Set-top-box manufacturer ZapperBox used CEDIA Expo 2023 in Denver this week to have the latest version of its ZapperBox M1 NextGenTV DVR make its debut, enabling a wide range of TVs to tune in new ATSC 3.0 over-the-air broadcasts, including those newly encrypted with digital rights management (DRM) security.

The new ZapperBox M1 also brings a host of advanced features, including Dolby Atmos 3D surround-sound support, and 4K resolution with high dynamic range (HDR) decode capabilities.

The company said the latest version of the set-top solution is scheduled to ship to retail on Sept. 18, 2023.

“By offering seamless support for NEXTGEN TV content security, including DRM-encrypted channels, ZapperBox demonstrates its unwavering commitment to staying at the forefront of technology innovation,” the company announced.

ZapperBox is billing itself as “the only commercially available DVR, compatible with both ATSC 3.0 and ATSC 1.0 standards,” while also holding certification for Dolby AC-4 audio.

Importantly, because the ZapperBox M1 is NextGen TV certified and carries the validating trademark, it will be among the first out-board TV tuner accessories capable of decrypting DRM security, which more and more over-the-air broadcasters are now adopting in order to prevent their copyrighted content from being redistributed over the internet.

The company has been selling an earlier version of the ZapperBox M1 that lacked the on-board DRM, encryption, but at CES 2023, the ZapperBox executives announced the company was making good on updating or swapping out non-supporting devices to comply with the DRM requirements of NextGen TV logo certification as more and more stations begin to encrypt their signals.

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Among other features supported by the ZapperBox M1 is 4K video capability, meaning that if and when broadcasters opt to transmit 4K Ultra HD signals, the device will be able to receive and decode them for play back on supporting 4K TVs. Non 4K TVs will also be able to down scale those signals for display at their maximum capabilities.

Inclusion of Dolby Atmos support, means the ZapperBox M1 will be able to receive and Dolby Atmos audio signals, where available in broadcasts, enabling home theater audio solutions to present a wider sound stage and 360-degree 3D surround sound experiences with supporting home theater set-ups.

ZapperBox said the M1 was designed with forward-compatible software flexibility, meaning that as broadcasters elect to add features and capabilities to their ATSC 3.0 broadcasts, the ZapperBox M1 will be able to accommodate the changes with updates.

Gopal Miglani, founder of ZapperBox, stated, “Since the inception of ZapperBox in 2017, our vision has been to reshape entertainment experiences through innovation. The ZapperBox M1, which we started shipping in July 2022, exemplifies our dedication to pioneering technology. Our commitment to consistent software upgrades ensures that our customers will enjoy the latest advancements in the years ahead.”

To further support NextGen TV OTA signal reception, ZapperBox also will make available “the ZapperBox A1 NextGen TV antenna” made by Televes. This will enable reception in certain markets, depending on variables including distance from transmission towers and line-of-sight obstacles that can impose reception limitations under certain conditions.

In addition to the M1, Miglani announced the launch of the “ZapperBox M1 Pro”. This device is specifically designed for the AV Pro market with the addition of IP controls for the seamless integration with many of the leading home automation control systems including Savant, Crestron, Control4, Elan, and others.

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By Greg Tarr

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