Sep. 4, 2008, ST. LOUIS, Mo. — St. Louis-based Antennas Direct introduced the first CEA-909A Smart Antenna for digital television. Antennas Direct, in partnership with the National Association Broadcasters, believes the Smart Antenna will peak consumer interest in over-the-air antenna technology.
In March 2008, the NAB partnered with Antennas Direct to develop a series of compact, highly efficient antennas designed and optimized for the 2009 digital TV frequencies using the CEA-909A single-wire control protocol.
These CEA-909A-compliant Smart Antennas are electronically steerable and tunable antennas that automatically optimize the performance for each particular digital television broadcast.
While manually re-aiming the ordinary “rabbit ear” antennas for analog signal may not have been a big deal, re-adjusting an antenna for digital service can be difficult. Digital signal is sensitive to changes in terrain and multipath interference, and adjustments call for precise movements. The CEA-909A Smart Antenna interface was designed for consumer convenience, by allowing one simple, less-confusing connection to digital television.
CEA-909A-compliant receivers (compliant converter boxes) can send channel number, gain, direction, polarization, etc., to the CEA-909A-compliant Smart Antenna to automatically configure the antenna and find the best setting as the user changes channels. This allows consumers to channel surf without having to get off the couch to adjust the antenna.
The goal of the Smart Antenna is to offer the power and performance normally found in larger outdoor antennas in a compact and attractive indoor form. By making over-the-air reception as reliable and consistent as pay TV, it is the hope of Antennas Direct and the NAB to bring viewers back to terrestrial broadcast television.
“Smart antenna technology can make a huge difference in the overall consumer experience, allowing access to all local television signals without having to spend a lot of time aiming or re-aiming antennas. This technology could be a real game-changer,” said Lynn Claudy, NAB’s Senior Vice President, Science and Technology.
Smart antennas have been designed for, wireless broadband and military applications. But smart TV antennas have not been practical, until now.
The word “smart” indicates an antenna’s ability to automatically self tune or switch elements in order to optimize signal reception. It should also offer the consistency and reliability normally found in larger outdoor antennas.
“After months and months of research, we came up with a Smart Antenna that uses reconfigurable elements, with performance on par with significantly more expensive antennas normally found in military applications,” said Richard Schneider, president of Antennas Direct. “This effective and practical design also allows the antenna to be affordable; we believe the antenna would not be marketable if the cost exceeded $150.”
About Antennas Direct
Antennas Direct is a St. Louis-based manufacturer and distributor of over-the-air antennas. The company was founded by Richard Schneider in 2003 and has since been widely recognized for superior product design and performance by a number of industry publications and main stream media outlets. Having invested major resources into the discovery and implementation of new technological advances in television antenna design, Antennas Direct continually tests and modifies antenna designs, raising the bar by which antenna performance and appearance are measured. For additional information on Antennas Direct, visit www.antennasdirect.com.