The future of TV is up in the air

An illustration of a broadcast tower sending out signals to a variety of colorful TVs showing different images (a fish, a carrot, a soccer player, a baseball)
Illustration by Hugo Herrera / The Verge

Antenna television is back. In recent years, millions of cord-cutters have rediscovered antennas as a reliable way to watch broadcast networks like ABC, NBC, and FOX, all for free — and now, broadcasters are eager to get the rest of us hooked. They’ve been marching ahead with the deployment of ATSC 3.0, a next-generation broadcast format that supports 4K, HDR, Dolby Atmos audio, and even interactive apps over the air, no cable or streaming subscription required.

A little over a year ago, one of the country’s biggest broadcasters made an unexpected acquisition to help bolster the transition: The E.W. Scripps Company, which operates dozens of ABC, NBC and Fox stations as well as a handful of nationwide broadcast networks, quietly bought…

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