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RF Shorts – March 31, 2011

Tivizen for iPad2 Review
I found a hands-on review of digital TV on the iPad2. Gadget's on the Go columnist Adam Turner writes in Hands on: iPad 2 TV tuner, "The Tivizen's picture quality is excellent on the iPad 1 and 2--on par with the Netstream--although you're obviously at the mercy of your digital reception. A low-fi workaround for improving reception is attaching rabbit ears to the built-in antenna with an alligator clip. Just as with desktop Macs, it seems Apple won't let third-party apps use hardware acceleration, which is disappointing." Unfortunately the review is from The Sidney Morning Herald and the Tivizen device, which was sold by Elgato, works on the Australian DVB terrestrial DTV system. It uses the "slightly bigger than a credit card"-sized Tivizen Wi-Fi hotspot, not the 30-pin dongle shown in the ATSC Mobile DTV booth at CES.

Microsoft Searching for Spectrum
Tim Greene reports on Microsoft's search for wireless spectrum in his NetworkWorld article Microsoft scheme sniffs out unused wireless spectrum. The system, called SpecNet, would employ a network of spectrum analyzers connected to a master server. The article notes that there is "One major hurdle to clear: the cost of the analyzers, which go for $10,000 to $40,000 each." The researchers suggest that the network could be set up by volunteers with spectrum analyzers that could be committed to SpecNet for assigned time periods. Each of the analyzers would be connected to a server issuing commands to it via XML remote procedure calls over HTTP, thus making it possible to connect with the machines via the Internet in whatever language is desired. These servers would then be networked to a command server for overseeing collection over the network. More information is available in the Microsoft Research white paper SpecNet: Spectrum Sensing Sans Frontières.

CMMB Broadcast TV Tested
Earlier this year I wrote about using LTE technology to transmit DTV (mobile and fixed) in my RF Technology column in TV Technology. TV Tech sister publication Government Video reports that CMMB America, together with Canadian technology provider Unique Broadband Systems Ltd. and Hong Kong affiliate CMMB Vision successfully broadcast CMMB mobile TV signals over cellular network frequencies in a trial demonstration near Denver, Colo. In a written statement CMMB said, "The successful test supports CMMB's ability to cohabitate with cellular technologies as well as its superior coverage over varying line of sight and non-line of sight environments."

Alain Robert Scales Burj Khalifa; Sets Guinness World Record
Alain Robert completed his climb of the 828 meter-high Burj Khalifa in Dubai, setting a new Guinness World Record. See the pictures and read about it in There was no more to climb: Spiderman Alain Robert conquers Burj Khalifa.

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.