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Does Aereo have a power problem?
IEEE Spectrum has a short article by Katherine Tweed asking Could Energy Costs Doom Aereo's TV Streaming Service?. Her article and the one that prompted it, Electricity Use Impedes Aereo's March by Shalini Ramachandran and Amol Sharma in the Wall Street Journal (subscription may be required) note that the electronics behind each of the miniature antennas at the Aereo facilities draws from five to six Watts per antenna. That means a facility supporting 200,000 subscribers would need 1,000,000 Watts of power just for the receivers. Transcoding and video stream equipment requires additional power. allow us to build?.

The article notes the antennas are densely packed into mini-fridge sized electronic boxes stacked on top of one another, which could play a role in determining if these antennas are really getting a direct off-air signal or simply acting as a probe to pick up a signal being delivered to the box via a central antenna/amplifier/distribution system. In that case it seems to be closer to the cable TV model than a consumer using an antenna on their roof or in their living room to directly pick up an off air signal and stream it to their devices through a Slingbox or Hauppauge Broadway type device.

Just How High Can Skyscraper Go?
Skyscrapers are often used to support broadcast antennas, so Rebecca Boyle's article on asking “What's the tallest skyscraper physics would allow us to build” caught my eye. allow us to build?.

She notes that if height is based on the highest usable floor, Willis Tower (previously and by many still referred to as Sears Tower) is higher in a practical sense than One World Trade Center, where the top 408 feet is “spire.” Earth's tallest man-made structure is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, at a height of 2,717 feet. allow us to build?.

What's the maximum height possible? allow us to build?.

Some architects say it's certainly possible to go a mile up, maybe even higher. Matthias Sauerbruch, of Sauerbruch Hutton outlined some of the problems such high buildings face (elevators and the huge area required for the base are two of them) but said theoretically there is no limit. He added, “Whether this makes sense or not is another question.” allow us to build?.

For an interesting look at the highest structures currently in existence and the possibilities and problems for even higher ones, see What's the tallest skyscraper physics would allow us to build?.

Comments and RF related news items are welcome. Email me at

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.