RF Shorts - Sept. 30, 2010

Paul Rako has an excellent overview of TV tuner technology in his EDN article Silicon TV tuners: The game is on. Rako writes, "Silicon-tuner ICs have for nearly a decade found use in set-top boxes for satellite and cable. Now, thanks to their high performance, simplicity, broad frequency coverage, compactness, and universality, they are making inroads into phones, set-top boxes, service gateways, automobiles, PCs, and even TVs."

Headline News reports we may not have to wait much longer for the Dell "Looking Glass 7" tablet with an optional ATSC receiver in the article The Dell Seven-Inch Tablet is Seen Up Close and Personal. "Michael Dell was showing off the new seven inch tablet at the Oracle Openworld conference recently. This is just after the release of the Streak, a five-inch screen tablet." If you're interested in playing around with one of the many inexpensive Android tablets now available, check out www.slatedroid.com. It has information on available tablets, many in the $100 price range, and custom firmware to improve performance. I was able to install the Valups Tivizen app on my Eken M001 tablet but unfortunately don't have a Tivizen yet to test it with.

Here is another article that shows off-air TV is not dead yet. Jennifer Glickel writes "More and more Manhattanites are giving up cable in favor of cheaper, alternative methods of watching their favorite television shows" in her article New Yorkers Abandon Cable TV Service For Netflix and TiVo on DNAInfo.com.

There is an FM radio hidden in the Motorola Droid. Turn it on using these instructions from the XDA Developers forum.

Finally, as I've previously reported, tiered pricing for wireless data plans may make streaming video over the Internet less attractive and increase interest over-the-air mobile DTV. The Washington Post reports FCC Likely to approve of wireless tiered pricing: analysts. "FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski recently said in seeking comments about his net neutrality proposal that tiered pricing plans could help alleviate data congestion on networks."

Doug Lung

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.