At the start of this year, Table announced its first ATSC 3.0 over-the-air DVR with the expectation to release it in the Spring. According to Cord Cutters News, Tablo is now informing customers that preordered the upcoming 4K DVR to say that shipments will be delayed “several months” due to new digital rights management (DRM) requirements that may hit broadcast signals as early as this summer.
While ATSC 3.0 broadcasts are already available in several regions across the U.S., aspects of the new format that promises to bring free 4K video to TV tuners are still being worked out, such as DRMs role in the new format. When Tablo announced its first ATSC 3.0 product, the implementation of DRM in ATSC 3.0 broadcasts seemed like a distant concern, but the company now says there may be DRM encrypted broadcasts coming as soon as this summer. As such, Tablo has made the right decision, in my opinion, to delay the release of its new DVR in order to add, certify, and test compatibility with ATSC 3.0 DRM broadcasts.
Tablo says the manufacturing of its new ATSC 3.0 DVR will be delayed “several months” because DRM decryption keys must be installed at the factory. Due to how DRM is implemented, Tablo cannot simply manufacture the DVR now and add the necessary keys after the fact, and they certainly can’t ship the devices without DRM support and add it later through a software update. Tablo hasn’t given a new time frame for the release of its ATSC 3.0 DVR. See Tablo’s full email to customers below.
When we announced the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD OTA DVR in January of this year, we felt confident that our stated spring 2022 delivery date was achievable.
However, since that time, broadcast station ownership groups have indicated their intent to encrypt ATSC 3.0 signals using Digital Rights Management (DRM) beginning as early as this summer.
To ensure that the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD OTA DVR can display and record ATSC 3.0 content, even when broadcast signals are encrypted, we need to complete the development and certification of DRM software for the device.
DRM decryption keys MUST be installed on the Tablo during manufacturing and cannot be added via later firmware updates.
Because of this, we anticipate a manufacturing delay of several months while we confirm the certification requirements, add DRM capabilities to the product, and obtain certification from the ATSC 3.0 Security Authority (A3SA).
Once this feature is complete, we can begin beta testing and then re-schedule the first production run of DVRs.
At that point, we’ll reach out to you again with a more specific ETA for delivery.
We regret having to make you wait longer for the Tablo QUAD ATSC 3.0, but this delay will result in a more future-proof and capable product overall.
Thank you for your ongoing support as we work to bring this next-generation Tablo product to market.