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RF Shorts – August 27, 2010

  • • author Marguerite Reardon writes Paid TV subscriptions dip for the first time as the slumping economy causes more consumers to look for ways to cut down monthly expenses. The article does not mention off-air TV as an alternative, and notes the significant increase in the median age of broadcast network TV viewers over the last 20 years, saying that "...some people are cutting the paid TV cord and instead are watching more video online. Some are watching it on mobile devices and laptops, while others are hooking devices to their TVs and streaming video directly to their TVs."
  • •In his Gadget of the Week column in Barrons, Jay Palmer says Goodbye, Rabbit Ears. He isn't talking about dropping off-air TV, but using ClearStream Micron and ClearStream 2 antennas from Antennas Direct indoors.

    "In this age of cable and satellite TV, it's easy to forget that signals are still being sent the old-fashioned way--over the air," said Palmer. "It's a lot cheaper than the alternatives, and the picture quality is a whole lot better than in the days of analog signals and set-top rabbit ears. It also can be a smart option if your cable service has frequent service disruptions or if you want a TV in a room that isn't wired."
  • •Anyone who has tried to use a cell phone on top of a tower or building roof top knows that more "bars" doesn't mean better service. PCWorld looks at this and more in Technology's Biggest Myths.

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.