Hisense debuts new TV models with NextGen broadcast tuner

The Hisense U8H model is one of the first from the Chinese electronics maker to include an ATSC 3 "NextGen TV" tuner.
The Hisense U8H model is one of the first from the Chinese electronics maker to include an ATSC 3 “NextGen TV” tuner. (Photo courtesy Hisense, Graphic by The Desk)

Chinese electronics maker Hisense released its newest line of television sets this week that are capable of receiving a new generation of high-definition broadcast signals.

The models include tuners that are capable of decoding signals transmitted through the new ATSC 3 standard, which is commonly marketed to consumers as “NextGen TV.”

Hisense debuted the newer-model television sets at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year. The models that are capable of receiving ATSC 3 signals include its UH7 and UH8 line of smart television sets. Both TV models are powered by Google TV, a newer version of Google’s Android TV.

The UH8 models are on the higher-end of Hisense’s line of smart TV sets and include mini-LED screens, which use hundreds or thousands of small LED lights to illuminate the screen, providing brilliant contrast and color quality. They come in a wide variety of sizes and prices:

Hisense is also selling the lower-end U7H, which has the same screen but a slightly weaker internal speaker setup. While the higher-priced U8H models come with an included 70-watt sound system, the lower-end U7H have 10-watt internal speakers. The U7H models are likely a more-attractive option for TV viewers who have their own external audio setup like a soundbar or a full-on surround sound system. The U7H comes in a variety of sizes, including:

By including an ATSC 3-capable tuner in its newer models, Hisense joins a growing list of manufacturers that are supporting the next-generation broadcast standard. Sony, LG and Samsung are also currently selling models that include ATSC 3 tuners or have committed to doing so in the near future.

The ATSC 3 standard was developed by a consortium of broadcasters and technology companies. Leading the pact is Sinclair Broadcast Group, which has developed a number of technology standards that have been incorporated into ATSC 3. Sinclair announced earlier this year that its Broadcast App which fuses traditional TV signals with datacasting services would be made open source so competing television station companies could tap into its potential.

ATSC 3 has several advantages over the current default digital broadcast standard, ATSC 1, including the ability to offer ultra-high definition (UHD/4K) video, surround sound and more digital channels using existing broadcast spectrum. Proponents of ATSC 3 say it could help broadcasters deliver more-narrowly tailored advertising to viewers as well as other datacast services like educational programming and emergency alert messages.

Many of the key components of ATSC 3 require a tuner or TV set to be connected to the Internet. Most data services that are powered by the Broadcast App, for instance, won’t work if a user doesn’t have an active Internet connection to their TV. Other benefits, like the ability to offer UHD video, aren’t actively being used by broadcasters who are transmitting an ATSC 3 signal.