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RF Shorts – Feb. 24, 2011

Ed Milbourn outlined a proposal to reduce the number of TV broadcast channels to one or two all transmitting ATSC M/H subchannels and no MPEG-2 HD in his article Ed's View – All Three Ways: Free, Mobile and Quality. HD content would be delivered via cable or satellite, but if viewers wanted to see it on their TVs the low-resolution M/H video could be upconverted in the set. Milbourn's suggestions prompted comments such as "Wow! This is one of the worst proposals, and worst justification articles, I've read in a long time." and "This plan gives the 15 percent (more or less) of the population the shaft" from readers.

The National Broadband Plan's spectrum scarcity argument doesn't account for the improvement in spectrum efficiency through technologies I've described in this and previous RF Report articles. One indication of how quickly technology is improving is the imminent approval of the LTE-Advanced standard, which would at least double the efficiency of wireless broadband, allowing 1 Gbps data rates when stationary, and 100 Mbps when mobile. See LTE-Advanced could be finalized this week by Caroline Gabriel on: Rethink Wireless.