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FCC Proposes TV Spectrum For Wireless
On May 13, the FCC proposed to allow unlicensed devices to operate in the broadcast television spectrum at locations where the spectrum is not in use by television stations. In order to ensure that no interference is caused to TV stations and their viewers, the commission proposed a requirement that unlicensed devices incorporate “smart radio” features to identify unused TV channels. The proposal is intended to allow the development of new and innovative types of unlicensed broadband devices and services for businesses and consumers by utilizing vacant spectrum.
The NAB is not convinced that interference will not be a problem. In a statement issued after the FCC announced the proposal, NAB president and CEO Eddie Fritts said, “We have serious concerns that the introduction of unlicensed devices into the television band could result in unforeseen interference in broadcast service to millions of television viewers.
“Free, over-the-air television provides invaluable news, information, and entertainment to local communities all over America and serves as a lifeline to citizens in times of crisis. We will work with the FCC to ensure that this proposal can be accommodated while preserving interference-free over-the-air television.”

Artbeats Teams With Discovery Communications
Stock footage provider Artbeats has formally announced its partnership with Discovery FootageSource, a division of Discovery Communications, Inc. (DCI), to offer footage from DCI’s extensive film library. The newest addition to Artbeats’ library of DCI footage includes four new medical procedures collections, entitled “Medical-Graphic Surgeries,” “Medical-Laboratory,” “Medical-Montage,” and “Medical-Surgeries.”
“Artbeats has been a great partner for Discovery FootageSource,” said Peter McKelvy, vice president of Discovery FootageSource. “They have allowed us to reach markets with our footage that were previously untapped.”
“Artbeats’ goal is to provide incredibly unique and compelling royalty-free footage, which is why we are thrilled to formally announce our partnership with Discovery FootageSource,” said Phil Bates, president and founder of Artbeats. “We’ve been working with Discovery FootageSource for some time now and several of our best-selling titles have been produced using the company’s unrivaled film footage. We are continuing to build collections from DCI’s vast library, and are excited about the future products we can make available.”

Encoda To Acquire Majority Interest In Arkemedia Technologies
Encoda Systems has signed a letter of intent to acquire a majority interest in Arkemedia Technologies, a U.K.-based digital asset management (DAM) solution provider focused on the media and entertainment industry. The two companies have been collaborating on development activities for the past year. At the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) in Amsterdam last September they demonstrated an integrated solution combining Arkemedia’s DAM tools with Encoda’s automation and program management solutions. The two companies now intend to accelerate and expand this joint development activity by integrating the full Arkemedia suite of DAM tools with Encoda’s solutions for the advertising and broadcast markets.
The companies will deploy an extensible and configurable data model that enables the combined solution to map to the customer’s preferred workflow, rather than forcing the customer to adapt to rigid system architectures.

Dolby Intros Digital Plus Technology
Dolby Laboratories has introduced its Dolby Digital Plus technology, an enhancement of traditional Dolby Digital designed to accompany future video broadcasting formats.
“One of the reasons that Enhanced AC-3 (Dolby Digital Plus) was chosen was because of its compatibility characteristics with the current population of consumer devices,” said ATSC president Mark S. Richer. “This new technology will provide the industry with expanded audio capabilities that can be used for broadcast, cable, satellite, and DVD applications.”
“Dolby Digital continues to be the format of choice for the delivery of multichannel surround sound to consumers. With nearly half a billion products sold that incorporate Dolby Digital, more consumers than ever can enjoy a theatre-like experience in their homes,” said Tom Daily, director of marketing, professional audio, Dolby Laboratories. “Dolby is committed to expanding the audience for the studios and broadcasters that count on Dolby Digital to deliver their programs.”
Set-top boxes with Dolby Digital Plus will work with the more than 37 million Dolby Digital 5.1 systems in use by viewers today.

Fire Breaks Out At Olympic Broadcast Center
A small fire broke out on May 11 in a storage area in a basement at the International Broadcasting Center (IBC). The IBC, in Athens, Greece, is where broadcasters will be transmitting the 2004 Summer Olympics to the world. The Athens Fire Department was able to extinguish the blaze within minutes of arrival. The fire was limited to the storage area and no damage was caused to any building equipment.