Old Production Takes From an Old Guy

Digital TV Transition Date in Transition?

Looks like our new government is hard at work already. A scant few days into the new administration’s reign and they’re already rocking the boat. The Senate passed a bill today that would delay the analog to digital TV transition for another 4 months. This is rather comical because the first deadline for the change was sometime in 2001. Most people have forgotten about that one.

It’s looking like the White House doesn’t believe people are ready with their converter boxes, coupons are gone and some people still haven’t figured out how to stop their VCR from flashing 12:00. Apparently, another 4 months should fix that. Yes we can!

Anyway, to some extent, that’s good news for churches using wireless microphones. Well, that could be good news, that is. The bill still needs to pass the House (which seems likely), and since the Obama administration is calling for it, it’s likely to be signed.

Should there be a delay, June 12 is the new target date. There’s still no word from the FCC what the migration plan out of the 700 Mhz spectrum would look like, but that’s just how they roll. 

Regardless of how this turns out, if you have wireless mics operating in the 700 Mhz range, start making plans to move. Shure, Sennheiser, Lectrosonics and AKG are all offering re-tuning or rebates. I know we’re in tough financial times and no one wants to replace perfectly good equipment, but you need to start making plans to do so. Whether it’s Feb 17, June 12 or next year, we’ll have to be done with 698-806 Mzh eventually.

And remember, there are always those old-fashioned wired microphones!

Read more on the bill at MSNBC’s web site. Hat tip to Daniel Murphy for Twittering about this bill.

[Update 10:09 PM] Jason Cole has brought it to our attention that the DTV transition and the 700 Mhz migration are separate issues. So, even if the FCC (or the White House) holds off on the DTV transition, AT&T and others are just waiting to flip the switch on Feb. 18, as they presumably take over the 700 Mhz band. I’m not exactly sure how this would affect TV stations that are still broadcasting in that band, however, it is sure to have negative implications for wireless mic users. So the advice still stands: Get out of the 700 Mhz band ASAP. Like a leaky faucet, it’s not going to get better if we ignore it.

Thanks to Jason for pointing this out. When the government gets involved, it takes a village to keep all the facts straight!

15 Comments

  1. jcsoundguy@gmail.com

    Hey Mike,

    I have a bit of bad news. The DTV transition and the 700Mhz band opening up to commercial use are two separate issues. In the latest issue of ProSound News there is a good article about this very issue. AT&T is still planning to flip the switch on Feb 17th. A good friend of mine works for ATT wireless and says the equipment is already deployed, they are just waiting to turn it on to start full scale testing. YIKES! Even if they FCC holds off on the DTV transition, the other stuff still comes into play. It would be nice to give people more time, but in reality they have 3 weeks.

    Keep spreading the word. We need to do all we can to educate people. I do feel sorry for guys I know who have not been able to get their church leaders to understand. It is coming and they will have problems, sooner than later, particularly in large metro areas.

    Keep the magic smoke inside!

    Jason

  2. jcsoundguy@gmail.com

    Hey Mike,

    I have a bit of bad news. The DTV transition and the 700Mhz band opening up to commercial use are two separate issues. In the latest issue of ProSound News there is a good article about this very issue. AT&T is still planning to flip the switch on Feb 17th. A good friend of mine works for ATT wireless and says the equipment is already deployed, they are just waiting to turn it on to start full scale testing. YIKES! Even if they FCC holds off on the DTV transition, the other stuff still comes into play. It would be nice to give people more time, but in reality they have 3 weeks.

    Keep spreading the word. We need to do all we can to educate people. I do feel sorry for guys I know who have not been able to get their church leaders to understand. It is coming and they will have problems, sooner than later, particularly in large metro areas.

    Keep the magic smoke inside!

    Jason

  3. contact@ericfrisch.com

    Also… the bill that’s going around still allows stations to make the switch before the June deadline if they want to, and since it would apparently cost them major money to hold off, a lot of them will probably go ahead and switch earlier… so there’s really no upside here.

  4. contact@ericfrisch.com

    Also… the bill that’s going around still allows stations to make the switch before the June deadline if they want to, and since it would apparently cost them major money to hold off, a lot of them will probably go ahead and switch earlier… so there’s really no upside here.

  5. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Eric–You’re right, this really doesn’t amount to good news for wireless mic users. Except it does help raise awareness and give us more opportunity to talk about it, which hopefully gets the word out to more churches that their wireless mics need to be looked at.

    Thanks for reading!

  6. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Eric–You’re right, this really doesn’t amount to good news for wireless mic users. Except it does help raise awareness and give us more opportunity to talk about it, which hopefully gets the word out to more churches that their wireless mics need to be looked at.

    Thanks for reading!

  7. mikeallenmusic@gmail.com

    I definitely remember in 1997 they announced the DTV switch. At the time everyone thought that meant you had to buy a widescreen HDTV within the next 4 years. I’ve been hearing about this new delay for weeks, I doubt Obama personally made the change when he took office!

  8. mikeallenmusic@gmail.com

    I definitely remember in 1997 they announced the DTV switch. At the time everyone thought that meant you had to buy a widescreen HDTV within the next 4 years. I’ve been hearing about this new delay for weeks, I doubt Obama personally made the change when he took office!

  9. crissniemann@gmail.com

    There is much confusion about all the changes in the RF spectrum that will have an impact on wireless microphones. Although the auction of the 700MHz spectrum isn’t directly related to DTV, the transition date effects both. There are TV stations currently operating in the 700MHz band. After Feb17 (assuming this date doesn’t change) those TV stations must vacate this space. Now, the winners of the auction of that space, AT&T, Verizon, Qualcom, and others…are not quite ready to “flip the switch.” Aside from Qualcom, none of the other communication providers have all of the infrastructure up and running yet – they just won a chunk of spectrum a few months ago. We expect it to be about 1 year before we see all these companies bring these systems on line.

    So, it wouldn’t be possible for two simultaneous transmissions. Think of it like wireless mics. You cannot operate two transmitters on the same channel, right? All kinds of unwanted things happen when two transmitters are operating on the same frequency at the same time.

    For more info, follow this link. The article is written by Chris Lyons who has been instrumental in organizing our industries efforts in having the FCC recognize wireless mic users and protect our ability to continue to operate. http://www.prosoundweb.com/article/wireless_update_final_fcc_ruling_includes_protection_for_wireless_microphon/

    The reality is that what ever the date the FCC chooses to make the DTV transition official, users should start the migration out of 700MHz. Although it is possible that you could continue to use your 700MHz systems for some time into the future, with out issues, there will most likely come a day when you try to fire up your system for that important event and your system no longer works reliably. There will be no warning, or signs…just equipment that isn’t happy!

  10. crissniemann@gmail.com

    There is much confusion about all the changes in the RF spectrum that will have an impact on wireless microphones. Although the auction of the 700MHz spectrum isn’t directly related to DTV, the transition date effects both. There are TV stations currently operating in the 700MHz band. After Feb17 (assuming this date doesn’t change) those TV stations must vacate this space. Now, the winners of the auction of that space, AT&T, Verizon, Qualcom, and others…are not quite ready to “flip the switch.” Aside from Qualcom, none of the other communication providers have all of the infrastructure up and running yet – they just won a chunk of spectrum a few months ago. We expect it to be about 1 year before we see all these companies bring these systems on line.

    So, it wouldn’t be possible for two simultaneous transmissions. Think of it like wireless mics. You cannot operate two transmitters on the same channel, right? All kinds of unwanted things happen when two transmitters are operating on the same frequency at the same time.

    For more info, follow this link. The article is written by Chris Lyons who has been instrumental in organizing our industries efforts in having the FCC recognize wireless mic users and protect our ability to continue to operate. http://www.prosoundweb.com/article/wireless_update_final_fcc_ruling_includes_protection_for_wireless_microphon/

    The reality is that what ever the date the FCC chooses to make the DTV transition official, users should start the migration out of 700MHz. Although it is possible that you could continue to use your 700MHz systems for some time into the future, with out issues, there will most likely come a day when you try to fire up your system for that important event and your system no longer works reliably. There will be no warning, or signs…just equipment that isn’t happy!

  11. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Thanks for linking the Chris Lyons article, Criss. I read that one in Live Sound (the print version) and was planning on looking for a web version to link people to. You’ve saved me the trouble!

    Excellent thoughts, as well. The transition itself is a bit of a mess, but as you say, users need to migrate out of 700 Mhz regardless. Sooner will be better than later!

  12. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Thanks for linking the Chris Lyons article, Criss. I read that one in Live Sound (the print version) and was planning on looking for a web version to link people to. You’ve saved me the trouble!

    Excellent thoughts, as well. The transition itself is a bit of a mess, but as you say, users need to migrate out of 700 Mhz regardless. Sooner will be better than later!

  13. jcsoundguy@gmail.com

    Just a quick update again for those who don’t follow my twitter feed. The House did not pass the DTV delay bill after the Senate did which means we are back on track for all the changes. While ATT may not make any of the new technology available to the public, they do have gear deployed to begin testing. Verizon has said in the past they plan to start testing on the 18th as well, but I have not been able to verify that as it was just a statement made back when they won the auction. Anyway, it could be a real mess for the next year.

  14. jcsoundguy@gmail.com

    Just a quick update again for those who don’t follow my twitter feed. The House did not pass the DTV delay bill after the Senate did which means we are back on track for all the changes. While ATT may not make any of the new technology available to the public, they do have gear deployed to begin testing. Verizon has said in the past they plan to start testing on the 18th as well, but I have not been able to verify that as it was just a statement made back when they won the auction. Anyway, it could be a real mess for the next year.

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