Feeling A Little Baudy

As someone who first got online with a 1200 baud modem, I marvel at the speed of connectivity we all have now in our hands, pockets or close by on a desk of table top. And it tickles me when I hear some old-school dial machine language talking, usually at an antiquated ATM machine located in a Third World situation. I marvel because they still work, and because of how far we’ve come, and how fast we’ve come there.

Specifically, new research released this week by estimates the average 5G connection in the U.S. is now 35 Mbps (megabits per second).

That’s 29,167 times faster than the dial-up modem I first used to get online in the early 1980s.

But the more latent connectivity changes, the more it remains the same. Not for mobile media, per se, but for the other kinds we used to depend on for seamlessly delivering us vital information and entertaining content in real time. You know, television.



And yes, I know the word “TV” may seem quaint in our omniconnected wired and wireless universe, but it’s still kind of important to a lot of people. Including me. Though increasingly less so. And increasingly -- and more satisfactorily -- via my phone.

Over the past year, I’ve gradually been weaning myself from conventional TV connectivity, first severing my MVPD’s digital set-top device and using vMVPD YouTube TV.

Then, when YouTube TV jacked its already exorbitant subscription rates up, I throttled back to Sling, and am now ready to pull the plug altogether, leaving subscription TV behind altogether.

To do that, I did something that seems radical by today’s standards, but which was the way we all received TV for most of its history: terrestrially. I bought and installed a digital over-the-air antenna.

But while simple to set up, it didn’t work. I was only able to get one local PBS station.

And it’s not like I live in the boonies. I’m well within the range of New York City’s broadcast signals, and I should be able to receive even more local ones from nearby cities in Connecticut.


What I did get, when I set the antenna up, and connected it to my Roku CTV, was a slew of CTV channels -- hundreds!

There’s something wrong with the state of American broadcast spectrum if it’s this hard -- or even impossible -- to receive a broadcast signal in an average American home.

I won’t wax on about that for now, because this is a Mobile Insider, and my main point is about the superior connectivity of mobile vs. terrestrial -- or in some cases, even wired -- television.

Just this week, while attending MediaPost’s Publishing Insiders conference in New Orleans, my hotel room seamlessly enabled me to connect all my subscription services to the room’s “TV” set, simply by casting from my phone.

It used to be that TV was one of the best consumer electronics devices, because unlike computers, hi-fi, wireless modems and routers, etc., you didn’t have to set it up and finagle with it (well, maybe a little with the “rabbit ears”). You just turned your TV on, and the broadcast signals came through.

Now they only come through if they’re being casted from a phone? Sheesh.

2 comments about "Feeling A Little Baudy".
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  1. Dan Ciccone from STACKED Entertainment, June 8, 2023 at 1:47 p.m.

    I cut the cord and switched to a terrestrial TV antennae 15 years ago for local broadcast and sports programming.  One thing to note is that the TV anteannae insure true 1080/HD reception vs. the local cable company that may throttle back and only deliver 720.  I find the picture quality and sound to be much better on the TV antennae. 

    Looking forward to the day we don't need wires to connect to the TV, cable box, gaming system, etc.  Cloud TV please.

  2. John Grono from GAP Research, June 8, 2023 at 11:45 p.m.

    Gosh Joe, you're making me feel old.

    My first digital comms was an acoustic coupler for a client who was 700km away.   We were providing grocery sales data to manufacturers.   The data took ages to key-enter, process and print the report.   It was then freighted interstate.

    The client wanted it quicker - but just the 'top line' across all their 11 categories as 'the detail' could wait.   So I wrote some software to extract the 11 top lines, formatted them, and was able to produce the relevant one-pagers.

    To get the data from Sydney to Melbourne, we used an acoustic coupler which was installed in his office.   It was 90bps/300bps (if the telephone line was capable of a stable 300bps connection).  

    All he had to do was to get the telephone handpiece, lay it inside the acoustic coupler (a nice wooden box with an aluminum opening-lid) and then invoke the software I installed on his desktop, and then choose which of the 11 reports he wanted.   Lo and behold he'd have his own printed copy on his desk in around 90 seconds!

    Gees it was fun way back then!

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