How To Know If Your TV Is NextGen TV Compatible

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Have you heard of NextGen TV? You might have brushed across this marketable byword to describe new over-the-air broadcast capabilities made possible with the advent of ATSC 3.0.

One of NextGen TV's most exciting advantages is support for 4K resolution up to 120Hz, though few stations are equipped for broadcasting such content. It also has enough bandwidth to beam HDR content across airwaves, offering richer colors, deeper contrast, and improved brightness on compatible TVs.

In addition to these visual improvements, NextGen TV brings advanced sound capabilities, such as 3D audio formats like Dolby Atmos. These spatial audio formats use positional data coded into the soundtrack that immerses you in the action.

This sounds overkill for an industry seemingly allergic to advancing beyond 1080p and stereo audio. But despite the rise of digital TV and streaming services, your local television stations will eventually feel compelled to advance with the times (we hope).

Besides, this overhaul delivers improvements that transcend pure fidelity. NextGen TV supports enhanced accessibility features, such as customizable captions and improved voice guidance for the visually impaired. Personal viewer guides allow you to ditch the TV Guide channel for good. And with network access, the specification also handles on-demand video and targeted advertisements, plus location-specific emergency alerts.

Even if most TV stations aren't taking advantage of these features yet, you're probably interested in future-proofing with your next TV purchase. Here, we'll show you how to tell whether your television is NextGen-compatible and what you can do if it isn't.

How to check for NextGen TV compatibility

Want to know whether your TV is NextGen-compatible? Most still ship with the older ATSC 1.0 tuners, especially if they were released before 2020. Thankfully, the earliest manufacturers building ATSC 3.0 tuners into their TVs — Sony, LG, Samsung, and HiSense — proudly mark their packaging to make it obvious. Look for the logo you see above on your TV's box. The CTA also lists compatible TVs on the NextGen TV website.

What if you don't have the box, such as when shopping floor models or buying second-hand on local marketplaces like Facebook? In this case, consult the TV's manual or check the model number on the manufacturer's website. Either should list information about the type of tuner your TV has.

If your TV has a built-in ATSC 3.0 tuner, you're good to go — just follow the instructions in your manual to set up local channels. If your TV doesn't have it and you aren't interested in buying a new one, you can purchase an external ATSC 3.0 tuner. 

SiliconDust's HDHomeRun Flex 4K ($200 at Amazon) is one of the most popular NextGen TV tuners available, and it's the cheapest you'll find. These are substantially costlier than the older digital tuners, but it beats buying a new TV.