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NYT: Congress to Sell Public Airwaves to Pay Benefits

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
NYT: Congress to Sell Public Airwaves to Pay Benefits

New York Times, 2/16/12

"WASHINGTON — The need for revenue to partly cover the extension of the payroll tax cut and long-term unemployment benefits has pushed Congress to embrace a generational shift in the country’s media landscape: the auction of public airwaves now used for television broadcasts to create more wireless Internet systems."


Auction 1-2 years away.

Full NYT article on what's up with Broadcast airways.

CTIA/CEA White Paper that states the industry's goals and has good details of what they've probably paid for. BEST SOURCE FOR DETAILS ON CHANNEL ALLOCATION?

Earlier article w/ good links at bottom for more details.

Another earlier article with some similar details.
post #2 of 23
This topic came up in the AVS Antenna forum too.
post #3 of 23
A quote from one of the moderators taken from one of the threads in the HDTV Recorders forum:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken H View Post

A number of comments related to today's Congressional decision to auction off parts of the RF spectrum have been deleted. There is a dedicated topic 'stuck' at the top of the HDTV Technical forum, where discussion of this subject is taking place: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1216722 For the most current news, start on the last page and work backwards. It will roughly take two years or more before before OTA viewers would be affected by these auctions, if then . . .
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 


To narrow this down a little (?), here's another earlier article that defines the "real estate" to be auctioned off [emphasis mine]:

"This real estate is a portion of the public airwaves so valuable that it's been called the "Malibu beachfront" of the electromagnetic spectrum. This lower-frequency spectrum, previously reserved for broadcast radio and TV, is far superior to "Wi-Fi" frequencies used for Internet access - and for innovative devices ranging from microwave ovens and cordless phones to garage-door openers and baby monitors."

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/201...#storylink=cpy

post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by wajo View Post

"This real estate is a portion of the public airwaves so valuable that it's been called the "Malibu beachfront" of the electromagnetic spectrum. This lower-frequency spectrum, previously reserved for broadcast radio and TV, is far superior to "Wi-Fi" frequencies used for Internet access - and for innovative devices ranging from microwave ovens and cordless phones to garage-door openers and baby monitors."

No more OTA for the average JOE. LOL
post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by profhat View Post

No more OTA for the average JOE. LOL

Sounds like they might leave OTA-Joe at least ch. 2-30?
post #7 of 23
"No more OTA for the average JOE. LOL "

I fail to see why this is humorous to you????
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by pacofortacos View Post

"No more OTA for the average JOE. LOL "

I fail to see why this is humorous to you????

Quote:
In a sense, this proposal is a reflection of the times. In the U.S., there are more wireless devices in use than there are people. Meanwhile, various studies (?) show that fewer than 10 percent of households get their TV signals over the air the rest have cable or satellite service.

http://news.yahoo.com/tv-channel-squ...173304914.html

The irony, the FCC finally will kill the ATSC.
post #9 of 23
"In a sense, this proposal is a reflection of the times. In the U.S., there are more wireless devices in use than there are people. Meanwhile, various studies (?) show that fewer than 10 percent of households get their TV signals over the air the rest have cable or satellite service."

So...when the number of users drops below 10%, they become eligible to be screwed? Some households (including ours) have both OTA and satellite/cable to have access to OTA subchannels and/or an emergency source of TV.
post #10 of 23
and I wonder how many people who can get a decent number of OTA channels even realize that an "old fashioned antenna" works just as good or better than what they have now for much less cost?

I know most people I mention still having an antenna to think I'm joking-- then when I explain how much better OTA quality is, they say they're going to look into getting one. I know my local cable company just dropped the bitrate on the HD channels again, it's getting to the point of looking like a bad YouTube encode on some of them... :/
post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmscott42 View Post

I know my local cable company just dropped the bitrate on the HD channels again, it's getting to the point of looking like a bad YouTube encode on some of them... :/

Which remember me:

NCTA to FCC: Let All-Digital MSOs Encrypt Basic Tier

Maybe the circle will be complete soon.

post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by wajo View Post

Sounds like they might leave OTA-Joe at least ch. 2-30?

Don't most VHF channels prove to be junk when you try to use them for digital, and didn't I read that the lowest UHF channels were already handed over for non-TV use?

That's going to leave around a dozen channels available for OTA broadcasters.

I can't see it, unless they've realized ATSC was a mistake and the format now being used for TV on mobile devices is the preferred way to go, meaning another round of "your TV won't work any more so you'll need to get another".

post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gastrof View Post

Don't most VHF channels prove to be junk when you try to use them for digital, and didn't I read that the lowest UHF channels were already handed over for non-TV use?

That's going to leave around a dozen channels available for OTA broadcasters.

I can't see it, unless they've realized ATSC was a mistake and the format now being used for TV on mobile devices is the preferred way to go, meaning another round of "your TV won't work any more so you'll need to get another".

The industry white paper linked in post #1 touts 4 main "economic factors," including:

"Estimates at $565 million the cost of relocating ongoing over the air broadcast stations into a new “core” of TV Channels 2 through 30;"
post #14 of 23
In a recent article, Nielsen acknowledges "homes with broadband but without paid TV are on the rise. The percentage of people who have just OTA and broadband rose 22.8% since last year, and while they still comprise just 5% of all TV households, it's a segment that's slowly becoming less "fictional" in the face of relentless cable industry price hikes."

OTA is making a comeback. My lady and I just returned two DirectTV boxes that we were not using and I set up antennas in those rooms. I recently purchased a Roku box and am pleasantly surprised to find the depth of free (and inexpensive) content that I can bring in through my wifi connection.
OTA sub channels are another source of entertainment not available through satellite or cable.

As folks look to economize, giving up satellite/cable will happen before giving up broadband.

Viva La Revolution!
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by gastrof View Post

Don't most VHF channels prove to be junk when you try to use them for digital...?

I have two digital VHF channels. My ABC station is on 6 and PBS is on 12. They look just as good as the UHF digital channels.
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by crabboy View Post

In a recent article, Nielsen acknowledges "homes with broadband but without paid TV are on the rise. The percentage of people who have just OTA and broadband rose 22.8% since last year, and while they still comprise just 5% of all TV households, it's a segment that's slowly becoming less "fictional" in the face of relentless cable industry price hikes."

Some in congress would view this as all the more reason for the FCC to sell off the airwaves and squash that nasty trend before it gets out of hand and costs the Pay-TV industry taxable revenues. Congress has never been able to figure out a way to tax your use of free OTA TV so they have little reason to support its continued existence. Every frequency they sell off will generate sustainable future tax revenues way in excess of the original sale price.
Quote:
Originally Posted by crabboy View Post

I recently purchased a Roku box and am pleasantly surprised to find the depth of free (and inexpensive) content that I can bring in through my wifi connection.

The content may be free, for now, but you are still paying for the delivery. Internet bandwidth is not free and is being "capped" in more and more markets (just a way of introducing tiered pricing based on usage). You may give up Pay-TV but the end result for many will be to just shift their monthly service charge to a different line item to pay for their increased bandwidth usage. If you think I'm off-base, look how quickly the mobile phone companies eliminated the unlimited bandwidth plans for smart-phones and replaced them with tiered usage plans. Video streaming is a gold mine for bandwidth providers -- the bit-meter turns on and just keeps running and running and running. There is no free lunch. If you want to know the future, follow the money -- in particular, your money leaving your wallet.
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

If you think I'm off-base, look how quickly the mobile phone companies eliminated the unlimited bandwidth plans for smart-phones and replaced them with tiered usage plans. Video streaming is a gold mine for bandwidth providers -- the bit-meter turns on and just keeps running and running and running. There is no free lunch. If you want to know the future, follow the money -- in particular, your money leaving your wallet.

And people wonder why the economy is slow to rebound. More and more disposable income is going toward telecommunications and entertainment expenditures...even non-disposable income. Just a few years ago I never would have fathomed spending upwards of $100/mo on cell service, TV, or broadband. These rates are climbing at multiple times the rate of inflation.
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken.F View Post

I have two digital VHF channels. My ABC station is on 6 and PBS is on 12. They look just as good as the UHF digital channels.

In our area one station was a hold-out. All the others had chosen to move to UHF channels for the digital changeover, but this one insisted on going back to their old analog channel for digital.

Total failure. They lost at least a third of their viewing audience (and this is a major market, and they're a major network affiliate).

FCC (which had assured them all would be well) ended up giving them permission to go to the channel they'd been using for digital during the simulcast period, and their analog channel got abandoned.

I've heard similar stories from other parts of the country, so it seemed VHF wasn't too good for digital. (I've read that flatly stated too. Guess it depends on the terrain?)
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by gastrof View Post

I've heard similar stories from other parts of the country, so it seemed VHF wasn't too good for digital. (I've read that flatly stated too. Guess it depends on the terrain?)

I'm about 21 miles away from the transmitters. I wouldn't call it a fringe reception area but it's not line of sight either.

TV Fool Report.
post #20 of 23
Were analog UHF signal strong that VHF? I didn't have time to watch much TV but where I lived the analog UHF stations always were weak, not like the strong VHF ones.
post #21 of 23
^VHF chs 2-13 were far stronger in signal strength than any UHF 14 and up...
post #22 of 23
I think they were similar transmitter power but VHF with it's longer wavelength carried better for long distances. The advantage to UHF(and what makes it preferable for digital TV) is it's less prone to multipath(ghosting).
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

Every frequency they sell off will generate sustainable future tax revenues way in excess of the original sale price.

Not out of my wallet, they won't.
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