Those looking for a way to receive NextGenTV (ATSC 3.0) over-the-air broadcasts without having to buy a new TV are in luck. New set-top tuner boxes from a firm called “Zinwell” are on the way.

The Pearl TV Group, an ATSC 3.0-focused network-affiliated broadcast TV business association, revealed this week that Zinwell has completed an industry-sanctioned self-certification test suite and will soon enter the U.S. market “with affordable set-top products to help more viewers transition to NextGen TV service.”

NextGen TV certification means a product can carry a verification logo to help consumers confirm an item will receive all ATSC 3.0 channels and specified supporting broadcast features available in the U.S.

Importantly, NextGen TV logo certification assures that a tuner device will receive newly encrypted signals that some stations are now planning to transmit to protect against unauthorized re-distribution. Some early add-on tuner boxes advertised as supporting ATSC 3.0 channels may not be forward compatible with more recently implemented encryption schemes.

“The addition of Zinwell to the stable of manufacturers producing certified receivers is terrific news, bringing to six the total number of companies now producing NextGen TV receivers for the home. We’re excited that Zinwell’s first receiver will be in the market for the holiday season, the second such upgrade accessory receiver available for consumers. Thousands of television sets with NextGen TV electronics inside are now being sold each day and we anticipate a robust market for affordable upgrade accessory receivers for existing displays in viewers’ homes,” stated Anne Schelle, Pearl TV managing director. “The TV industry is eager to promote the advantages of NextGen TV – including enhanced audio and video – and the addition of another NextGen TV certified manufacturer will expand options for consumers.”

By the end of 2023, Pearl TV said it expects U.S. consumers will have purchased more than 10 million certified NextGen TV television sets. The group is anticipating “strong interest in upgrade accessory receivers that could bring the advantages of NextGen TV broadcasts to any television with an HDMI connection.”

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The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) initiated NextGen TV certification program was developed in concert with broadcasters to ensure that viewers are receiving and displaying the full capabilities of NextGen TV service from local stations. NextGen TV certification services and tools are provided by Resillion (formerly Eurofins Digital Testing) on behalf of the Consumer Technology Association and the National Association of Broadcasters, which joined forces in 2019 to launch the innovative logo program.

“We greatly appreciate the efforts made by Pearl TV, the Consumer Technology Association, the National Association of Broadcasters, and Resillion in promoting the NextGen TV standard nationwide.” said Paul Wu, Vice President of Sales and Marketing of Zinwell Corporation.
“I am proud of our team and our close collaboration with Pearl TV in obtaining NextGen TV certification. We have a robust internal research and development team dedicated to the development of ATSC 3.0 products.”

The company is planning “a diverse range” of ATSC 3.0 products targeting different market segments, including entry-level and high-end versions.

Wu said Zinwell products will be available in the market in the fourth quarter of this year.

In addition to ATSC 3.0 set-top boxes, Zinwell’s ZAT series will support remote education functionality and emergency alert systems, with applications for homes, schools, institutions, and public service environments.

The company has not yet announced model feature specifics or pricing.

Zinwell joins ADTH, which announced the first NextGen TV certified tuner box in May, in announcing plans to introduce and market “NextGen TV” certified ATSC 3.0 tuner boxes. ADTH is taking pre-orders now on its $95.39 (at the time of this post) box and has announced the first deliveries by the end of this month.

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By Greg Tarr

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