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RF Shorts for Jan. 16, 2015

‘The Year of the Cord Cutter’

Several news sources picked up on the numerous ways people could cut the cord – drop their cable TV service – shown at this year's Consumer Electronics Show. While many of the articles focused on programming available over the Internet, some of them mentioned products for over-the-air TV reception.

David Katzmaier in his article The year of the cord-cutter starts at CES 2015 on mentions the Tablo Metro device with an indoor antenna I described last week. Most of his article focused on Internet programming, but he also mentioned the Channel Master over-the-air DVR.

Thomas Campbell's article TiVo makes Roamio OTA DVR generally available in U.S. writes, “When paired with an HD antenna, the TiVo Roamio OTA can record up to four shows simultaneously, storing 75 high-definition hours of programming from local networks including ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS and Univision, where available, and popular internet video services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video and YouTube, among others.” In the article TiVo CMO Ira Behr notes, “TiVo continually innovates to meet the shifting ways consumers want to access their TV content, and we recognized that sections of the market were underserved — including those choosing OTA for TV and those looking for higher-end DVRs. That proved true with the demand for the TiVo Roamio OTA after our initial seeding in 400 Best Buy stores this past fall.”

Joseph Palenchar's article Voxx Talks Up Mobility At CES on focuses primarily on Voxx's offering for cars and trucks but has this on Voxx's RCA division: “Two AIR thin-film TV antennas feature patented omnidirectional reception technology to pick up signals coming in from all 360 degrees around a house. It delivers substantially higher gain than any other film antenna on the market, the company said. One model is the $69 passive ANT2100F, and the other is the $89 amplified ANT2150F.”

Broadcast Network Europe Says UHF Strategy Should Have DTT at its Core

Broadcast Network Europe (BNE) says that in view of the pending WRC 2015, any process to develop the long term strategy of the UHF band should have DTT (digital terrestrial television) at its core. In his article on, Colin Mann writes, “BNE supports the RSPG position ‘no mobile allocation on the 470-694 MHz’ and welcomes the position adopted with regard to the long term sustainability of DTT, specifically the recommendation that the frequency band 470-694 MHz shall remain available for DTT in the foreseeable future, i.e. 2030 and beyond.”

See Mann's article for more on the BNE's efforts to protect TV broadcast spectrum in Europe.

The Companies Behind Ku-band In-Flight Internet

Website has an excellent article describing the companies behind the push to provide in-flight Internet using Ku-band satellites. The article Big three Ku connectivity providers are driving momentum: Intelsat begins, “Panasonic Avionics, Gogo and Global Eagle Entertainment “are pushing” the inflight connectivity market with their Ku-band products, and have an enviable lead over the competition due in part to the fact that global Ka is not yet available at a time when airlines are chomping at the bit for connectivity, suggests a top exec at satellite operator Intelsat, which provides Ku capacity to these providers, and is gearing up to launch its ‘Epic’ high-throughput satellites (HTS).”

The article asks the Intelsat exec, “Is there a continued story to tell about the cost per bit of Ku coming down with HTS?” and gets this response: “Absolutely, the cost comes down, but it’s not that these guys will be spending any less money because the amount of money that’s on the table is significantly increasing. I saw some recent research, talking about a threefold increase in revenues for the next five years, but the amount of bandwidth that the service providers are getting is significantly increasing, and that’s the beauty of HTS, which is all about us getting more bits out of each Hertz of spectrum we’ve got.”

See the article for details on the technology being used for these systems and what Intelsat's competitors have to offer.

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.