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Congratulations to the newest members of the AHECTA Board of Directors!
Click here for a complete listing of the 2015-16 Board.
We are proud to announce the winners of the
2014 AHECTA Student Production Awards!
AHECTA appreciates all the 2014 participants for their awesome creativity making our awards program extra special!
AHECTA SPA First Prize for Documentary, Lifestyles Show, or PSA
by Alexandra Regaldo
AHECTA SPA First Prize for News or Sports Show
by Emil Hellerud
AHECTA SPA First Prize for Original Short Film or Music Video
by Ryan Elkins (a 2x SPA winner!)
AHECTA SPA Grand Prize
by Amelia Brunatowski
Congratulations to our winners, and to all of our participating institutions –
- The Drifter Condition
Off the Record: Eva Barrosse and David Miller
Ordinary Music Video
Will your institution be in this list next year?
Coming up next:
If you would like to join the 2015 SPA Team, become a sponsor, or just want to learn more, contact Mayumi Hirtzel at email@example.com.
We know we are all busy and it’s hard to keep up with the news and trends in the industry. As a benefit of your continued membership in 2014 we will be providing quarterly updates of the major items that are affecting the cable industry to help you keep up to date. We encourage you to discuss these items on our mailing list and let us know if there are any items we missed over the last few months.
It is finally Spring, and the semester is starting to wind down. Don’t forget to check out the information about our upcoming conference in Denver this year. We have some great sessions lined up along with some free training from BT.
Prepare for the Cloud DVR
Comcast along with a few other companies have been toying with the idea of a Cloud DVR service (http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Comcast-Makes-Cloud-DVR-Expansion-Official-128364, http://www.multichannel.com/news/technology/cablevisions-cloud-dvr-can-now-record-15-shows-once/373699). What this offers the providers is to deploy less expensive STBs, yet still have the functionality of a DVR (think – video on demand for all channels, all the time). The idea caused a lot of lawsuits at first which scared the industry but the industry will only advance with cheaper, dumber boxes out at the edge.
Watch out, Virtual MVPDs are on the horizon
As if you didn’t have enough to worry about, we are starting to see some “Virtual MVPDs” looking to lure students and young professionals (http://www.multichannel.com/news/interactive-tv/webtuner-makes-its-virtual-mvpd-pitch/373639) A virtual MVPD is a company that can provide full cable service (including live TV, sports, etc.) in a pay model over the internet. Since bandwidth is becoming less and less of an issue for end users, these types of companies can essentially allow people to subscribe to “cable” from anywhere, regardless of who their local providers are. Expect to see your students to subscribe to these services in addition to Hulu, Netflix and everything else to either supplement or replace your cable service. (http://www.multichannel.com/news/news-articles/clearleap-istreamplanet-jump-live-streaming-deal/373599). And speaking of Virtual TV, a company called Aereo has been in legal battles for the last year attempting to re-broadcast OTA signals over the internet – you should check out what is happening on that front (http://www.fiercecable.com/story/aca-goes-bat-aereo-supreme-court-filing/2014-04-01)
More ways to consume your OTT
Recently, Amazon threw their hat in the ring to serve up content right to the consumer (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CX5P8FC/ref=amb_link_411099942_2?ie=UTF8&nav_sdd=aps&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=gateway-takeover&pf_rd_r=0E7REVJD0BXNXA1VDTTR&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1773330782&pf_rd_i=507846). Amazon’s set top box enters the space already occupied by Apple, Google, Roku, and many, many others. And all this as Netflix announced that they will begin streaming content in 4K (http://www.multichannel.com/news/tv-apps/netflix-starts-stream-4k/373677), which at the moment is inclusive of their own programming like House of Cards, but expect that to ramp up quickly. Oh, and don’t mind the 18MB/s – 22MB/s streaming requirement ☺. But it does look like Disney and other major content producers aren’t set on 4K just yet — http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/128115
AHECTA is always looking for good people to volunteer their time to the association. Please consider joining one of our project teams!
Program Project Team
Charge: The Program Project Team is responsible for the development of the annual conference program and schedule. The Project Team will prepare a Call for Presentations announcement, evaluate proposal submissions, and select session topics and presenters for the conference program. This group is also charged with exploring mini conferences and webinars.
Communications Project Team
Charge: The Communications Project Team is responsible for oversight of the organization’s website and list serv.
Corporate Members Project Team
Charge: The Corporate Members Project Team is responsible for building greater value in the organization for the Corporate Members.
Membership Development Project Team
Charge: The Membership Development Project Team is responsible for seeking out new institutional and corporate members for AHECTA, as well as encourage and retain current membership. The Project Team will work to expand membership and the engagement of members by learning more about each members professional profile.
Student Production Awards Project Team
Charge: The Student Production Awards Project Team is responsible for development, promotion, seeking sponsorship, and creating awards for the annual AHECTA Student Production Awards. The Project Team will prepare a Call for Submissions announcement, determine appropriate timelines, evaluate and decide on submission logistics, and select winners for the annual contest. The SPAs are completely new each year.
Fill out our online form and submit.
Thank you for your continued support of AHECTA!
We’re just a few days away from opening the new and improved Members-Only section! We have new features available; but, best of all, it’s a Wiki! So all members can contribute, or ‘leak’, their input!
By: Don McClatchie
In the old days of analog video it was easy to see a satellite signal problem as it developed. As the analog satellite signal began to get weaker and the satellite receiver approached its threshold, the video image would exhibit noise that looked like tiny black and white dots that would appear at random all over the screen. At that point the video was a little annoying but you still had programming.
Now with today’s digital satellite transmissions you get no indication that a problem is coming your way until it happens. Of course the best thing about a digital signal is that it will be perfect if it is received and the bad thing is that if the received level drops down low enough you will lose it all. Digital transmission is an all or nothing process, or worse the picture comes and goes or freezes up moment by moment. It is at that point that you get your first sign that you have a problem and now it’s a full blown panic time, your now off the air or at the least delivering a product that is damaged and your viewer are changing the channel. Also your advertisers do not like their ads delivered in a less than perfect way so your income is also threatened.
So what are the most common causes of satellite signal loss? Some of the things that cause satellite loss are miss-alignment of the dish due to movement or settling of the earth upon which it sits and aging of the electronic components in the LNB that increase the noise floor in the output signal without changing the gain. High ambient temperatures will also increase the noise output of any LNB. Then there is moisture condensation within the wave guide caused by a bad seal in the wave guide through which water can enter. The wave guide is particularly sensitive to water intrusion. Another main factor is the snow loading, dirt and debris on the dish itself.
Let’s not forget the living pests that try to invade your dish and electronics like various kinds of bugs and bees that don’t need much encouragement to take over your dish and make it their home. Also larger creatures can take their toll like squirrels that will chew and dig on what ever they can get to and nesting birds and even lizards that like to pile up rocks for their nests. Oh and the occasional large animal that comes by to rub up against your dish for a good scratch. I have even seen people sitting and laying on dishes during their break.
So what can be done to catch a level drop before you have a loss? The best defense against satellite signal loss is to continuously monitor the signal strength of all your satellite signals. With a signal level monitor and an alarm signal to let you know long before you reach the fail point.
Because every satellite signal is likely to have a different fail point, the satellite level alarm should have a user adjustable alarm level and some type of visual indicator to help you set the level. If the display reads in dB and you set the alarm level to a few dB above your fail point, then you will have a system that will alert you to an impending failure before the system goes down..
If your satellite dish is up on a mountain then the system should have a linear voltage output that you can use with transmission equipment to get telemetry down from the mountain. Also a local alarm sounder would be a nice feature to let the local operators know a problem is occurring.
First of all, what is a sine wave anyway, and why is that particular wave shape important? The exact shape of a sine wave is very important to the field of electronics because it is the only wave shape that has energy at only one frequency. All other possible wave shapes contain energy at more than one frequency at the same time. As an example, if you take any wave shape, and filter out all frequencies, except the (fundamental frequency) the lowest frequency, the result will be a pure sine wave at that frequency.
PURE SINE WAVES
So what is the shape of a pure sine wave? As the name implies, the shape has something to do with the “sine” of an angle. In this case a positive going zero crossing is considered to be zero degrees, and as the sine tables indicate, the voltage is zero at zero angle. At 90 degrees, the voltage would be at its positive peak value, and all the other voltages in between can be calculated using the sine table and would have the exact voltage that is the sine of the angle between zero and 90 degrees. From the peak voltage at 90 degrees an inverse wave shape goes back down to reach zero voltage at 180 degrees. Then the voltage goes negative to reach the peak negative voltage at 270 degrees that is a mirror image of the positive peak voltage. Next the voltage goes up from the negative peak to zero at 360 degrees, thereby completing a complete cycle. So the sine wave voltage is defined by the mathematical sine of the angle, starting with zero amplitude at zero degrees, and finishing with zero amplitude at 360 degrees having gone through both a positive peak at 180 degrees and a negative peak at 270 degrees. A sine wave test signal source does this in a continuous repetition of cycles to produce a continuous tone.
You will notice that most sine waves are “steady state” waveforms, that is, they do not change shape from one full cycle to the next full cycle, but if the waveform is not exactly the same from one cycle to the next cycle, then the signal is not a pure sine wave and may either have harmonic content, noise, or crosstalk from another unrelated signal.
When testing a piece of equipment with a sine wave signal you may encounter harmonic distortion that will cause the observed sine wave to have an irregular shape that repeats with every cycle. If the sine wave appears to have distortion that is symmetrical to both upper and lower parts of the waveform then that distortion is “Odd” harmonics of the fundamental frequency. If the distortion is non-symmetrical then it is caused by “Even” harmonics of the fundamental frequency. It is possible for have both types of harmonic distortion at the same time that causes the signal to exhibit symmetrical and non-symmetrical waveform distortion. The measure of distortion is the percentage of all harmonic voltages present in the signal being measured compared with the level of the pure sine wave component. The measurement is referred to as THD or Total Harmonic Distortion.
All equipment and cable connections generate noise that combines with and becomes part of your signal. Noise is caused by the movement of atomic particles that make up the conductors and semiconductors in the equipment and cable, and the higher the temperature is the more noise you get. The noise level is related to the temperature of the conductive material. As an example no noise exists at the temperature of Absolute Zero -459.68 degrees F or -273.15 degrees C, where the atoms no longer move to create the noise. But as the temperature increases so does the noise. Noise is usually seen as a non symmetrical high frequency signal superimposed onto the sine wave. It exhibits random instantaneous voltages at all frequencies and has no repeatable synchronous zero crossings. Noise is not a harmonic distortion, but rather a form of crosstalk and should not be associated with distortion.
Any signal that is not noise and non-synchronous to the fundamental frequency constitutes cross-talk injected into the original signal. It is important to distinguish between synchronous and non-synchronous signals when making a measurement, because the synchronized harmonic component is the only thing you can call distortion in the signal, while the non-synchronized component is simply some form of cross-talk or noise from another source. It is quite possible for both distortion and cross-talk or noise to be present at the same time, and it is important to distinguish between the two conditions when making a distortion measurement. Cross-talk will be a coherent signal that is non-synchronous and noise will be a signal that is completely random and non-coherent.
If you are using a distortion analyzer to measure Total Harmonic Distortion, be sure to also use an oscilloscope to view the waveform to determine the character of the signal components. Most distortion analyzers have a monitor output to attach an oscilloscope for viewing. They also have filters for the elimination of 60 Hz hum and high frequencies so that you can distinguish between cross-talk, noise, 60Hz hum, and other sources of interference that are not at all a part of the distortion being measured.