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Topic: UHF Wireless Vanishes with Digital TV Conversion?
Message: Posted by: Skip Way (Oct 4, 2008 10:50PM)
I was talking to the sound tech at a show today. He complimented me on buying the Electro-Voice RE-2 Digital wireless mic. He went on to explain that once the TV networks convert to digital in February, that the UHF "white channels" will cease to exist - which, according to him, means that UHF wireless mic transmitters and receivers will cease to function.

I'm no techie, but it seems to me that the frequencies will exist regardless of whether or not they're being used. The stations don't create these frequencies. If they still exist then the UHF transmitters and receivers will continue to function just fine. Now that's what my limited tech logic says.

So, I have to ask - was he yanking my chain or can we look for for the older UHF wireless mic transmitters and receivers to stop working in 2009?

Dan?
Message: Posted by: Vaughn Ver Steegt (Oct 4, 2008 11:17PM)
Dan, I don't have an answer but was wondering the same thing and if it applies for UHF wirless systems also? I had a friend that runs the sound system at church and claims that they have recieved notices that there are potential problems with the white channels. I wanted to buy another UHF system but am hesitant until I know what will happen in Feb.
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Oct 5, 2008 07:04AM)
What's often being called the he "white space" issue is very controversial, and its eventual outcome is not yet set in stone. It is scary, though.

This is not a simple topic, and complete answers probably cannot come in a single sentence, but, for one good overview, check out [url=http://www.shure.com/ProAudio/PressRoom/WhiteSpaces/index.htm]Shure's pages[/url] dedicated to the issue, especially the first two links, "White Spaces Overview" and "White Spaces FAQ".
Message: Posted by: Lyndel (Oct 5, 2008 08:30AM)
First the "Rabbit Police," now this? Yeesh!


Lyndel
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Oct 5, 2008 01:39PM)
From [url=http://www.shure.com/ProAudio/PressRoom/WhiteSpaces/index.htm]Shure's[/url] white spaces pages, in their FAQ.

[i][b]Q: What are “white spaces”?
A:[/b] It is a term used by U.S. policymakers to describe vacant radio frequency (RF) spectrum in
between UHF television channels. Because of the low risk of interference in this unused space,
Wireless Microphone Systems from all audio manufacturers are designed to transmit on these
vacant channels. This approach has allowed the broadcast, entertainment, and installed sound
industries to use wireless microphone systems confidently and reliably for nearly 20 years.

[b]Q: What is the problem?
A:[/b] The federal government has decided that legislation is necessary to allow new, unlicensed consumer devices to operate in these "white spaces." The U.S. Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are preparing to change current regulations and allow unlicensed devices (including local area networks, personal data assistants (PDA), Wi-Fi cards, wireless laptop computers, cordless phones, etc.) to operate in the same vacant radio frequency spectrum as professional wireless microphone systems. This creates the risk of interference for wireless microphone systems, which would significantly impact the performance of these widely used, in-demand sound reinforcement products.

[b]Q: Who will be impacted?
A: [/b]Television, music, theaters, movies, sports, houses of worship, and news productions could be impacted severely. Today, wireless microphone systems, including in-ear monitor systems, wireless intercoms, wireless video assist devices, and wireless cueing, are used extensively by all of these industries. Virtually all theatrical shows, musical performers and other live entertainers,
news reporters, stage and production crews, sports teams—and, of course, the listening and viewing public—rely on clear, uninterrupted audio transmissions. Interference would cause a major disruption to wireless audio signals and severely degrade overall quality.[/i]
Message: Posted by: nucinud (Oct 5, 2008 01:45PM)
Am I wrong? But doesn't the sending unit of the wireless mic create the signal and the recieving unit recieves it. When the TV signal goes digital wouldn't that mean less interference for wireless mics?

But now if the government changes the rules? As stated above. It would cause more interference I guess.
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Oct 5, 2008 02:40PM)
Standard (NTSC) TV typically occupies only three small frequency spikes within the range of frequencies that defines a TV channel, whereas digital TV uses a large block.

For example, each TV channel resides within a 6MHz region. Each NTSC TV channel (the type of TV that North Americans have grown up with) occupies only three small spikes within that 6MHz block. A DTV signal occupies most of that 6MHz block, so it will interfere more.

There's much more to it than that, and reading the Shure docs, and whatever else you can find, will give you a better education than I can.
Message: Posted by: ClintonMagus (Oct 5, 2008 02:45PM)
This might be sort of like when radio-control model airplane/car, etc. frequencies changed many years ago. The transmitter and receiver still worked; it was just illegal to use them.
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Oct 5, 2008 03:26PM)
[quote]
On 2008-10-05 15:45, ClintonMagus wrote:
This might be sort of like when radio-control model airplane/car, etc. frequencies changed many years ago. The transmitter and receiver still worked; it was just illegal to use them.
[/quote]
No.

It's not just a matter of regulation. It's a matter of unavailability of frequencies. The governments' plans will have a massive effect on all entertainment wireless, from kids' magic shows to Broadway, from the Indy to the Superbowl, and from news broadcasts to Presidential speeches.
Message: Posted by: Skip Way (Oct 5, 2008 05:52PM)
Ya gotta love our government "representatives'" ability to suck up the highest bidder at the taxpayer's expense, fer sure! Way t' look out for us, Unk! :confused:
Message: Posted by: ClintonMagus (Oct 5, 2008 08:38PM)
[/quote]
No.

It's not just a matter of regulation. It's a matter of unavailability of frequencies. The governments' plans will have a massive effect on all entertainment wireless, from kids' magic shows to Broadway, from the Indy to the Superbowl, and from news broadcasts to Presidential speeches.
[/quote]

I don't understand. If a transmitter is set to a certain frequency and the receiver is set to the same frequency, what is there to stop them from working? You can't make a freqency "unavailable"...
Message: Posted by: Skip Way (Oct 5, 2008 09:51PM)
My nutshell understanding from Dan's links is that the frequencies are still available but those "in between" frequencies that were once dedicated to wireless mic transmitters and receivers will soon be available for other uses - meaning that our mics may be overpowered or cluttered from other sources. You may set up for a show and find "I Love Lucy", "Would you like fries with that?" or "So, then I said to Mary Lou, I said..." coming through your PA. They'll still work - but, those of us who live in urban and dense industrial areas may find ourselves competing for clear channels.
Message: Posted by: Sam Pearce (Oct 6, 2008 12:54AM)
Does anyone know if Canada will be affected by this?

Sam
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Oct 6, 2008 05:32AM)
[quote]
On 2008-10-05 22:51, Skip Way wrote:
... our mics may be overpowered or cluttered from other sources. You may set up for a show and find "I Love Lucy", "Would you like fries with that?" or "So, then I said to Mary Lou, I said..." coming through your PA.
[/quote]
This part is pretty-well correct, Skip. Most of the frequency ranges that are available for us now, will be used by devices that are much more powerful than ours, so we will often find our stuff un-usable.

It will also be illegal for us to use our wireless mics in any of the frequency ranges that re-designated for other uses.

Clinton, if two transmitters are on the same frequency, the more powerful one will win. That will almost never be your wireless mic, because, as I understand it, the new licenses that the governments are awarding are for devices that are much more powerful than ours.

Yes, Sam, everything in Canada will be virtually identical to America.
Message: Posted by: Skip Way (Oct 6, 2008 07:16AM)
First rule (In the immortal words of Douglas Adams) "Don't Panic!" Let's see where this is going and how it will eventually affect us.

Looking to the future, I suppose the key is when updating your systems, be sure to buy well-made equipment with the ability to search or use a very wide band of frequencies? For example, one unit's documentation says it digitally searches over 1,100 frequencies before selecting the clearest one. It seems that most common analog systems are probably headed for the techie boneyard. Don't go cheap and investigate before you buy!

Ask questions! Apparently, this is not new news to the tech savvy guys. My personal sales rep at Sam Ash Music has always been square with me (so far) so ask before you buy!

Beware of "Great Bargains" and "Unbelievable Last Minute Deals" from electronics dealers who may be trying to unload systems that may become relatively useless in the next few years. Be especially careful with those Internet and eBay killer deals! Be smart!

Considering the VAST number of professionals and industries that rely on wireless PA and sound systems, communication systems, data & remote systems and such across the continent - up to and including Congress, the President and the Media - this seems like such a STUPID and avoidable thing for the FCC to do. I don't understand it, personally. Still, forewarned is forearmed.
Message: Posted by: ClintonMagus (Oct 6, 2008 07:33AM)
[quote]
On 2008-10-06 06:32, Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie wrote:
Clinton, if two transmitters are on the same frequency, the more powerful one will win. That will almost never be your wireless mic, because, as I understand it, the new licenses that the governments are awarding are for devices that are much more powerful than ours.
[/quote]

Okay... I agree with that. It was the "unavailable" term that had me confused. We have probably all been in funerals where the service was interrupted with "That's a big 10-4, good buddy..." :P
Message: Posted by: MAGICBYTIM (Oct 6, 2008 07:59AM)
I do not know a lot about this frequency stuff but will this affect the remotes for things such as the virtual soundman, mp3tech, jumbo sidekick, remote drawing board, the viper and other remote controlled devices?

Tim
Message: Posted by: ClintonMagus (Oct 6, 2008 09:51AM)
[quote]
On 2008-10-06 08:59, MAGICBYTIM wrote:
I do not know a lot about this frequency stuff but will this affect the remotes for things such as the virtual soundman, mp3tech, jumbo sidekick, remote drawing board, the viper and other remote controlled devices?

Tim
[/quote]

I don't know a lot about frequencies either, but I'm pretty sure that it won't affect remote "start/stop/open"-type devices. (Can you imagine the confusion that would be created if everyone's car doors suddenly unlocked?) :P
Message: Posted by: Skip Way (Oct 6, 2008 11:16AM)
This is probably the most informative (and for me, understandable) article on the Shure page posted by Dan. It really explains a lot. Take a moment to read it and put your immediate fears - at least for the time being - to rest:

http://www.shure.com/ProAudio/PressRoom/WhiteSpaces/ssLINK/us_pro_pr_ws_2008_sets_record

Thanks, Dan!

Here's another interesting article on Congress' move to enact legislation that will protect low-power white space users such as wireless mics:

http://www.gcn.com/online/vol1_no1/47213-1.html

Google "White Space Frequency Debate" and you'll find a lot of articles pushing both sides of this debate. There are two reasonable sides, it appears.

Something I did not think about and just realized reading these articles - I have an old Sony pocket-size handheld TV that I use sometimes when working out and as a back-up during power blackouts and severe storms. This unit works on the analog system and will cease to receive the signals after the February conversion because the converter boxes aren't portable. I guess it will join my old Betamax in the garage.

Also, radios that receive analog TV audio will no longer receive these signals over the air. No major loss, really - but I hadn't really realized the depth of affect this change was going to have. Progress! :)
Message: Posted by: JamesinLA (Oct 6, 2008 04:20PM)
My mipro uses a lowly vhs wireless system. Will the VHS still work? Thanks.

Jim
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Oct 6, 2008 05:17PM)
[quote]
On 2008-10-06 08:59, MAGICBYTIM wrote:
I do not know a lot about this frequency stuff but will this affect the remotes for things such as the virtual soundman, mp3tech, jumbo sidekick, remote drawing board, the viper and other remote controlled devices?

Tim
[/quote]
I don't think it will, because of the range in which I think they operate, but I'm not sure.
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Oct 6, 2008 05:20PM)
[quote]
On 2008-10-06 17:20, JamesinLA wrote:
My mipro uses a lowly vhs wireless system. Will the VHS still work? Thanks.

Jim
[/quote]
We don't know for sure, but we DO know that there will be more problems there.
Message: Posted by: JamesinLA (Oct 6, 2008 10:20PM)
Thanks, Dan. Are they not going to allow or allocate another band wave for this stuff? They can't put performing artists out of business. That is also bad for the economy.

Jim
Message: Posted by: sethb (Oct 7, 2008 06:48AM)
I heard that the next government bailout will include any magician with a UHF wireless PA system . . . . <grin> SETH
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Oct 7, 2008 06:57AM)
Everyone that is interested should check out the "overview" & "FAQ" at the [url=http://www.shure.com/ProAudio/PressRoom/WhiteSpaces/index.htm]Shure[/url] site.
Message: Posted by: ClintonMagus (Oct 7, 2008 09:10AM)
From reading the information on the Shure website, it appears that new "white space" devices will have to be designed so that they can recognize wireless microphones, etc. operating on the same channel, and switch to an alternate channel.
Message: Posted by: Skip Way (Oct 7, 2008 09:58AM)
[quote]
On 2008-10-07 10:10, ClintonMagus wrote:
From reading the information on the Shure website, it appears that new "white space" devices will have to be designed so that they can recognize wireless microphones, etc. operating on the same channel, and switch to an alternate channel.
[/quote]

Exactly - however, according to the articles posted on the same site, the current technology to do this is currently primitive and unreliable...in other words, the more powerful systems are more likely to interfere with and overpower the less powerful wireless mic systems and the device designers will sit back and utter an insincere "oops!" as they count their cash - hence the concern.
Message: Posted by: ClintonMagus (Oct 7, 2008 11:29AM)
Wonder how the August test at FedEx field went?
Message: Posted by: Regan (Oct 7, 2008 12:03PM)
More government regulations and BS if you ask me.
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Oct 7, 2008 08:24PM)
I just talked with a friend who said the Theater/Broadway people are all trying to fight this to get this from being from implemented. It would cost them a fortune.

Let's hope that they can get something worked out. I am sure that the New York theater guys have lot more clout than we do.

Richard
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Oct 7, 2008 09:06PM)
[quote]
On 2008-10-07 21:24, hugmagic wrote:
I am sure that the New York theater guys have lot more clout than we do.
[/quote]
I agree, Richard, and I imagine that broadcast & church people have even MORE clout!
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Oct 8, 2008 07:12AM)
Yes, the church people might even have a higher contact they can reach by prayer.

Richard
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Oct 8, 2008 05:12PM)
[quote]
On 2008-10-08 08:12, hugmagic wrote:
Yes, the church people might even have a higher contact they can reach by prayer.

Richard
[/quote]
I was thinking in terms of political influence and lobbying power ... but whatever.
Message: Posted by: Regan (Oct 9, 2008 04:41PM)
Lobbying? Did someone mention political lobbying? Where's is Mr. Sanders? Bob? Where are you Bob? We need you!

Regan
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Oct 11, 2008 08:30AM)
[quote]
On 2008-10-09 17:41, Regan wrote:
Lobbying? Did someone mention political lobbying? Where's is Mr. Sanders? Bob? Where are you Bob? We need you!

Regan
[/quote]

LOL! Running for my life! All I need is one more "favor" from the government.

From the prospective of a lobbyist (and old graduate school professor - Marketing, Management, & Finance) the news is:

"Full Stupid Ahead!"


It's tough enough working with a Democrat Congress who sees it as their job to punish the productive and reward net consumers (those who ONLY consume without producing).

Now we are punishing those with good thrift habits (those who save and furnish the ONLY source of investment) to protect the middlemen (financial institutions) that ONLY function using Other Peoples' Money. They are not invested! Savers are!

Investing in your own equipment to make yourself productive automatically qualifies you as a host animal for the parasites. It is politically incorrect to kill life threatening parasites.

Raiding white space is just another method of punishing the invested to favor the "free ride" boys.

You don't need a lobbyist, you need a new Congress that represents the productive and the invested. This Congress thinks that forcing you to replace your equipment (useless consumption to replace what you already have that works) stimulates production.

Of course that is a very half-baked idea. If you invests your savings to produce the new equipment, you no longer have it to use to buy the new equipment. Parasites don't nourish host animals. That would be "investing". They don't invest like you do.

A lobbyist can't help you here until you make changes in Congress. (Presidents don't make laws! Congress does.) It's time to reinvest! VOTE!

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: ClintonMagus (Oct 11, 2008 10:08AM)
Bob,

How do you REALLY feel (don't hold anything back, now...)? :P
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Oct 11, 2008 09:50PM)
LOL! I could use a lot of white space.
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Oct 12, 2008 07:17AM)
Gosh, I wish I knew how you really felt.

White space is better than blue space or red space for that matter. Most of the space is between their ears.

Richard
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Oct 12, 2008 08:28AM)
Richard,

As rodeo clowns we often encountered a lot of bulls with big horns. We considered them politician bulls. By looking at the horns, you could see a point over here and another point way over there but in between there was just a lot of BULL!

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander

And I approve of this message (Does that make it politically correct?)
Message: Posted by: Brian Lehr (Oct 16, 2008 09:56PM)
Sounds like Y2K all over again! The entertainment world is about to come crashing down! :-0

Fingers crossed (again).

Brian
Message: Posted by: Owen Anderson (Oct 19, 2008 11:08PM)
This switch doesn't happen up here in Canada until Aug 31, 2011.
Is it safe to assume wireless tech will still work until at least that date?
Message: Posted by: silverking (Oct 19, 2008 11:37PM)
It may depend on how close you live to the border. If you happen to be performing in Windsor, and the digital TV folks in Detroit are going ahead full steam it's pretty much like they're just across the street.

A lot of places in Windsor are far closer (for an example) to Detroit than they are even to the other side of Windsor!
Message: Posted by: Brian Lehr (Oct 20, 2008 09:54AM)
[quote]
On 2008-10-20 00:08, Owen Anderson wrote:
This switch doesn't happen up here in Canada until Aug 31, 2011.
Is it safe to assume wireless tech will still work until at least that date?
[/quote]

Which conversion are you referring to? All the TV signals will be converting to digital in Canada in February of 2009.

Brian
Message: Posted by: Owen Anderson (Oct 20, 2008 11:40AM)
Perhaps I'm reading it wrong. This is the Industry Canada link:
http://www.ic.gc.ca/epic/site/oca-bc.nsf/en/ca02336e.html
Message: Posted by: Dan McLean Jr aka, Magic Roadie (Nov 21, 2008 08:36AM)
[quote]
On 2008-10-20 12:40, Owen Anderson wrote:
Perhaps I'm reading it wrong. This is the Industry Canada link:
[/quote]
Thanks, Owen! I LOVE it when someone posts a credible source!
USA, Feb 17 '09
Canada, Aug 31 '11

Sennheiser has just posted a document on their site. It offers a different view from Shure's, although interpretations seem to be shifting as data & evaluations continue to evolve.
[url=http://www.sennheiserusa.com/spectrumreallocation/]Sennheiser's latest, Nov 18 '08[/url]
[url=http://www.shure.com/ProAudio/PressRoom/WhiteSpaces/index.htm]Shure's latest, Nov 4 '08[/url]
Message: Posted by: Fitz (Mar 4, 2009 11:56AM)
I know the date has been moved to June 12, 2009 for the required transition but do we really know anything more on this issue?

Fitz
Message: Posted by: Alan Munro (Oct 24, 2009 08:39AM)
The NADY site seems to be saying that my UHF mike is still good to use. http://www.nady.com/white_space.html

I'm seeing conflicting info out there and the FCC website is just a mess of jibberish! Does anyone really know what UHF mike frequencies are NOW good to use without a license, in the U.S.?
Message: Posted by: rattman (Oct 30, 2009 06:35PM)
This will mostly effect those in Big cities were a lot of channels are in use by TV, Police & others. In small towns you should be all right unless you are unlucky and have your frequency stomped on. Either way you should always by a wireless set with multiple channels to choose from. The more expensive sets can now do automatic frequency searching to find a free channel.

The issue is not that it will stop working it just may drop in and out with interference
Message: Posted by: rattman (Oct 30, 2009 06:38PM)
You should be clear to use all the old wireless frequescies with out a license because you are transmitting at low power and any high power transmitter will overpower it. the problem is when you are performing your system may drop in and out or receive unwanted noise.