Article Examines Drone Use By Radio Stations

Television broadcasters are likely to be joined in the skies by their radio brethren looking to use drones for newsgathering, including traffic reporting.

Radio Ink magazine has published “Could Drones Be Used For Radio Reporting?,” which is an interesting story on where things stand.

Panavision Buys 10 Panasonic VariCam 35 Cameras

Panavision has purchased 10 VariCam 35 4K cameras from Panasonic for its rental inventory.

Panavision has purchased 10 VariCam 35 4K cameras from Panasonic for its rental inventory.

Panavision has added 10 Panasonic VariCam 35 4K camera/recorders to its equipment inventory, Panasonic said this week.

To learn more, visit the Panasonic website.

ATSC 3.0 Puts Wireless Data Services On Horizon

vertical layout 5.5 (1)-smallAs I wrote about in today’s TVN tech feature, ATSC 3.0 will give broadcasters a reason to take a hard look at how they are allocating the data bits they transmit.

One of the most pressing questions they must answer will be: Is it more profitable to transmit a digital subchannel — perhaps one running a diginet — or use that same bit-carrying capacity to transmit a mobile wireless service?

A graphic on the One Media website provides a nice visual reference to some of the businesses and industries that broadcasters could serve by transmitting wireless digital bits. Some of the opportunities include the Internet of Things, agriculture and automotive. There are many others.

Daystar Television Chooses Imagine For HD Upgrade

Daystar Television Network has selected Imagine Communications to upgrade its operations from SD to HD with a complete, end-to-end broadcast workflow solution, Imagine announced today.

The upgrade includes production, master control and play-to-air operations. Daystar also will replace its existing traffic and billing system with the Imagine LandmarkOSI centralized media software, which will handle its cable networks and 100 television properties.

To learn more, visit the Imagine Communications website.

Tim Felstead Joins Quantel, Snell

Tim Felstead has joined Quantel and Snell as head of product marketing.

Tim Felstead has joined Quantel and Snell as head of product marketing.

Tim Felstead has joined Quantel and Snell as head of product marketing, the company said today.

Felstead will work to align Quantel and Snell products with market requirements and be responsible for the company’s collateral material.

For more information, visit the Quantel and Snell websites.

Las Vegas Business Press Profiles ArrowData

A couple of weeks ago, I reported here that ArrowData in Las Vegas had received permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to begin offering drone-based newsgathering services.

The Las Vegas Business Press has written a profile on the company.

The article is available on the Business Press website.

3Play Media Compares Closed Caption Standards

A new posting on the 3PlayMedia blog dives into the differences between CEA-608 and CEA-708 closed captions.

Among other things, the blog compares appearance, transmission, language limitations and position of both.

To read the blog, visit the company’s website.

Ericsson Gives Nod To Two Selino Products For Mediaroom IPTV

Ericsson has approved the Imagine Communications SelenioNext live/multiscreen transcoder and Selenio Media Convergence Platform (MCP) encoder for use with its Mediaroom IPTV platforms, Imagine Communications said today.

The approval means the transcoder and encoder are approved for Ericsson Mediaroom ecosystems deployed around the globe.

More information is available on the Imagine Communications website.

No Intellectual Property Discussions In ATSC 3.0 Meetings

At last week’s 2015 ATSC Broadcast Television Conference in Washington, D.C., I had a chance to spend a few minutes interviewing Rich Chernock, chief science officer of Triveni Digital, and the person ultimately riding herd over the ATSC 3.0 standardization effort.

Since news broke two weeks ago about the ATSC 3.0 bootstrap achieving candidate standard status, I have been wondering how — with so much money on the line in terms of future profits on royalties — does anything ever get agreed upon by the technical groups made up of representatives from competing companies.

So I asked Chernock, how do competing ideas and royalty concerns get resolved?

He said: “Well, it’s always in the thought process of people, because ultimately most people are in business. But it is not discussed.

“The selections are made on technical merit. Each person’s selection is based on the factors they think are important.

“Things like intellectual property are not discussed at ATSC meetings. They are likely discusses outside. People are people.”

There’s No Place For Fear In A Voluntary Auction

Round volunteer button in hand close-upA disturbing notion surfaced at the 2015 ATSC Television Conference last week in Washington, D.C.

It went something like this: Broadcasters better hope for and work towards the success of the FCC spectrum auction, otherwise the government may come back again with another auction and simply take the spectrum it wants.

Erik Moreno from Fox was quite direct about it during a panel session. “The government is saying it wants us to continue to be in business. The auction is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. If it fails, it could force us off air.”

Jimmy Goodmon Jr. from Capitol Broadcasting subtly expressed concern over the prospect of a future auction during same panel. “If there was a law that this wouldn’t happen again in my life, I’d be OK with the auction and repack after ATSC 3.0,” he said.

Other broadcasters I spoke with attending the ATSC event later told me they agreed that if the FCC fails to secure its clearing target of 84-120 MHz that it might seek and get new authority for a mandatory auction.

But hold on  a second. Does anyone remember this?

“NUMERICAL LIMITATION ON AUCTIONS AND REORGANIZATION — The commission may not complete more than one reverse auction under subsection (a)(1) or more than one reorganization of the broadcast television spectrum under subsection (b).” (emphasis added) – Middle Class Tax Relief And Job Creation Act of 2012.

Or this?

“… These imperatives are balanced with the recognition that we have but one chance to get the incentive auction right. The Task Force, my fellow commissioners, and I will spare no effort to ensure that the incentive auction not only delivers the anticipated benefits to the American people, but also serves as a model for countries around the world.” (emphasis added) — Thomas Wheeler, FCC chairman, Dec. 6, 2013.

Or this?

“We have one chance to get this right. Congress granted the commission the authority to conduct one broadcast incentive auction—an auction that each of us has recognized is
unprecedented in concept and complexity.” (emphasis added) — FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, May 17, 2013.

I approached Richard Wiley of the Washington, D.C. law firm Wiley Rein following a panel he moderated with Gordon Smith, NAB president-CEO; Michael Powell, NCTA president-CEO; and Gary Shapiro, CEA president-CEO.

I wanted to know if the former FCC chairman thought broadcasters have cause to worry. After all, I said to him, Congress had only authorized a single voluntary auction.

“That’s under the current auction procedure,” said Wiley. “They could have another auction, but one without any advantages claimed to broadcasting…. But the nice thing about it is that it [the current auction] is voluntary.”

But how voluntary is this incentive auction if broadcasters make decisions about giving up some or all of their 6 MHz not simply based on dollars and cents but also upon the added elements of fear and uncertainty?

To be truly voluntary, at least to my way of thinking, requires the choice to participate or not being made freely, not a decision come to under an implicit threat.

Perhaps those broadcasters fearful of what might happen if the FCC doesn’t get the spectrum it wants should remember what Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce telecom subcommittee was quoted as saying June 6, 2011, in The Hill:

“Any incentive auction in which a licensee forfeits spectrum rights must be voluntary. This is not only good spectrum policy, it is good economic policy. Incentive auctions help match willing buyers and willing sellers. If a broadcast station values its spectrum more than a potential wireless broadband provider is willing to pay, the station will not be forced off the air.”