Zapper Box Multi Room DVR and Gateway

Introduction

We launched the ZapperBox M1 in July 2022, in August 2023 we started adding support for DVR, and in October 2023 for DRM. Now starting in June 2024, we will start rolling out multi-room DVR and gateway features.

Why is this important?

As long-time antenna users know, the antenna can never be located where your TV is. Multi-room DVR lets you locate your main ZapperBox where you have the best antenna signal and watch TV from another room. 

What is unique about the ZapperBox approach?

When we started designing ZapperBox we built in support for IP controls and distributed tuners. This means that multiple ZapperBox devices can see and use each other's storage and tuners over the home network.

Quad tuner?

Customers have been asking us for quad tuner devices. Using our distributed architecture, you can have as many tuners as you want and each tuner gives you an extra HDMI output to take advantage of 4K, HDR and Dolby Atmos. We do not transcode the video or audio when we transport content over the home network. This means that you see the original and highest quality video without any down resolution of video or Dolby audio to PCM stereo transcoding. You wanted quad tuners, now you can have single, dual, triple, quad, penta, hex, etc. As many tuners as you want.

DVR client box or smart TV app?

While smart TV apps are great, they have some disadvantages. Hardly any TVs support Dolby AC-4 today, which is one of the main advantages of using NEXTGEN TV. As a start we will launch a DVR client box that will not contain a tuner. However, it will contain a decoder that can support Dolby AC-4, 4K, HDR and DRM. It will also allow for storage via a microSD card and USB port. The storage will be used eventually to circumvent the disadvantage of transcoding -- poorer video quality. Using local buffering ZapperBox client boxes will play back video at their original broadcast quality without transcoding. While this feature will not be in the first software release, we have made provisions to add it with a future software update. The DVR client box will be smaller than a standard ZapperBox M1. Both units also support Bluetooth so that we can support Bluetooth remote controls in the future.

What about Live TV?

The first multi-room DVR release (v3.0) will not support live TV over IP. This feature will be added in a future release. Our long-time customers know that we have consistently delivered on all our promises since July 2022. Live TV over IP will be no different.

What about DRM?

All our software is based on A3SA compliance rules. We will add support to watch secure content (aka encrypted channels) over IP in a future release. Each DVR client box will be pre-provisioned for DRM so this feature will just be a software update.

What about away from home viewing?

This feature will also come eventually. We consider this the “cherry on top of the cake”. We’re working closely with the broadcast industry to make sure that eventually NEXTGEN TV gateways will be able to do everything that traditional ATSC 1.0 DVRs and gateways have done.

ATSC 1.0 or NEXTGEN TV?

ZapperBox devices support ATSC 1.0 and ATSC 3.0. The transition to NEXTGEN TV is picking up speed. Just this week about 56 broadband channels were added around the country between Sinclair and PBS. Our position is that DVR and gateway devices have a long life, and consumers will choose to protect their investment. With ZapperBox you can enjoy all the ATSC 1.0 content and be future proofed as the industry transitions to NEXTGEN TV and finally sunsets ATSC 1.0.

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