The History of Scented Candles

Not many people seem to know this… By the end of 2012 the UK will have been the only country in the world to have totally made the switchover to all digital television. The digital switchover starts in 2008 – less than 2 short years away.

A recent Which Report (Which is the major consumer champion in the UK) shows that in many areas the awareness of the digital switchover is less than 2 %. Even in the Borders Television region – the first to make the change – only about a third of the people surveyed knew what was going to happen.

It really does seem that the UK is sleepwalking in to the Digital Switchover.

Not surprisingly, the whole switchover programme is being watched with keen interest by other nations around the World. The benefits of digital television for broadcasters, manufacturers and programme makers are pretty clear. The new media is already changing programme making – Planet Earth, currently showing on the BBC – is a prime example of what can be achieved. And of course the manufacturers are positively drooling at the thought of all the new televisions, video recorders and set-top boxes they expect to sell.

Consumers are set to benefit too – better pictures and sound, high definition television, interactivity, movies on demand… The list goes on.
Governments have a keen commercial interest too. They own the air waves. And digital television takes up much less band width than conventional analogue signals. So the move to digital frees up precious broadcasting capacity that Governments are keen to sell to the highest bidders. The sale of the mobile telephone spectrum for 3G providers raised over £20 billion. Who would bet that the sale of the television spectrum won’t raise significantly more?

The move to digital television benefits us all. So why do so few people know what is happening?

Simply being able to receive digital television is only part of the issue. Just about every television bought more than 12 months ago, and a good percentage of those being sold now, are effectively obsolete. All of them will need a separate satellite receiver or set top decoder box to receive digital signals. Every video recorder will also need an additional decoder.

The UK Government puts the average cost per household to upgrade to digital television at £132 ($210). I feel the real figure is likely to be 4 or times this level. Most homes in the UK have upwards of 4 televisions – each and every one will need significant investment to receive digital television signals.

In the UK 68% of homes already receive digital television in some form- satellite (which means BSkyB – the only UK satellite television provider), cable or terrestrial freeview. In almost all cases digital television is only watched on the main television in the house. The other sets are still restricted to the main analogue, terrestrial stations. From 2008 this has all got to change.

It’s time to wake up. We are at the threshold of the biggest change in the television experience since it was first invented.

Start planning your own digital switchover now.

Open Spectrum Bidding For Internet Usage

The government is trying to spread the word that in 2009, all television signals that are transmitted through the air are going to be terminated. All television signals at that time will be digital. When that happens, there will be an open section of the spectrum used to transmit all types of information through the air. Companies like Google are already trying to bid on some of these frequencies.

As of right now, the Internet is a big part of our lives, and that part may get even bigger. We can access the World Wide Web through our service providers, and some home phone services are now going through the Internet. A majority of these signals go through lines and wires, but some of it is going through the air. More space on the spectrum opening up could mean even more of these signals would be going through the frequencies of this spectrum.

If these frequencies are bought up or leased exclusively to private companies, prices could go up in some cases. There are some that would like to see an open spectrum that could be used by anyone willing to follow specific regulations on how to use it. For the consumer, an open spectrum could mean free use for telephone calls, or for Internet access that could reach almost any home within the United States.

Some politicians believe that an open spectrum would mean that more information could be freely shared, and that would be for the benefit of anyone with a way to access the Internet. With the freeing of frequencies coming up within the next year, people can only guess what is going to happen. Should Google buy up a large percentage of this open spectrum, the free access may not happen. However, that might just be what they have in mind.

Whatever happens, remember that phone calls are going through those Internet connections, and there may be more and more of these numbers should that spectrum open for free use.

White Space – The Debate Over Free Wireless Spectrum

With the announcement of the website FreetheAirWaves.com by Google in order to support the white space campaign, the debate over the “white space” issue has reached a new level.

In terms of Google white space is the space of unused frequencies in the range traditionally defined for TV channels. Google and some other leading companies wants to transform this range from licensed, like TV where specific frequencies are granted exclusively to a specific channel, to unlicensed, like Wi-Fi where anyone can use it. They call it “Wi-Fi on steroids.” The spectrum would enable longer-range, higher data rate, and faster wireless connectivity for all types of gadgets.

Along with Google other technology companies like Intel, Dell, HP, Microsoft, and Phillips Electronics are united in a coalition called the Wireless Innovation Alliance. They have been lobbying the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) to open up this spectrum for unlicensed use after the digital TV transition early next year.

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and phone companies are entirely against this initiative. The Television and phone companies want exclusive rights to various frequencies. These spectrum that sit idle between TV channels as buffers, in order to ensure that TV signals don’t interfere with each other, could be used to provide broadband wireless services. But according to the broadcasters, these channels will cause interference with their TV signals and eventually resulting in major problems for people watching TV.

The FCC has done a number of testing of the spectrum to see if wireless devices will interfere with each other. The results of the tests have been mixed. But Google has make out a solution for this problem. Now it is proposing new rules to designate specific frequencies for TVs, wireless microphones, and for other devices, and then another spectrum for wireless Internet access.

Next month the FCC is likely to release a report based on the test results. It will finally vote on whether to open the spectrum in the next few months. This issue has become as much of a political debate as it has a technical one. The National Association of Broadcasters is pointing that interference can’t be avoided, based on tests as evidence. While Google and other technology companies argue that these are simply proof of concept devices and are not even like the prototypes that could be used in commercial products.

NAB and other Wireless companies, such as Verizon are opposing the use of white spaces because they have their own business motivations for opposing the use of white spaces. The afraid of interference might be a concern for the NAB but the more prominent reason for opposing this concept is that its members are reluctant to give up control of airwaves, which they believes are theirs.

Along with other technology companies, Google has its own motivations and interests to consider. Google can make more from advertising if more wireless spectrum and broadband services are available. Other companies like Intel, Microsoft, and Motorola would also be benefited as they could sell more products and services to consumers who use this unlicensed spectrum.