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SiliconDust says manufacturing problems will delay ATSC 3.0-capable HDHomeRun

The development model of the ATSC 3.0-capable HDHomeRun Quattro. (Photo: SiliconDust / Graphic: The Desk)

A manufacturing defect with its next-generation television tuner hardware means SiliconDust will not ship its newest gadget to customers until August at the earliest.

In an update on the company’s KickStarter page for the HDHomeRun Quattro, SiliconDust executive Nick Kelsey said a glitch was found in the first batch of 1,000 test units of the device.

“Th problem is understood and we have sample units arriving next week for verification (and) sign-off,” Kelsey wrote.

The HDHomeRun is streaming hardware that allows TV viewers to watch over-the-air broadcast television on their phones, tablets, computers and smart TVs. The gadget captures free broadcast signals using an antenna plugged into the device, then converts the signal into one that can be distributed across a home network.

Currently, SiliconDust offers HDHomeRun devices that are capable of tuning into the digital ATSC 1.0 standard, which is used by all full-power and most low-power television stations in the United States and Canada. The company is rushing to be one of the first to offer new hardware capable of receiving signals encoded in the ATSC 3.0 standard, which promises to offer a higher picture resolution, more audio options and other features.

To do this, SiliconDust launched a Kickstarter campaign earlier this year to raise money for research, development and production of the HDHomeRun Quattro, a device capable of distributing four live broadcast signals simultaneously, including two ATSC 3.0 signals. As of Monday, around 2,700 people had pledged more than $600,000 to back the project, with around 1,112 backers pledging $200 to receive an HDHomeRun Quattro device in July.

The production defect means those backers won’t receive their HDHomeRun Quattro until August at the earliest, assuming SiliconDust doesn’t discover more problems with those units.

Even if the devices do ship to customers in August, their use might be limited: ATSC 3.0 transmissions are currently in a test phase in just a handful of markets, including Baltimore and Phoenix. A wider rollout of ATSC 3.0 is expected to take several more years to complete.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).