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Wireless Was King at 2015 CES

While wireless technology was everywhere at CES 2015, it was mostly Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and 4G, rarely over-the-air broadcasting. Last year I saw several tablet vendors offering TV reception as an option (usually DVB or ISDB-T). While I may have missed some, the only tablets with built-in TV tuners I saw on display were the RCA tablets, running the now outdated Android 4.1 operating system on older processors that had been displayed in previous years. While the major CE vendors are actively involved in the ATSC 3.0 process, the only open demonstration I found of a proposed ATSC 3.0 system was hidden away in a narrow passage in the Samsung exhibit. It was receiving a transmission off-air on channel 28 using equipment from Teamcast and a Comark transmitter at KVPX-LD's Black Mountain site. There was no sign explaining the details of the transmission (bit-rate, modulation method, FEC) and I think most people who found themselves walking past it would not have known what it was.

There were TV antennas at CES. One exhibitor, Qiaohua-ANTOP—which I hadn't noticed before at CES—was showing a wide range of different indoor TV antennas. One of the displays had transparent flat antennas where you could see the elements; it was interesting to see the different designs used for different sizes of antennas. VOXX had their usual display of antennas, both outdoor and indoor, fat and thin. Winegard, Channel Master, Antennas Direct, Mohu did not have exhibits on the floor at CES, although Channel Master had a Westgate suite.

Walking through CES it was clear that the Wi-Fi antenna is now as important, if not more important, than the F-connector when delivering wireless content to the TV. Tablo and TiVo had exhibits showing streaming broadcast TV programs to devices using local Wi-Fi or the Internet. Tablet TV did not have an exhibit, but Luc Tomasino had a chance to describe his company's TV to Wi-Fi product at the Digital Hollywood “Social Television: The 2nd Screen Phenomenon.”