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Digital Deadline

As the end of analog TV approaches (see the countdown clock at www.MSTV.org), articles are starting to appear about the transition in a variety of publications. When I see interesting articles, I'll post links to them in this new "Digital Deadline" section of RF Report. Here's a sampling of articles I found while researching this week's RF Report.

Rob Pegoraro begins his article Counting Down to the Digital Deadline in the Washington Post with this warning: "TV as most people have known it has a little more than two years to live." Pegoraro tells readers that they don't need a "$1,500 plasma screen and a $100-a-month cable or satellite subscription" to keep watching TV. He explains that with a digital tuner, viewers can have a perfect picture for free. The article encourages people to try digital TV and take advantage of the extra, digital-only channels such as NBC's Weather Plus and the many specialized channels PBS affiliate WETA-TV is offering in the Washington D.C. area.

EDN technical editor Brian Dipert describes his problems receiving KTXL-DT in his blog Brian's Brain. His experience is an example of the "all or nothing" nature of DTV reception. It will be interesting to see if he's able to resolve the reception problem. Are the problems caused by reflections/multipath, the KTXL antenna pattern, or simply too much signal? I examined a case of poor analog TV reception in a Boston neighborhood and found an area where the signal would fade in and out roughly every block. The situation was obviously caused by some form of multipath or reflection, as different channels at slightly different locations on the Prudential Tower would not fade at the same time. Of course, antennas side-mounted on a tower, or in close proximity to reflective surfaces, will not have the nice smooth pattern you see on the manufacturer's data sheet.

Roy Mark, writing on the Internetnews.com Web site outlines efforts by the High Tech DTV Coalition to discourage lawmakers from delaying the Feb. 17, 2009 DTV transition date in the article Coalition Pushes for DTV Transition. Additional information is available at www.DTVCoalition.com, although the latest news release on the Web site as of Wednesday was dated Feb. 1, 2006.