Free 4K from an antenna? These 2021 TVs from Samsung, Sony, and LG can get it

LG

NextGen TV, also known as ATSC 3.0, is launched in the United States. Already available in dozens of citiesit keeps the promise of 4K resolution, HDR, and more. The best part is that it is available over the air for free with a standard antenna. The catch? You’ll need a new TV or external tuner box to watch it.

While virtually every available TV can receive existing antenna broadcasts, only a handful of new TVs for 2020 and 2021 have built-in NextGen TV tuners. They are available now or shortly from LG, Samsung and Sony. Meanwhile, a few other companies are selling external tuner boxes, which are obviously a lot cheaper than a brand new TV. Here’s what you need to know.

TV

If you’re already in the market for a new TV, the easiest way to buy NextGen TV is to buy one with a built-in tuner. Here you can find everyone we know so far.

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LG

LG

2020:

  • ZX: 77- and 88-inch 8K OLED TVs
  • WX: 65-inch 4K OLED TV with “wallpaper” style.
  • GX: 55, 65 and 77-inch 4K OLED TVs with an ultra-thin profile.

2021:

  • Z1: 77- and 88-inch 8K OLED TVs
  • G1: 55, 65 and 77 inch 4K OLED TVs with Neo OLED panels

Samsung

Samsung

2020:

  • Q950TS: An 8K flagship without bezel in 65, 75 and 85 inches.
  • Q900: Step-down 8K model without this fancy styling.
  • Q800: 8K entry-level model.

2021:

  • QN900A: 8K Neo QLED in 65, 75 and 85 inches.
  • QN800A: 8K Neo QLED in 65, 75 and 85 inches.
  • QN90A: 4K Neo QLED in 55, 65, 75 and 85 inches.

Sony

Sony

2020:

  • X900H: 55-, 65-, 75- and 85-inch 4K LCD

2021:

So far, none of the televisions announced by other US TV manufacturers, including Vizio, TCL, and Hisense, have NextGen tuners.

Tuners and set-top boxes

If you don’t want to buy a new TV but still want to find out what’s on the NextGen channels in your area, you can buy an external tuner. Right now, in these very early days, there are two options.

BitRouter’s Zapperbox M1, a company that has been around since the early days of ATSC 1.0, is a traditional tuner with an HDMI output that plugs directly into your TV. Pre-order now for $ 249. Shipping is to begin in spring. They also plan to add the ability to connect to network attached storage devices for DVR functionality through a future firmware update. It also plans to stream to devices on your network such as phones and tablets.

Zapper box

The HDHomeRun Connect 4K, which is available now for $ 200, is a little different. There is no HDMI output. Instead, it connects to your home network and then anything on the network (including most TVs) can watch the content. If the HDHomeRun app is running for Android and iOS, you can watch NextGen TV content through Connect 4K.

Cable cutting and the 4K future

A lot of the NextGen TV features aren’t implemented yet, but it’s still pretty early on. In terms of the timeline, we are in the late 1990s if we use the HDTV rollout in comparison. Those early days of HDTV broadcasting were rocky at best and not seen by many people.

Similar to the early days of HDTV broadcast, there isn’t much content even at maximum resolution. Those early HDTV days had very little actual HD. The same is true now. There’s still not much 4K to watch. That is sure to change, especially as there is a lot more 4K content in general today than HD in those early days.

So if you are in one of the Dozens of cities with NextGen TV Now or the near future and you’re in the market for a new television. The above models should help you figure out what NextGen TV is all about.

Or at least what those early stages are about.

As well as reporting on TV and other display technologies, Geoff also takes photo tours of cool museums and locations around the world, including Nuclear submarines, massive aircraft carriers, medieval castles, Aircraft graveyards and more.

You can follow his exploits on Instagram and YouTube, as well as on his travel blog, BaldNomad. He also wrote a bestselling science fiction novel about city-size submarines, as well as a sequel.

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