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back to article British 4G mobile data rollout 'will mean NO TELLY for 2m homes'

A pressure group campaigning for high-quality broadcasting has warned that 4G phone networks could knock out TV in one in ten UK homes - and by the time anyone notices it will be too late to fix. The Voice of the Listener & Viewer, a membership and donation-funded lobbying body, wants guarantees that once next-gen mobile …

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Destroying TV availability for better mobile internet? Bring it on!

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Anonymous Coward

TV is far superior to mobile internet, especially while it's so damn expensive to even use mobile internet and I would prefer to use a proper full size keyboard and laptop over some 'smart' phone. OFCOM proves themselves to be useless yet again!

Note: I am NOT 'Anonymous' I don't condone DDoS or any of their childish antics, just 'cos The Reg staff in their infinite wisdom, forces me to wear their stupid logo!

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Pint

I feel sorry for you. Perhaps you need to upgrade your laptop? Mine gives me a whole array of icons to choose. For example this one is for BEER

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Anonymous Coward

Lucky Them

There's only crap on TV these days.

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Angel

If it will speed up 4g they can put an antenna in my garden.

They can knock out my tv as well, thats what iplayer etc is for..........

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Anonymous Coward

A partial solution...

Re: "Some respondents argue that by the time 4G coverage is extended into the rural areas where Freeview signals are weak, and where old people live, then the issue will disappear thanks to the magic of technology (such as better base-station filters)."

Perhaps if 4G deployment was delayed by a year or two, all these old people will have died off?

Maybe the government could introduce cutbacks in rural healthcare to speed up this process?

Maybe the BBC could employee Russell Brand and Jonathon Ross as programme schedulers to further speed up the 4G rollout?

Finally, maybe TV programmes could be made available over 4G with better reception than the few surviving old people originally had?

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Ha Ha!

I don't own a tube TV!

(Or any other come to think of it)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ha Ha!

we have a 15" trinitron from some disgusting old bat when she died so you know it was never used. picture is beautiful. looks crisp as hell with standard SD freeview, flickers a bit but thats kinda sexy for me now that all my other screens are LED backlit.

thank you so much for reading my post

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ha Ha!

What a plonker. Sadly he may breed and produce more.

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Adjacent?

These signals can't be adjacent to every DTT band, so we could just move the handful of worthwhile channels out of the way and put shopping channels in the line of fire.

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Boffin

Re: Adjacent?

You've misunderstood the problem. Most current amplifiers are wideband, accepting signals across the whole DTT band. When some DTT signals are moved out of part of that band, and stronger 4G signals appear on those frequencies, the amplifiers will pick up those signals and may overload. At that point the *whole* DTT band gets messed up as it passes through the overloaded amplifier.

That's the allegation, whether it will be widespread is another matter.

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Boffin

Re: Adjacent?

Given that many of the amplifiers in use are of typical TV industry design and build quality, I don't see them being very likely to cope well with the LTE signals within their passband.

The problem is that the amplifier either compresses sufficiently on the LTE signal so that its gain falls and reduces the DTTV signal levels or that in addition intermodulation between the various signals causes the signal:noise ratio of the DTTV signals to reduce and the error rate to go up noticeably. Putting filters in the base stations will not help at all unless the DTTV receivers are very close to an LTE base and hence are receiving noise sidebands from the LTE transmitters, it requires the filtering to be applied at the receive end and in many cases the state of the kit in homes and particular in shared access TV properties such as tower blocks and rented properties will be dreadfully poor.

It's going to be ugly, there are so many diverse ways of receiving TV that every fix implemented is likely to be bespoke.

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Stop

Re: Adjacent?

@Phil O'Sophical - Oh! OK, so, in theory, would buying an amplifier or aerial for a specific transmission group (lets say group A for the London region -which only covers UHF channels 21-37) negate this particular problem?

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Re:grouped amp

The best answer is probably "maybe". If the 4G signal is being picked up by the aerial, and if the filter at the amp input is reasonably sharp, then it may be OK. That's the principle of the add-on filters being proposed.

If the interfering signal is strong enough to be picked up by the amp directly (and very few are in screened cases) then no amount of filtering/grouping will help.

A better solution may be to remove the amp altogether. Many people fitted amplifiers to improve their DTT reception when it was broadcast at low power. Now that the switchover is almost complete most transmitters have increased the power of the DTT signals to a level where an amp should only be necessary to feed multiple TVs, and they're usually pretty low-gain (10dB, versus 26dB for a masthead amp).

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Re: Adjacent?

It would, except that almost everywhere now has or still needs wideband antenna and amps.

Originally because of Channel 5, later due to the various Freeview shuffling stages as even if the final result was a given band, the muxes went through others to get there.

Most of greater london has no need of amps anyway, it's once again people in the countryside (notably Scotland and Wales) that will get hit the worst.

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Re: Adjacent?

The amplifier problem may be a hangover fromn the past. When the transition was made from mixed analogue/digital to digital only, transmitter power was increased, and we were able to stop using an amplifier.

From my own experience, there were some pretty dodgy aerial installers in the early days of digital, and there is still a lot of low-quality cable being used, in a combination of poor initial specification and age.

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Anonymous Coward

Give me 5

Do you recall just before Channel 5 (in the UK) came on the air, they had to send a fleet of techs around to peoples houses around the UK, to retune poor sods VCRs as Channel 5 was interfering with the VCR to TV signal?

Something like 10 million homes, if this has any accuracy: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/1996/sep/17/britains-new-tv-channel-must-retune-nations-vcrs/

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Re: Give me 5

Yeah. In some regions (like the London region), Channel 5 could only be placed at UHF channel 36 (-ish), which is what some external equipment (such as VCRs) were also defaulted to ("broadcasting" down the RF lead). Those needed to be "retuned" (changed to broadcast on another UHF channel) by twiddling a switch thing using a screw or similar implement.

This wouldn't have affected any region where Channel 5 was at a different UHF channel (such as the Yorkshire region, I'm pretty sure that their channel lineup started at around UHF channel 40-something - I remember having to tune my TV back in Bradford Uni in the 90s). It also didn't affect anything (IIRC) connected via SCART or other connection other than the RF lead.

This is different though, as it's not equipment being affected but potentially the actual reception of certain "digital" muxes that broadcast on UHF channels 60-68 and only in certain areas.

That was in areas where the analogue signal used UHF channels that covered UHF channel 36, which was where Channel 5 was roughly. For homes where the TV channels started at UHF channel 40, there would have been no problem

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Channel 36 isn't just VCRs

A lot of old computers too.

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Happy

Re: Channel 36 isn't just VCRs

Oh God, YES! :D

BBC Micro, Commodore 64, those were the days when you hooked up your computer to the TV via an aerial!

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Not

just old people. LOADS of young people also couldn't see the miniscule screw on the vcr rear to tune the vcr output to the tv channel.

Then along came scart..

I've got freesat....maybe not even that soon....I'm considering the validity of becoming a TV-free house....even with the hectoring threatening letters from capita.....

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Re: Not

I've gone telly free - its great - right now the house is all lovely and peaceful!

My peace was spoilt the other week by some bloke from TV licensing knocking on my door, I just ignored him and he popped a note through my letter hole saying he'd be back - bring it on! Next time ill hand you back all the unopened letters from your organisational telling me I must be a criminal because I don't watch endless repeats of Come Dine With Me!

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Stop

Re: Not

@JohnMurray - To be fair, SCART had been around for yeeeears already before then and completely avoided that problem entirely, although it wasn't massively widespread.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not

They will find a way oh yes they will find a way.

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Re: Not

Careful though, you may not have a TV but you still need a licence for mobile phones and pc's. Although I'm not sure how they'd prove you watched TV.

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Re: Not

You only need a licence to receive broadcast television.

If you use the inter-web/net/trash to watch on-demand services, then you need a licence only if they are being broadcast at the same time as you watch them.

You do not need a licence for mobile phone video unless as above.

Who cares whether they can prove it...to date all they do is drown you in mail and then the visits start, and then they visit you at various times in the evening.

Note, from the licencing website:

"Our officers may visit the licensed place at any time to check that our records are correct and inspect TV equipment. However, you don’t have to let them into your home or business"

That's that solved then: FUCK OFF

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Trollface

Re: Not

"If you use the inter-web/net/trash to watch on-demand services, then you need a licence only if they are being broadcast at the same time as you watch them."

Hmmmmm. If I watched TV this might be something to ponder - given the short delay inherent to digital broadcasts would they even count as being watched "at the same time"?

Claims of this sort could be taken to a possibly ludicrous extreme, given c isn't infinite...

"Your honour, given that my client lives about two hundred miles away from the transmitter, he was watching the programme at least one millisecond after it was being broadcast."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not

* minuscule

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Re: Not

Sorry missed out the "live" but my point still stands.. But yes you could just tell them to jog on

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Happy

Re: Not

S4qFBxkFFg - the short delay wouldn't negate the "same time" point of the licence requirements. I recall that the full explanation is that if the programme is still being broadcast, then watching it, even if you were watching it from a different point, counts as watching at the "same time".

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I'd quite happily go tv-free if it meant getting a good 4G signal everywhere (that didnt cost a ridiculous amount). My wife and kids on the other hand probably wouldnt.

I dont think i could bare my house if the tv suddenly stopped receiving a signal.

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Angel

I watch about 1-2 hours live telly a week, and thats the news in the morning, everything else is streamed from iplayer etc plus eurosport player, netflix blah blah blah

Wouldn't be a big loss to me........

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Stop

If you're in a region that doesn't broadcast in the transmission groups C/D and E (like the London region), then I wouldn't worry about it at all - none of the muxes are anywhere near the UHF channels 60+ that would potentially be affected by 4G.

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FAIL

Some relays in London do

The main Crystal Palace transmitter may use only Group A, but many people in the London region use relay transmitters that *will* be affected. The Reigate transmitter, which carries all services, uses UHF channel 60.

Channels from 61 to 68 are being cleared by switchover or, where switchover happened before the decision to clear 61 and 62, or international agreement wasn't obtained in time, through a subsequent clearance programme. The problem is that to make it worth auctioning this band, there cannot be sufficient separation between the lowest frequency used for 4G and TV services on UHF 60.

Part of the problem is that people in the London area have replaced perfectly good Group A aerials with widebands, which are *designed* to pick up C61-C68, and in fact have far more gain up that end than at the low end where it's really needed. Having said that, grouped aerials still have some frequency response outside their group, it's just not designed for good gain across the whole band and one grouped aerial will have different response from another. Filters are still necessary to ensure that the pick-up of 4G signals is low enough to avoid overloading amplifiers - including the amplifiers within the receiver's tuner front-end.

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Go

Pfff

From what I remember, the 4G signals will be deployed at a similar frequency to UHF channel 60 and above. So this will likely affect any region that uses transmission group C/D and E, as they cover UHF channels up to UHF channel 68.

Fortunately, the London region use UHF channels 22-30 (transmission group A) so we won't be affected. :p

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Facepalm

What was the point, again?

TV viewers, and secondary users, were obliged to pay to cope with the delights of the digital switch-over largely to free up spectrum that the government could sell off, but after all that they may still face the prospect of interference? Some people are not going to be very happy.

If the base-stations can avoid causing interference by having better filters, doesn't that suggest that without such filters they are causing avoidable interference? I thought there were rules about that. Are we to assume that Ofcom is once again incapable of applying them when they conflict with commercial interests?

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Why do we have radio licensing authorities

if they are considering allowing this sort of thing? Just because you've got a driving license doesn't mean you're allowed to drive up the wrong side of the road.

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Anonymous Coward

The EE solution

We break it, but if you pay us some public money, we'll fix it. Maybe.

The spirit of Don Corleone lives on.

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Joke

Not a problem

To be honest, by the time we've had the spectrum auction, the telco's will have spent all their money on licensing the frequencies so wont be able to deploy 4G let alone maintain it, 2G and 3G all together.

Joke icon as hey, it hasn't happened before eh?

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WTF?

Couldn't they just use a different frequency for LTE?

Incidentally, wasn't Voice of the Listener and Viewer the old name for Mary Whitehouse's gang?

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Facepalm

As far as i can remember , The MW gang was going to be called,

"Clean Up National Television."

Until its acronym was spotted!.............

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Anonymous Coward

Clean Up National Television

They'd have started with the Grampian region, which was originally going to be called Scottish Highlands and Islands Television. Would have made a great DOG...

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Holmes

Re: Clean Up National Television

Strangely enough, when I posted earlier I was wondering what Mary would have made of 2 Girls One Cup.

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Terminator

DIY filter kits...

Because average Jo office worker is going to have no trouble what so ever terminating coax.

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Oh FFS

Just give people in the affected areas satellite dishes and freesat decoders.

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Re: Oh FFS

Which works great, until you find a house where you can't get decent satellite coverage - the rather large hill to the south of my home (and the other 34 houses on the road) would make it pretty difficult for me to see any geostationary satellite without a rather large tower for the antenna. Oddly enough, I don't believe that the council would be too happy with someone attempting to stick up 20m poles with antennae on top in a conservation area...

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FAIL

Lovely - and in the Borders we do indeed receive our Freeview in the UHF60+ band.....

And don't bother suggesting palming me off with Freesat - I want access to the channels I currently receive - I don't care how I get them - providing all the TV's in the house can get them - and I can receive them in all weather types. But please note if you intend to change the platform I currently receive all my TV with - you WILL also have to replace my PVR with one that both works on the new platform and also has the same functionality as my current PVR - Namely - I can record 2 channels at once and watch a third that is broadcast on one of the 2 multiplexes being recorded. It must continuously record a 2 hour buffer of the channel currently being watched - as we find that useful when we switch the TV on and discover that an interesting programme is just ending so we rewind it back to watch it from the beginning (or rewind it back to the start and hit record - yes the Humax PVR9200T allows you to retrospectively record TV that has already been broadcast)

I refuse to give up any of the functionality of my existing kit just so some poncy network can introduce a technology that no-one needs, there will be no kit to use it for at least 6 months after the launch, and that will have such expensive bandwidth and stupidly low data caps - that no working class people will be able to afford to use it.

Freesat DOES NOT carry the same channels that Freeview does - I know - I've tried it.

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Unhappy

I'm also in the borders and it's pretty gauling that post "having to buy your own analogue hilltop mast" in order to get a picture or hitch your ass to FreeSat from Sky or "real" FreeSat, we're about to get shafted just when we managed to get a 21st century picture.

The government is a bunch of c**** and whenever you see anything with a percentage of losers about to take a hit for the "common good" you can bet it's Scotland (again) who's going to take one up the pipe, so who gives a stuff.

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Wait, What?

I don't believe there's such thing as "a pressure group campaigning for high-quality broadcasting."

I believe what you meant to write was "an industry lobbying group astroturfing as a campaign for high-quality broadcasting."

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