The Future of OTA Broadcasting


SatelliteGuys Master
Original poster
Pub Member / Supporter
Lifetime Supporter
Oct 19, 2004
Slaton, Texas
While "contemplating" in the "library" yesterday afternoon I had a thought.

Cell and data providers are clamoring for more bandwidth and TV stations are straining to pay their new higher wattage UHF broadcasting bills.

The government is threatening to take more bandwidth away from OTA and sell it to the cell/data industry.

Why can't the TV industry use this opportunity to give everyone the best of both worlds.

Let them exchange spectrum for broadcast nodes on EVERY cell tower.

By adding an indentifer to each channel and to each cell tower that channel is broadcast from the OTA TV industry could use the vast cell tower system to broadcast their programming instead of paying for high power antennas and transmitters.

Your TV channels would be a subset of the cell frequencies and each channel in a DMA wopuld have the same frequency on all cell towers in that DMA and the tuner on your TV would discriminate between the competing signals on the same frequency digitally, sorting out the best signal and jumping to another tower just like your cell phone does.

The cell system gets access to all white bandwidth (unused bandwith in each local area and the TV stations keep their channel frequencies but it is dispersed through the cell system.

Minor changes in ATSC tv tuners may be needed but it might actually make TV reception better and if you live along the border of two DMA's you get two sets of channels anyway.

Phone companies are already streaming HD through 4G systems to phones and iPads, why can't it be streamed through cells directly to your TV.
My wag is that all cell phone provider bandwidth taken together is as nothing compared to broadcast TV bandwidth. So what you are suggesting (?) is that virtually all TV bandwidth be given to wireless operators. :eek: And the power of TV transmission radically reduced so that coverage is just as bad as it is for cellular service?
Actually, ain't gonna happen because OTA broadcasters don't actually want to broadcast OTA. So many have relatively lower power and smaller coverage areas than under NTSC. Yes, I know the "rules" say it must be otherwise but there sure seem to be more reports about reduced coverage areas and a greater need for outside antennas. They want to just save money by feeding cable and satellite companies. With maybe only 15% of the population watching OTA, and them tending to be poorer, "it just ain't worth the electricity." They now seem to want an antiquated model propped up so they keep their gravy train.

I support OTA and have quite a nice setup. But now there's very little I want to watch from the 4 networks or OTA in general. And I've come to believe what I said above. Broadcasters are destroying themselves. How many fully utilize PSIP? Anyone using ATSC to the max? Or in the simplest cheapest implementation? How many maximize PQ? How few care about AQ? Mobile ATSC (E-VSB) dying for lack of broadcast industry interest? MOSTLY: Are any OTA broadcasters making any effort to increase the number of people watching OTA? Wouldn't that be an easy sell, free TV? Still a lot of areas with set top antenna reception possible.

Sorry to be so sour, but I've lost the faith.
A better idea would be to have all the locals provided on satellite for free in exchange for the satellite company to have the bandwidth which may choose to partner with Sprint.
A better idea would be to have all the locals provided on satellite for free in exchange for the satellite company to have the bandwidth which may choose to partner with Sprint.

That sounds like a great idea!

The only downfall is how would someone receive OTA without having a "financy" phone and lifetime contract???

Heck we can already get our locals free through a pizza shop! :rolleyes:
I would call it a stretch to say UHF broadcasters are "straining" to pay their broadcasting bills. The max power level is now 1 megawatt instead of 5 megawatts and that is achieved through antenna gain. So that means the actual power output of the transmitter is more like a tenth of that. They probably pay $25 an hour to $50 in a high rate area at maximum power.

There is a reason most stations have translators on different frequencies. To have several towers on the same frequency would require almost atomic clock accuracy to sync the signals together. With your plan and the way TV signals propagate there still would be areas out of sync resulting in serious multipath issues.

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