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RF Shorts - Oct. 21, 2010

  • •There were several stories of interest discussing the possible shutdown of FLO. In the article FLO TV Provides Lessons For ATSC Mobile, in TV Technology sister publication, TWICE, Joseph Palenchar, says "Many factors that impeded FLO TV's consumer adoption aren't factors that would hamper the success of ATSC Mobile/Handheld (M/H) service, some analysts and ATSC Mobile proponents contend."

    After describing FLO TV's subscription fees and expensive nationwide broadcast network, Palenchar writes, "...ATSC M/H, also called Mobile DTV, doesn't face these particular challenges because it will initially deliver TV stations' current free over-the-air local TV broadcasts to mobile and in-vehicle devices, consumers are already familiar with local TV service, and local TV stations will use their existing TV spectrum, eliminating the burden of costly spectrum purchases and building dedicated infrastructure from scratch."
  • •In discussing FLO's demise, Dr. Windsor Holden of Juniper Research, in the article Bidding FLO farewell on, writes, "Finally, there is the small matter of ATSC M/H. Another mobile broadcast TV standard, this one piggybacks onto the US digital terrestrial standard in a not dissimilar manner to ISDB-T in Japan; it requires only minor upgrades to the existing digital terrestrial networks rather than the creation of new infrastructure. At the same time that Qualcomm was waving goodbye to its D2C FLO offering, the chipset manufacturer Siano was announcing that it had just launched a chipset in collaboration with LG, the principal developer of the ATSC M/H broadcast standard."
  • •Damon Kiesow from the Boston Globe, in the posting Broadcasters not giving up on mobile TV, writes, "Industry analysts say there's a vast potential market for mobile TV devices. In 2009, the technology research firm In-Stat LLC estimated that 18 million people worldwide watched free mobile TV and predicted that by 2013, the number would rise to 314 million."
  • •On the other hand, RapidTVNews reporter Jörn Krieger in the article,Austria scraps DVB-H mobile TV, says that "The broadcast technology which has been tailor-made for mobile television, suffers from the necessity to set up and operate a separate transmission network--which is a costly undertaking. Furthermore, a growing number of mobile phones are capable of receiving free-to-air television channels from conventional DTT networks (DVB-T) which, in contrary to DVB-H, are available at no charge to viewers." To me this sounds a little like the comparisons being made between FLO TV and ATSC Mobile DTV.
  • • reports TerreStar Close to Bankruptcy. TerreStar, as you may recall, is one of the holders of the 2 GHz mobile satellite service spectrum reallocated from the 2 GHz broadcast auxiliary service band.
  • •Previously, I've written about tall towers planned for Chicago. It now looks as if the Chicago Spire at 400 Lake Shore Drive won't be built, at least not anytime soon. KHL Group's International Construction web page writer Chris Sleight reports on the Final blow for Chicago Spire. He writes, "Plans to build the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere have ground to a halt, with one of the financiers behind the Chicago Spire in Chicago foreclosing on its loan. The 1200 apartment tower designed by Santiago Calatrava was to have stood 2,000 ft (609 m) on the city's Lake Michigan shore."