Disappearance of VHF LO and 52-69 - Page 2 - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums

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post #16 of 37 (permalink) Old 2010-10-28, 10:40 PM
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The problem with better compression techniques, such as MPEG-4 Pt 10/AVC/h.264 is that another transition will be needed.

However, lacking channels to do this, we would need to simulcast sub-channels on the same physical channel. This is already done extensively in the US, but with mobile DTV looking for bandwidth and with possible HD channel sharing down the road (suggested by the FCC), it will be difficult.
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post #17 of 37 (permalink) Old 2010-10-28, 11:00 PM Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Jase88 View Post
In the future, better compression and other technologies will compensate for lost spectrum.
Disagree, this is a question of proportion. The "better technologies" argument applies to all users of the spectrum & is therefore not valid when reassigning portions of it.

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The biggest benefactor of spectrum auctions is the government; to the tune of billions of dollars per auction. The reduction in broadcast spectrum hasn't impacted channel startups yet to my knowledge.
Yes, not YET. The future lies before us and I'm assuming that spectrum will be virtually impossible to get BACK once sold.
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post #18 of 37 (permalink) Old 2010-10-29, 12:24 AM
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Disagree, this is a question of proportion. The "better technologies" argument applies to all users of the spectrum & is therefore not valid when reassigning portions of it.
Well, different applications have different requirements. With broadband wireless data, the goal is to get as many users as possible in a quantity of spectrum, while providing as much throughput as possible--in a two-way transmission stream.

With broadcast TV, your data stream is generally fixed, with a one-way transmission. It's comparing apples to oranges.

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Yes, not YET. The future lies before us and I'm assuming that spectrum will be virtually impossible to get BACK once sold.
Under the current regulatory system, there's no incentive to launch a conventional station. The revenue stream for conventional stations is limited to advertising. Whereas with class 2 specialty stations, revenue is FFC and advertising. Further, with the lack of transmitters, the operating costs for specialty stations are lower. And the programming limitations placed on conventional broadcasters are far more strict.

In other words, I don't see any future demand for OTA spectrum from new conventional players, as the potential revenue isn't there. In fact, I see the opposite, as evidenced by SUN TV's recent decision to change their format to all-news specialty--abandoning the conventional TV model.

Future growth, similar to what we've seen stateside, appears to be limited to secondary networks that buy into sub-channels (i.e. "Cool TV", RTV, etc). And that hasn't necessitated additional channel use.

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post #19 of 37 (permalink) Old 2010-10-29, 12:28 AM
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And in the US, the low power TV stations did NOT rush to take over the vacated Lo-VHF allocations, even though it would greatly lower their monthly power bill.....
Not surprising at all. It seems that antenna makers are abandoning VHF-lo as well, so how are those low power VHF-lo channels going to be received? I certainly don't want to put up a VHF-lo monster on my chimney either. I was looking at Britain's system the other day. It's all UHF with channels clustered on nearby channels in a single, regional location to simplify both broadcasting and receiving equipment. Maybe the situation is a little more complicated here but it sure would be nice to have all the local channels on UHF and in one direction, instead of scattered across 3 frequency bands and half a dozen directions.

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post #20 of 37 (permalink) Old 2010-10-29, 12:32 AM
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The problem with better compression techniques, such as MPEG-4 Pt 10/AVC/h.264 is that another transition will be needed.
I don't see this as a problem for one important reason: Consumers won't get the same life expectancy out of flat-screen TV's as they've experienced with CRT's. It will be far easier to incorporate MPEG4/conventional ATSC hybrid tuners into near-future devices, much like we have NTSC/ATSC hybrids now. Then the transition in the future with have minimal impact on consumers.

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post #21 of 37 (permalink) Old 2010-10-29, 12:59 AM
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Consumers won't get the same life expectancy out of flat-screen TV's as they've experienced with CRT's.
Don't be too sure about that. Some sets are rated at 60,000 hours. That's a lot longer than any CRT I know of. I have a 5 year old LCD with no signs of aging. I've never seen a CRT that didn't show signs of aging after 5 years. My 43" CRT RPTV required regular calibration, about every six months, due to component aging. It is true that fluorescent back lights can dim or shift spectrum and poorly designed parts can fail but I've yet to see it on an LCD TV. I have one LCD monitor that is showing signs of back light aging but it is the exception, rather than the norm.

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post #22 of 37 (permalink) Old 2010-10-29, 01:41 AM
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ScaryBob: I presume you meant "LED" backlit LCD TV's. And yes, I don't see them running as long as CRT's either. Pixels will die, electronics will fail. Today's flat screens are more like computers than their CRT predecessors.

In addition to the lower life expectancy, I also believe that feature set, lower pricing, and better specs will factor in to a quicker replacement cycle. We've already seen a significant jump in refresh rate, better back lighting techniques, features like 3D capability, and far lower prices. An aging population will demand bigger--and they'll get them, for lower prices.

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post #23 of 37 (permalink) Old 2010-10-29, 07:16 AM
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I presume you meant "LED" backlit LCD TV's
I meant fluorescent back lit LCD TVs. The LED versions have not been out that long.

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Pixels will die, electronics will fail.
Haven't seen a dead pixel in some 20 years of combined use for several panels. Like I said, only one display has shown any signs of aging. That one was purchased at Walmart and is probably an indication of the quality of their products rather than overall LCD display quality. I've yet to see failure of the electronics though I know it does happen.

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post #24 of 37 (permalink) Old 2010-10-29, 09:16 AM
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Maybe the situation is a little more complicated here
IIRC, in Europe there were far fewer channels to chose from, which makes it easier to get them all in one place. A physically smaller country also makes it easier. In the Toronto area, we already have most of the Canadian TV stations in one location (CN Tower), but we still need antennas facing Buffalo, if we want to receive U.S. stations.
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post #25 of 37 (permalink) Old 2010-10-29, 09:18 AM
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Consumers won't get the same life expectancy out of flat-screen TV's
How do you know this?
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post #26 of 37 (permalink) Old 2010-10-29, 09:23 AM
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And yes, I don't see them running as long as CRT's either
Vacuum tubes, including CRTs work only by continually sacrificing the cathode. It will, after some time burn out. I'm old enough to remember when TVs were full of vacuum tubes and failures were a frequent occurance. Everyone here, who has used a drug store tube tester, please put up your hands.
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post #27 of 37 (permalink) Old 2010-10-29, 11:22 AM
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we already have most of the Canadian TV stations in one location (CN Tower)
I am well aware of that but it is the exception rather than the rule. Large cities tend to have some sort of super structure that is used but barring that, towers tend to be scattered all over the countryside. Here we have Global on VHF-lo in one direction, CTV on VHF-hi in another, CH on UHF in another, CITY on UHF in another and /A\ on VHF-hi in yet another. What makes it even worse is that they are all at different distances as well so that higher gain equipment required for some stations causes overload with others. It's a nightmare that makes paying BDUs look like the only solution to most people.

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post #28 of 37 (permalink) Old 2010-10-29, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by holl_ands
Due to severe backlog of unfulfilled FM channel requests, both Ch6 and Ch5 are being proposed
for an expanded FM Band (no real action is evident at this time).
I haven't heard anything new on that front but it is still on the table and being driven by the Feds:

FCC: Time To Discuss Moving TV Channels 5 & 6 To Radio
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post #29 of 37 (permalink) Old 2010-10-29, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by ScaryBob View Post
I was looking at Britain's system the other day. It's all UHF with channels clustered on nearby channels in a single, regional location to simplify both broadcasting and receiving equipment. Maybe the situation is a little more complicated here but it sure would be nice to have all the local channels on UHF and in one direction, instead of scattered across 3 frequency bands and half a dozen directions.
It is complcated here, and in the US, because the way the system works is that each station is responsible for their own transmission (and they like it that way), unlike the UK at least, where transmission is done by a consortium directed by a group of stations, to say the least.

As for re-using VHF-Lo for non TV, I am for it. I am for using 5-6 for an extension to the FM band, and 2-4 for a mobile (not necessarily hand-held) 2-way radio service.
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post #30 of 37 (permalink) Old 2010-10-29, 01:21 PM
 
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A few points to consider:

Radio frequencies are public property in Canada. I don't believe that the auctions result in a perpetual transfer of usage rights to the wireless companies. If you are interested you might like to do some research.

The job of Industry Canada's spectrum management group is to make the best possible use of spectrum to satisfy the needs of Canadians. Reallocation is a fact of life and results in users being displaced. The creation of the cellular bands is a good example of taking underutilized spectrum from the high UHF television channels. Another is the reallocation of the 1.8 GHz band from common carrier microwave to digital cellular. The wireless industry is booming and providing all kinds of services that are widely used by Canadians. If more TV channels have to be taken to allow growth in wireless then so be it. The needs of the huge numbers of people using wireless outweigh the needs of the 10% of population using OTA.

The economics of television have changed dramatically since the first analog station went on the air. Broadcasting was 100% of the market in the late 1970s but has shrunk continuously. The networks feeding the OTA stations account for less than 40% of TV viewing. Stations have a hard time generating sufficient revenue to survive with so much competition from non-broadcast television services. The US has recognised this reality and established the fee for carriage regulations to let the broadcasters charge cable and satellite companies to carry their signals.

I don't see any evidence to suggest that anyone will be trying to start new advertising based OTA television networks in Canada anytime soon. A portion of the audience is already moving to television programming delivered on demand over the internet. If OTA sees a revival it may well be to feed mobile devices in which case the picture quality can be significantly lower, use more efficient compression and require smaller data streams. The streams will be likely be encrypted and use the specialty channel revenue model - advertising plus subscription fees.

The television bands will still have plenty of capacity available after the digital transmission and could be further reduced. The post transition plan starts with the old analog plan based on 1970s UHF tuner capability. The broadcasters wanted to reuse as much infrastructure as possible to reduce the cost to make the transition. If you don't need a new antenna or transmission line then the cost is much lower. To pack the spectrum tighter, the capability of ATSC to operate on adjacent channels will have to be used extensively. A reworked spectrum could be based on blocks of 4 to 8 adjacent channels to facilitate shared antennas and transmission lines. The number of transmission sites would be reduced resulting in a saving of operating costs for broadcasters. I think that channels 38 to 52 could be reallocated but the federal government would have to pay for the transition because the broadcast industry cannot afford it. The means of payment might be an obligation for the winners in a spectrum auction to pay for relocation of broadcasters in the spectrum they have purchased.

Finally, a decision on a further reallocation of TV spectrum would have to consider the economics of continuing OTA for the 10% of users versus regulatory and tax policies to ensure that everyone can obtain basic television services from cable or satellite at very low cost. The economic benefits of completely clearing the band for wireless and mobile services might outweigh the cost of subsidizing TV services for economically disadvantaged families.
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