Supporters of the National Broadband Plan's recommendation to take 120 MHz of UHF TV spectrum and allocate it for wireless broadband point to a declining audience for over-the-air TV. In 2011, however, I noticed an increasing number of articles on the Web about dropping cable TV and moving to over-the-air TV and Internet video, not only in the United States, but also in Canada as their DTV transition progressed. People are realizing that in many locations, a simple antenna can give them excellent reception of a variety of programs.
One indication of the increased interest in over-the-air DTV is the success of existing antenna companies such as Antennas Direct, and new companies like Mohu and WallTenna. Easy-to-mount, inconspicuous antennas like the Mohu Leaf and WallTenna make it easy for people to try over-the-air TV.
The availability of streamed video from sources like Hulu and Netflix deserves a lot of credit for making it easier to cut the cable cord, but I have to think that the relative ease of over-the-air DTV reception and the high quality compared to analog TV has something to do with it.
Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.
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