Originally Posted by KidHorn
You're comparing apples to oranges. Switching from analog to digital required new tuners because the old analog tuners couldn't process a digitial signal. But in this case all that's happening is the mpeg is in a higher resolution.
You may not be aware of this, but all digital TVs convert all resolutions of mpeg to their native format before displaying. If you have a TV with a 1080p native resolution, you can play a 720p or 480i broadcast just fine. The TV always converts it to 1080p. You don't have to buy a new TV to watch ABC in 720p. Do you think all those people who had a 768 TV couldn't watch a 1080i broadcast?
However current digital tuners based on 8VSB (and DVB-T in DVB regions) introduced for first generation digital standards are already using effectively obsolete and outmoded modulation (and in some cases receivers are also using similarly obsolete and outmoded MPEG2 compression schemes) These will not be used for 4k or 8k broadcasts - so similar issues as were encountered with the NTSC/ATSC (and PAL/DVB-T) switch are likely.
4k or 8k broadcasts are likely to use much more modern compression - a version of HEVC seems likely (HEVC is the replacement for AVC - aka MPEG4 pt 10 aka H264 - which itself replaced MPEG2) In terms of RF modulation - a form of MIMO and dual polarisation technique looks like likely - coupled with COFDM techniques using >256QAM constellations. (MIMO with dual polarisation will require new rooftop aerials)
HEVC isn't backwards compatible with AVC (aka MPEG4 pt10 aka H264) any more than AVC is backwards compatible with MPEG2. An MPEG2 decoder can't decode AVC, and an AVC decoder can't decode HEVC.
In the UK we went from PAL-I analogue broadcasts to DVB-T (2k 16QAM and 64QAM) using MPEG2 for SD 16:9 broadcasts from 1998-present day. However already we've switched one DVB-T SD mux to DVB-T2 (32k 256QAM) using H264 for 1080i broadcasts, and that required viewers who want HD to replace their existing DVB-T2 SD receivers with DVB-T2 HD receivers. (Sweden has also made the same change, as is - or will - Denmark and a few other European countries.)
Switching from one digital transmission system, to a newer one, is already happening, and without huge fuss.
However in some parts of Europe this is nothing new - as there have been multiple changes to analogue transmission systems in many countries (between VHF and UHF, between line standards - the UK started with 405, France had 819 etc. Lots of Eastern Europe used SECAM for colour but switched to PAL after the fall of the iron curtain etc.) So we're possibly more used to a more fluid standard than the US where NTSC was pretty much the same (apart from compatible colour and audio changes being introduced) from launch to switch-off?