Electronic Visualization for the Next Century

  • Goodbye, Quality?

    July 27, 2018

    In case you hadn’t been paying attention, the FCC recently concluded a massive spectrum auction that (a) didn’t bring in nearly as much money as the government expected and (b) removed channels 38 through 51 from TV broadcast service. The problem is that there aren’t quite enough open channels for all the stations that are vacating the UHF spectrum. Some stations opted to sell their channel, turn off the transmitter, and go onto other pursuits. Others brainstormed ways to share a common channel, massaging their video encoders to accommodate two or three different broadcasters – something that, not too long ago, was prohibited by the FCC. In the Philadelphia TV market, a big game of musical chairs is already underway. UHF channels that were once lit up and are now dark include 8 (WNJB), 23 (WNJS), 25 (WTVE), 27 (WGTW), 29 (WUVP), 35 (WYBE), 38 (WTXF Lehigh Valley), 39 (WLVT), 43 (WNJT), and 46 (WFMZ). The UHF spectrum, once bustling with stations, now looks like a ghost to..Read more

  • Useful Gadgets – Channel Master Stream+ OTA/OTT Media Player

    July 27, 2018

    Hard on the heels of my review of the Channel Master SMARTenna+ comes this rather odd-looking digital TV receiver. It doesn’t look like much, but thanks to tiny solid-state memory cards and miniaturization, it is a fully-functional digital TV receiver that also streams content from a variety of online channels like Google Play and YouTube. I call the Stream+ a “sidecar” box because we haven’t anything like set-top boxes in years (especially since our TVs don’t have “set tops” to begin with). Even so, many contemporary designs for STBs are still rectangular boxes that can be difficult to fit alongside or under an LCD or OLED TV. There are signs that manufacturers are willing to break those rules, such as the “puck” tuner for Internet-delivered cable TV channels that Arris has shown at NAB. Channel Master’s Stream+ fits into that mold nicely: It stands all of 3 inches tall and measures 3 inches in diameter at the top and 4 inches across its base. You aren’t li..Read more