White space between TV signals could save lives at sea.


Source:  Southgate Amateur Radio Club.

According to the BBC, the leftover white space between TV signals is raising the hope of saving lives at sea and providing broadband for remote communities.  Coast Guard stations in the UK have been using the same VHF technologies for years, with coverage problems created the line-of-sight properties of the VHF marine bands.  Jeremy Blake, a coxswain of the Freshwater Independent lifeboat group, tells the BBC, the technology works fairly well , “but we’re still limited by line of sight…we can only have one-way communication at a time, and if someone else is talking on the radio that will drown us out if they’ve got a stronger signal.”  That situation will change shortly as the lifeboat group has been an active participant of a new technology that supporters say could not only save lives but bring superfast broadband to rural communities that so far have been cut off from the information age.”  The new technology uses something called “White Space” and takes advantage of unused parts of the spectrum reserved for television transmissions.  Thanks to Stephen (G7VFY) for the story.  For details, visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-28957172.  Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).

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Smartphones Are Replacing TVs


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Television apps explode.

Russ Roberts‘s insight:

Thanks to reporter David Hall for this fascinating story.  According to the Adobe Digital Index, there’s been “a 246 percent increase in viewing so- called TV Everywhere apps, which allows users to stream shows from certified broadcast networks.  TV Everywhere apps also are  outpacing the growth of many online video sources, such as Hulu and You Tube.”  Once the controversial Aereo system becomes integrated into the mix, broadcast executives may have a new worry to contemplate–falling revenues.  That’s one reason why the TV Freedom group is appealing to Congress to put more  controls over cable and satellite networks.  The U.S. Supreme Court will decide the fate of cloud-based broadcaster Aereo later this month.  Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).

See on www.thedailybeast.com

Broadcasters Push Congress to Investigate Pay-TV Prices


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TVFreedom, a coalition headed up by the Big Four broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX), wrote a letter to leaders of the House and Senate communications oversight committees yesterday, requesting an investigation into the billing practices of cable and satellite companies.

Why This Matters: TVFreedom is asking congressional committee leaders to focus on pay-TV industry-wide practices, such as “erroneous overbilling, equipment rental fees, early termination fees, and inflated or unnecessary ‘extra’ charges” as they begin the process of updating the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Russ Roberts‘s insight:

According to reporter David Hall, the outcome has important consequences for the entertainment industry.  The broadcast industry-sponsored “TV Freedom” wants Congress to investigate pay-TV practices, such as “erroneous overbilling, “extra charges”, early termination fees, and high equipment rental fees.  I think TV executives are feeling the heat of satellite and cable delivery systems.  Their appeal to Congress could be seen as a way to preserve market share and dominate the entertainment marketplace.  It’s all about money and the programming and legislative influence that money can buy.  Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).

Public Sides with Aereo


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According to a study from research firm Peerless Insights, 46% of online respondents want Aereo to win its court battle with broadcasters, while only 15% said they want the Supreme Court to rule in broadcasters’ favor. The rest had no answer.

Why This Matters: Gaining public support seems to come fairly easy for Aereo, which posted a YouTube video on Monday laying out its claim of how it legitimately uses cloud-based broadcast antennas to render its service. But the company’s fate rests in the hands of the Supreme Court, which is expected to render a verdict by the end of this month.

Russ Roberts‘s insight:

Interesting viewpoint from reporter David Hall, who explains why all of this matters.  Hall states, “Gaining support seems fairly easy for Aereo, which posted a You Tube video on Monday laying out its claim… “However, public sentiment aside, the fate of the cloud-based tv broadcaster really lies with the U.S. Supreme Court, which will make a decision on this issue late this month.  Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).

Multi-Channel Digital Television


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HDTV signals at 60 Hz require around 19 megabits per second to carry all the necessary information to recreate the video. This 19 Mbits is achieved by compressing the pure signal through a special high definition subset of the MPEG-2 video compression scheme and Dolby‘s AC-3 audio compression scheme. In fact, the uncompressed HDTV data is about sixty times larger than the compressed 19 Mbit signal!

 

A 19 Mbit HDTV signal fits into a standard 6 MHz frequency band used for uncompressed, analog NTSC television signals. Each HDTV broadcaster has been allotted a frequency band for their HDTV broadcasts. However, using digital compression technology, that same bandwidth can carry a single high definition signal or multiple standard resolution signals. Since a 640 by 480 resolution standard definition digital television signal is not as large as a 1,920 by 1,080 resolution signal, several of the smaller signals can supplant the single high definition one.

 

Imagine a one-lane road through a small neighborhood. The street can only fit one large, wide-load truck. However, it can fit two small family sedans, and it can accommodate six motorcycles. The road remains the same size so it can be used for a variety of purposes from single extra-large trucks to multiple motorcycles. The same is true of a digital television channel. It can accommodate one “extra-large” HDTV signal (1,920 x 1,080 at 60 Hz interlaced or 1,280 x 720 at 60 Hz progressive) or up to five or six standard definition 640 by 480 signals. Thus, digital television allows broadcasters to provide multiple channels of standard quality programming (similar to the quality of a DVD) or a single channel of ultra-pure, ultra-high quality high definition programming.

 

Presently, the major networks have voiced their support of high definition programming for prime time shows. However, any television station broadcasting in high definition may also break down their high definition channel to present multiple standard channels. In theory, a television station could broadcast five different news shows in standard resolution during the evening news hour tailoring one to each area of a city or to each county in the broadcast area for instance. True HDTV is where digital television really shines, but DTV also lends flexibility to broadcasters that has never been available before.

Russ Roberts‘s insight:

Thanks to reporter David Hall for this excellent description of multi-channel digital television.  Unlike uncompressed analog NTSC television signals, digital television can accommodate up to five different shows in standard resolution or one true HDTV signal.  Digital Television “lends flexibility to broadcasters that has never been available before.”  Impressive.  Now, if only we can get quality programming to fill in those available spaces.  Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).

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HAM Video Premieres on the Space Station


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Astronauts on the International Space Station can now talk with people on Earth with video using simple transmitters. (Hey amateur radio enthusiasts, we now have #HAM TV on space station!

Russ Roberts‘s insight:

The new Ham TV station on board the International Space Station (ISS) became operational on 12 April 2014.  NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins had the honor of being the “first to commission the video and broadcast over Ham TV.”  The new amateur radio television station will add a “visual dimension” to ARISS programs. Schoolchildren will be able to see and hear astrounauts in with simple equipment.  Great program for the students!  Aloha de Russ (KH6JRM).

See on www.nasa.gov

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