Broadcasters and, particularly, members of the broadcast engineering community, including the David Donovan of the Association of Maximum Service Television, have been arguing that the canary in the coal mine act coming from research firm Centris is overblown. Centris is concerned that a large number of over-the-air television viewers in market fringe areas will be cut off due to inadequacies in the broadcast signals. The opinion of one engineer, Hal Protter of CW, is available right now at RBR.com’s Blog Log feature.
Engineers have accused Centris of relying on computer modeling, rather than real-life testing on the ground. Centris is standing by its methodology, however. It says it’s using Longley-Rice, as well as its own MarketView model, and also taking into consideration "results observed by the British Office of Communications (Ofcom) during their digital TV transition where they found that 30% of rooftop antennas had to be upgraded and that 50% of indoor antennas did not work reliably."
Centris claims it has no dog in this fight and is just working to help assure a smooth transition.
RBR/TVBR observation: As we have admitted frequently over the years, we are not engineers. But can’t this issue be put to the test rather easily? How about going into relevant fringe areas, particularly those with difficult terrain, plugging in a digital television and seeing just what kind of antenna is needed to pull in the signal? It seems to us this is the kind of question that relatively inexpensive real-world testing can put to rest one way or the other in no time at all. If we’re wrong about this, can one of our friends in the engineering community please explain why?