Where Has My 4.x Gone?

[Update 3/27 The migration of the 4.x channels to their new homes has occurred as of ~4:00 PM. Note that they are still broadcast on RF 7 as well (and likely to be there until the 3.0 cutover on the 29th).]

On March 29 RF 7 (KRON) will convert to an ATSC 3.0 lighthouse. ATSC 3.0 lighthouses allow partnering broadcasters in an area to continue to offer their programming via ATSC 1.0 while also rolling out an ATSC 3.0 version of their broadcast. One of the participating broadcasters allows their RF spectrum to be used for ATSC 3.0, which carries not only their main channel, but also the main channels of their partnering broadcasters (and occasionally some subchannels). In return the partnering broadcasters use their ATSC 1.0 broadcasts to carry the main (and select subchannels) that were previously on the lighthouse’s RF channel.

In the Bay Area KRON, KPIX, KGO, KTVU, KDTV, and KNTV are partnering to launch ATSC 3.0, with KRON (RF 7) as the lighthouse. The 4.x channels will be dispersed among the partner broadcasts.

Starting March 29 those of you without an ATSC 3.0 set (which is probably just about all of you!), can find RF 7’s current programming at:

  • 4-1 (KRON) will be carried by KTVU on RF 26 and RF 31.
  • 4-2 (Antenna TV) will be carried by KNTV on RF 13
  • 4-3 (Rewind) will be carried by KBCW on RF 28
  • 4-4 (Charge!) is currently carried by KBCW on RF 28
  • 4-5 (Shop TV) will be carried by KGO on RF 12

A rescan of the available channels will be required once the shuffling is done. Those of you using EPG (e.g. TiVo) won’t need to rescan but will need to wait until your EPG provider updates its channel list.

RF 7 itself will carry the following programming in ATSC 3.0. The ATSC 1.0 versions of these broadcasts can be found at their usual locations (with the exception of 4-1 KRON, of course, which will be channel-sharing with 2-1 KTVU on  RF 26 & RF 31).

  • 2-1 KTVU
  • 4-1 KRON
  • 5-1 KPIX
  • 7-1 KGO
  • 11-1 KNTV
  • 14-1 KDTV

ATSC 3.0 is a fundamentally different beast than ATSC 1.0. About the only thing they have in common is that they use the same 6 MHz VHF/UHF bands. They differ in modulation scheme (COFDM vs 8VSB), framing/packetization (ATSC 3 framing/baseband vs ATSC 1 framing/MPEG2-TS), signaling (SLS/LLS vs PSIP), and codecs (H.265/AC-4 vs MPEG-2/AC-3), and service delivery (MMTP or DASH vs MPEG2-TS). So you’ll need an ATSC 3.0 (aka “NextGen TV”) capable TV or set-top box to receive ATSC 3.0 programing.