#2 Next Wave / Channels Of Distribution

Part 2 of 4

I travel a strip of historic US40 almost daily.  Long ago, the interstate highway system drove the old highway off the road map as an obscure alternate route.  Remnants of its past still lie in the trees and brush at the side of the old road — the foundation of a gas station, bent rusty motel sign, a well worn dated bridge.  

It’s an age-old story as US40 shelved the old Lincoln Highway.  The Lincoln Highway ended the Union Pacifics’s near-monopoly of an east-west US trade route. The railroad ended east-west ship-by-sea via Cape Horn dominance of commerce.   It was also a welcome alternative to travel by wagon. 

Each new channel of distribution stunted the economic clout of the existing primary channel.  And each new channel created new profitable opportunities.  5G cellular networks and NextGenTV are prime to do much the same, as they accelerate cable and satellite cord-cutting.  

5G Networks 

5G is a new and improved 5th generation cellular network.  Think of it as a glorified Wi-Fi hotspot.  It considerably enhances wireless Internet access.  5G broadcasts via three radio bands — mmWave, Mid-band Sub6, and low band — each with distance, speed, or signal obstruction advantage. 

mmWave 24GHz to 90GHz

mmWave provides tremendous data speeds.  But mmWave is short on range and has trouble penetrating windows and walls. 

Mid-band Sub6 3GHz to 4GHz

Mid-band Sub6 lies between 4G-LTE and WiFi.  It has fewer solid obstacle issues but still boosts data speeds.  Plus, it provides large-coverage in densely populated areas. 

Low-band 700MHz 

Low-band forms the backbone of 5G.  It offers reliable wide-coverage via existing 4G-LTE sites.  Low-band data speeds are marginally better than 4G-LTE and more than sufficient for most needs. 

5G’s mobile “Wi-Fi hotspots” offer more convenience than being anchored to home-based WiFi.  5G offers more security than public WiFi.  Plus, 5G’s multiple bands allow users and providers to individually manage bandwidth and coverage needs. 


Internet protocol-based over-the-air NextGenTV has launched in many US markets.  NextGen provides two sources of UltraHD HDR video  — local broadcast channels, and Intenet streaming access.  It is poised to become a cord-cutter’s primary source of UltraHD HDR video. 

NextGenTV broadcasts cover greater distances and extend deeper into buildings than HDTV.  Local UHD broadcasts are free.  Cable and satellite cord-cutting savings cover streaming service and antenna installation costs.    It may also connect to mobile devices — cell phones, tablets, laptops — with included tuners. 

TV manufacturers can integrate a NextGen tuner or offer a set-top box.  The tuners include an off-air RG-6 antenna jack, plus WiFi and a hard-wire RJ-45 jack that provide connection and distribution to home router networks. 

Rooftop Antennas  

A TV picture is only as good as its input signal — garbage in garbage out.  The antenna is the NextGenTV portal.  A quality rooftop antenna produces RF signal gain. Targeted RF gain improves the signal to noise ratio. High signal to noise ratio produces a clean picture. 

Rooftop antenna pricing ranges from about $80.00 to $300.00.  Add the cost of a mast, mounting hardware, and quad shield RG-6 coax.  You may also need a preamplifier, distribution amp, antenna rotator, splitter, combiner, filter, additional antenna, plus installation.  This adds up to a profitable opportunity. 

If you’re new to the antenna category, then get kick-started with the following websites.

FCC DTV Reception Map

The FCC website offers broadcast data based on specific channels.

  • Distance from your location to broadcast tower.
  • Signal strength
  • Repack status of VHF channel numbers to a UHF frequency

Consumer Electronics Association Antenna Selection

The CEA partnered with Channel Master to assist antenna selection.

Continue with a search for RF signal strength meters.  Do you need a precise measurement of signal strength in decibels-milliwatts Pwr(dBm) plus signal noise in decibels-milliwatts NM(db) noise?  Or is a modest LED signal strength meter good enough to meet your needs?

Continue to part #3 “UltraHDTV HDR”

Visit my website Ed’s AV Handbook & business site SandTrapAudio.



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