CINCINNATI — GatesAir, a manufacturer of transmission products for TV and radio broadcasters, summoned nearly 100 industry thought leaders and experts to its Mason, Ohio, headquarters for the company’s second Repack Summit. The two-day event addressed the concerns and challenges of U.S. broadcasters as they prepare for a variety of uncertain scenarios and exciting new opportunities.
Held this past Thursday and Friday (October 30-31), the Repack Summit 2014 facilitated a dialog between broadcasters, the FCC, NAB, ONE Media and industry vendors including GatesAir, Dielectric and ERI. Executives and engineers from Cox Media, Cordillera Communications, Hearst-Argyle Television, Raycom Media and Sinclair Broadcast Group were among those in attendance, representing many of the industry leaders in U.S. TV broadcasting.
“There are still way more questions than answers about what’s coming down the road, what we may or may not be forced to do, and what our options are as broadcasters,” said Andy Suk, vice president of technology, Cordillera Communications. “This event was significant in that it created a great deal of dialogue across key industry figures, leading suppliers and representatives from the FCC. GatesAir needs to be commended for putting together this event and get some reality behind what is happening. It presents a real opportunity to our industry, especially as we look forward to ATSC 3.0 and other emerging opportunities.”
The event opened with presentations from GatesAir and the FCC. Martyn Horspool, TV transmission product manager at GatesAir, first discussed UHF channel change planning and weighed options for RF plant investment, including how broadcasters can accelerate ROI through new high-efficiency transmitters versus major modifications of the end-to-end RF infrastructure.
Jay Adrick, consultant to Gates Air
Pamela Gallant, associate division chief of the video division, media bureau for the FCC, followed with an in-depth look at the FCC’s reimbursement program for broadcasters affected by spectrum repack and new channel assignments. Additionally, two NAB thought leaders—Sam Matheny, executive vice president and CTO, and Victor Tawil, an NAB engineer—explored various transition scenarios as broadcasters prepare for ATSC 3.0 in the midst of the repack.
Day Two focused on next-generation opportunities for mobile convergence and the spectrum repack. Kevin Gage, executive vice president and CTO of ONE Media, opened the day with a discussion on eliminating the technical limitations of conventional mobile TV standards. Gage pointed to examples of next-generation broadcast platforms and standards that provide strong opportunities to effectively penetrate the mobile device marketplace.
GatesAir technology advisor Jay Adrick followed with a presentation on the latest events surrounding the U.S. spectrum repack. A highly respected expert in FCC matters as they relate to over-the-air broadcasting, Adrick delivered a summary of key points in the FCC’s Report & Order on the spectrum auction—notably, how stations should prepare for the spectrum repack along with a timeline of events.
Joe Seccia, manager, TV transmission market and product development strategy at GatesAir, closed the event with a look at how mobile convergence can drive new business opportunities for broadcasters. This included a detailed examination of GatesAir’s LTE Mobile Offload solution for transmitting LTE-compliant TV signals to tablets and smartphones.
“Collectively, the innovative minds of our industry have an opportunity to influence the future direction of over-the-air broadcasting,” said Phil Argyris, CEO, GatesAir. “Our second Repack Summit proved a beneficial educational experience for everyone involved, offering real-world solutions to existing business and technology challenges; and exploring new opportunities in mobile convergence and next-generation standards that will advance the future of TV.”
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