Globe editorial calls FM radio "outdated technology"
Tue Aug 24 19:14:22 EDT 2010
Could be, Bill. I don't know what the TV guys are doing in that regard,
although I have heard some of the same stuff you have.
Cellular radio broadcasting cannot be done analog on any large scale at this
time, at least not economically.
Under the current FCC rules, you can use on-channel boosters, but they have
to be located within the nominally protected coverage contour of a full
power station, they must be well synchronized so the center frequencies are
precisely the same, and they have to maintain a great degree of control over
modulation - BE says their studies indicate that a variance of more than 0.1
db in modulation starts to have noticeable effects! All of this means
digital STLs, synchronization via GPS receiver, and of course careful
attention to - and control over - propagation delays.
With an all-digital transmission format, it is much easier, at least in
theory. We would have to blow off the maybe six or seven hundred million
analog radios said to be in service in this country in favor of the less
than three million digital ones sold so far. That's not a trade the
industry - or the FCC - is willing to make any time soon.
But your point is valid. Eventually, we will be able to move to an
all-digital transmission format, and radio broadcasting could take on a
combination model of a central transmitter with a number of outlying low
power cells in problem areas, all fed and controlled via the Internet.
On the other hand, it is hard to imagine a workable economic model that
would have radio go into a purely cellular distribution method that is
solely dedicated to radio. More likely, I think, is a logical evolution
from where we are today. The initial tests with WiMax as a transmission
medium for streams were promising, but there are problems with mobile
reception. The Internet moves packets of data, not continuous streams of it.
Email, websites, and even video are much more tolerant of momentary
disruptions than pure audio streams. Eventually, the problems will probably
be overcome for the most part. Once the WiMax infrastructure is built out,
then car "radios" in metro areas should have access to WiMax streams most of
the time. But in rural areas and other places where cell phone service is
dicey today, it is unlikely that WiMax will be much more usable. So that
leaves us with radio stations streaming, but also still transmitting OTA
From: "Bill Smith" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 4:03 PM
Subject: Re: Globe editorial calls FM radio "outdated technology"
> I understand a few TV stations are running multiple digital transmitters
> to fill
> holes, could this be a first step to broadcasters moving to a cellular
> get rid of those million+ dollar towers and go on existing low altitude
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