CES 2008 Observations

This week's RF Report focuses on RF technology at the recent International CES, specifically the technology related to TV broadcasting. The show was interesting, with TV antennas, many ATSC receivers, NTIA-approved ATSC set-top boxes, as well as operable off-air mobile TV devices. There was also a wide range of wireless network devices—most using the proposed 802.11n standard—for transmitting high data rate HDTV material throughout the house.

I witnessed an interesting demonstration of wireless power transfer. The technology included short-range focused beams that allowed up to tens of watts to be transmitted according to the representative there. There were also unfocused beams that provided greater distance, but at lower power. The systems demonstrated worked in the 900 MHz ISM band, but other frequencies could be used. High-power systems will use in a controlled environment to avoid excessive RF exposure.

When I reported on Dielectric, ERI, Harris and MCI receiving technical achievement Emmy awards for RF filters, I wondered how the companies would present this to the CES audience. On Monday night Dielectric invited me to the Emmys and I was pleased to see the recipients, through short videos, attempting to explain how these black boxes work. It's good to see that the Academy recognizes the role RF technology plays in delivering programming to consumers.

Thanks too to MCI and Dielectric for thanking me in their acceptance speeches! At Telemundo, I worked closely with MCI on their first adjacent channel combiners, installing one of the first, if not the first, N+1 adjacent channel combiner at KSTS in San Jose. Similar N+1 combiners were used at WSNS-TV and WSCV. I used a Dielectric N+1 combiner for KTMD in Houston. Telemundo and Univision share an Andrew (now ERI) combiner for DTV Channels 38 and 39 in San Antonio. All of these combiners are currently in use and working.