV and ATSC 1.0 free-to-air television programs to be viewed on any IP-compatible TV display.

Perl announced it so I’d like to believe it’s fully compatible but I just visited the website. There isn’t so much as a technical spec or a terms of service. I’ve contacted them for more information but it’s difficult to believe they’re the type of company that’s going to be here in six months.

While it’s cheaper, it also doesn’t seem to mention any DVR functionality, which is definitely planned for the ZapperBox.

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I just got a response from them today. They sure were slow.

Thank you for your questions.

ADTH NEXTGEN TV Box supports Widevine DRM L1 and can play DRM-encrypted channels. You can go to ADTH NEXTGEN TV BOX for more info on specs.

$95.39 Including shipping.

Here is something VERY interesting.

“Connect to USB storage for offline Software Updates”

Also of note. They show some new products on the site including a USB dongle and a 2/4 tuner network streaming model. No price available for either device.

The implication, if they drank the full “kool-aid” is that their device has to ensure you can’t pull the recorded shows off the device itself, or at least not in any usable form (they could allow backup, but can’t let you actually play the recorded media outside of the device).

Let’s start NextNextGenTV, which will be our name for ATSC 1.0.

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By the end of July there will be 3 STB products that support ATSC 3.0. At least 1 will also support DRM. Still no word on a tablo product.


I’m pretty sure that in this analogy they didn’t just drink the Kool-aid but they were actually hand picked by Kraft foods to pass the Kool-aid out. I find the USB port for offline updates interesting because that’s a good indication that version it made to serve offline viewers. I’m not sure if we will see many approved boxes for that market.

True, but IMHO, no Plex for us.

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A 3rd party open source ATSC 3.0 product that supports DRM/encryption is probably DOA. But that leaves the channels product.

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IIRC the Channels app eventually supported encryption for cable so I think you’re correct. I don’t expect any open source apps with decryption but I’m sure we’ll see something that let’s you decode unencrypted channels. That’s assuming there is unencrypted content to decode in a couple years. There’s already a USB tuner in the works. Someone is going to want to figure that thing out even if it’s just curiosity.

The people that they are trying “to prevent” use frame grabbers (with HDCP defeat) and don’t care what you do. HDCP defeat is a <$30 part from Amazon/Walmart.

No, this DRM nonsense strictly harms normal people, period. Criminals already know the above and do this… it’s what they do. DRM doesn’t stop any of that.

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Another one is out… not much information in there.

It appears that making an official Nextgen ATSC 3.0 compatible tuner is harder than expected.

There is nothing that says the box isn’t certified. Like every other industry they need the chips to manufacture the product.

The problem that is happening is that DRM(encryption) is considered an optional feature. And thus not required for certification. DRM requires additional API’s from 3rd party software.

Maybe if we’re lucky, the FCC will act to block the introduction of encryption by broadcasters. There’s a campaign going on now to leave a comment with the FCC opposing adding DRM to broadcasts over the public airwaves. Then we might see the quick availability of tuners and DVRs.

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In recent history (past 20 years) though, government (including SCOTUS) has sided with broadcasters and not the consumer. And I’m not talking “gray” areas. Money talks.

And then came the Sony Betamax decision, which upheld consumer’s rights to record TV shows.

Historically, OTA broadcasts have always been freely available, and DRM has the potential to have a major impact on our ability to watch and/or record these broadcasts over the public airwaves. I’m not sure there’s ever been a good explanation offered by broadcasters for implementing DRM. It’s not like satellite or Cable TV, where people are partying for the service.

I did say past 20 years. The Betamax decision was a different time, a different world.

You buy a ATSC 3.0 nextgen certified TV set you can watch encrypted broadcasts. The FCC isn’t in the business of making it easy for STB’s and gateways to implement and sell their products.