Friday, November 7, 2008

TV-enabled handsets. Are you ready for some football?

Last night (November 6) for the first time ever, a National Football League game between the Cleveland Browns vs. the Denver Broncos was broadcasted on Sprint mobile phones as part of the wireless company's exclusive partnership with the league. That partnership deal is valued at about $500 million over five years.

Sprint will phone-cast eight games that are televised solely on the NFL Network, the league's cable channel. In addition, Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile unit has an exclusive sponsorship deal with the National Basketball Association.

The increasing availability of mobile handsets capable of receiving free-to-air analog and digital terrestrial TV signals will adversely impact the prospects for dedicated mobile broadcast TV networks. According to a new report from Juniper Research, more than 330 million mobile users worldwide will own broadcast TV-enabled handsets by 2013, yet less than 14% will opt for mobile pay TV services. Although mobile broadcast TV is expected to generate global annual end-user revenues of $2.7 billion by 2013, this level is markedly lower than previously forecast.

Meanwhile, Telegent Systems, the company that makes television mobile with its high-performance single-chip mobile TV solutions, together with Beijing Tianyu Communication Equipment Co., the leading original equipment manufacturer of mobile handsets in China, announced this week that Tianyu is increasing the number of handset designs leveraging mobile TV technology from Telegent to drive growth into the Southeast Asia market and capitalize on the popularity of analog TV phones in this region. Tianyu has also integrated Telegent's technology into the world's first hybrid CMMB and analog TV handset targeted at the domestic China market.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Do Engineers Make Good Presidents?

According to, two US Presidents had university degrees as engineers. They were Hebert Hoover and Jimmy Carter. Herbert Hoover, the United States 31st President, studied mining engineering at Stanford University, graduating in 1895. Jimmy Carter, the 39th U.S. President , attended Georgia Tech and the United States Naval Academy, from which he graduated in 1946. Carter served in the Navy for 10 years as an engineer working with nuclear-powered submarines.

Hoover – a republican, deeply believed in the Efficiency Movement (a major component of the Progressive Era), arguing that a technical solution existed for every social and economic problem. In the first year of his presidency (1929). Hoover tried to combat the Depression with volunteer efforts and government action, none of which produced economic recovery during his term. The consensus among historians is that Hoover's defeat in the 1932 election was caused primarily by failure to end the downward spiral into deep Depression.

Carter – a democrat, was elected after the Nixon Watergate scandal, perhaps signaling Americans desire for an “honest” politician. Reflecting his engineering background, Carter created two new cabinet-level departments: the Department of Energy and the Department of Education and established a national energy policy. In general, Carter’s energy conservation efforts were not well-received by the American public. The final year of his presidential tenure was marked by several major crises, including the 1979 takeover of the American embassy in Iran and holding of hostages by Iranian students, a failed rescue attempt of the hostages, serious fuel shortages, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. By 1980, Carter's disapproval ratings were significantly higher than his approval

Both engineers-turned president left office with poor approval ratings and neither served more than one term. While this is true for other presidents, we have yet to prove that an engineer can make a great president. This year it is not even a choice. So whoever does win let’s all hope he is good for engineers and the scientific community as a whole. Hopefully the next administration will hear our concerns to preserve a vibrant commercial and military microwave industry, the need for training our next generation of engineers and all else that impacts our business. But today, make sure you get out and vote. Too many people have sacrificed for us to have this right, it is not to be wasted.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Highs and Lows of EuMW 2008

Managing Editor, Keith Moore rides the train back to Schiphol Airport

I imagine most US attendees to EuMW 08 left on Friday unless they were going sightseeing after the show. The MWJ crew left early Friday morning, while several Horizon House staff members stayed behind to address lingering show duties. Thursday night was a last chance to take in this wonderful host city and sample some of its world cuisine. After eating Indonesian, traditional Dutch, and Thai earlier in the week, we settled on one of the many Argentenia restaurants downtown for our final supper in Amsterdam. I must admit it was quite a good steak.

Hey - look its a horsey. Hmmm - Ever wonder what kind of steaks they were serving at the El Rancho?

Some highlights from the Show:

I saw some very impressive demos from the T&M sector: Agilent with their PNA-X and multiple demos (I like the new IMD measurement system), Anritsu's medium priced fast-switching frequency synthesizer, R&S's mm-wave converter bringing their VNA up to 325 GHz, Keithley's SignalMeister and Tektronix's SignalVu. Lots of new RFIC/MMIC devices from Integrated Device Manufacturer's such as Skyworks, Analog Devices, Mimix, TriQuint, Hittite, and others. Time spent talking to HVVi Semiconductor about their new high voltage power devices, David Hall at National Instrument's always has an interesting demo (multi-protocol test system), meeting Joe Thomas, VP at M/A-Com Technology Solutions. All the major and minor EDA vendors were on hand as were all the major foundries (TriQuint, Win, Ommic, UMS).

The lows - rainy, cold weather, dinner at the "Vermont" restaurant and the rather loud public announcement system. Other than that, I can't really complain.

Where can we get a hot bowl of Cream of Mushroom soup in this town?

The Online Show will wrap-up with our final word on the exhibition and conference as well as product wrap-up and pick of the papers.