Digital TV Deadline News & Digital Radio Launch News

by | Jul 12, 2005 | Audio News | 0 comments

CEA Pres Asks for Hard Deadline for Analog TV – Gary
Shapiro – President and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association –
testified before a congressional committee this week examining the
transition to all-digital telecasting.  He said a hard deadline of
March 2007 would be the earliest possible date consistent with
integrating digital reception into 13 to 24-inch sets and other devices
with analog tuners, and ensuring the smoothest transition for
consumers. He stressed the need for recovery of the 700 MHz spectrum
currently used for analog TV, since it is ideal for advanced wireless
broadband applications, promising unprecedented access to rural and
undeserved areas. The use of the spectrum for emergency communication
was also mentioned as strengthening national security.

“CEA shares concerns about disenfranchising consumers, but the data
shows the number of consumers in this category has been exaggerated,”
Shapiro reported. He said their newest survey found 87% of American
homes receiving local and national broadcasts by either cable or
satellite, but only 11.5%  of the 285 million TV sets are used for
OTA (Over The Air) reception. An earlier CEA survey found that it was
erroneous to assume that TV sets not hooked to cable or satellite were
all used for terrestrial reception – a sizable portion are used only
for viewing DVDs or videotapes or video gaming.  CEA states their
primary goal as making the DTV transition as consumer friendly as
possible. [Then they had better prod manufacturers to get some
inexpensive convertor boxes on the market soon for the majority of
Americans who don’t even realize their analog TV reception will soon be
turned off…Ed.]

Digital Terrestrial Radio Finally Coming – This fall will mark
the national launch of HD Radio, the new digital in-band broadcast
technology from iBiquity Digital.  The sales pitch will not be
just about better audio quality (although there will no longer be any
multipath problem with FM, and FM will come up to CD quality with AM
sounding like FM does now). The big item for broadcasters will be
multicasting – every station now on the dial will be able to broadcast
a second and perhaps even a third separate channel.  NPR plans to
offer public stations five music program streams to select for their
second channels: classical, jazz, folk, rock and electronica. Stations
that have gone all-news can now offer their listeners some of the music
that has vanished from the airwaves.  HD Radio is Johnny Come
Lately since the satellite services XM and Sirius are already here and
have signed up nearly five million subscribers.  But they are $10
to $13 a month and terrestrial digital radio is free.  Receivers
will start at about $250 but should soon come down in cost.  [Let
us hope the audio quality really is  superior; many listeners to
the digital services of the BBC in the UK are disgusted with the poor
fidelity of the heavily data-reduced broadcasts…Ed.]

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