CTIA finds volunteers for TV spectrum sharing

Back in April 2012, the FCC announced that it will be allowing two or more TV stations to share the same band of spectrum; spawning an ambitious new trial by industry-body CTIA. The test will take place in Los Angeles, California and will find out if it is indeed a viable solution for broadcasters to not use the full six megahertz.

For a trial, it’s rather essential you have a couple of willing participants. Luckily, Los Angeles TV stations KCLS and KJLA have volunteered…

The stations will be broadcasting their content simultaneously over a single digital stream; with a combination of HD and SD streams. This may cause interference, but the CTIA believes the trial will be a success: "There will be no impact to KJLA's and KLCS' viewers during this test," reads the association's press release.

Respect is due to these networks for helping to push the industry forward; but at the possible consequence of the stations’ viewers.

In a statement, the FCC said: “Channel-sharing represents a unique option for broadcasters that wish to continue to broadcast over-the-air programming, while also taking advantage of the incentive auction's once-in-a-lifetime financial opportunity. We welcome this pilot project proposal, and look forward to reviewing it closely,”

On the other hand, NAB president Gordon Smith told Broadcasting & Cable: "We want broadcasters to know that sharing means separating themselves from the future of broadcast television, by which I mean mobile, 4K, 8K [new HD formats] and multicasting. You are going to need 6 MHz to do that."

Whilst mobile and multicast technology are important focuses for this year, 4K and beyond isn’t likely to hit the mass consumer until at least 2015 when the cost of supported hardware reduces and more content is shot and ready for broadcast.

OTT-player Netflix has been leading the pack in this area with the announcement of its own 4K content being broadcast on Smart TVs for streaming later this year. Its own “Original Series” productions have been a hit, and could signal the decline of broadcast television in general.

What do you think of the new spectrum-sharing trial?

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