RF Shorts – Nov. 17, 2011

Boxee Live TV Arrives
Boxee has officially announced the addition of a TV tuner to its popular Internet TV set-top box. Wired.com has good coverage of the announced in the article Cord Cutters, Rejoice! Boxee Dongle Delivers Live HDTV, Sans Subscription. Christina Bonnington writes, "I abandoned cable TV years ago. I couldn't afford to spend hours in front of the boob tube, absorbing Jersey Shore-isms and Two and a Half Manliness. But there are definitely times when I miss being able to watch TV, live and in HD. Luckily, Boxee, maker of the Boxee set-top box, has come up with a solution that provides access to basic live TV, in HD, without the need for a cable subscription."

The USB tuner for Boxee is a $50 add-on, but if it's successful, Boxee will probably make it available as an option in the box. Boxee's CEO Avner Ronen told Wired he believes there are three important consumer classes on the rise: "cord-never getters" (young people who have never signed up for cable TV before), "cord-cutters" (those who have cable but realize other services can satisfy their needs), and "cord-shavers" (people whose viewing habits have changed, but have just switched to a lower-end subscription package)."

"Our assumption is that our users will watch most of their favorite shows from services such as Netflix, Vudu, Hulu, etc. and will tune in to live TV to watch live events such as sports, news, and award shows," Ronen said.

See Christina Bonnington's article for a Twitter survey she did to see how her readers watch TV.

Solar Cycle 24 Sunspots Set Record
The K7RA Solar Update reported that on Wed., Nov. 9, the daily sunspot number reached 220, the highest it has been in more than eight years. Ted Cook writes, "The last time the sunspot number was higher than 220 was Nov. 1, 2003 when the number was 277. The next day--Nov. 10--the daily sunspot number dropped back to 164. Two days before it reached 277 in 2003, the sunspot number was 330, a harder record to beat."

He also provided links to a National Geographic article (opens in new tab) on sunspot group 1339 and a Sky and Telescope gallery of photos of the sunspot group.

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.