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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

CEDIA - Story #1 - This whole thing is antennas!

Posted on September 26, 2010 at 2:20 PM

I realize that I've cited my antenna disdain quite a bit recently in the blogs recanting my CEDIA exploits and then mentioned the amazing story that I managed to pluck from the possible rubble which is trying to cobble something interesting about antennas. Much like how an incredibly expensive and delicious truffle grows in mounds of pig poop. So, I figured I would share the story with you so you too can enjoy the brilliance which is Sciacca on antennas. (Take this with a giant grain of Jeremy G telling me, "The Daily isn't fun! This isn't your personal blog, Sciacca. No soul. No life. No flavor. Just the facts, ma'am. I want you to cover the who, what, where, and when and limit the adjectives to colors only. And since we're talking about electronics if it isn't black then maybe don't even mention it. Ba! Humbug!" OK. It might not have been exactly like that. I did manage to have fun on the Daily despite what Jeremy tried to warn me...)


So, I give you.....ANTENNAS! (Originally featured in the CEDIA 2010 Daily Edition, Day 3.) I'd say "Enjoy!" but, you know, we are still talking about antennas, and there is only so much makeover beauty you can do to the ugly girl that doesn't already start out looking like Rachael Leigh Cook.)


Antennas Direct Brings Free HDTV to Millions

by: John Sciacca


Richard Schneider, President, Antennas Direct, comments that “The majority of Americans have no idea that they can get HDTV for free with an antenna.”


Antennas Direct (Booth 1858 ) has been pouring money into antenna research and development to create new geometry designs that have resulted in “performance improvements by an order of magnitude,” Schneider says.” According to studies, the vast majority – mid-90th percentile – of Americans live within 50 miles of a TV transmitter and can receive free over-the-air (OTA) digital TV signals.


“There has been a real resurgence in OTA TV with the recent ‘cable cutting’ trend. Services like Hulu and Netflix are actually helping people to go back to antennas,” Schneider remarks, “as these services give people the rationale to cancel cable and get live, local HD for free using an antenna.”


According to Schneider, not much has changed with the classic Bowtie antenna since the ‘60s and ‘70s, as “antenna design is sort of a lost art. Our emphasis on research and development has been our strength.” However while these classic shapes are an efficient design, Antennas Direct has been able to greatly improve upon their performance using modern simulation and analysis.


“People are extremely surprised that in 2010 we’re still talking about OTA TV, but OTA HD is totally free.” And there is clearly some pent up demand for the service. “We hosted an antenna giveaway in Raleigh, North Carolina and over 1000 people showed up for a giveaway, including one man who had been camping out for over 6 hours.”


Even more exciting is the company’s new Microsite, dual-band cell phone repeater system. “We have the expertise at optimizing our antennas to specific frequencies, the same principles that apply to all types of antennas. Antennas don’t care what type of signal they are receiving – TV, WiFi, cellular – you just have to make sure that the antenna stays tuned to the proper band,” remarks Schneider. “The next natural step was to take what we’ve learned in TV/ signals and apply that to cell phone and WiFi signal repeaters.”


Antennas Direct spent nearly $500,000 on R&D for their Smart Antenna project, and through that multi-year study learned to cover a wide swatch of the broadcast spectrum with a single antenna. The Microsite covers all major cellular providers with the exception of Nextel, giving installers a new option to sell to customers.

Categories: September 2010, Electronics, CES/CEDIA

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