Frequently Asked Questions
We get new questions about ZapperBox all the time, and we will post our answers here as we have them. If you have a question about ZapperBox, please write to us here.
Yes, we ship within 48 hours. You can see videos from our test markets on our YouTube channel at this link.
Yes. The ZapperBox M1 has one USB 3.0 port, one USB 2.0 port and one SD-Micro slot. The micro-SD slot can accept a memory card up to 256GB. You can see a 360-degree view of the ZapperBox at this link. Scroll down to the second panel.
Full DVR is coming soon. Please see our “Release Notes” page for the release date. DVR will work with the USB 3.0 drives or the micro-SD card. Both are not needed.
Currently, the ZapperBox does not support streaming to remote devices. We plan to add this functionality and enable it via software update once it has been developed.
You do not need to buy a new TV. However, regular HD TVs typically support a resolution of 1920x1080. A 4K TV supports a resolution that is 4 times higher or 3840x2160. 4K TVs are also referred to as UHD, or Ultra High Definition TVs. A new feature called HDR (High Dynamic Range) for rich colors is supported in most new 4K TVs. Technically, it is possible for regular HD TVs to also support HDR, but that is unlikely.ATSC 3.0 has three main advantages: 4K, HDR and Dolby® AC-4. If you have an HDR capable TV you can enjoy HDR colors. If your TV does not support HDR, you can still enjoy Dolby® AC-4 features. The ZapperBox M1 will support HDR10 and HLG formats for HDR. It will not support Dolby Vision or SL-HDR.
The main reason for connecting the ZapperBox M1 to the Internet is to allow for software updates. It can also be used to watch YouTube content.
If the box is not connected to the Internet, it will still work but will not be able to download software updates. ATSC 3.0 specifications will continue to evolve for several years and it is highly recommended to keep the box connected to the Internet.
At this time, we do not recommend buying the ZapperBox if you do not have Internet access.
Look out for some really interesting features that will be added via software updates.
The dual-tuner version of ZapperBox has the following advantages:
1. While one tuner is being used to watch TV, the other tuner is used in the background to keep updating guide data being received over the air on other frequencies. This way, whenever you press the guide button, you see the most current guide data.
2. Once we update the box with DVR capabilities the second tuner can be used to record a program that is not currently being watched.
3. A dual tuner box can record two programs simultaneously while a third pre-recorded program is being watched. A single-tuner device can record one program at a time while another pre-recorded program is being watched.
Quad tuner hardware is ready, but we are delaying its release because it needs to be tested with content security and DVR. Both features increase CPU and data throughput requirements. We want to make sure that the product we release will continue to work after content security is implemented by broadcasters. We plan to start this testing after DVR and content security implementations are shipping. Please see the “Release Notes” page for DVR release dates.
DVR, including 14-day guide data, will be priced at $30/year for up to two units at the same address. Extended guide data will require an Internet connection.
Devices under the same account, same physical address and same IP address will be considered to be at the same address. Subscription fees for additional devices beyond two units will be priced at $15/year.
Some broadcasters have started to use content security with ATSC 3.0 broadcasts, as specified by ATSC. Content security is also referred to as DRM or encryption or copy protection. Our goal is to allow all M1 units to be upgradeable to support broadcasts with secure content. At this time, we believe that we will be able to upgrade all shipped units either via software update or by offering swap-out replacement units. A round-trip shipping charge will apply in case we have to do swap-out replacements. As of early April 2023, ZapperBox devices are successfully decoding live signals with content security in our Tampa lab. We are now working to complete this implementation and the associated certification process.
We had offered 3 years of free DVR subscription, valued at $60, to customers who purchased or ordered their devices before July 5, 2022. This credit will appear in your 'My Account' soon. The three year period will start when we make DVR software available via auto update, not when you actually start using it. The $60 original value of the 3-year DVR subscription may not be used for any other subscriptions we may offer in the future.
When you press the red power button on the remote control, the ZapperBox does not really turn off. It goes into standby (red light). During this time the HDMI output is turned off but all other internal functions keep working. In standby mode, a single-tuner box does channel scans to update guide data. A dual-tuner box is continuously using the second tuner to do channel scans whether it is on or in standby. Therefore, it is more important to put a single tuner box in standby and not so much a dual-tuner box. Putting a box in standby does not save any power.
The ZapperBox remote control uses NEC IR wave forms. Here are the hex codes for each key:
Live TV: 5D
All ATSC 3.0 broadcasts in the US carry Dolby AC-4 audio. The ZapperBox M1 can:
1. Transcode AC-4 to Dolby Digital Plus or MAT when connected to newer AV receivers and Dolby Digital when connected to legacy AV receivers.
2. Decode any Dolby encoding to PCM stereo in Downmix Mode and send it over HDMI.
3. Passthrough AC-4 audio over HDMI if the connected device is capable of decoding AC-4 audio.
Please see this one-minute video on our YouTube channel for a quick review of how to program the LEARNING KEYS.
No. At this time we do not recommend using the ZapperBox without an Internet connection. Also see FAQ #5.
Yes. ATSC 1.0 will be around for a while and we have paid a lot of attention to supporting it as well as ATSC 3.0. All tuners used in ZapperBox support ATSC 1.0 and ATSC 3.0.
In order to find out if your address can get NextGen TV signals go to https://www.antennaweb.org/. Enter your address in the search box and select the correct answer to the check box (Antenna will be installed 30' or more above ground level). When you get the result listing, there is a check box that let’s you pick only NextGen TV stations. Check this. See if any NextGen TV stations show up and how far they are from you.
We plan to offer two programs to involve the developer community. More details will follow when we are ready.
1) We’ll open our box as a developer platform for A/344 app development after we release A/344 support.
2) We plan to add IP controls to our box and will open up the SDK to developers for smart home integration.
Most hard disk drives work with ZapperBox but require an external powered USB hub. Flash drives and solid-state drives do not require external power. The USB ports on the ZapperBox do not supply enough power for hard disk drives. So far, all external disk drives that we have tested work fine with the ZapperBox for the pause/play buffer. We have not yet concluded testing disk drives for adequate throughput for recording two streams while playing one back. We have tested a few different USB powered hubs for supporting disk drives and they all work fine. Here is one that is Amazon’s Choice and works fine.
We use the following three websites to see what channels are available at a given address. These are ranked by ease of use. The more complex websites provide more technical info but add complexity.