How Variable Polarization Technology Is A Repack Aid


Is there a “futureproof” solution for broadcasters across the U.S. faced with a potential spectrum repack headache?

Broadcast infrastructure company Radio Frequency Systems (RFS) believes it has a tool that will lead many TV station owners to say “no.”

The company’s Variable Polarization Technology (VPT) is playing a major role in the transition to the next gen broadcast TV standard, while also assisting broadcasters that must change channel positions as part of the post-FCC spectrum auction process.

RFS has now installed several VPT-powered elliptical antennas across the nation, including at 1 World Trade Center in Manhattan.

“With VPT, the ratio of vertical to horizontal polarization can be changed after the antenna has been installed,” RFS says. “It’s no longer hardwired into the design and doesn’t need to be the same for all broadcasters transmitting with the antenna, meaning they don’t need to lock themselves into the restrictions of a fixed polarization system if transmission requirements change.

The company elaborates on the “benefits” that its VPT-powered systems offer. Among them are shared antenna situations, as each broadcaster may set their own polarization ratio. This allows broadcasters to reduce infrastructure ownership costs, RFS says.

Meanwhile, with quick adjustments to polarization changes, “This will make it quick and easy for broadcasters to shift from horizontal to the elliptical polarization needed for mobile devices under ATSC3.0 when they are ready.

Further, VPT-powered antennas can transmit advanced ATSC 3.0 modes such as MIMO and MISO, increasing the volume of data that can be sent to a receiving device.

Nick Wymant, Broadcast CTO at RFS, said, “The U.S. market is experiencing huge changes and there’s no doubt that the future is going to depend on new hardware being installed. Understandably, broadcasters are eager to futureproof their investments. Variable Polarization Technology has been designed to take the headache out of this for broadcasters, not only by making an immediate tangible impact as the FCC spectrum repack continues, but also for the future as ATSC 3.0 adoption becomes commonplace.”