RF Shorts for Jan. 25, 2013

New NEC Life Touch Tablet Includes TV Tuner

News site asahi.com reports 3 electronics makers pitch new tablets to be iPad killers. In the article by Junichiro Nagasaki and Takashi Kamiguri, the most interesting tablet was NEC's Life Touch L TLX7W/ 1A. It is described as “…a 10.1-inch tablet bundled with a TV tuner for terrestrial and satellite broadcasts.” The article says that users can watch TV on an HD screen by “connecting the tuner, the size of a compact dictionary, via cable to an antenna terminal.” NEC said that if a separately purchased hard disk is connected to the tuner, users can transfer prerecorded programs to the tablet for later viewing.

The tablet will be released Jan. 31 and will cost around 65,000 yen (about U.S. $723). There was no mention of any plans to release a similar tablet in the United States.

German Broadcaster RTL Shutting Down Off-Air TV Delivery

The Register was one of several websites reporting Germany's RTL pulls free-to-air channels off terrestrial TV. Bill Ray writes, “Germany's largest commercial broadcaster is getting out of broadcasting, on Earth at least, citing spiraling costs and an uncertain future as mobile phone operators grab all the good spectrum.” RTL's statement says, “Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland currently sees no economically reasonable option for continuing digital terrestrial television based on DVB-T, the digital terrestrial television offered in Germany.”

Ray adds, “RTL's plan, detailed by the a516digital blog, is to shut down transmissions in Munich this spring and stop terrestrial broadcasting entirely by the end of next year, continuing to deliver content to viewers over cable and broadband but primarily broadcast from satellite.”

Finnish Broadcasting Co. Says All Channels to be Streamed

On its website, the Finnish Broadcasting Company announced Yle to begin online streams of all TV channels. The Finnish Broadcasting Company hopes to make all four of its TV channels available online for domestic viewers by the end of this year. Ismo Silvo, Yle's Director of Media, said there are still many copyright issues to be resolved and, at least at first, the picture quality of the live streams will not match that of standard digital TVs.

Unlike RTL, Yle does not plan to stop off-air broadcasting. The Yle article states, “Silvo stressed that Yle has no plans to give up on traditional terrestrial antenna broadcasts, noting that not all parts of the country have access to high-speed internet.”

Swedish iPad Owners Will Pay to Watch TV

In Sweden, TV set owners pay a license fee to cover the cost of broadcast content. Now that consumers are streaming TV shows over their tablets, it isn't surprising that, as TheLocal.se reports iPad owners to pay Swedish TV licence fee.

“A move by Sveriges Television (SVT) to offer all of its content online means that Swedes who watch digitally streamed content on computer and tablet devices such as the iPad will have to start paying television license fees.” The article notes that: “Currently, anyone with a television receiver is required by law to pay the 2,076 kronor (U.S. $320) annual fee, which is collected and enforced by Radiotjänst, a division of Swedish public service broadcasting. A representative from the agency confirmed with technology magazine Computer Sweden that SVT's move would mean the agency would start collecting the fee from people who didn't own a television, but did own a computer or tablet device.”

There are no plans to charge a license fee for smartphones.

Comments and RF related news items are welcome. Email me at dlung@transmitter.com.

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.