10.27.2009 03:00 PM
California’s Cool Car Regs Could Block Mobile DTV Signals
FaradayCageSACRAMENTO, CALIF.: A new law passed in California over the summer could make in-car DTV reception more difficult. The California Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Resources Board adopted a “Cool Cars Regulation” in June requiring that all new vehicles starting with 2012 models have reflective windows.

“These windows would limit the amount of solar radiation entering the vehicle, allowing the air-conditioning units to be downsized or used less frequently,” the ARB’s information site states. “Less air-conditioning use or smaller air-conditioning units translates into less fuel burned and lower greenhouse gas emissions emitted by the vehicle.”

The first phase of the law running through 2015 would require just the windshield to be reflective. Beginning with 2016 models, the ARB said, “a performance-based standard will be in place, whereby a manufacturer may choose a variety of technologies--including the type of glass--so long as a performance standard is met.”

The agency estimates that the fully implemented law will prevent more than 1 million metric tons of CO2 from being pumped into the air. The agency acknowledged concerns from manufacturers of radio frequency devices such as cell phones and global-positioning systems. The agency said it conducted “a small test plan” on the devices, with final results to be published “in the near future” at www.arb. ca.gov/cc/cool-cars/cool-cars.htm (the site is not yet live).

Reflective glass is typically metalized, which would make a fully equipped automobile a virtual Faraday cage, notes Robert Gonsett of the CGC Communicator, who first reported the regulation.

Initial findings from the ARB are that cell phones will work, at least through 2015, though it’s illegal to use a hand-held cell phone while driving in California. The concern is that one will work in an emergency if windows can’t be opened. Aftermarket GPS devices will require “deletion windows,” i.e., areas on the glass with no refletive coating.

“ARB tests showed that placing the GPS device or the external antenna within the deletion window allows the device to operate as effectively as in a car with no reflective glass,” the agency said.

Oddly, in-car radios were not mentioned by the ABS, nor was consideration given for other types of signal delivery such as wireless broadband. Mobile DTV wasn’t considered, but it’s relatively new and no devices are in the market yet. Cars with on-board satellite TV reception typically have external receivers, such as the one offered by AT&T for CruiseCast.
-- Deborah D. McAdams

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Posted by: Deborah McAdams
Wed, 10-28-2009 04:07 PM Report Comment
Mobile TV is always going to need an external antenna on the body of most vehicles anyway.
Posted by: Deborah McAdams
Tue, 10-27-2009 05:11 PM Report Comment
It's not illegal to use a cell phone while driving in California.
Posted by: Deborah McAdams
Wed, 10-28-2009 10:40 AM Report Comment
Using a cellphone while driving should be illegal. How many dead people will we tolerate until this happens? And I am scared to death of the onslaught of mobile TV devices in the cabs of trucks, taxis and SUVs. Is anyone else thinking "gee, maybe mobile TV isn't such a good idea?" I am.
Posted by: Deborah McAdams
Wed, 10-28-2009 11:24 AM Report Comment
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed legislation that prohibits the use of handheld mobile phones while driving in the state. Effective July 1, 2008, the legislation prohibits drivers from using a wireless telephone while operating a motor vehicle unless the driver uses a hands-free device. Drivers who violate the law will face a base fine of $20 for a first offense and $50 for each subsequent offense. The law allows drivers to use a wireless telephone for emergency purposes, drivers of commercial vehicles to use push-to-talk phones until July 1, 2011, and allow drivers of emergency response vehicles to use a cell phone without a hands-free device. California joins Connecticut, the District of Columbia, New Jersey, New York, and some local jurisdictions in prohibiting the use of handheld mobile phones while driving.

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