Los Angeles Area Public Broadcasters KLCS & KCET to Share Single Channel
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It's getting a little crowded on that dial: KCET and KLCS are planning to share channel space [to free up airwaves for wireless broadband]. The two public TV stations announced Wednesday that they had begun a partnership to split a single over-the-air broadcast television channel, even as their business and programming operations will remain separate.
Viewers will most likely not notice any difference, because advanced technologies have allowed broadcasters to compress more data into their available channel space than in the past. The remaining bandwidth would be available for a spectrum auction that the Federal Communications Commission plans to hold in 2015. That could mean big money for the stations.
The FCC is facing opposition to the auction plan from the National Association of Broadcasters, which has filed a lawsuit against it in Washington, D.C., complaining that many TV stations would end up with reduced coverage areas during the repackaging, or as a result of being assigned to new broadcast channels.
KLCS was running four standard-definition channels; KCET had one 720p HD channel and three standard-definition channels. By using the latest MPEG-2 encoding technology with statistical multiplexing, the bandwidth can be assigned to the program stream needing it most. Extra bandwidth is often needed during transitions from scene to scene, but if the programming on the eight subchannels is different they shouldn't have a problem giving up bandwidth to the program needing it the most.KCET's channel 28 is seems most likely to continue operating, as it has an extensive network of repeaters. But that could also make it the most valuable asset to auction off.
KCET currently transmits on UHF Channel 28 with an ERP of 220 kW. KLCS transmits on UHF Channel 41 and has an ERP of 1,000 kW. The station's announcement didn't say which one will give up their channel.