Master Antenna System Problems Could Cloud DTV Transition

Readers may remember my concern about the impact of the analog shutdown on apartment houses and other multi-tenant dwellings such as hospitals and hotels that rely on off-air TV reception. The New York Times recognized the problem in the May 9th article Digital TV Poses A Challenge for Some Apartment Buildings. Jake Mooney wrote about apartment house DTV reception problems in this article and another in the Times Sunday’s City section.

Mooney notes that many buildings only have VHF antennas on their roof, while “most of the new digital channels will be broadcast in the UHF range.” In reality, in NYC several stations currently broadcasting on UHF DTV channels will move their DTV to their old analog VHF channel on Feb. 18, 2009 after analog TV is shutdown. This will further complicate reception, as people receiving the UHF DTV signals now on UHF antennas may not be able to receive the much lower power VHF signals when these stations change channels unless they have a VHF antenna.

For a look at how TV viewers in NYC are approaching the DTV transition, read Digital TV Poses A Challenge for Some Apartment Buildings. Don’t ignore the comments on the blog!

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Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. As vice president of Broadcast Technology for NBCUniversal Local, H. Douglas Lung leads NBC and Telemundo-owned stations’ RF and transmission affairs, including microwave, radars, satellite uplinks, and FCC technical filings. Beginning his career in 1976 at KSCI in Los Angeles, Lung has nearly 50 years of experience in broadcast television engineering. Beginning in 1985, he led the engineering department for what was to become the Telemundo network and station group, assisting in the design, construction and installation of the company’s broadcast and cable facilities. Other projects include work on the launch of Hawaii’s first UHF TV station, the rollout and testing of the ATSC mobile-handheld standard, and software development related to the incentive auction TV spectrum repack.
A longtime columnist for TV Technology, Doug is also a regular contributor to IEEE Broadcast Technology. He is the recipient of the 2023 NAB Television Engineering Award. He also received a Tech Leadership Award from TV Tech publisher Future plc in 2021 and is a member of the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society and the Society of Broadcast Engineers.