Thursday, January 10, 2008

Technology that could impact rural America...

Just when TV is about to become all "have-seen-TV" because of the writer's strike, a technology advancement could alter the reach of broadcast TV.
U.S. TV broadcasters will be ready to start transmitting signals for portable electronics like cell phones next year, the developers of the technology, LG Electronics Inc. and Harris Corp., said Sunday.

The technology represents a chance for broadcasters to challenge cell-phone carriers, who are trying to sew up the market for mobile TV with their own transmissions.

"This is going to let broadcasters get back in the game," said Howard Lance, chairman and chief executive of Harris, which makes broadcasting equipment.

But it's doubtful that the Mobile Pedestrian Handheld, or MPH, receivers developed by LG will make it into cell phones in the U.S. market, which is tightly controlled by the carriers.

LG's president and chief technology officer, Woo Paik, said MPH is also suitable for other portable devices, like media players, navigation devices and laptops. The cost to build TV reception capabilities into these would be "minimal," Paik said at a news conference ahead of the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. [More]
Thinking about it, I'm sure Scott and I will look better on as small a screen as possible.

Meanwhile, a leap I had frankly given up on - WiMax - seems to be coming as well.
"Roaming will be much more like the Wi-Fi world than it will be in the world of cellular phones," he said.

Wi-Fi, a shorter range predecessor of WiMax, is mostly used in laptops today and is commonly available in coffee shops and other public places around the world.

It plans to offer only a data card for laptops and a modem for desktop computers when it kicks off the service, and has no immediate plans to sell phones that include the technology, West said. Other devices will be sold through electronics retailers rather than Sprint, he said.

West said he expects up to 10 WiMax devices to be available at the time Sprint launches its service. One of them is a Web browsing device that Nokia plans to sell. [More]
WiMax service will broaden the area with easily available wireless Internet, offering many more rural residents a choice for broadband. Actually the big winners could be what I term "residential farmers" - folks who mostly work elsewhere but who choose to live (and farm a bit) in the country. The commuting constraints which limit where they can live should match up well with cell tower coverage.

Still every connection choice helps.

[Memo to self: how can I get Farm Journal Media to send me to Las Vegas to cover the Consumer Electronics Show - arguably the biggest geek party in the world?]

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