Reflections on the 2012 NAB Show, Part II

Last week I reported on some of the RF technology highlights from the 2012 NAB Show. Now that it's all over and I've had a chance to look over my notes and catch up on my e-mail, I found a few more items of interest.

In the Mobile DTV area, Escort introduced ESCORT MobileTV, a "connected Mobile Digital TV (MDTV) receiver that quickly and easily allows consumers to receive digital TV on their Wi-Fi-enabled smartphone, iPad or similar video-capable device while in moving vehicles." Escort has some other Mobile DTV products under development that I hope to be able to report on in the future.

Longtime readers will remember that I've been predicting use of Ka-band satellites for inexpensive satellite newsgathering for a long time. With ViaSat introducing its Exede service at CES, I was finally able to claim my prediction came through. Further proof was evident at the NAB Show--a ViaSat SNG-equipped Ford Transit Connect positioned at the entrance to the Las Vegas Convention Center, and also a more conventional SNG vehicle at ViaSat's exhibit in the outdoor exhibit space between the Central Hall and South Hall Lower. ViaSat's plan is similar to that for 4G wireless--a fixed rate per month for a certain amount of data, and a rate per gigabyte of data above that. If stations connect to a ViaSat point of presence, they will have a certain quality of service; something they can't get on bonded 4G connections via the Internet. Stations that only need limited Internet access to transfer smaller video files or scripts can opt for the much lower-cost consumer plan, but may find they don't have the quality of service necessary for reliable live links. ViaSat is planning a soft launch with a number of stations this year. I predict it will be a success. Next year, we'll see if I was right.

Finally, in my report on high-efficiency solid state amplifiers, 2012 NAB: Solid State Transmitters Now Match or Exceed IOT Efficiency I said two 10 kW solid-state amplifier cabinets could be combined to equal the output of a single IOT. Eddy Vanderkerken from Rohde and Schwarz wrote to remind me that the THU9 transmitter shown at NAB 2012 was capable of 18.5 kW output per cabinet. There are many single-tube IOT transmitters operating at that power level or less. He promised more technical details on Rohde and Schwarz's Doherty high-efficiency amplifiers later this year and said these transmitters would be shipping before the end of the year.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.