Here comes the UHF Channel "Repack" for OTA - Page 3 - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums

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post #31 of 241 (permalink) Old 2014-12-28, 01:00 AM
 
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How much nearly-new transmission equipment would be rendered obsolete by a move from the channel 38-51 range into the 14-36 range?
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post #32 of 241 (permalink) Old 2014-12-28, 06:53 AM
 
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We the over the air enthusiasts are being slowly squeezed out of the viewing spectrum. If stations will be forced to relocate to UHF low or VHF most will have "no appetite" to reinvest in new transmitters, antennas, and equipment.
Most of us are viewing mainly UHF channels, as we are unable to setup large VHF antennas. If more stations will move out from UHF to VHF, many of potential "cord cutters" will not get into OTA at all. Cable and satellite industry must be very happy that all this is happening. Being in mobile services themselves, they are probably in the forefront of lobbing for OTA television spectrum reduction.
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post #33 of 241 (permalink) Old 2014-12-28, 01:03 PM
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There is no doubt that wireless phone and data companies are behind the reassignment. They stand to make billions of dollars a year from the 600MHz band alone. In most markets, the loss of the 600MHz band won't make much difference for OTA TV. OTA TV stations are not that profitable any more and OTA is a shrinking market. (Cable penetration in London, ON has been 95% since the 1960s so OTA viewers here are a small part of the market.) The wireless data market, by comparison, is growing by double digits annually and is extremely profitable. Local OTA could be transmitted using a small portion of the available bandwidth. (Just take a look at the UK model to see how this works.) Distant OTA reception will take a hit but broadcasters don't care either. They want a captive local audience.

UHF station reassignment has been going on for decades. UHF originally went to channel 83. Channels 70 to 83 were reassigned before modern mobile phones became popular. (They were reassigned for cellular phone and other uses in 1983.) When the UHF band was created, the upper reaches of its frequency spectrum was considered experimental. Very few TVs had UHF tuners and UHF stations used the lower channels because TVs didn't work very well at UHF frequencies. Once the technology improved, new uses were found for higher frequencies and the attributes of UHF frequencies, for things like personal communications, became apparent.
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post #34 of 241 (permalink) Old 2014-12-28, 03:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Titanium48
How much nearly-new transmission equipment would be rendered obsolete by a move from the channel 38-51 range into the 14-36 range?
Thankfully for broadcasters, ATSC transmitter gear is not difficult to reassign, assuming nothing would need to be changed way up on the antenna tower too. This reassignment capability was a built-in feature set during the first digital OTA transition. The days of big old Klystrons and IOTs are gone, replaced with rackmount ATSC exciter gear using far less space and needing far less manual labour to reconfigure or replace. So, the answer is very little will be rendered obsolete.
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post #35 of 241 (permalink) Old 2014-12-29, 12:04 AM
 
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^ That's encouraging at least. Where I live (Edmonton) there's lots of available spectrum (all of our OTA would fit into VHF-Hi), but somehow we ended up with 3 channels in the 40s.

I agree with a previous comment that everyone should be participating in the "repacking", not just OTA tv stations. TV will need to give up some spectrum and compensate by moving to better compression algorithms in 5-10 years. The mobile industry should be transitioning to 100% LTE within a few years, and should be able to fully transition to each new generation protocol within 5-7 years of its introduction (how many 5+ year old handsets even work any more?). The military should also be called to justify their large upper VHF allocation, especially given that civil aviation still seems to be getting by with just 30 MHz of spectrum.
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post #36 of 241 (permalink) Old 2014-12-29, 12:30 AM
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The military should also be called to justify their large upper VHF allocation
Good luck with that. It would need to be coordinated with the US. New, advanced technology like drones and laser guided missiles aside, the military tends to use dated technology because it's in service, is proven to be reliable and would be very expensive to replace. That alone keeps them from doing things like giving up RF spectrum. (Never mind that they probably wouldn't voluntarily give up any assigned resources. Various military organizations (US, UK, etc.) have huge chunks of IPv4 addresses that they don't really need. Did they give any of them up to ease the IPv4 address crunch? I didn't hear of any.)
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post #37 of 241 (permalink) Old 2014-12-29, 08:58 PM
 
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The military should also be called to justify their large upper VHF allocation
They would, but it's all classified.

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Thankfully for broadcasters, ATSC transmitter gear is not difficult to reassign
You can bet they will try to spin this another way because the facts won't fit their "OTA is high cost, no return" narrative.
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post #38 of 241 (permalink) Old 2015-02-07, 08:54 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stampeder View Post
Thankfully for broadcasters, ATSC transmitter gear is not difficult to reassign, assuming nothing would need to be changed way up on the antenna tower too. This reassignment capability was a built-in feature set during the first digital OTA transition. The days of big old Klystrons and IOTs are gone, replaced with rackmount ATSC exciter gear using far less space and needing far less manual labour to reconfigure or replace. So, the answer is very little will be rendered obsolete.
But moving from a channel in 600Mhz to 200Mhz is going to need some antennas returned, no? That's going to shake things up, it will still cost money and tick off the broadcasters who have been dragging their feet to begin with.

They really should have done all this during the DTV transition. They could even have change the amount of bandwidth a single channel had, that would have been especially useful in Canada considering virtual channels are basically not even being used for the most part.

It would be nice to at least let legacy broadcasts in rural areas to remain (still will suck for urban areas though with more broadcasts), and anyone looking to license 600MHz spectrum just would work around those legacy channels until they ever decide to move or God forbid, shutdown.
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post #39 of 241 (permalink) Old 2015-05-15, 10:19 AM
 
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In the UHF band, channels 36(some reports say 30) to 51 will be auctioned off for mobile phone use in the USA. This means that there will be a "re-packing" or re-assignment of UHF channels currently assigned to channels 36-51. In order to relieve possible overcrowding of signals in border areas, there will be more use of VHF-HI frequencies (ch7-13). the CRCTC will cooperate with the FCC the make any neceasary re-assignments of channels in Canada. There is even talk of using VHF-LO(channel2-6) frequencies. That would mean that some "classic designs" such as the Channel Master Crossfire and other VHF Lo and Hi/Fm/Uhf combos would become very relevant again! However, all of this will not happen for at least three years. UHF antennas will not become obsolete ( although some older designs were engineered to performed best in the higher UHF frequencies (36-51).
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post #40 of 241 (permalink) Old 2015-05-15, 10:36 AM
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The main issue with current antenna designs is that many of them have higher gain at the high end of the UHF spectrum. That means that signals on newly assigned frequencies are more likely to cause issues due to overload of preamps or receivers. That can be resolved by using a low pass filter to eliminate the higher frequency signals.

The other issue is that the repack has, so far, been voluntary for broadcasters. We may end up with areas where most of the channel 36-51 band is being used for mobile communications with one or two channels still in use. That will create issues for weaker, distant signals.
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post #41 of 241 (permalink) Old 2015-05-15, 11:01 AM
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Three years may be when the FORCED Repacking STARTS.....and perhaps another 3-5+ years to actually Implement....each affected UHF Station will need to buy and install a DIFFERENT Transmit Antenna Array, Feedline system and perhaps a New Transmitter...although the old Modulator and everything upstream is good to go....and there are only so many qualified Hi-Wire Techs to do the work....

HOWEVER by then, 4K Broadcasts (i.e. ATSC 3.0) should be fairly commonplace, so the Modulator and a LOT of other upstream signal processing stuff would also be replaced.

BTW: The US DTV Transition was partially subsidized by the US Govt, which used the BILLIONS of $'s of Income from selling off Ch52-69 to make a small dent in trying to help "Balance" the Budget. The "Repack" will also generate BILLIONS of $'s for the US Govt....but I haven't heard of any definite plans to reimburse DTV stations for giving up their channel for Cell Phone use....

Antenna Simulations, Overload Calculations, etc: http://imageevent.com/holl_ands
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post #42 of 241 (permalink) Old 2015-05-15, 11:12 AM
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I believe that stations voluntarily giving up high frequency alignments are receiving compensation. The US seems to be handling this a lot better than Canada, where stations and consumers received no compensation at all due to the DTV transition. The result has been a significant deterioration of OTA here. Meanwhile the big winners, regulated cell phone companies that enjoy significant government protection, are walking away with billions in new profits a year.
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post #43 of 241 (permalink) Old 2015-05-15, 01:01 PM
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CELL PHONE Companies...NOT the US Govt...is paying to take over an existing DTV channel being voluntarily transferred....after that it's up to the ex-owner whether they want to simply pocket the money and run.....or reinvest it to change to another channel assignment.

As I recall, only a small number of "disadvantaged??" and/or "low power" stations received partial subsidies for DTV Transition from US Govt.

Antenna Simulations, Overload Calculations, etc: http://imageevent.com/holl_ands
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post #44 of 241 (permalink) Old 2015-05-16, 01:18 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holl_ands
each affected UHF Station will need to buy and install a DIFFERENT Transmit Antenna Array, Feedline system and perhaps a New Transmitter...although the old Modulator and everything upstream is good to go
So the transmitter antennas are channel-specific then? Would an antenna currently used to transmit on a channel in the 40s be unsuitable for a channel in the 30s?
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post #45 of 241 (permalink) Old 2015-05-16, 02:38 AM
 
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Dumb question here from a guy who's not a tech: how will this transition theoretically impact the end user in terms of OTA gear? Will the antenna chart and preamp recommendations need to be scrapped and re-written, for example?

If so, most people would just throw the towel on OTA... Kind of like when the entire FTA thing had become more trouble and cost than it was worth.

I hope our 2/4/8 bay Channel Masters, Antennas Direct, etc. will still serve a purpose at that point... because very few people have the room or the desire for 10+ foot monster antennas on their roofs or in their attics.

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