OTA HDTV Reception Q&A

Updates on the DTV transition and how to receive over-the-air digital television for free.

Location: Richmond, IL, United States

Hello there! I created this blog to share the information about over-the-air HDTV reception you have been wearily searching the Web or calling technical lines for, whether you have decided for less expensive means to get your favorite TV shows, or still adjusting from the over the air broadcast DTV transition that occurred on June 12, 2009. After working for a leading antenna manufacturer for almost 5 years, during which time I've shared my expertise with those who asked on the phone and by email at work, I decided to do the same in the Blogosphere! Confused about getting your local HD channels? Just click through the archives, some of the most useful information is in the early posts from 2005-06. If you want to get in touch with me with antenna related questions, just leave a comment anywhere on this site.

Friday, December 09, 2005


Hi -- thanks for the great comments on my last post. Sorry it's been nearly a month since my last post, busy with work and the holidays and this may be my last new post of 2005 -- but I will resolve to keep posting in 2006.

And one exciting topic at the 2006 CES show will be watching terrestrial DTV on your mobile phone. There will be two services that will be providing this in the United States -- MediaFLO from Qualcomm, due in 2007, and Crown Castle mobile, which is right now doing a test market in Pittsburgh. Qualcomm plans to use UHF channel 55 to transmit MediaFLO while Crown Castle has reportedly spent relatively not much for an unlicensed spectrum at 1.6 GHz that is pretty much free and less susceptible to other terrestrial interference.

I think there could be some exciting applications over this emerging technology. Not only can a busy person watch live video on the phone while on the go, but I would think that the content on the right mobile devices may be stored and transferred to PCs or other home video sources, possibly in a Media Center PC for viewing in a home network, as long as licensing controls like on iTunes or Audible are applied. I also would think that there may be a new telematics antenna to place on a car to allow people in the back seat on a long drive to view and download live video, and even audio files, over the air, just like talking on a cell phone. Certainly a nice way to keep the kids entertained as long as parental controls are applied. I can imagine this -- a 10 year old watching a rather risque music video and the driving parent going, "Don't make me go back there!"

So what has this got to do with HDTV? Well, HDTV and mobile video are both DTV, using streaming video being transmitted over the air or via cable or satellite to a tuner. Mobile video will use a video compression on a screen, and due to its size one would think the required bitrate would be much less than HDTV, especially since newer and more efficient video codecs are being standardized. I have read in the November 28 EE Times (or December 4th if I'm wrong) with an interview with Crown Castle CEO saying that they have selected Microsoft Windows Media as the video format. This would give people the opportunity to easily save and transfer a downloaded file to a PC for storage and viewing at home, or maybe transferring to another video device like a Pocketdish, within reason.

I am not sure what codec Qualcomm will use although I can say that my Treo Smartphone uses a Qualcomm audio codec which I could record and save to a PC but needed Apple Quicktime to play. So maybe they may go with a codec that can played on Quicktime? If so, the content might just be transferred to a video iPod, which certainly has already been a big hit this holiday season!

Speaking of the video iPod, I got a feeling video blogging could start to become a trend -- a person can record a Quicktime movie and maybe through RSS upload the files for a person to check out, download, and transfer to a video iPod. And there could be several sources to allow this; I am thinking about getting a new Kodak digital camera, and their latest series supposedly can record Quicktime video files from the camera with a 320 x 240 resolution, the same format and resolution used in the video iPod.

But in addition to little mini video clips of the family gathering, one could be able to use an existing UHF antenna to receive the Qualcomm MediaFLO service since it would be in the 700 MHz band, the same band now being used to broadcast TV channels 52-69. Keep in mind those channels will be eliminated when analog TV broadcasting sunsets in 2009, it would appear at this rate that by next summer the date will be set by Congress with President Bush making the approval. I'll definitely break the news then and how to get ready. But one nice thing about getting the Qualcomm service is if it is providing news and somehow off-air HDTV reception has problems, the little mobile device receiving the mobile video content might provide a nice little backup until the technical difficulties are resolved!

Happy holidays to all, and good look to anyone going to CES. Sadly, I'm not going personally but my company, Winegard, will be on hand to answer all your questions on HDTV and now home networking. Winegard will be at booth #26135. Best wishes this holiday season, and if you're getting your first HD set this holiday season, please browse the archives for what you need to know to get HD over the air!