TVStudy Update No. 3 Does Cross-Border Analysis

WASHINGTON — Regulators have yet again updated TVStudy, the analysis software that the Federal Communications Commission will use to repack TV stations into the spectrum left over after next year’s incentive auction. TVStudy Vers. 1.2.7 is said to be able to perform cross-border channel analysis of TV signal interference between stations in the United States and those in Canada and Mexico “on proxy channels.”

TVStudy is based on Bulletin OET-69 from the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology. OET-69 describes the methodology for calculating TV station coverage areas in order to anticipate and prevent interference. The accuracy of the software will be crucial when TV stations are assigned new frequencies after the auction because there will be fewer channel choices. Placing stations on the same channel in adjacent markets—U.S. or otherwise—could eliminate reception for some households.

Vers. 1.2.7 includes a number of tweaks over the previous release, Vers. 1.2 (now dubbed 1.2.6) which was rolled out in July and included the capacity to replicate multiple station signals simultaneously to yield a nationwide coverage snapshot. It also introduced the ability to generate “pairwise” data files for making definitive determinations on U.S. station-to-station interference based on reception by “the same specific viewers for each eligible station.”

Vers. 1.2.7 includes a new pairwise study setup option that includes not just U.S. stations, but a “choice for all countries,” according to the Change Log.

“Stations in the selected country are replicated to each study channel then paired with stations from all countries, replicated to appropriate channel relationships, to determine constraints for channel repacking of stations in the selected country,” it states.

The new version also has redesigned logic that overcomes potential errors arising from “complex situations involving multiple stations with conflicting records,” the Change Log says. A bug that caused out-of-memory and SQL key errors also was fixed, as was another related to the distance calculator. The name format used for SQL databases was changed to “reduce the risk of conflict with other applications sharing the same database server,” and the presentation of station search results was refined.

None of the underlying data files will need to be replaced.

TVStudy Vers. 1.2.7 was released just two days before the commission’s previously announced instructional webinar on the software’s use. The webinar is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 22, from 1 to 3 p.m. Eastern Time. It will be hosted by the FCC’s Incentive Auction Task Force “for parties interested in learning more about the technical details of the recently released repacking software, data and output files,” according to the commission. The software and related files are available for download from the FCC’s Repacking website.