Wasting taxpayer money - The FCC and over the air HDTV Rollout

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Many if not most homeowners who are trying to now get over the air HDTV reception are finding that indoor antennas are not adequate and often need to use expensive outdoor antennas.
Ironically, the entire problem could have been avoided if the FCC had proper engineering people who had chosen / demanded higher transmitter power and transmitting antenna type and site choices.
By increasing the effective radiated power by another 6 to 9 dB, they would have put a much smaller burden on the homeowner antenna, and lowered the deployment cost and risk for the homeowner tremendously.
I gotta' believe that the choices they made were driven by sparing the broadcasters the extra operating costs of consuming all the extra kilowatt hours.
The FCC would, if challenged, probably claim that they kept the ERP to a small number to prevent co-channel interference between neighboring cites.
But in the UHF spectrum, they have so vastly more spectrum to allocate that they could have very, very easily chosen clear channels for every neighbor, and allowed homeowners to use simple rabbit ears and bow ties rather than need outdoor directional antennas even in urban and suburban areas to get all the local programming.
Colin Powell's son, an attorney, headed the FCC during the HDTV planning and transition. Talk about technical qualifications for the job.............
Smarty
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Smarty wrote:

Uh, no. Fewer people would be able to receive TV signals due to the interference by neighboring, higher-powered, transmitters.
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Well UHF doesnt pass tyhru walls etc nearly as well as VHF.
Bunny ears arent going to work for many:(
Its a typical government FIASCO:(
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Makes no sense at all to me. Cheap attenuators, no more that 3 resistors configured in a "Tee" attenuator pad, provide whatever attenuation if any is necessary for a total cost of less than a buck, if front-end converter overload is what you are referring to. Another 6 to 9 dB of transmitter ERP would not create overload....it would extend coverage to those who now need outdoor yagis and sometimes rotors as well.
Unlike the VHF TV era where only 13 channels were available and legitimate concern existed for co-channel interference between cities spaced 50 to 100 miles apart, there are many more channels available in the UHF band. A good and well established method for placing transmitters in the optimum pattern of "re-use" was developed for placing cell sites, and could have easily been applied to choosing far more optimal UHF TV assignments than the ones selected presently.
The bottom line is that the FCC is managed by beaurecrats, not engineers, and that the public interest is not foremost in their agenda.
I have helped scores of people get over the air reception HD, and the mess and unnecessary expense created by very poor legislation and planning is outrageous, in my view.
Smarty
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Since you seek to impugn the qualifications and decision making process of the transition, one can only ask exactly what your qualifications are, what tests you conducted, what cost/benefit analysis you went through, etc to arrive at what you claim is a superior solution? Or let me guess, you're just throwing rocks?
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Since you seek to impugn the qualifications and decision making process of the transition, one can only ask exactly what your qualifications are, what tests you conducted, what cost/benefit analysis you went through, etc to arrive at what you claim is a superior solution? Or let me guess, you're just throwing rocks?
Trader4,
I am a retired broadcast engineer with 3 FCC licenses, 40 years of broadcast engineering experience, a graduate electrical engineer, a ham radio enthusiast since the 1950's, and a harsh critic of government policies which ignore solid science and engineering principles.
Regrettably, the FCC in recent years is a good example of decision making by lawyers and politicians rather than by good engineers.
What you call "throwing rocks" suggests a haphazard and ill-conceived, perhaps unjustified attack.
I ask you what your basis is for that accusation?
Smarty
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Smarty wrote:

I think you misunderstand the roles various people play. It is the role of the politician to decide on goals and the role of the engineer to make them come true. Let me give you another example:
If a lawyer or accountant says "what you want cannot be done," the next words from your mouth should be "you're fired." Lawyers, accountants, and engineers are STAFF positions, not LINE positions. Politicians are commanders, engineers are administrators.
When things turn out well, the politician gets the credit for setting and achieving the goals. When things turn out poorly, the engineers will get the blame for the failure. This is the way it has always been, this is the way it always will be, this is the way the world works.
I don't own this railroad, I don't ring the bell, But let this sucker jump the tracks, And see who catches hell.
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I used to find it mildly amusing that the committees on the Hill that second guess everybody else were called "The Oversight Committees". Then I realized that they were using the second definition as in "I should have seen that coming but didn't. It was an Oversight on my part". THEN things made abundant sense.
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wrote:

It certainly does!!
Maybe an even better name might be the "Lack of Foresight Committee".
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In our government, what you say is largely true. But this is NOT the way the world works. Many organizations including both hugely successful businesses as well as foreign governments chose leaders who understand more than merely the political aspects of goal setting and decision making. They understand that better decisions are made when more information and understanding is applied.
It is not a coincidence that many countries have deployed and enjoy much more advanced transportation systems, health delivery systems, and manufacturing infrastructures than the U.S. There is a very good reason why we are getting our asses kicked in world competition, and it stems directly from bad leadership and bad decision making, primarily in Washington.
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So, for example, do you think the near failure of GM, Ford, Chrysler are due to bad leadership and bad decision making in Washington? And if so, how is that foreign competitors, eg Honda, BMW, that build cars in the USA are not in anywhere near as bad shape? And how is it that US companies like Intel, Microsoft, Boeing, are very successful world competitors? You think Washington is responsible for Intel's success and management?
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So, for example, do you think the near failure of GM, Ford, Chrysler are due to bad leadership and bad decision making in Washington? And if so, how is that foreign competitors, eg Honda, BMW, that build cars in the USA are not in anywhere near as bad shape? And how is it that US companies like Intel, Microsoft, Boeing, are very successful world competitors? You think Washington is responsible for Intel's success and management?
The automobile industry partially illustrates my point. Both German and Japan have formulated specific strategic plans to produce high fuel efficiency vehicles, hybrids in Japan, and low emission diesels in Germany. Both German and Japanese governments subsidized and facilitated these programs, making the R&D investments and strategic focus very concerted and very explicit as national priorities. They put the U.S. automakers at a disadvantage competitively.
The semiconductor, aerospace, and computer industry in the U.S. derived enormous R&D benefits from U.S. government investments in military and industrial research and development starting many years ago. The Space Program and Cold War defense spending had tremendous "spin-off" contributions to making the U.S. a leader in these areas of technology, and virtually all of the propulsion and jet engine development, avionics, flight control systems, as well as integrated circuit / LSI technology owes its origin to government sponsorship.
So yes....I think a lot of today's mature industry is directly or indirectly a beneficiary of these investments. It is the future I am concerned about, since these R&D efforts are no longer substantially done by government support, And moreover, those who are leading the efforts appear to lack the foresight or vision or technical competence to place our long term national growth strategy on a competitive path.
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Smarty wrote:

I agree that there's bad decision making in Washington. As long as it's confined to locating a statute of some obscure general from the Phillipine Insurrection, no problem. But when the decision affects our lives, watch out! For example, a new law going into effect February 1st requires commercial products for children under ten to be independently tested for, inter alia, lead is obscene. Guess what will have to be tested? Clothing, including used clothing distributed by charity centers. Linens, shoes, crayons, car seats. Books. Yes, children's books will have to be certified!
Nothing exists in a vacuum - things are different elsewhere. Much of what we do here is dictitated by our size. Transportation? At any instant, we have upwards of 4,000 aircraft aloft in the United States. Anybody close? Likewise, Americans own 125 million cars and all of them are on the road during rush hour here in Houston. Anybody close? You may point to high-speed rail and this works in countries like Japan with a high-density population or France where the rail system is owned (and loses money) by the government.
Manufacturing? The U.S. is the world's leader in manufactured products - of course, again, our size has a lot to do with it.
Health care delivery? Giggle. There are more MRI machines just in Seattle than in any other country in the world. Those who trot out statistics in an attempt to prove country "X" is better at "Y" than the United States almost never provide a critical metric: Wait-time to see a physican or obtain a procedure. I can get an appointment to see my internist within 24 hours and schedule an elective procedure (i.e., knee joint replacement) within three days.
Asses kicked in world competition? Hardly. Just the growth in the U.S. GDP is larger than the entire GDP of China.
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On 1/16/2009 9:38 AM HeyBub spake thus:

I doubt that's true anymore. If it is, it won't be for long, after we're eclipsed by China, India, et al.
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My kind of guy.
I agree with you...it's a train wreck.
TMT
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On Thu, 15 Jan 2009 22:02:33 -0500, against all advice, something

You must be lots of fun at parties.
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Real men don\'t text.

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to say:

If your comment was intended to imply that I have some lack of social skills, I will also mention that I spent 7 years a a division vice president of a large U.S. aerospace company with 18 offices under my management. I have a great deal of comfort with large and small groups, have been guest speaker and organizer for many national and a few international events, and had the good fortune to be both high school class president (of a class of 480 people) as well as many other socially outstanding achievements.
You must be a rude clod.
Smarty
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so do you believe the analog feeds bshould and will be cut off?
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to say:

Just one man's opinion, but I believe that the analog feeds will be delayed and extra dollars will be added to the coupon program, both to appease critics who (in my opinion, wrongfully) complain that the transition time and coupon program have not been adequately carried out. This is purely a guess on my part, not based on any inside information. It just seems to be the way government works. I hope I am wrong.
Smarty
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On Thu, 15 Jan 2009 22:11:37 -0500, against all advice, something

<snore>
I'm sure your social skills are just fine.
But, you're boring.
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