Except for Mobile DTV (see my article CES Showcases ATSC Mobile DTV Progress), there wasn't much to see related to broadcast TV. However, announcements from TV antenna makers VOXX Accessories and Channel Masters show free off-air broadcast TV can compliment streamed content from the Internet.
VOXX Accessories Corporation (previously AudioVox) announced it’s working with Roku to begin development of the industry’s first integrated digital antenna with streaming.
“TV-watching habits are changing, with more and more consumers getting their entertainment from over-the-top sources, like Netflix and Hulu,” said David Geise, president of VOXX Accessories. “Consumers are also realizing in growing numbers that over-the-air digital TV gives them the best picture and the most options for programming. Roku is the leading provider and innovator in streaming, with a line of award-winning products. We are the market leader in over-the-air digital TV reception. We believe the marriage of the two will create an exciting product for consumers who are looking for an innovative way to receive their TV entertainment.”
“The new digital antenna with Roku is a truly innovative use of the Roku Streaming Stick,” said Chas Smith, general manager of OEM business at Roku. “Consumers will get instant access to a wealth of entertainment choices.”
VOXX plans to introduce the new antenna with Roku Streaming in the fourth quarter of 2013 under its RCA and TERK brands. VOXX had several TV antennas on display in its large booth, including small panel antennas, the popular Terk HDTV log-periodic indoor antenna, and large antennas for outdoor installation.
Channel Master announced it was partnering with Screaming Velocity Inc, a Silicon Valley-based software company providing advanced TV recommendation technology. The announcement didn't focus on off-air TV, although Wayne Yurtin, president and CEO of Screaming Velocity did note that “Channel Master is the leading company pioneering subscription free HDTV worldwide and we're excited by the marriage of their hardware and STB solution expertise and our software recommendation technology.”
Screaming Velocity demonstrated their cloud based recommendation system for existing linear TV, video-on-demand, and over-the-top offerings in a hospitality suite at CES.
Channel Master used CES to announce the introduction of several unique indoor television antennas. The company has enhanced its original CM3000A SmarTenna, now called the CM3000HD, to improve performance, reduce size and eliminate the need for amplification in most installations. This is a onmidirectional antenna and can be used indoors or out.
“More and more consumers are looking to TV antennas for live TV as a supplement to the content they watch online,” said Joe Bingochea, vice president product management at Channel Master. “The combination of content from the Internet and free local broadcast channels is a pretty compelling offering. This is where Channel Master is focused and the SmarTenna is perfect for those consumers looking for an easy solution to add free live TV as a complement to their online content.”
These antennas should be available within the next three months from retailers or directly from www.channelmasterstore.com.
The antenna measures 13.38 x 11.25 x 1.5-inches, and Channel Master claims it covers 174-216 MHz and 470-700 MHz with 5 to 8 dB of gain. Even if the gain is referenced is to an isotropic antenna (the specification's don't say), I'm interesting in seeing how it achieves so much gain in such a small space. Unfortunately I was not able to find Channel Master at CES, so I’ll have to wait until I can purchase one and open it up.
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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.
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