Tuesday, 14 June 2011

4G mobile services could disrupt digital TV

The launch of 4G next year will bring some great opportunities to the mobile and tablet industries. However, it seems as though what is good news for mobiles, could well be bad news for digital TV. 4G will provide faster browsing and download speeds but it seems as though these new high speed signals could interfere with digital TV reception in the UK.

Ofcom, the government-approved regulatory authority for the telecommunication industries in the UK has produced a briefing document on the ‘Coexistence of new services in the 800 MHz band with digital terrestrial television’, which outlines how signals from base stations handling 4G might interfere with local STBs. The problem has arisen as 4G sits next to terrestrial TV signals in the spectrum. It is thought at the moment that around 3 per cent of UK viewers could be affected. And although filters should solve the problem for some, others may need to use different ways to get TV signal. Ofcom has started a research programme to investigate the problem and to find out to what extent viewers will be affected.

Although it’s still unclear as to where the responsibility lies for minimising the impact on TV viewers, this is something that could have a potentially large impact on digital TV services in the UK.

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