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White Space Debate Intensifies As Vote Approaches

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the my-science-can-beat-up-your-science dept.

Communications 94

Ars Technica reports that the debate between broadcasters and white space supporters has intensified after each side recently made inflammatory comments and suggested that science would vindicate their position. Several organizations are pushing to delay the upcoming white space vote, in part because it takes place on the same day as the US presidential election. We recently discussed Google's claim that a test of this system was rigged to fail. From Ars: "The broadcasters contend that adjacent channel interference would be significant even at the 40 mW level proposed by Kevin Martin. In fact, they claim that such a device would interfere with digital television signals when the viewer is 25 miles from the television tower and the whitespace device is 10m or less from the TV set. At 50 miles from the television tower, a whitespace device within 50m from a set could allegedly cause interference. The broadcasters also want several safeguard requirements put on the technology that go beyond the new, lower-power transmission levels."

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WHITESPACE... (4, Funny)

Zordak (123132) | more than 5 years ago | (#25509691)

... Because INTERCAL is just too user friendly.

Re:WHITESPACE... (1)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511023)

What's intercal?

>>> At 50 miles from the television tower, a whitespace device within 50m from a set could allegedly cause interference.

Unacceptable. If I'm trying to watch the Phillies match on WPHL-17, the last thing I want is for some brat with an Ipod to start broadcasting over top of 17 (because the Ipod believes it's empty), or neighboring channels 16/18, and instantly block-out my viewing of the World Series.

Or worse, block out the station while a major snowstorm is blasting through, and I get cut-off. Television news/weather is FAR more-important than horny teen's desire to surf porn from his bed. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

Re:WHITESPACE... (1)

Zordak (123132) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511245)

Whitespace [wikipedia.org]

Intercal [wikipedia.org]

Re:WHITESPACE... (1)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25516465)

Here's an interesting article that reveals the Whitespace Coalition's true goals: http://www.tvtechnology.com/article/68654 [tvtechnology.com]

* "[i]n a few years a second phase of the DTV transition should get TV off the air."
* "Take TV off the air' in a few years."
* "[O]ver-the-air broadcasts should be replaced entirely by cable, satellite and Internet viewing."

The broadcasters also cited white space proponents' plans to increase their power levels over time. "The FCC proposes to limit devices to 40 milliwatts of power in white-space channels adjacent to TV stations, but 'we're going to push that up over time,'" the broadcasters quote one executive as saying. Mark McHenry, CEO of Shared Spectrum Co., said, according to the broadcasters, "The FCC is going to start conservatively, but we're going to wear them down. In a few years, we're going to be at 10 W all over the place." Of course, at these power levels, not only will free over-the-air TV reception be impossible in locations where WSDs are in use, but[b] cable TV reception will be impaired as well.[/b]

Re:WHITESPACE... (1)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25516611)

P.P.S.

Even your cable television will be "blocked" by white-space devices. Quote:

"The National Cable & Telecommunications Association filed lengthy comments with the FCC on September 10, concluding that "unlicensed TV band devices, as currently proposed, will interfere with cable service." Not only can home cable wiring be subject to direct pickup (DPU) interference, but local cable offices around the country could find their high-gain local antennas affected (which could mess up local TV channels served to all cable subscribers in the area)."

"Every time a consumer in a single family home uses a personal/portable TV band device as currently proposed, its signal output will interfere with cable services. For example, a family member using a TV band device in one room for home networking could foreclose another family member from watching a particular TV channel in another room. The affected channel would go blank or be seriously degraded."

"The problem could get even worse in apartment buildings, and the group points out that even Ed Thomas has conceded that the issue "needs to be looked at"...... the group would like to see unlicensed white space devices limited to 10mW, or one-tenth the amount of power that white space backers want to use. As for headends, NCTA wants to use the geolocation database to clear a swath of space around them that would be free of white space devices."

Source: http://www.saschameinrath.com/2008/sep/24/ars_technica_covers_white_space_device_debate [saschameinrath.com]

Re:WHITESPACE... (1)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511303)

P.S.

I'm speaking from the point-of-view of the User, not the asshole corporation, but the little innocent citizen who is wondering if he is about to get screwed. I am concerned about losing my ability to watch free television like Heroes, Lost, CSI, Smallville, 24, and of course the local news & weather. Since I live in the densely-populated Northeast, almost every channel is filled. There's only 4 non-adjacent open channels where I live; all the rest are reserved. I don't see how WSDs are going to operate without causing me to lose 70% of my channels (from ~19 downto just 5 locals).*

I invested $300 on four DTV tuner boxes, and another $100 on brand-new rooftop antennas, in order to prepare myself for the 2009 transition. I don't want my investment to be a waste because it picks-up playboy.com datastreams (garbage) instead of Heroes or 24 high-definition video.

If my $400 investment suddenly becomes worthless due to FCC approval of TV-blocking whitespace Ipods,
then I might as well bend-over now.

Obamatrons on search-and-destroy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25509703)

Joe the plumber's records accessed illegally. [dispatch.com]

So we now know how Obama will treat those that question Dear Leader.

And all you leftards screamed about Bush's imaginary violations of the Constitution? Were you just projecting?

Fear for your freedom as well as the your wealth that Obama wants to "spread around".

Umm... (3, Insightful)

the_skywise (189793) | more than 5 years ago | (#25509719)

Perhaps a short explanation of what "white space" is in this context in the summary might be helpful?

Yes I even RTFA to try to figure it out but it already assumed prior knowledge as well.

Re:Umm... (5, Informative)

Meshach (578918) | more than 5 years ago | (#25509799)

This page may help: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Spaces_Coalition [wikipedia.org]

Re:Umm... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25509961)

whitespace is seating at the front of the bus only

Re:Umm... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25510225)

hahaha

Re:Umm... (1)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 5 years ago | (#25514111)

whitespace is seating at the front of the bus only

<tongue in cheek> Testify brutha! Tell it on the mountain! Broadcast it with a whitespace device that blocks out those namby pamby PC messages on the corporate TV run by the Five Jewish Bankers from their outer space station. </tongue in cheek>

Re:Umm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25510135)

Look up at night and you see space, right? Well, white space is regular black space's less hip latte drinking co-worker from the suburbs.

Re:Umm... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25510309)

Whitespace: (Microsoft, Google, Dell, HP, Intel, Philips, Earthlink, Samsung Electro-Mechanics) bring 10-100 Mb/s internet access over unused TV frequencies. (starting February 2009, US)

Re:Umm... (1)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511391)

The flaw with that reasoning is that there are NO unused television frequencies. The entire east and west coast is densely-packed and every channel from 2 to 51 is assigned a station. In my area (near Philly) there's only 4 non-adjacent open channels (2,3,4, and 25). That's it. And only one of them is useful for small devices (25).

The only region of the United States that is truly "open" is west of the Mississippi River & east of the California border. There are lots of empty non-assigned channels (mostly 21-51), but very few people live in this area.

Re:Umm... (3, Informative)

jelton (513109) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511591)

The flaw with that reasoning is that there are NO unused television frequencies. The entire east and west coast is densely-packed and every channel from 2 to 51 is assigned a station. In my area (near Philly) there's only 4 non-adjacent open channels (2,3,4, and 25). That's it. And only one of them is useful for small devices (25).

The only region of the United States that is truly "open" is west of the Mississippi River & east of the California border. There are lots of empty non-assigned channels (mostly 21-51), but very few people live in this area.

In the U.S., the FCC allocates spectrum for, among other things, broadcast television. When the FCC allocates spectrum for television, they do not license adjacent channels in the same geographic market. They also do not license out the same channel to broadcasters in adjacent geographic markets.

Historically, spectrum was licensed this way due to concerns that, within the same geographic market, broadcasts on adjacent channels would bleed into each other and cause interference or that, in rural areas located near the boundary between geographic markets, broadcasts on the same channel would interfere with each other.

So, in a saturated broadcast market, half of all channels lie fallow as buffer zones between broadcasters. The White Spaces Coalition advocates freeing up these buffer channels which currently lie fallow for internet access.

Re:Umm... (2, Interesting)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511741)

>>>they do not license adjacent channels in the same geographic market.

That is true, however the FCC guarantees to broadcasters the use of their designated channel *to be free from interference* of neighboring channels. That is why there is a two channel minimum gap on TV, on FM, and on AM. If stations co-existed side-by-side within the same market, they would interfere with one another. Likewise if a Whitespace Device Broadcast exists side-by-side with a TV broadcast, then the WSD's signal will "spillover" onto the existing local station, and violate that station's exclusive right to that channel.

IMHO if the FCC would not allow a TV station 16 or 18 to exist adjacent to WPHL-17, then they should not allow a WSD to be there either. The WSD should be blocked from using that entire range: 16, 17, and 18 when in the presence of WPHL. ----- And once you make that assumption, and you examine my local market near Philly, you discover there are only 4 channels that fit the criteria as open (2,3,4,25).

 

Re:Umm... (2, Interesting)

jelton (513109) | more than 5 years ago | (#25512681)

That is true, however the FCC guarantees to broadcasters the use of their designated channel *to be free from interference* of neighboring channels. That is why there is a two channel minimum gap on TV, on FM, and on AM. If stations co-existed side-by-side within the same market, they would interfere with one another. Likewise if a Whitespace Device Broadcast exists side-by-side with a TV broadcast, then the WSD's signal will "spillover" onto the existing local station, and violate that station's exclusive right to that channel.

IMHO if the FCC would not allow a TV station 16 or 18 to exist adjacent to WPHL-17, then they should not allow a WSD to be there either. The WSD should be blocked from using that entire range: 16, 17, and 18 when in the presence of WPHL. ----- And once you make that assumption, and you examine my local market near Philly, you discover there are only 4 channels that fit the criteria as open (2,3,4,25).

That is certainly a defensible position on this topic.

I don't want to get into a debate over language. I will say, however, that I think your original characterization of the situation (i.e., "there are NO unused television frequencies") is, at best, pretty misleading.

I understand that you want to define the buffer zones as "in use as buffer zones" and I want to define them as "not in use." I think there is room for debate on that topic. But, in a thread where many readers may not be as familiar with this topic as the two of us seem to be, it seems likely that your declaration of there being no open channels is somewhat disingenuous. Contrast that with my prior explanation which, for all of its flaws, at least addressed the fact that the channels are used as buffers to prevent interference even while declaring them "unused."

Re:Umm... (2, Informative)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515473)

>>>in a thread where many readers may not be as familiar with this topic

Let's simplify it then. I currently get around 20 channels from local cities and from long-distance cities (Philly, Baltimore, Harrisburg). With Whitespace Devices polluting the TV band, I'll be blocked from watching Philly, Baltimore, or Harrisburg since the WSDs will interfere with long-distance reception. I'll only be able to get the local channels. From circa 20 downto 5. I don't find this acceptable.

Re:Umm... (1)

davolfman (1245316) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511977)

That's the exception rather than the rule. Here in the western half of the US I have rarely ever received a useful signal on more than maybe a dozen over the air channels.

Re:Umm... (2, Interesting)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25516989)

As I stated: "The only region of the United States that is truly "open" is west of the Mississippi River & east of the California border. There are lots of empty non-assigned channels (mostly 21-51)..." Using your location of 12+ receivable channels, which also includes 24 guard channels to prevent interference, that still leaves only 15 open channels for internet whitespace devices (approximately 300 Mbit/s total space).

Of course that does absolutely nothing to help those of us on the populous east coast, where the average number of open channels (that are Not next to an existing television signal) is only 6 or 7. About 150 Mbit/s.

It doesn't seem worth the effort for just a few megabits, subdivided amongst ~1 million local residents, or about 0.3 kbit/s each. Ooo. I'd rather use a 50k phone line.

Re:Umm... (1)

davolfman (1245316) | more than 5 years ago | (#25536301)

It'll kick ass in a place like Colorado Springs though.

Re:Umm... (1)

Nar Matteru (1099389) | more than 5 years ago | (#25514761)

76 million people is not "very few" people. Less than the rest maybe, but not "very few".

Re:Umm... (1)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515559)

The mountain and plains region represents just 25% of the total U.S. - not a very big potential market for WSDs

Re:Umm... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25511717)

Except that nothing in the licensing requires it to be used for internet access, it's just general usage. This includes datacasting, bidirectional fixed communications (as occur in the 5.8 GHz ISM band now), and various class 15 usage.

Re:Umm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25529009)

This is white space: --> <--

What are you? Stupid?

Imperial or metric? (2, Interesting)

adonoman (624929) | more than 5 years ago | (#25509735)

What's with the mixing of units? Use either 50 miles and 50 yards, or 80 km and 50 m. Mixing imperial and metric units like this, will probably cause http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/10/25/1449212#the [slashdot.org] test devices to explode.

Re:Imperial or metric? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25509813)

The transition of the U.S. to the metric system is on going, with the lesser-liked imperial units converted into the best-liked metric units first.

Re:Imperial or metric? (4, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25510455)

Pffft. Down with the metric system. We don't need no foreign rulers.

Re:Imperial or metric? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25512811)

I'm Canadian, you insensitive clod!

Re:Imperial or metric? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25509995)

Yes, it's confusing. 10m is the standard test distance for various RF interference tests, which the FCC requires to be done with a method compatible to the CISPR [wikipedia.org] specifications. That includes metric test distances, units of uV/m, etc. No doubt, that's why they used 10m separation, probably without even thinking about it. But for an American audience, they chose to use miles for distance to the broadcast tower instead of km because that's what we're used to.

Re:Imperial or metric? (2, Insightful)

Mozk (844858) | more than 5 years ago | (#25512501)

I'm glad that I'm not the only one who noticed that. And yes, there is a space between a number and its symbol.

I'm in the United States, and personally I've been using metric units in everyday use for a while now, and I actually sometimes get confused with US customary units. There's no reason that I should have to deal with that crap.

Technical issues (3, Funny)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 5 years ago | (#25509755)

As a representative of UltraProfitCom, I must point out that the use of 40 mW transmissions over the whitespace could raise very unpleasant technical issues. For example, it could damage the profitus of the entrenchedplayerus. It may also vastly increase the alternativus that individuals have for data transmission containing dangerous features like competitiveservicus. Left unchecked, these transmissions could also increase the convenientus that people have to do deal with. Clearly, it should not be done.

Re:Technical issues (2, Informative)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 5 years ago | (#25510563)

Well, there's also technical issues like these [fda.gov] . One of those pesky little problems that crops up when you have a bunch of unlicensed devices using the same frequencies as high powered licensed devices.

Re:Technical issues (1)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511101)

>>> At 50 miles from the television tower, a whitespace device within [160 feet] from a set could cause interference.

Unacceptable. If I'm trying to watch the Phillies match on WPHL-17, the last thing I want is for some brat with an Ipod to start broadcasting over top of 17 (because the Ipod believes it's empty), or neighboring channels 16/18, and instantly block-out my viewing of the World Series. ----- Or worse, block out the station while a major snowstorm is blasting through, and I get cut-off. Television news/weather is FAR more-important than horny teen's desire to surf Pron from his bed. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

See my signature. Whitespace gadgets are fine. Just keep them off the TV band. I need my television; I like my television. According to a quick calculation, the addition of whitespace interference on TV channels would drop my receivable stations.....

From: ~19 channels (Baltimore, Philly, Harrisburg, Lancaster)
To: 5 channels (local market only)

Unacceptable.

Re:Technical issues (1)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511249)

P.S.

I'm speaking from the point-of-view of the User, you know, the little guy. I am concerned about losing the ability to watch free television like Heroes, Lost, CSI, Smallville, 24, and of course the local news & weather. Since I live in the densely-populated Northeast, almost every channel is filled. There's only 3 non-adjacent open channels where I live; I don't see how WSDs are going to operate without causing me to lose 70% of my channels.

Re:Technical issues (1)

roguetrick (1147853) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511723)

Are you so much of a Karma whore that you just copy and paste your posts as close to the top as you can, multiple times? Keerist!

Re:Technical issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25512195)

Who cares about you and your 'Phillies', unless you are using Phillies to roll blunts with to pass out.(I'll get in line for that!)

And while you are fondling yourself as you look over your TV channel list, remember that TV is soooooo last millennium.

Re:Technical issues (1)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25515541)

>>>remember that TV is soooooo last millennium.

Oh really? Well how are you going to watch Heroes in HD without broadcast television? Certainly not on your SD-quality Iphone, and not on your PC either since nbc.com can't handle 30 million viewerss at 15 gbit/s each (500 gigabit-wide streaming). No website can meet that demand.

Re:Technical issues (1)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517103)

Correction:

NBC.com can't handle 30 million Heroes HD viewers at 15 Mbit/s each (~500,000 gigabit-wide streaming). BROADcast, rather than single-cast, is still the best way to serve millions of people at the same time. With broadcasting NBC can send just 200 copies of the Heroes program, from 200 stations spread across the continent, rather than 30 million copies to each individual internet device.

Re:Technical issues (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | more than 5 years ago | (#25522571)

Never heard of multicast? How 'bout Bittorrents optimized for video? Can you explain why you think NBC is so much better at utilizing the utterly massive amount of bandwidth represented by those 200 stations spread across the continent than the rest of us are? I especially want you to explain it to me, since I have consumed approximately 4 hours of television programming over the past 30 days, and that's more than usual (and it wasn't NBC or any other broadcast network; it was a cable-only network).

NBC and the other broadcast networks are afraid of being squeezed into reaching people only through wired means, which are currently controlled either by cable companies or by Ma Bell. They're right to be scared, since the attitude that prevails at those corporations is "I want a cut of everything, and if you have lots of money, I want an even bigger cut." If they had any sense, they'd get behind a network neutrality law with some teeth in it, just to be on the safe side.

Having said that, I'm still waiting to hear why the federal government should spend time and money protecting their business model. You're trying to use NBC content to claim that NBC's current distribution mechanism should be protected. I don't buy it. Their content is independent of the distribution mechanism. Heroes could still exist even if the NBC network was just a studio, and not a network at all. The fact that such a show hasn't been produced independent of a major network is a matter of financial will, not economic necessity. The Japanese direct-to-video market is plenty of proof of that.

Hollywood has already started getting over their long-time prejudice against direct-to-video, historically relegated to the bottom of the food chain. Nowadays the big name stars are willing to provide their voice acting for the animated direct-to-video follow-ons to movies like the Matrix and Chronicles of Riddick. As time goes on, I'm sure they'll become more and more willing to follow the money, especially when direct-to-video starts to mean direct-to-streaming-video.

Re:Technical issues (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25524471)

>>>massive amount of bandwidth represented by those 200 stations spread across the continent than the rest of us are?

(1) It's not that massive. 200 * 15 Mbit/s == Just 3 Gbit/s to feed the entire United States.

(2) Because it has 70+ years of proven ability to work. When the president needs to be heard, his image can reach almost all 300 million citizens (99.9% coverage). It gets the job done. The only thing internet has proven is its ability to produce fuzzy images that frequently freezeup. Websites often fail during high-demand periods (like the 9/11 attacks).

(3) How is having Google, Microsoft, Apple, et cetera any better than NBC, ABC/Disney, CBS, et cetera? They are still corporations; they are still in control access, and can't wait to sell you shiny-new $200 devices with $50 a month subscription fee.* All you're doing is trading one corporate oligarchy for a different corporate oligarchy.

(4) * Broadcast television has no fee.

There's an old saying... (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25509777)

"Nobody screams louder than somebody whose subsidy is being cut".

Now, it is politically popular to think about that statement only in the context of bloated, black, cadillac-driving, welfare queens and their giant broods of fatherless criminal children; but such a type, if it exists at all, is chickenshit in terms of real subsidies. Consider rather the broadcasters who have made huge amounts of money, and acquired a great deal of influence, thanks to a government granted monopoly over big chunks of our spectrum.

Re:There's an old saying... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25509955)

"Nobody screams louder than somebody whose subsidy is being cut".

Spoken like somebody who's never wiped his cock on his girlfriend's living-room curtains after anal sex.

Re:There's an old saying... (0)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 5 years ago | (#25510099)

What does subsidies being cut have to do with discourtesy after anal sex?

Re:There's an old saying... (1, Funny)

kdemetter (965669) | more than 5 years ago | (#25510349)

I think he was reffering to the screaming.

Re:There's an old saying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25510273)

That wasn't your subsidy she was threatening to cut off.

Re:There's an old saying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25511323)

Spoken like somebody who's never wiped his cock on his girlfriend's living-room curtains after anal sex.

WTF?

1) If it's not appealing enough to lick it, best not to stick it.

2) Appropriate hygiene tools can be found at the local drugstore

3) If it doesn't feel great for both, you're not doing it right. Your local drugstore probably also has lubricants that may be very helpful.

4) Be prepared at all times with a booty rag, lube, and those latex balloons... when in doubt, those'll keep a stick fresh enough to lick. (If you pull them off from the open end, they'll also be inside-out containing any unexpected nasties) Find out what brands feel good to you, and avoid those that leave an unpleasant smell or aftertaste on your skin. Then you're ready to switch positions without interruption.

5)When doing anything new sexually, it'll work best if at least one of the people involved knows what they're doing. For more questions experts can be found on the men seeking men area of Craigslist or at a church near you.

6) If ya really need to clean up and nothing is nearby, use your socks. There are worse things than wearing no socks briefly...

Re:There's an old saying... (1)

jabithew (1340853) | more than 5 years ago | (#25510307)

Farmers. You forgot the subsidy of western farmers.

Re:There's an old saying... (2, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511181)

Good point. After all, if we didn't cut a bloody huge check to ConAgra every year, how would the hardy yoeman farmer, Backbone of America(tm) and Heart of the Heartland(tm), continue to live his rugged, self-sufficient existence?

One side is clearly right (4, Funny)

bigdavex (155746) | more than 5 years ago | (#25509821)

Tabs

Re:One side is clearly right (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#25510275)

Chuck Norris.

Re:One side is clearly right (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25510433)

Chuck Norris doesn't use the spacebar.

Re:One side is clearly right (1)

elronxenu (117773) | more than 5 years ago | (#25516517)

In Soviet Russia, your editor has tabs on you.

Broadcasters want more segregation? (3, Funny)

madnis (1300099) | more than 5 years ago | (#25509867)

Whitespace? Why do they have to be so racialist?

Re:Broadcasters want more segregation? (1)

swb (14022) | more than 5 years ago | (#25510397)

Because nobody would give a shit if it was called blackspace.

The problem with whitespace (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25509885)

The pseudopumps can cause resonance in the lambda-spectrum. Of course, why should Google care? As long as they "Don't be evil (tm)" they can cause Gaussian fermentation all over the place and everyone will still drink the kool-aid. Nevertheless, Marx will come back to bite them in the end. The solution is pan-spectrum autocompensation, but this would put the FCC out of a job. We wouldn't want that now, would we?

Re:The problem with whitespace (2, Informative)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 5 years ago | (#25510421)

The above post looks like somebody forgot to take their meds, but just in case, check out "Gaussian fermentation". Googling it will give you upwards of 39,000 hits, but the most prominent are all for biology. It's a real term in papers on yeast or bacterial growth. So yes, once the yeast has fermented it, more of us than ever would like some kool-aid. Please strain it a little and let it age for a few hours.

Re:The problem with whitespace (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25510907)

The parent post is just a neocolonial Italian agent trying to suck you into the lies of the New World Order. Italians and their nefarious ices are no match for me.

Ihatewhitespace! (0)

fph il quozientatore (971015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25509989)

Ihatewhitespace!

Please, no need to offend people here (1)

LockeOnLogic (723968) | more than 5 years ago | (#25510107)

In an effort to be politically correct, I propose we rename whitespace: allcolorslivingtogetherinharmonyspace

Re:Please, no need to offend people here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25510329)

In an effort to be politically correct, I propose we rename whitespace: allcolors/colourslivingtogetherinharmonyspace

Fixed it for ya

Re:Please, no need to offend people here (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25510465)

No. Freedomspace.

As a Linux user (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25510229)

I support 0x20, 0x07 and 0x0a.

Re:As a Linux user (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519071)

0x07? You support censorship?

I'm not sure I like this "White Spaces Coalition" (1)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 5 years ago | (#25510233)

The government forced broadcasters to adopt a more limited spectrum, and what we get in return is huge corporations like Google and Microsoft wanting to [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Spaces_Coalition]take over the newly freed spectrum[/url] for profit?

Re:I'm not sure I like this "White Spaces Coalitio (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25510361)

You have a 4-digit uid and still use bbcode on /. ?

Re:I'm not sure I like this "White Spaces Coalitio (1)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 5 years ago | (#25512697)

I had recently been posting to a board that uses BBCode, so I got confused. By the time I chose not to hit the preview button, it was already too late :).

Whitespace use (5, Insightful)

sahai (102) | more than 5 years ago | (#25510255)

Since this is actually my research area, I thought it would be good to give some input here. Part of the controversy is simply due to the language used.

1) "Whitespace" is used in two subtly different senses by people that causes some confusion.

  A) From the perspective of the potential new user of the spectrum, a "whitespace" is where the band is clean and so it could be used to deliver relatively high data-rate without having to put out too much transmit power relative to the desired range.

  B) From the perspective of the existing user of that spectrum, the above perspective is troubling since it seems to ignore the externalities imposed by interference to others. The existing users' perspective is better captured by the idea of a "spectrum hole" that reflects where a new user could safely transmit without significantly bothering too many existing users. However, spectrum holes are also called "whitespaces" and this causes confusion.

The apparent weasel words "significantly" and "too many" above reflect a real set of engineering-tradeoffs underneath that must be navigated at least partially at the political level.

2) "Interference" is used by people in two different senses and this also causes confusion.

  A) Interference is a purely technical concept that describes how performance degrades for a receiver with the introduction of additional signals into the environment. Here also there is some ambiguity because of a distinction between what would necessarily degrade performance even for an ideal or well-engineered receiver and what is feared to degrade the performance of possibly poorly designed or shoddily built receivers.

  B) Interference is also an English word that encompasses uses like "you're interfering with my business model by offering a competing service."

Keep this in mind as you read any general articles about this subject. There are real tradeoffs involved in this topic, but sometimes the language used obscures or obfuscates them rather than making them clearer.

Re:Whitespace use (0)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511163)

Excellent point. Well I'm speaking from the point-of-view of the user, who is concerned about losing his ability to watch free television like Heroes, Lost, CSI, Smallville, 24, and of course the local news & weather. I speak of "interference" in terms of lost picture, and "whitespace" as something that doesn't really exist. Since I live in the Northeast, almost every channel is filled. There's only 3 open channels where I live; I don't see how WSDs are going to operate without causing me to lose my picture. >>> At 50 miles from the television tower, a whitespace device within [160 feet] from a set could cause interference. Unacceptable. If I'm trying to watch the Phillies match on WPHL-17, the last thing I want is for some brat with an Ipod to start broadcasting over top of 17 (because the Ipod believes it's empty), or neighboring channels 16/18, and instantly block-out my viewing of the World Series. ----- See my signature. Whitespace gadgets are fine. Just keep them off the TV band. I need my television; I like my television. According to a quick calculation, the addition of whitespace interference on TV channels would drop my receivable stations..... From: ~19 channels (Baltimore, Philly, Harrisburg, Lancaster) To: 5 channels (local market only) Unacceptable. I just invested $300 on four DTV converter boxes, and another $250 on brand-new rooftop antennas. I don't want my investment to be a waste because it picks-up playboy.com datastreams instead of Heroes or 24.

Re:Whitespace use (2, Informative)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511179)

[format fix] Excellent point.

I'm speaking from the point-of-view of the User, who is concerned about losing his ability to watch free television like Heroes, Lost, CSI, Smallville, 24, and of course the local news & weather. I speak of "interference" in terms of lost picture, and "whitespace" as something that doesn't really exist. Since I live in the Northeast, almost every channel is filled. There's only 3 open channels where I live; I don't see how WSDs are going to operate without causing me to lose my picture.

>>> At 50 miles from the television tower, a whitespace device within [160 feet] from a set could cause interference.

Unacceptable. If I'm trying to watch the Phillies match on WPHL-17, the last thing I want is for some brat with an Ipod to start broadcasting over top of 17 (because the Ipod believes it's empty), or neighboring channels 16/18, and instantly block-out my viewing of the World Series. ----- See my signature. Whitespace gadgets are fine. Just keep them off the TV band. I need my television; I like my television. According to a quick calculation, the addition of whitespace interference on TV channels would drop my receivable stations.....

From: ~19 channels (Baltimore, Philly, Harrisburg, Lancaster)
To: 5 channels (local market only)

Unacceptable. I just invested $300 on four DTV converter boxes, and another $250 on brand-new rooftop antennas. I don't want my investment to be a waste because it picks-up playboy.com datastreams instead of Heroes or 24.

October Surprise! (1)

drmofe (523606) | more than 5 years ago | (#25510683)

In addition, as we have reported earlier, the broadcasters also want to delay the currently-scheduled November 4 vote in order to allow more time for comments on the FCC's engineering study.

I guess if the FCC has powers to declare Martial Law, then we all should be worried...

Oh, not THAT November 4th vote. Never mind...

Informed, unbias opinion? (2, Interesting)

plcurechax (247883) | more than 5 years ago | (#25511435)

Why not read a op-ed piece from someone who both knows about electrical engineering and doesn't have a vested (i.e. profit) interest in the outcome one way or the other?

EDN editor Paul Rako [edn.com] wrote this edotiral recently, "White spaces and black hearts" [edn.com] .

Re:Informed, unbias opinion? (1)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25516429)

Excellent article. Especially this part: "Millions of people in the United States cannot afford cable or satellite TV. They won't be buying a smartphone, and they won't be using Google to find coffee shops selling lattes with just the right amount of foam. These people are living from paycheck to paycheck, and the one respite they get after a day's work may be watching free broadcast television. Just because Google and the cell-phone companies have better lobbyists and more money than the broadcasting industry is no reason to abuse these people."

And: "A few watts from a cell phone are enough to interfere with the microvolt TV signals your tuner is trying to pick up... RF artifacts, including side-lobe and multipath effects--inherent in the real-world transmission of radio waves--will occur with white-space broadcasts, too [interfering with the TV transmissions."

By my own calculations, my current level of reception will drop...
From: ~20 channel (locals plus Baltimore, Philly, Harrisburg)
To: ~5 channels (locals only) ...due to the interference of broadcasting whitespace devices. This 75% drop in channel count is not acceptable in any way, shape, or form. I need television not just for free entertainment (see paragraph one), but also for access to storm warning which are life-critical events.

Re:Informed, unbias opinion? (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519171)

Here's an idea from left field: Why not treat Internet access as an essential service, and work toward getting it to everyone? You can broadcast TV over the Internet, and Wikipedia access alone would improve the average American's education by an order of magnitude.

Re:Informed, unbias opinion? (1)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25521531)

>>>You can broadcast TV over the Internet

No you cannot. Take a typical show like CSI which is watched by 30 million viewers each week. It's broadcast by 200 stations at approximately 15 megabit/s. If broadcast television was discontinued and CSI provided by ABC.com, it would need a bandwidth of 500,000 gigabit/s bandwidth. There is no way that this or any other website could handle that huge load.

Singlecasting of 30 million copies of CSI via internet is not logical. It makes much more sense to send just 200 copies over-the-air, and let anyone with an antenna pick it up.

Re:Informed, unbias opinion? (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 5 years ago | (#25539921)

Take a typical show like CSI which is watched by 30 million viewers each week. It's broadcast by 200 stations at approximately 15 megabit/s. If broadcast television was discontinued and CSI provided by ABC.com, it would need a bandwidth of 500,000 gigabit/s bandwidth.

Uh, 15 Mbps * 200 = 3000 Mbps, and that's assuming you wouldn't use a better codec, which you would. If you were going to deploy Internet access nationwide as a replacement for over-the-air TV, you would make sure multicast worked.

Singlecasting of 30 million copies of CSI via internet is not logical.

Yes, it is, and it's a worthless straw-man argument.

Re:Informed, unbias opinion? (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 5 years ago | (#25539937)

Singlecasting of 30 million copies of CSI via internet is not logical.

Yes, it is, and it's a worthless straw-man argument.

By "it is", I mean "it is illogical". Trying to single-cast digital TV would be insane.

You might as well argue that the DNS can't work because the root servers can't handle every DNS query in the world. The reality is that they don't have to.

Physics (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#25512043)

In fact, they claim that such a device would interfere with digital television signals when the viewer is 25 miles from the television tower and the whitespace device is 10m or less from the TV set. At 50 miles from the television tower, a whitespace device within 50m from a set could allegedly cause interference

Isn't that rebutted by basic physics? Both signals follow the simple inverse square law. A TV signal 50miles from the tower is 1/4 the signal strength of the signal 25miles, while a device 50m from a set is 1/25 the interference of a device 10m from a set.

Re:Physics (2, Informative)

IvyKing (732111) | more than 5 years ago | (#25514773)

Isn't that rebutted by basic physics? Both signals follow the simple inverse square law. A TV signal 50miles from the tower is 1/4 the signal strength of the signal 25miles, while a device 50m from a set is 1/25 the interference of a device 10m from a set.

You obviously don't know much about terrestial radio propagation. Depending on the heights of the transmitting and receiving antennas, the interventing terrain, amount and type of vegetation, it is easily possible that the received signal strength will fall off faster than predicted by a naive application of the inverse square law. Put another way, the inverse square law assumes that the transmitter and receiver antennas are in line of sight of each other, assuming "rabbit ears" on the receiver implies that the transmitting antenna needs to be above 400 feet for a 25 mile path and 1600 feet for a 50 mile path.

Re:Physics (1)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25516515)

No. The power levels decrease according to an ever-expanding sphere, which is the original power divided by 4*pi*(r^2). Using meters not miles.

By the time a 400,000 watt signal gets to 50 miles (80,000 meters), it's degraded to only ~4 milliwatts. A low-power cellphone or whitespace broadcast is enough to overwhelm that weak signal.

Re:Physics (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#25541873)

Don't cross the imperial and metric units. It would be bad.

White-Space Devices will destroy FREE television (1)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25512673)

>>> At 50 miles from the television tower, a whitespace device within [160 feet] from a set could cause interference.

Unacceptable. I'm speaking from the point-of-view of the User, who is concerned about losing his ability to watch free television like Heroes, Lost, CSI, Smallville, Prison Break, and of course the local news & weather. Since I live in the densely-populated Northeast, almost every channel is filled. There's only 4 non-adjacent open channels where I live; I don't see how WSDs are going to operate without causing me to lose my picture.

If I'm trying to watch the Phillies match on WPHL-17, the last thing I want is for some Ipod to start broadcasting over top of 17 (because it believes it's empty) or neighboring channels 16/18. That would instantly block-out my viewing of the World Series. Or worse, block out the station while a major snowstorm is blasting through, and I get cut-off from life-critical information. See my signature. Whitespace gadgets are fine. Just keep them off the TV band. I need my television; I like my television. According to a quick calculation, the addition of whitespace interference on TV channels would drop my receivable stations.....

From: ~19 channels (Baltimore, Philly, Harrisburg, Lancaster)
To: 5 channels (local market only)

Unacceptable. I just invested $300 on four DTV tuner boxes, and another $100 on brand-new rooftop antennas, in order to prepare myself for the 2009 transition. I don't want my investment to be a waste because the antennna is blocked by an Ipod from seeing Heroes or CSI in high-definition video.

Re:White-Space Devices will destroy FREE televisio (1)

stormguard2099 (1177733) | more than 5 years ago | (#25516755)

If you are relying on the TV for emergency broadcast information instead of a battery powered radio then you are doing it wrong, let's be real.

Re:White-Space Devices will destroy FREE televisio (2, Informative)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25517071)

Dumbass answer. You use ALL the devices that are available (radio, tv, and if the power still works, internet). To handicap yourself by not using the tv with its visual-images of maps, storms, and tornadoes is stupid. ----- Also many communities in rural Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming don't have any service except the VHF (read: very long-distance) TV. "Use the radio" is not a solution because the radio doesn't exist.

I stand by what I said before: "The last thing I want is for some Ipod to start broadcasting over-top or next-to my TV channel..... and block out the station while a major storm is blasting through, cutting me off from life-critical information."

Re:White-Space Devices will destroy FREE televisio (1)

Bomarrow1 (903375) | more than 5 years ago | (#25518479)

While you want your free entertainment in the form of TV shows perhaps some people want it in the form of internet or gadgets to play on.

Also I think the concern given to emergency broadcasts is rather unrealistic. Could tcp/ip not deliver even more reliable emergency broadcasts than TV.

In some of the very sparsly populated and rural communities will there be people with these devices close enough to the TV sets to disrupt it?

Re:White-Space Devices will destroy FREE televisio (2, Informative)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25519575)

The FCC has a rule that whichever service occupies a range of frequencies has first priority. Television arrived first in the 1930s, and certainly has first priority. The FCC is obligated to protect television transmission from interference of other devices.

If you reject that, consider the distribution of Heroes in HDTV. Which is more efficient?
- Eliminating television, and sending 30,000,000 copies to 30 million viewers via NBC.com?
- Keeping television and sending 200 copies to reach those same viewers via 200 terrestrial stations?

I think the answer is obvious. BROAD-cast of 200 copies of the show is far more efficient and logical than single-casting 30,000,000 copies. (Plus it's doubtful NBC.com could handle the required 500,000 gigabit demand of streaming Heroes in HD.)

Re:White-Space Devices will destroy FREE televisio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25523293)

re: 500,000 gigabit demand....

Have you ever heard of multicast, they would only have to stream, at minimum, 1 copy, or at max, 1 copy per data center...

just my two cents

stine

Re:White-Space Devices will destroy FREE televisio (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25524447)

Doesn't multicast still require "splitting" the signal at some point, so it can reach individual PC? That would work better, but it still means you have to watch Heroes at a set multicast time (9 p.m.) rather than on-demand, or via tape-delay (VCR/DVR).

Re:White-Space Devices will destroy FREE televisio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25523601)

I agree completely with you electrictroy, but damn man you must have posted about 50 times in this thread 8-).
          That's the big problem though, if you've got a sweet antenna setup, the white space devices can decide some of the channels you can pick up are idle and blast a signal right over the TV signal.
And, in fact, already have during several FCC prototype tests... (Google etc. have claimed the prototype they provided was defective.. well.. if manufacturing defects can cause the device to fail noisy, it fails as far as I'm concerned.. and the FCC.)

Re:White-Space Devices will destroy FREE televisio (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25524435)

Quoted for Truth:

>>>>>>
I agree completely with you electrictroy.... That's the big problem though, if you've got a sweet antenna setup, the white space devices can decide some of the channels you can pick up are idle and blast a signal right over the TV signal.
And, in fact, already have during several FCC prototype tests... (Google etc. have claimed the prototype they provided was defective.. well.. if manufacturing defects can cause the device to fail noisy, it fails as far as I'm concerned.. and the FCC.)
>>>

Re:White-Space Devices will destroy FREE televisio (1)

badkarmadayaccount (1346167) | more than 5 years ago | (#25520707)

You're really asking for a redundant mod, you know that?

It's all crap anyway so who caaaaaaares! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25512969)

Seriously......

electronic devices that mess up broadcast television signals. Hrmmmmm......

can we get devices that screw up cable and satellite tv too?

That would be great!

(america needs to tune into REALITY for a while!)

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