Gear: Using TV Broadcasting To Drive A Digital Sign Network

October 17, 2012 by Dave Haynes

Sending HD video via wireless has long been an aspiration of people who plan out digital signage networks and look for ways to cut cable and labor costs. We have all seen wireless video at trade shows demo’d over short ranges, but I’m not familiar with many (or any) networks using the tech to truly deliver stable video.

With the caveat that I only barely know what I am talking about here, a new product from Peerless-AV looks interesting.

The company’s Pico Broadcaster can send HD content to an unlimited number of digital TVs that have ATSC tuner and over-the-air antenna. The range is roughly 350ft (106m), and probably less when there are things like walls in the way.

The device takes content from a computer or media player with IP transport stream output capabilities, then broadcasts the signal to any open “white space” channel local to the area.

From what I can figure out (I skipped broadcast engineering class) this means the switch to digital TV in North America has freed up a lot of spectrum and channels between 52 and 69 have been abandoned by broadcaster.

So this is not crappy wireless video like I have seen in the past, but actual broadcasting via wireless streaming.

The spec suggests it can send up to 1080 HD using MPEG2 (it transcodes files). It looks like you have to build playlists with some piece of software that is provided, so I am not at all sure this could be used with real digital signage platforms – though this is being marketed as a digital signage solution.

The one number I saw for cost was $2K MSRP. So … not cheap, but in a large retail or facility footprint with one simple  programming channel, this would reduce a lot of cabling cost.

My question to the AV integration crowd. Have you tried this sort of thing? If so, how’d it go?


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