If not done correctly, the upcoming spectrum auction has the potential to disrupt Americans’ access to broadcast television – the local channels that are the most-watched and also available for free with an antenna. This disruption would leave countless of viewers without the ability to receive local news and important updates on severe weather, as well as their favorite broadcast shows, such as American Idol, Parks and Rec, How I Met Your Mother or Scandal.
Many members of Congress realize the risks that come with the upcoming spectrum auctions. These lawmakers feel strongly that TV viewers, especially those who rely solely on broadcast TV and do not subscribe to cable or satellite, service, should be protected. These lawmakers are standing up for their constituents and voicing their concerns to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
To date, the Congressional Tri-Caucus and the following 15 congressional delegations have sent letters to the FCC, asking for more information on how viewers will be protected during the upcoming broadcast spectrum incentive auction. You can read their letters below.
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- New York
- South Carolina
Is your member of Congress supporting your ability to receive free, local television? Let them know if it’s important to you by joining an army of tens of thousands of viewers standing up for the future of TV.
Mobile TV has been highlighted heavily on The Future of TV Blog, and Dyle TV is one of the companies leading the way in this broadcast innovation. Not only does this technology bring viewers their favorite broadcast content wherever they are, it is also proving to be a useful tool for local radio and TV stations to deliver lifesaving information to their communities.
Last week, Dyle TV announced a partnership with the National Association of Broadcasters and Florida Association of Broadcasters in a pilot program designed to give first responders access to critical information during this year’s hurricane season. As part of this program, Florida’s State Emergency Response Team (SERT) were given mobile TV receivers before June 1 – the beginning of hurricane season.
During times of crisis, it’s extremely common for cell towers to go down, making local, over-the-air television and radio the only way people can receive lifesaving information. It is the hope that by making mobile TV receivers available to first informers, they will be able to share updates before, during and after a disaster immediately to consumers.
Miami’s local broadcast station, WFLX, covered this new program for their viewers; the clip can be viewed here.
Today AT&T, the National Association of Broadcasters and Verizon jointly posted the following blog:
The TV broadcast spectrum incentive auction proceeding raises some of the most difficult engineering challenges the FCC has ever faced. One thing is clear: a successful auction must start with an effective band plan. A band plan must seek to mitigate interference challenges to the greatest extent possible while offering blocks of spectrum best suited for deployment by U.S. wireless carriers. Otherwise, it will drive down the value of the spectrum and likely undermine the auction’s success.
With that in mind, broadcasters, wireless carriers and equipment manufacturers have spent an enormous amount of time, energy and expense reviewing and commenting on the optimal framework for the 600 MHz band. Hundreds of pages of comments have been filed, two industry consensus letters have been submitted and the FCC just recently convened a day-long workshop to discuss this issue. The result is growing consensus for adoption of a “down from 51” framework that seeks to maximize paired allocations and build guard bands only to meet engineering necessity. This approach reflects the best collective engineering judgment of the companies most affected by the auction, including those that will spend billions of dollars to purchase 600 MHz licenses at auction and billions more to develop and deploy the spectrum in U.S. wireless networks.
Despite these significant advances, on Chairman Julius Genachowski’s last day, a Public Notice was released seeking comment on two alternative band plan frameworks, one reversing the uplink and downlink allocations and one featuring time division duplex (TDD). The first has absolutely no support in the record and the second adopts a technological approach contrary to the one proposed by the majority of U.S. carriers. A fair reading of the Public Notice suggests that the FCC feels the consensus approach constrains its ability to adjust the band plan to meet market-by-market variations. We believe, however, that this notice will consume resources better spent on dealing with other critical and as-yet-unanswered questions in this proceeding, such as how co-channel interference concerns could undermine the variability of any band plan and how the FCC plans to conduct an effective re-packing.
Each of us of course will respond to the notice, but we don’t anticipate any fundamental shift in positions we’ve already taken in the record. In the meantime, we are concerned about the apparent disconnect between the FCC and the various industries that will be critically affected by this auction. Nothing about this auction will be easy, and, if we are to succeed, we must all work together to find solutions best designed to respond to broadcast industry concerns while meeting wireless industry requirements.
As you know, the Future of TV blog highlights the latest innovations in broadcast technology, broadcast issues in Washington and the many ways local broadcasters are central to their communities.
An example of broadcasters’ commitment to serving their local communities is the recently released video “Communicating Superstorm Sandy” that showcases the vital role broadcasters serve as “first informers” during emergencies. The video accurately captures the rapid response and lifeline support of local broadcasters when the devastating storm hit the East Coast last fall.
Included in the video are testimonies of local broadcasters as they worked around the clock to provide their neighbors with information to keep them safe. Dan Joerres, president/general manager of Baltimore’s WBAL-TV 11 says, “A local television station is out in the elements. Our reporters, our anchors, they’re there to tell the true story, to keep the public informed.” Susan Schiller, vice president and news director of Philadelphia’s KYW CBS 3, adds that broadcasters “have a public trust. It’s really a sacred public trust.”
Communities turn to their local broadcast stations every day for news, weather, traffic updates, original programming and more, but it is during times of crisis when viewers are reminded of just how important their local broadcasters are. Chris May, anchor, KYW CBS 3 noted, “We’re here every day. People know they can rely on us. They know we’re honest with them.”
Adds NBC Nightly News Anchor/Managing Editor Brian Williams, “Yes, local news is the first line of defense. I think it’s still the best conveyance method there is.”
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is also featured in the video and credits broadcast stations with disseminating live-saving information: “In the immediate aftermath of the storm my way to communicate to the folks in my state was through the broadcasters…”
Watch the video and let us know what you think of local broadcasters’ efforts to keep viewers safe.
Local TV stations from coast to coast are presenting more exciting ways viewers can enjoy broadcast TV on the go! Mobile TV (a service offered by local stations that uses the TV airwaves, not streaming over the Internet) gives you the option of taking your favorite morning show with you, watching TV instant replays while you’re sitting in the stadium or keeping your children occupied in the back seat of the car on long trips – and all without taking a bite out of your monthly data allowance!
By using the TV airwaves, local stations send content to your tablet, laptop or smartphone without the need for WiFi (so no annoying buffering!) But you need to be sure your device is mobile TV ready. Some phones and tablets have this built in. If you are an iPhone or iPad user, you just need a dongle (a small unit that plugs into your device to pick up the service).
Many viewers are already experiencing the benefits of TV on the go, and just recently it was announced that more cities will have mobile TV service in the very near future. Get ready Baltimore, Jacksonville, Fl. and Salt Lake City, you’re next! To find out if mobile TV service is already reaching your area, check out this coverage map.
On the West Coast, Seattle broadcast station KOMO-TV recently released the MyDTV app for iPad and iPhone users. Free through iTunes, this app allows users to receive KOMO-TV and other local TV stations, as well as record their favorite broadcast shows from channels available through the app. App users are then able to enjoy their recorded show at a later time, even if the device is no longer in the area where the show was recorded.
Broadcast TV continues to adapt to meet the changing needs of its viewers. So grab a dongle and get ready to enjoy your favorite shows anywhere, any time!
More than 92,000 media and entertainment representatives were in Las Vegas last week for the 2013 NAB Show. This annual conference is the premiere event for content and communications professionals from around the globe, especially those anxious to see what new technologies are on the horizon.
Among other things, attendees learned more about how they can watch their favorite local news and TV shows on the go without the need for WiFi or buffering at The Mobile TV Pavilion. Broadcasters are using their traditional airwaves to send content to cellphones, tablets, in-car entertainment systems and more. The top mobile TV companies demonstrated the technology, including explaining how a dongle can turn your iPhone or iPad into a traveling TV. Broadcasters’ mobile TV service is already available in half the country, and just last week 25 more stations announced they will deliver mobile TV in some of America’s largest cities.
4K TVs, the next generation HDTV, were also on display at the NAB Show. The screens on the exhibit floor were some of the largest available on the market – the image size is 3,840 by 2,160 compared to 1,920 by 1,080. 4K TVs boast the best picture quality, making them one of the most coveted items of TV loving Show attendees.
8K video (with 22.2 channel sound) was highlighted in the NHK exhibit at the NAB Labs Futures Park during the show in the “Super Hi-Vision” (SHV) presentation format. Continuous showings of SHV content were presented throughout NAB Show on a 300-inch screen in an 80-seat theater. NHK also showed a new SHV studio camera that captures images at a 120 Hz frame rate, along with a 60 Hz portable SHV camera. There was also an historic 8K event at the Show: For the first time in the world outside Japan, 8K video was transmitted and received over the air at the 2013 NAB Show, using two terrestrial TV channels.
Did you attend this year’s NAB Show? If so, you know that broadcasters in the U.S. and across the globe are constantly exploring innovations to better serve viewers. The future of TV is the content you want, when and where you want it.
Brackets have been made. New records have been set. Dreams have been achieved.
Over the past few weeks, Americans have gathered around their televisions to cheer on their favorite college basketball teams. Nothing brings people together like sporting events!
Nielsen reports that the 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament averaged 9.07 million viewers during the first two weeks of the tournament – up 11 percent from last year and the highest average in 19 years.
The regional game on Sunday averaged 12.82 million viewers, up 31 percent from last year’s tournament.
The Final Four games will be this Saturday, with Louisville taking on Wichita State and Syracuse going head to head with Michigan. Whether you plan to watch at home, in your favorite sports bar surrounded by friends or on your tablet thanks to the power of mobile TV, broadcast television will bring the winners, losers and can’t-miss-moments of the championship!