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RF Shorts: Broadcast Television—Not Dead Yet...

  • •I came across two stories this week that show that off-air broadcast TV is not dead yet. I enjoyed the discussion about rediscovering off-air TV in the Home economics and the spectrum crunch (opens in new tab) article in the Economist's Babbage blog.

    This paragraph is particularly interesting:

    "Two weeks ago I got to interview Vinton Cerf, who 30 years ago developed the Internet protocols we still use today. He's now Google's Chief Internet Evangelist…. After we turned the camera off, he mentioned that we hadn't managed to discuss his new passion: broadcast. One-to-many, he explained, is a more efficient way to share popular files than one-to-one. One-to-one is, remember, the basis of the internet protocols he helped invent."

    Does this sound familiar?
  • •As if to highlight that point, Stephen Lawson writes on Verizon to use video broadcasting on LTE – Verizon expects to devote some of its LTE spectrum to broadcasting for live video. As far as I know, Verizon's LTE rollout is in spectrum that was used for TV broadcasting prior to completion of the DTV transition. Verizon obtained this spectrum in auction and will now be using it to broadcast video (for a fee, I'm sure).

    The article article quotes Verizon Wireless CTO Tony Melone speaking at the Open Mobile Summit in San Francisco:

    "We're working with all of our infrastructure providers ... to develop the technology to incorporate a broadcast capability," said Melone. "To evoke that, you have to dedicate a portion of your spectrum. So a portion of your capacity would have to be allocated to this broadcast capability. We think that will be a solution to this problem down the road, that there will be a broadcast element to our 4G network that can then more efficiently deal with the live content."

    A simpler approach might be to encourage broadcasters to continue using their UHF spectrum for broadcasting and development of mobile DTV and allow all wireless carriers to take advantage of that, providing the consumer with the widest range of programming at the best possible price—in many cases, free!

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.