ATSC 3.0 Charts Are Back!

Though we’ve still only got the one RF-6  KBKF “frankenstation” in the (south) Bay Area, the 3.0 charts are back!

We’ve switched from a (pricey) Airwavz RZR-1200 to a (less pricey) HDHomerun Connect 4K Developer Edition.  The HDHomerun’s Sony demodulator is generally superior to the older LG demod in the RZR-1200 (the newer RZR-1400 also uses the Sony demod). That, and some antenna tweaking, seems to allow us to get a decent 3.0 signal.

We’re still working out some issues with software support for the HDHomerun. It has an annoying tendency to go offline from time to time. So don’t be surprised if the charts flatline occasionally. KBKF itself also seems to have some issues where it occasionally transmits only the bootstrap, or service-level signalling but no actual audiovisual streams. In these cases the tuner charts will continue to show some life but the bitrates and packets/s will drop to zero.

Speaking of packets/s, one of the “features” of the Sony demod is that it processes the baseband packets internally and emits ALP packets. So the “baseband” packet counts are ALP packet counts as they come out of the demod (previously with the RZR-1200 we were getting baseband packets). This also has an effect on the reported PLP and channel bitrates, since baseband packets can contain stuffing which are not represented in the ALP stream.

It seems it’ll be quite a wait for any additional 3.0 services to arrive in the Bay Area, but those of you in the Sacramento / Central Valley can enjoy the major networks in 3.0 and anyone out there in Fresno with a 3.0-capable receiver can watch NASA footage in glorious UHD (yes, real 4k!)