New FCC Website Should Simplify Database Updates

This week the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology and the Media Bureau released a Notice announcing the availability of a special webpage for updating TV translator, Low Power TV, and Class A station input channels into its Consolidated Database System. The Notice emphasized, “This facility is especially important for low-power stations that are located outside of the service contours of the station(s) that they re-transmit.”

I recently reported on the use of TV band white space devices in northern California. These devices could pose a problem for TV translators in rural areas if CDBS doesn't show the correct input channel.

FCC rules require that these devices contact a TV band database operator before transmitting on a TV channel. The database operator uses the FCC's database to determine what channels are available. The input channels that are used by LPTV, TV translators and Class A TV stations to receive programming are protected if they’re inside the protected contour of the station being received. However, if the channel is being received outside that station's protected contour, the input channel has to be registered in CDBS to receive protection.

The Notice explains: “During the digital television transition that ended on June 12, 2009, many full-power stations changed their operating channels. Low-power stations re-transmitting such stations have had to make corresponding changes to their equipment. A significant number of those low-power stations have not updated their input channels in the CDBS. The input channels of low-power stations falling into this category can only be protected if they are properly recorded in the CDBS. It is therefore essential that these stations review their CDBS records regarding input channels and provide corrections and updates as necessary.”

There is no fee for updating low power and translator station input channels. The White Space TV translator data entry/update page is available now.

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.