Look, Ma, No Cable!

The FCC gives a tentative green light to video via microwave

  • Share
  • Read Later

HOW MANY WAYS CAN YOU TAKE IN THE TUBE? Between broadcast television, cable TV, fiber-optic cable, digital compressed cable and variously sized satellite dishes, there may soon be as many delivery systems as there are channels to choose from. Now the FCC has added yet another wrinkle to videotic variety, tentatively approving a nationwide television-transmission system much like the one used to send and receive cellular phone calls.

The new system, developed by a New Jersey firm called CellularVision, has been operating in Brooklyn since July. It uses microwave signals of such high frequency that they can bounce off buildings and still be received by a window-mounted antenna no bigger than a magazine. The system, which could be available throughout New York City and in other major TV markets by mid-1994, can deliver as many channels as cable TV without the expense of having to wire up each individual home -- a prospect that could threaten the virtual monopoly that many cable companies currently enjoy.