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back to article Are plasma TVs killing radio?

The Radio Society of Great Britain is asking anyone with a plasma TV to let it know if they‘ve had trouble getting Radio 4 lately. The Radio Society of Great Britain represents the radio ham community, though it sees itself as having a wider remit. When not organising competitions to see who has the biggest beard can transmit a …

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Welcome

Haven't noticed

Haven't noticed anything from the plasma to interfere with the radio, but my microwave is plotting with the dishwasher, and i have believe the toaster is involved somehow.

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Anonymous Coward

Beards?

I noticed this last time you posted a story which mentioned radio amateurs. What is it with you and beards?

Does Bill Ray have a beard fetish? I think we should be told.

73

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Well....

....I'm a radio amateur, and I also happen to have a beard although I'll admit that I got my licence before I grew my beard.

Excellent devices beards, for some reason some people don't like them so I can be annoying without any effort at all!

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Beard licence

"...I also happen to have a beard although I'll admit that I got my licence before I grew my beard."

You need a licence for a beard? Good thing I got rid of mine then.

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Happy

Excellent devices indeed

Great for catching unwanted food and an easily-seen indication of who has no mates.

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WTF?

No mates?

No, I have friends all over the world, just none in this country.

With apologies to those that have heard too much of Tony Hancock.

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Radiation Absorbing Device

Beards; excellent for absorbing all that radiation. Although, I suppose that would also limit the range of your signal :(

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Happy

Oops

As well as upsetting the Google and Apple fanbois it seems I have now upset the Bearded Peoples' Front.

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Unhappy

2 questions

1 who the fuck is listening to radio 4?

2 who the fuck is using a plasma?

3 where's my banana?

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Radio 4 has over a million regular listeners.

Including me. They carry a lot of intelligent and thought-provoking programmes, and some excellent comedy and drama, too. And the Archers, but I can forgive them that particular long-running aberation in light of the other programmes.

GJC

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Boffin

That's three questions

Can't help you with (2) or (3) but if you want to hear broadcast science journalism that won't have you screaming obscenities at the ill-informed nitwits who substitute for experts on other media, then Radio 4 is the place to go. Leading Edge and Material World are excellent. Give 'em a try.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: 2 questions

That's three questions.

A1, People that don't want to listen to the dribbling meida luvie morons that occupy Radio1.

A2, erm...lots of people.

A3, Who the fuck cares?

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Quite agree!

Radio 4 has much to recommend it, whereas the content of much that is show on a (plasma) TV is rather less educational.

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Anonymous Coward

Radio 4 listener reporting in...

Radio 4 was one of the pleasures I missed most when I moved overseas. Thanks to technological developments I found that I could listen to it from time to time when no one was watching telly courtesy of Sky, then later I could listen with my notebook, courtesy of teh internets, and now I have an Android phone I can listen to podcasts of their best programmes* anywhere I can find a network, courtesy of Google Listen and BBC Browsecast (which is not affiliated with the BBC).

So count me as another listener.

*subject to rights limitations for overseas distribution. Podcasts I can subscribe to contain no drama (apart from The Archers) and severely abbreviated music.

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@Geoff Campbell

"...in light of the other programmes."

Ah yes, the BBC Light Programme. I've heard of that.......

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Anonymous Coward

Sign me up.

Another Radio 4 Listener here.

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Joke

I listen somtimes!

I love that weird thingy they do where they go on about "Dogging" and "German bite" and how its either falling or "Rising".

Not sure what it's for, I'm guessing its for either kinky people or sailors!

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Re: 2 questions

1 who the fuck is listening to radio 4?

I used to. Since it was the only English language channel on the dial here in Malaysia. Now I listen to Eurobeat CDs since I wised up and realized that the source of my depression and suicidal tendencies was from all the Dickey Lee songs they played on the channel (good thing the Radio 4 in other countries sensibly ban Dickey Lee songs from airplay).

2 who the fuck is using a plasma?

The Indio-Muslim ("Mamak") restaurant down the street?

3 where's my banana?

It's behind the fridge.

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Happy

@TeeCee

Heh :-)

GJC

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There have been,,,,

... quite a few instances of serious interference from plasma TV sets to the HF spectrum reported within the amateur radio community.

In some of those cases the manufacturers of the TVs have ended up replacing the entire device with a different model due to their failure to modify the original device to reduce the spurious emissions below the regulatory limits. Quite how they ever came to have CE certification is not clear, but the astonishing amount of crud they radiated was.

Not sure if plasma is an expanding market sector or whether LCD and LED screens will have killed them off soon.

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Big Brother

CE Tagging

The CE tag is _self issued_, meanig that you as a manufacturer had done all the ccontrols and measurements to assure it.

If you've not done it, you're obliously lying, and emmiting a false certificate, so you can be prosecuted.

Here in Catalunya (Spain), the ploice checks from time to time the documentation of the wares sold, and there is a very simple mechanism for the user to complain. Once there is a complaint a full review and/or test must be made. If the manufacturar/importer is found guilty, all the affected wares are retired from the market and a fine imposed.

Has been done with toys, electronic devices, foods, etc.

2 cents on CE procedures.

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One up for Spain!

I didn't know that about Spain. I am in the very unfortunate position of still not knowing much about the way things here work. In the UK, you would have to complain to your local trading standards people. They may decide to do something or not, but even if they do, you don't tend to get anything done in general (you may just get a refund on your own unit).

It should be easy to implement this; it should be simple to ask any company placing things on the market to provide the proof that they have for their CE compliance. My previous employer had full test reports for everything placed on the market, for example (although they needed them for the additional BEAB and UL approvals).

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It's the 80s all over again

My ZX Spectrum used to play hell with Radio 1 when it was on Medium Wave.

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Anonymous Coward

Bring back the ZX Spectrum ...

... and put paid to the inane prattle of Radio 5 for good.

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Happy

Ah, memories....

I recall reading that one of the very early bits of seriously impressive hacking at one of the west coast USA home-brew computer clubs involved putting a computer next to a radio, and playing tunes with the interference by varying the instructions the CPU was executing.

From "Fire in the Valley", a very good read for those of a certain age.

GJC

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Apart from the sport, I agree

It's good at sport, rubbish at everything else. I've really no interest in what the "Great British Public" has to say about anything. And if their phone-ins are anything to go by the country's full of knuckle-scrapers from Dagenham who blame immigration for everything.

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Flame

Utter, utter fail

They're actually asking for evidence and indirectly ignoring the negative results?? This is like going out and asking for examples of X & Y coinciding and concluding that X causes Y, without looking for examples of (X & ¬Y), or (¬X & Y). Say hello to confirmation bias.

Question though - how does a 10 or 30 MHz "hum" interfere with radio transmitting at ~95MHz?

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Negative results?

What, you mean those TVs that comply with the EMC regulations? We'd be happy with more of that sort of result.

The point is that a number of plasma TV models have been shown to be effectively unscreened and the manufacturers have not been able to cure them when complaints have been made. Can't see how they pass their CE testing.

If a plasma TV is radiating above the stated EMC limits, it's a potential problem even if it isn't interfering with Radio 4. I somehow think that Bill is using Radio 4 as a tongue in cheek reference, the actual problem can be interference anywhere up to 100MHz or so, so might affect R4 but is more likely to affect other users of that spectrum.

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@Annihilator

Its called wave harmonics

10 MHz also radiate at 10, 20, 30, 40, 90 etc 30 MHz radiate at 60, 90, 120 etc MHz - unless adequately filtered.

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RE: Utter, utter fail

"Question though - how does a 10 or 30 MHz "hum" interfere with radio transmitting at ~95MHz?"

Harmonics?

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FAIL

Who mentioned 10, 30 or 95 MHz?

It's a basic scientific rule that you can't prove a negative, so "ignoring the negative results" is a somewhat pointless comment. They need to look at *all* the results, and decide if the positive ones make a statistically significant problem. To do that they're looking for cases of interference, which can be correlated with the numbers of plasma TVs in use. A million TVs sold and 10 complaints, probably no issue. 1000 complaints, there's possibly a problem.

As to the interference itself, the power supplies alone in most modern equipment run at 48-96 kHz, generating large amounts of hash that has to be filtered. Plasma TVs with their '100Hz' frame refresh rates and 1080-line displays are going to generate many more harmonics, since they're essentially boxed spark transmitters! Unlikely to interfere with R4 at 95MHz, but mainly because that is FM which is significantly less senstive to amplitude-based interference than AM. A poorly-designed plasma TV has significant capacity to wipe out amplitude-modulated signals below 30MHz, where nmost such signals live (commercial and professional, as well as amateur).including R4 long wave, of course.

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Thanks..

...for clearing up the harmonics issue (incidentally, my 95MHz comment was regarding the approximate broadcast of R4)

However, ignoring the negatives is absolutely still a fail. If they get 80 complaints (which they have so far), all they know is that this is 80 examples from people who are capable of realising. This isn't a comparible statistic against "all plasmas" - this is against "all people who have a plasma and are capable of realising interference". They have no idea what they're baselining their data against, and that is where they fail. For all they know, there are only 80 people out there looking for it and they've all found it, or there could be 8000 people out there and only 80 have found it.

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Stop

I think...

...that they are looking for ad hoc data to determine whether or not the situation is worth looking into further with more statistically valid methods.

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Unhappy

Odd harmonics do it

10MHZ x 9 or 30MHZ x 3 sound like potential offenders.

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Megaphone

Ham in Texas is tasty with grits n honey.

The plasma TV my next door neighbors have definitely interfere with my radio 'kit''

Kit being a Kenwood TX480 30khz to 60mhz transceiver.

Most of the interference is on the 'medium wave' bands from 1.6mhz on up through

14mhz. AM broadcast band here in the USA is just around 680khz to around 1.7mhz

and when they fire up the noise maker in the evenings the weaker AM stations can be

decimated.

Me, I use a LCD 48inch set. Prior to learning about the inherent noise factor

involved with plasma sets I was a fan of that tech for the inherent better contrast.

But, being a radio amateur operator and all means I have an awareness of RFI generating

monster tech. The general public grubs wont' be aware of such issues or even care if they did.

Bitter?

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Boffin

Revenge?

What type of radio ham are you? (apart from bearded of course!) Are you a buy it all in brown boxes and can connect it up type, or are you a I can build my own kit if I wanted to type?

I ask because you could always make something to interfere with their TV instead (hyperthetically speaking of course). I certainly wouldn't recommend manufacturing anything from an old microwave oven magnatron to permanently silence the plasma TV either...

Anon because although I haven't incited any crime, nor given details of how to do it, I still don't trust the men with guns.

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Joke

Who cares?

Plasma's will become increasingly irrelevant as LCD and OLED technologies mature, especially with the LED backlights that are becoming available.

I predict that Plasma TV's will be banned because they are too energy inefficient once all filament lightbulbs have been eliminated. Especially if the manufacturers can lobby governments. Soon we will have TV's being replaced every year to meet government carbon emissions targets.

Joke. (I hope)

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HA HA

LOLOLOL!!! If given the chance, how many people would take Radio 4 over their Plasma?

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Anonymous Coward

yep

+1 here.

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Happy

@ Dave 52

I would. Most of what's on the Magic Box (whatever flavour it is) is shite anyway.

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Happy

@ HA HA

Me.

Clearly you'd much rather have Big Brother, jeremy Kyle, Corrie & CSI Miami, and just as clearly your choice is based upon your intellect.

But I respect your right to have that choice.

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Coffee/keyboard

@Dave 52

> If given the chance, how many people would take Radio 4 over their Plasma?

Well, me for a start, since I don't have any of this new-fangled plasma stuff. My 20-y-o Sony CRT still works very well, thank you, for the <1 programme a day worth watching..

Does the fuss that RSGB are now making about supposed interference from plasma TVs mean that they have given up on the supposed interference from HomePlugs?

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I would...

I still run a CRT as my main telly, and based on the quality of many broadcasts (visual and content) I've seen in Currys et-al I see no very good reason to change ATM.

You can, however, pry my FM radios all tuned to Radio 4 from my cold, dead hands.

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ha ha ?

Radio 4 wins over TV any day.

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Me too

Telly is pretty much all shite. Radio 4 is fantastic. All IMO, of course.

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Anonymous Coward

AC @ 13:50

No, they're going ahead on the homeplugs.

BTW, its demonstrated in the case of home plugs - that's how people affected by these can call Ofcom and say "there's a prat at number 21 two streets away using them. Sort it out".

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There's nothing supposed....

....about the interference from plasma TVs or PLT devices.

And no, the RSGB have not given up on anything, but in the light of PA Consulting's report to Ofcom that says "yes, these PLT devices will become a big problem in the near future so something needs to be done to sort out the potential for trouble" I think they're biding their time for now to find out what Ofcom are planning to do themselves.

Why Ofcom won't enforce the EMC regulations (2006) I don't know, lake of spine I suspect.

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FAIL

As I don't watch TV.

I guess I would be another one.

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And another...

Another to add to the chiming chorus of Radio Four listeners.

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I'd choose Radio 4

After all, the pictures are better on Radio 4.

GJC

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