A couple months ago we were thrilled to assemble an Entangle platform that actually looked and felt more like a set-top box. The Entangle EX-α is a Raspberry Pi 4 mated to an HDHomerun Flex 4k. Unfortunately stock FFmpeg doesn’t enable hardware-accelerated HEVC decode, which is needed to watch ATSC 3.0 broadcasts. And while patches have been done in distros such as LibreELEC, we don’t have the time at the moment to integrate those into the Entangle code base.
So…we’ve gone back to X86 to build the Entangle EX-β.
For many years one of our favorite antennas, and our go-to antenna for on-the-road OTA, was the venerable Silver Sensor. It’s on the compact side and has an interesting reception pattern – it’s somewhat directional and rejects signals from the back, but has a rather wide reception from the front. We had one since the early 2000s and for a time it was even mast-mounted outdoors, serving as a household main antenna for a DIRECTV TiVo HR10-250 beta unit. More recently its been on trips throughout California, Nevada and Arizona to tangle with ATSC 3.0 emissions.
Project Entangle – our platform for exploring ways of obtaining and consuming media – was developed on PCs and up until now Entangle platforms have largely been laptops or NUCs. They make great development environments and have a plethora of tools often missing from embedded platforms. But even “thin and light” laptops are big and power-hungry compared to most set-top boxes, and, we’ve always kept an eye out for ways we might piece together a more compact version. And we finally took our first step in that direction with a Raspberry Pi 4 and HDHomerun Flex 4k packaged in a DeskPi Pro chassis.
As broadcasters have started turning on DRM for their services, viewers using HDHomeruns and other devices have started to lose access to those services. Here in the SF Bay Area, CBS, NBC, and Univision stations have encrypted their services while ABC, FOX, and the independent KRON remain in the clear. On a recent trip to Honolulu we also noted a number services have flipped the protection switch since our previous trip in February. As a result we have switched back to the ATSC 1.0 versions of these services, where we an record, watch, trick play, and stream throughout and outside the home via Project Entangle. (We are pleased that to date ABC has resisted the urge to protect their 3.0 service and enjoy ABC Nightly News via KGO’s 3.0 service.)
In response to the frustrations of losing access to protected 3.0 services, Lon Seidman started a change.org petition urging the FCC to take action and prevent broadcasters from encrypting their services. Readers of this blog know that we do not view protection of 3.0 services favorably – in particular services which are comparable to existing free and in-the-clear ATSC 1.0 services (which is at present basically all 3.0 services). There is a place for DRM in ATSC 3.0, and Evoca’s service was a great example.
If you haven’t signed the change.org petition, we urge you to do so. It can be found at:
Lon Seidman also filed a complaint with the FCC. In their reply the FCC provided a way for consumers to share their experiences and how they are harmed by ATSC 3.0 DRM. We encourage you to submit a comment via
Not to be outdone by their neighbors to the south, North Korea has taken its first steps in rolling out the next-generation television standard KTSC 3.0. Based on ATSC 3.0, KTSC 3.0 modifies the standard, for example by replacing COFDM with TEADM, so that compliant televisions are unable to receive the ATSC 3.0 broadcasts from South Korea.
A key feature of the new standard is its incorporation of a DRM scheme permitting broadcasters more control over how viewers consume their programming. Viewers are not allowed to pause or fast-forward through commercials or state-sponsored segments, for example, although they are allowed to rewind and watch them again.
A more controversial aspect of the DRM scheme requires viewers to wear a bracelet monitoring their proximity to the television. Televisions will only display programming while a viewer is within five meters of the set. Straying from those bounds during a commercial (or certain “Must Watch” programming) results in the administration of progressively stronger electrical shocks. Continue reading “North Korea Rolls Out Next-Generation Television to Captive Audience”