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RF Shorts – Oct. 28, 2010

  • • in its "Last Gadget Standing CES 2011" series, reports on The World's Smallest Set-Top Box. The description of the EnCom TeraVue DTV STB Interactive Tuner in the article has few technical details, but says "It's smaller than a credit card and it's a complete set top box tuner designed for the up and coming Mobile DTV, ATSC-MH technology. The system is designed to be installed on the roof of your car or in the rear for the ultimate automotive entertainment."
  • •Remember broadcast antenna and transmission line manufacturer Dielectric Communications? It's still around, but SPX recently announced the company will now operate under the name SPX Communications Technology. Its web site has already changed to although it hasn't been updated – still a lot of pictures with little content of use to engineers designing systems with the SPX Communications Technology products. SPX is the parent company of the Maine-based RF system company.

    Garrett VanAtta, president of SPX Communication Technology, said, "Under the SPX Communication Technology name, we will continue to operate from our Maine headquarters with the same talented pool of engineers and customer support staff responsible for our broadcast transmission products. The company also will apply its decades of engineering expertise in passive radio frequency and broadcast transmissions to develop a wider array of innovative technologies and solutions that can contribute to the future advancement of global communications." I was told the broadcast product line will still bear the Dielectric product name even though the company name has changed.
  • •Global Telecoms Business reported Carlyle may buy CommScope for $3bn CommScope acquired communications antenna and transmission line manufacturer Andrew Corporation for $2.65 billion. While Andrew Corporation sold its broadcast antenna, RF systems and transmission line business to ERI several years ago, many broadcasters use Andrew/CommScope for microwave antennas, waveguide and Heliax coaxial cable. Some CommScope shareholders oppose the acquisition of the company by private-equity company The Carlyle Group, as described in the RCR Wireless article Lawyers ready to attack CommScope, Carlyle potential hookup.
  • • reports Boeing Installs Inflight High-Speed Broadband – Panasonic Avionic's eXConnect wireless service offers worldwide Internet speeds up to 50 Mbps. This is about 100 times faster than competing airplane Wi-Fi systems. In addition to providing Internet access for passengers, the system can also be used to support cabin, maintenance and flight operations. Could it eventually be used to fly the airplane?

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.