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CEDIA: NAB-Backed 'Smart Antenna' Prototype Unveiled

For all those who like their HD content uncompressed and strictly DOA (that's Directly Off-Air, not Dead On Arrival), there may be a new indoor antenna out there soon with your name on it—especially if you sometimes fall into the Couch Potato category.

NAB has been teaming up with St. Louis-based Antennas Direct to develop a "smart antenna" based on the interface of the CEA-909A antenna. (CEA-909A is a technical standard defining the interface and communications protocol between a compliant television receiver and a smart antenna.) A prototype of the new model was on display at CEDIA last week in Denver. The CEA-909A standard was revised last year to allow a simpler single-wire connection.

NAB said such smart antennas have the inherent ability to exchange information automatically (i.e., channel number, gain, direction, polarization) with a CEA-909A-compliant receiver. The smart antenna is "electronically steered and tuned to find the optimum setting for each received channel," NAB said. Subsequently, the DTV set stores the settings and automatically reconfigures the antenna inside the home as channels are changed by the viewer without ever jumping off the sofa.

To date, however, no new integrated TV set has implemented a smart-antenna option. NAB said the only current commercially available smart antenna is the DTA-5000 from DX Antenna, available online from Solid Signal and other retailers. NAB said Audiovox may release a smart antenna (model RCA ANT2000) in late 2008.