Welcome to RF Current, a weekly electronic newsletter focusing on Broadcast technical and F.C.C. related issues. This newsletter is part of The RF Page @ www.transmitter.com, a web site devoted to TV Broadcast RF engineering. For more information see the What is... guide to the R.F. Page site.

Issues are dated each Monday, although recently I've needed an extra day(week) or two to complete each issue. Articles may be posted earlier if time permits or if there is a major, breaking story.

<<< Back to January 1 - Issue 245

January 8, 2001 - Issue 246 Final Edition

DTV - Zenith Introduces Under $1,000 Integrated DTV Set (Jan. 7)
Zenith announced it plans to sell a 27-inch, 4:3 aspect ratio, standard-definition digital TV set priced under $1,000 in the second half of 2001. The company also plans to introduce a 32-inch model that will sell for slightly more than $1,000.

Richard Lews, Zenith senior vice president, explained, "Early in the transition to DTV, Zenith and others in the industry have been concentrating primarily on large-screen, higher-end, high-definition displays that require expensive optics. Large HDTVs will always offer consumers the ultimate home theater experience, but widespread DTV deployment will require mass market products at mass market prices. Technology has now progressed to the point that, for a relatively small price increment over conventional analog TVs, more consumers will soon be able to enjoy many benefits of digital television -- snow-free, ghost-free pictures and CD-quality sound. "

The basic DTV sets will receive all 18 ATSC video formats and display them in SDTV format on the 4:3 aspect ratio picture tube. In addition to the VSB tuner and demodulator, Lewis said the sets will include an analog NTSC TV tuner and Zenith-developed software to allow viewers to "surf seamlessly between analog and digital broadcasts." The sets will also include a QAM demodulator for direct connection to digital cable systems.

From the Zenith Press Release Zenith Announces Industry's First Integrated Digital TV Under $1,000.

WIRELESS - DirecPC to Provide Broadband Two-Way Satellite Internet Service (Jan. 6)
DirecTV and Hughes Network Systems will launch a new high-speed satellite Internet service - "DIRECTV BROADBAND Powered by DirecPC." The system offers a return channel ("upload") data rate of 128 Kbps, optionally 256 Kbps. Download data rates are the same as the current DirecPC product, up to 400 Kbps. The system connects to an existing PC using the USB port.

Hughes said pricing would be competitive to other available broadband services. It is available only in the continental U.S. and is offered through DirecPC partners such as Pegasus, EarthLink and Juno. Current DirecPC subscribers will be offered a special upgrade program sometime in the first quarter of 2001.

Additional information is available at www.direcpc.com/. Also see Hughes Network System Ships 2-Way DirecPC Systems. For more technical information visit www.direcpc.com/consumer/owners/faqs/faqs.html and www.direcpc.com/consumer/scoop/twoway.html.

DTV - Manufacturers Select Motorola M-DTV Module for Low Cost DTVs (Jan. 5)
Motorola announced Konka Group, Sampo Corporation, and Sichuan Changhong Electric Company have selected its MCT5100 M-DTV module for use in lower cost, standard definition digital TV sets. Konka is using the module in its model SD3286U TV. The analog/digital TV set is capable of receiving 8-VSB DTV signals and is both NTSC and ATSC compatible.
Sampo plans to begin offering DTV sets containing Motorola's M-DTV module in Winter 2001. Sampo AV Product Unit, Electronics Division Vice President Peter Chen said, "This solution enables us to enter the DTV market quickly and economically, which in turn benefits consumers. We will be able to offer consumers the low-cost, entertainment alternative that they are demanding."

Sichuan Changhong Electric said it intends to offer digital TV reception at a third of the price of current entry-level integrated DTV sets by using the Motorla module. Changhong plans to offer DTVs with the M-DTV module starting in Fall 2001.

The MCT5100 M-DTV module includes Motorola's MCT2100 demodulator, an MPEG decoder and a controller. The module also includes the MCT4000 transport and video processor for DTV applications. The M-DTV module accepts analog IF input and outputs conventional stereo audio, Dolby Digital audio data and multiple video formats.

More information on these companies is available in the Motorola Press Releases Motorola's M-DTV Module Chosen for Konka's Advanced Digital TV Sets; Sampo Corporation Declares Motorola's M-DTV Module of Choice for Digital TV-Enabled Sets; and Changhong Selects Motorola's M-DTV Module for Digital TV-Enabled Sets. Also see the MCT5100 M-DTV HDTV to NTSC Converter Module Product Summary for technical details on the module.

FCC NPRM Looks at Frequencies Under 3 GHz for 3G Wireless (Jan. 4)
An FCC news release FCC Looks to Allocate Additional Spectrum For New Advanced Wireless Systems, said the FCC has begn a proceeding to "explore the types of advanced mobile and fixed communication services that will likely be provided in the future, including the technical characteristics of such systems, and the spectrum requirements needed to support the introduction of such services, including the amount of spectrum needed and frequency bands that could be used by such systems." It will also explore "the possibility of introducing new advanced mobile and fixed services in frequency bands currently used for cellular, broadband Personal Communications Service ("PCS"), and Specialized Mobile Radio ("SMR") services, as well as in five other frequency bands: 1710-1755 MHz, 1755-1850 MHz, 2110-2150 MHz, 2160-2165 MHz and 2500-2690 MHz."

The FCC denied a petition filed by the Satellite Industry Association requesting that the 2500-2520 MHz and 2670-2690 MHz bands be reallocated to the Mobile-Satellite Service.

FCC - Modifications to DTV Table of Allotments (Jan. 5)
This table lists Notices of Proposed Rule Making proposing modifications to the FCC's DTV Table of Allotments and Report and Orders modifying the Table. Note that TV call letters often change frequently. The call letters listed here are the ones in the FCC releases. For comment deadlines, justification for the modifications, information on filing comments and additional information on the proposed or granted allotments (including coordinates and population covered) click on the associated FCC document link. * indicates an educational allotment.

Current Allotment Proposed Allotment More info:
City, State Call NTSC DTV Ch. DTV Ch. Power (kw.) HAAT (m) Action FCC Release
Charlotte NC WTVI *42 *24 *11 2.0 387 Granted DA 01-0002
Jacksonville NC WUNM *19 *44 *18 65 561 Proposed DA 01-0004
Macon GA WMAZ 13 45 4 5.0 238 Proposed DA 01-0001

OTHER Items of Interest

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