RF Shorts - June 3, 2010
June 3, 2010
In the article Mobile TV's Last Frontier: U.S. and Europe, New York Times author Kevin J. O'Brien describes how people use mobile TV in other countries around the world and notes "Free, on-the-go viewing is common just about everywhere except the United States and Europe, where operator resistance and a maze of conflicting technical standards and program licensing hurdles have kept the technology out of the global mainstream." He adds, "In the United States and Europe, where operators tend to control what technology goes into handsets, a major hurdle to free-to-air broadcasting is, ironically, that it is free. That offers no incentive to operators focused on raising revenue per customer." The article offers comments from manufacturers and broadcasters indicating these issues will be resolved.
Sezmi, the over-the-air and Internet-based alternative to cable, gets reviewed by Jon Healey in the L.A. Times technology section article How Sezmi stacks up. Healey looks at the content available, how Sezmi's DVR function works, and the overall Sezmi experience and comes to the conclusion "Sezmi isn't there yet, but it's off to a good start."
Cell phones are now getting blamed for the drop in the bee population. In the CNET News "Technically Incorrect" article "Are cell phones killing off bees?", Chris Matyszczyk wrote about Punjab University researchers, noting that "...three months of observation led them to conclude that the hive with the real cell phones experienced a significant reduction in its population. The queen bee laid fewer than half the number of eggs that the one in the fake cell phone hive did, and neither honey nor pollen was anywhere to be found." "They suggest that all of our chattering radiation may well be messing with the bees' ability to navigate their way back home." The study used GSM-based cell phones at 900 MHz operating 15 minutes twice a day during peak bee activity.
Montana State University (MSU) researchers developed a new antenna they say will improve communications with emergency workers in rural and mountainous areas. The frequency range of the antenna was not specified, but appears to be in the UHF range as it is only three inches in diameter and a foot long. The unique property of the antenna is that it is able to do adaptive beam forming over 360 degrees rather than the 120 degree limit of most existing adaptive antennas. According to the MSU press release, "The MSU antenna can lock onto one signal and tune out unwanted signals, giving users a stronger, clearer, more reliable signal than they'd have otherwise. The MSU antenna can track and hold a signal even when the sender or receiver is moving. It is also capable of high bandwidth transmissions such as sending live video. Users might want to optimize communications by integrating the antenna with other antennas to form a 'meshed' network in a back-country environment for emergency response or military operations."