Ed. Twisted Tools are a special breed of music software makers, concocting wild-sounding instruments, sequencers, and effects, all with a distinctively-colorful and graphical approach to interface design. And they do all of this in Reaktor, Native Instruments’ deep toolbox for visual development of soundmakers, a patching cousin to tools like Max/MSP, Pd, and Plogue Bidule. Various patchers take a DIY approach to building musical tools in such environments, but Twisted Tools have successfully turned those creations into a business.
That’s part of what makes this interview well worth a read, whether you’re an end user or a developer. Writer Markus Schroeder talked to Twisted Tools’ Igor and Josh for the German publication AMAZONA.de; you can read that translated interview in German. But the interview itself was originally conducted in English. Through the generous permission of Markus and AMAZONA.de, we reproduce that full English interview, edited in its entirety, for CDM.
In it, Markus asks some probing questions about designing and selling musical tools, with some insights into the Twisted Tools’ current catalog. And Twisted Tools share both praise and criticism for Reaktor as a tool – there’s some tough love in there. I’ll let Markus take it from here. -PK
Tell us a bit about the foundations of Twisted Tools and its team members.
IGOR: Josh and I started Twisted Tools about a year ago now. It’s basically the two of us with lots of encouragement and support from friends and fans. Several years back, Josh contacted me because he was a fan of my work. He wanted help building an idea of his, and we got to know each other well using Google Chat. At some point, we decided that it would be cool to start a business together selling such things. At University, I studied Linguistics and worked as an English interpreter, which in many ways comes in handy now with Twisted Tools. When I was studying, I began fooling around with DAWs, then discovered Reaktor and got hooked. The rest is history. As for Twisted Tools, it’s my full time gig now.
JOSH: I think we began thinking about starting a business together because we saw eye-to-eye on almost everything; at the same time, we bring unique ideas to the table. I’m an electronic musician and a teacher, so I think I tend to approach instrument design from a user’s perspective. Igor spends most of his time on the inside looking out, from a builder’s perspective, so the partnership works out nicely. We still use Google Chat as our primary means of communication. In fact, all our work is done using chat, which I also think helps us to focus. Lots of people ask me why we don’t ever use audio or video chat, but I really think we’d lose something in doing so.
Until recently, I was the Course Director of Computer Music Production at a digital arts college in the San Francisco area. Now Twisted Tools is my main occupation, too. I don’t perform at all. Once upon a time, I DJ’ed and produced electronic music. These days, Twisted Tools satisfies most of my creative urges, though I’d love to get back to music making, too.
How long you have been actively developing with Reaktor, and why did you get started?
JOSH: Igor has been building for about five or six years, and I’ve been doing some basic building on and off for several years, but I wouldn’t consider myself a true builder. I tinker and understand the basics, but nothing like Igor, who probably has 20 years’ experience if you’re counting by the hour.
As far as why I got started, I bought Reaktor 3 to basically just use the factory stuff. There are so many interesting and unique things about Reaktor that I can’t remember exactly what interested me most about it. When you crack it open and demo it for the first time, it is pretty jaw-dropping. Then you open up the structure and realize the potential. The urge to make modifications creeps up on you and before you know it, you’re building stuff for fun. It is like an addictive puzzle that makes sounds.
What were the reasons to take the step to commercially selling your Ensembles? And does it pay off, in one way another?
JOSH: Well, I think it came down to simply gaining enough confidence to try. I’d hired Igor to help me build stuff before and was super pleased with the results. So I was totally confident in the quality; I just wasn’t sure if people would buy Reaktor ensembles and/or how many people out there were even using Reaktor. Reaktor hadn’t been updated in years and seemed forgotten, so it seemed like an unlikely business idea. But, when I saw the first versions of Vortex that Igor had made, I was pretty confident that people would buy it and so was Igor. So we moved on that impulse…
IGOR: As far as it paying off, I suppose it depends on what kind of currency we’re talking about We spend a ton of time on Twisted Tools, more than most people would imagine. I would say that we spend at least four or five hours a day, usually six days a week on Twisted Tools. That’s a very conservative guess. The response has been incredible and as cliche as it sounds, I think that makes it worth it alone.
What was the reaction from the Community of the Reaktor User Library?
Were you worried about possibly sending some wrong signals out to them, since there are a lot of high quality Ensembles for free?
JOSH: To be honest, I’m not sure what the reaction was like for everyone. I’m sure some approved and some didn’t, but I think either way people respect the quality. The overwhelming majority of the things I’ve heard have been positive and I think that in many ways, selling Reaktor ensembles has been good for the Reaktor community. I don’t really see much difference between selling a VST/AU or selling a Reaktor patch. In fact, the only reason a VST/AU is better is because you can run it without owning Reaktor. Otherwise, having a Reaktor ensemble is so much more powerful than owning a VST/AU. You can open up our stuff, modify it, study it, make OSC routings, etc. Plus, our development process is faster and our updates/fixes come more frequently than most VST/AUs.
IGOR: In the end, the question is, do people find it useful and of value? If they do and want to pay for it, that’s great. If not, that’s fine too. There are still tons of amazing free instruments in the User Library and if someone finds what suits their needs there, that’s great. But we definitely don’t feel we’re sending the wrong signals. NI sells Reaktor ensembles too now in the Player format, so what’s the difference?
Was it difficult to suddenly deal with issues like online selling and customer support?
JOSH: Absolutely! Especially after our first launch. We didn’t expect that kind of traffic and the e-commerce cart we were using had a poorly-programmed PHP script that ended up crashing the server, due to traffic load. Our host didn’t like that, and not only shut us down in the middle of our first day, but locked us out and I couldn’t get to our files. Nightmare…but, we changed hosts and somehow managed to get things back up in a day or so. I learned quite a lot in those first days.
IGOR: It’s really a lot of work, still since we do everything ourselves — instrument design, GUI design, web design, support, marketing, documentation, videos, etc. At first it was very difficult, but it has definitely gotten a bit smoother. We are kind of lucky to be in two time zones because we take shifts which basically gives us a 24/7 customer support system. It’s rare that a customer sends in a request for help and more than several hours go by without a response. We’re happy about being able to provide that kind of support.
What was the reason of going Reaktor instead of making software on your own?
IGOR: Reaktor is a great platform to develop with. It has a great interface and many possibilities. All that I know about DSP and instrument design, I learned while working with Reaktor. Neither of us know any other programming languages, so there wasn’t really a choice. We’d love to do VSTs and AUs someday, though.
JOSH: If we do VST/AUs, we’d obviously be able to tap into a larger market, so it is something we are considering more seriously.
What did Reaktor already provide as building blocks, and how much did you have to invent by yourself in the form of Core programming or Macros?
IGOR: I use my personal macros and core library wherever it is possible. I trust these structures and know them inside and out, making it easy for me to tweak things and look for bugs. Building this library took years though. The initial steps were back-engineering the factory content of course. I think that this is a very good way to learn things in Reaktor when you are starting out. The documentation is only useful up until a point because there are so many variables involved in building.
If there was a lot of Core programming, can you tell us about the the process of working with it? Did you face any obstacles?
IGOR: Of course, Core is a great environment with lots of possibilities; however, it’s still pretty limited, and some very basic workflow features are lacking. For example, you can’t copy/paste input and output ports inside Core Cells, you can’t duplicate the selected structure preserving connections, as opposed to primary, etc. Then there is the lack of polyphony management, iteration issues, event loops, snap-able memory, the list goes on. Lets hope that the situation will improve in the future.
Ed.: NI engineers, I hope someone is taking notes. Core is incredibly powerful, and could be even more so… -PK
What were the hardest obstacles to overcome?
IGOR: I wish we had the ability to save in the Reaktor Player format, so we could share our work with more people, since it wouldn’t require that you own Reaktor.
Now let´s have a look at the catalog of Ensembles Twisted Tools have to offer, and get some insights on their inspiration.
What was your initial conception behind Vortex?
IGOR: The vision behind Vortex was to create a flexible, sample-based groove box that is capable of simple yet powerful control over one-shot samples as well as loops. In Vortex, you can stretch short one-shot samples and create long textures, slice and chop loops, or create drum kits.
How you know when what you’ve got is a final product?
IGOR: Well, as they say, perfect is the enemy of good, so you need to stop at some point when developing instruments. It’s impossible to fulfill everybody’s needs, but I think we did our best and covered the most important areas.
JOSH: There certainly is always room to improve something, but we also run the chance of making it worse by adding too much. Our devices get pretty complex and we always end up having to leave things out, which is usually a good thing. Sometimes simple can be good, too, though, so I think we’ll be releasing a new line of tools that have fewer options, but are still powerful, in the very near future.
What were you ideas for Colorflex?
IGOR: The idea behind Colorflex was to take a simple, 16×16 note matrix and push it to the limit.
JOSH: We wanted to make a sequencer that could be used for both hardware and software, with lots of creative possibilities. The graphic layer approach makes it fun to look at and use.
How much of it have you achieved to get into the final product?
JOSH: I think we squeezed as much into Colorflex as possible. It is a very deep and complex device, with tons of options if you dig into it. It started out as a simple cell matrix based on colors and kept growing from there. If you want to sequence MIDI CC’s you can use it just for that — or you can use it to automate other Reaktor devices using IC Sends. Those were things we added and that took a long time to get working properly, but make the device do a lot more than we’d initially planned. In some ways, Twisted Tools devices are like improvisations that start out in one direction and end up somewhere totally new by the time they’re finished. I think the ability to basically improvise while you build is one of the things that makes Reaktor instruments interesting compared to building standard VSTs.
The Matrix Sequencer is very powerful, as are the editing options. How complicated was developing the different edit layers and make them work?
IGOR: It was pretty complicated, of course; we had to deal with Stacked Macros and it’s not the most pleasant part when working on GUI.
JOSH: Igor is putting it mildly. Reaktor is limited to a four-pixel resolution for moving graphics around on the interface, which makes finalizing the look a true pain.
What was the driving idea for Buffeater?
IGOR: Obviously, Buffeater is not the first effect of this kind, but it was a personal take. It’s also entirely focused on buffer based processing (no filters, lo-fi crushers etc).
JOSH: We definitely wanted everything to be automatable and we wanted it to have a great library of sounds and presets to get people started. That was important. Not only is everything automatable, but each parameter’s automation lane can be set to a unique speed so that patterns overlap and evolve in unique ways. Each effect has presets as well that store the automation. You can even record live automation into a lane by turning on record and twisting knobs.
How much of the original concept survived in the final product?
JOSH: We’re very happy with how Buffeater turned out. It’s a ton of fun and we’ve received a great response. There are a lot of buffer effects out there now, and they all do something interesting and unique. We had a similar effect brewing before we did Buffeater that’s also good for live mangling, but sounds and feels totally different. Perhaps we’ll end up putting that one out, as well … it’s never enough.
What do you think makes these six effects so popular, generally?
JOSH: Well, people like to mangle and twist up audio. Buffer effects are a good quick way to do that.
Scapes is another way-out kind of thing. How did you get the inspiration for it?
IGOR: The initial inspiration was to create a multi-faced instrument that’s capable of creating rhythmic structures, soundscapes, process incoming sounds, etc., all with a unique twist.
JOSH: Again, this device was really something that took on a mind of its own. At first it was a soundscape generator, then it started to evolve into a percussive instrument and synth…then it morphed into an effects processor. Eventually we decided that it could do all of those things together in a neat way. Rather than making several devices, we put them together all in one, and the result is a very unique instrument. Whether you are a sound designer at Lucas Arts, a video game composer, musician, or an iPad enthusiast, Scapes is useful and fun.
We hadn’t really anticipated the iPad control potential until we hooked up with the guys from Konkreet Labs. They had just finished developing their Konkreet Performer iPad controller app right around when we were planning to launch Scapes. The two work brilliantly together. When I first set it up, I sat my wife down in front of it and she just started playing for about an hour. I swear I had to tear it out of her hands…she’s not an electronic music producer, but she had so much fun, anyways. This is a side of Scapes that we hadn’t anticipated.
Scapes is so versatile, is there still something that should be included?
JOSH: I think we truly created a unique device that we are both very proud of. The response has been amazing so far. So… no.
A short time ago, I honestly thought granular synthesis was mostly done, since only few products using the technique managed to produce their own distinct sounds or interesting sounds at all. Then, Curtis for iOS, from The Strange Agency , came along and rekindled my interest. What is your take on grains?
IGOR: I think Scapes itself answers this question
JOSH: The funny thing is, we kind of were worried that people would think like you, and we changed the name from Grainscapes to Scapes for this very reason. Scapes makes unique and complex sounds. The sounds can’t be used for everything, but they have their own place, as does granular synthesis.
Your products often revolve around the idea of chaotic and fractalized sequences. Do you see your work in terms of using data of stochastic, mathematic or physics sources as means to create musical events?
IGOR: I think Colorflex is capable of both – fractal, semi-random structures, and more day-to-day musical stuff. Though I wouldn’t place Colorflex in that area, entirely.
Right now, taking an academic approach to instrument development doesn’t excite me. There is definitely a place for this, but in our case, it’s all about music.
JOSH: The more important question for us is, is it going to be something that’s fun to use? Is it useful, simple enough to understand, but complex enough to grow into? What kind of sounds does it produce? Is it intuitive? Does that matter for this particular device?
Thank you very much for the interview Josh and Igor.
And also let´s have a big shout out to the Reaktor community. Without them, Reaktor could not be where it is today – one of the most sizzling music applications you can get.
This interview was conducted by Markus Schroeder and originally published by AMAZONA.de in German translation. This interview on CDM is the original English transcript, which is supplied in approval by the author, Twisted Tools and AMAZONA.de
More information at:
Twisted Tools – http://twistedtools.com
FCC Sets Deadlines for LPTV, TV Translator and Class A Stations To Convert to Digital – And Gives Hints When Television Spectrum May Be Reclaimed for Broadband
The deadlines for the digital conversion of LPTV stations, TV translators and Class A TV stations were announced on Friday, in an Order where the FCC also provided some indication of their expected timetable for the reclamation of some of the television spectrum for broadband use – and that expectation is nowhere near as aggressive as originally announced two years ago in the FCC’s Broadband Report. The digital conversion of LPTV and translator stations will happen by September 1, 2015. The FCC also ordered an earlier December 31, 2011 deadline for the digital conversion and clearing of the reclaimed spectrum by those stations still operating in parts of the former television band (Channels 52 through 69) that have already been reclaimed and mostly auctioned for wireless uses. The digital conversion of Class A stations and other operational issues were also discussed in the order. The details of the order may also reveal the Commission's thinking on the proposed reclamation of other portions of the TV spectrum for broadband use, and of the use of Channels 5 and 6 for radio. Details on the deadlines and other actions by the FCC in this order are set out below.
Conversion Deadline and Process for Stations in Core TV Band
LPTV, translator and Class A stations (referred to in the rest of this article simply as "LPTV stations" except with respect to the specific Class A rules discussed below) will have a hard deadline for digital conversion of September 1, 2015. As of that date, all analog television operations in the US will cease. If LPTV stations do not already have a construction permit authorizing digital operations, they must file for such a permit by May 1, 2015. All existing construction permits for a digital flash-cut on the LPTV station’s current channel are automatically extended by this Order until the September 15, 2015 deadline. This does not extend outstanding construction permits for digital companion channels. Extensions of those permits must be requested by the permittee.
Any new construction permit for a flash cut or a companion channel will have a deadline of September 1, 2015. The FCC did recognize that there might be reasons why a station can’t meet that deadline, and allowed for requests for 6 month extensions of that date – but such requests must be filed by May 1, 2015. Waiver grounds would include unforeseeable events and financial hardship. Extensions would only be granted until May 1, 2016 for the construction of digital facilities. However, stations receiving such an extension will still need to terminate their analog operations by September 1, 2015. They cannot continue to operate in analog during this extended construction period. While the FCC recognizes that there may be circumstances that arise that delay construction after May 1, 2015, any extension request filed after that May 1, 2015 deadline will only be granted by meeting the stricter tolling provisions normally applied to construction permits – justifying extensions only for Acts of God, administrative or judicial review of the FCC authorization, judicial review of zoning or other land use affecting the construction of the station, the need for international coordination of the construction of a station, or the bankruptcy of a licensee. Such extensions are granted only for the length of the matter causing the delay – and also will not alter the September 1, 2015 analog termination date.
The FCC rejected proposals that would have set the analog termination date based on when the FCC finally determined a plan for repacking TV stations to clear some of the television spectrum for broadband. As such a clearing would require the "repacking" of full-power stations, potentially affecting the channels used by LPTV stations, this was not felt to be enough of a burden to justify a further delay in the digital transition. The FCC recognized that setting this hard deadline could require some LPTV stations to have to change channels again after any such repacking. However, the Commission felt that the the statute governing the digital TV transition requires hard deadline, not one that might float indefinitely. The FCC stated that it hoped that, by 2015, there will be sufficient information available about any spectrum repacking that LPTV stations will have a good idea about potential channel availability. The Commission also noted that this date would give stations time to get over the current economic climate, so as to be able to raise the money to finance the conversion. The Order notes that NTIA still has over $30,000,000 available to assist qualifying rural stations make this conversion. While the authority to spend that money runs out in 2012, the FCC urged NTIA to request that Congress extend that deadline.
Out of Core Stations
There are still some LPTV stations operating in parts of the television band already reclaimed for wireless uses – spectrum which has, for the most part, already been auctioned off. The FCC already has in place a policy requiring that LPTV stations vacate this spectrum within 120 days when a wireless user indicates plans to activate its use of the channels. In this order, the FCC has decided to require that LPTV stations operating on channels 52-69 vacate those channels by December 1, 2011 – less than 6 months from now. The FCC justifies this incredibly fast deadline by pointing to letter that was sent by the FCC’s Media Bureau, Video Division to such stations since January 1, 2010, warning such stations that the need to vacate the channel was imminent. the Commission also cited warnings in other previous orders (as well as the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in this proceeding). The FCC notes that there are about 600 stations that continue to operate outside the TV core band, and about half of these have already filed applications seeking a construction permit for a core channel.
Any station that operates outside the core that does not already have a construction permit for a core band operation must file for a construction permit for the core band by September 1, 2011. The FCC states that there will be no hardship extensions of the December 31 deadline – meaning that such stations must terminate operations no later than December 31 of this year no matter what. However, any construction permit for digital operations that is granted to these stations will have an expiration date of September 2015, so a station receiving a construction permit later this year that does not have time to construct by the end of the year can temporarily terminate operations and sign on in digital after the December 31 deadline. The Commission notes, however, that the Communications Act requires that stations that sign off the air be back in operation within a year, or they will have their licenses canceled (unless they can present a compelling showing that the public interest justifies a longer period of silence) - so the 2015 deadline may not be a real deadline for starting operations - December 2012 might be the real deadline for operating in digital or risking the loss of their license. Finally, the FCC warns applicants against specifying operations on Channel 51, as there is a pending petition by CTIA (the wireless telecommunication association) asking that all TV operations on Channel 51 be frozen because of possible interference to wireless operators on what was channel 52.
The FCC notes that stations in this band may end up having to pursue multiple displacement applications as they won’t have benefit of any repacking plan for full power stations when they make their decision to move later this year. But the FCC decided that it was time to clear these stations off the spectrum that has already been claimed for wireless uses – rejecting claims by Public TV groups and others that this transition is too soon - citing public TV funding cycles, the practical difficulties in constructing (e.g. equipment delivery, tower crews, etc.) so expeditiously, and worries about FCC delays in processing construction permit applications authorizing in-core operations. The FCC’s sole bone thrown to these groups was to direct the Media Bureau to expedite action on construction permit applications, or to issue emergency STAs to allow these stations to operate to some degree in the core while their applications were being processed.
One other class of station was mentioned in the order – new stations. For permittees that have construction permits authorizing new stations with both analog and digital channels, the new station must be on air by the construction permit deadline for the analog operation. There is no automatic extension of these construction permits. The FCC felt that any longer extension would be giving these new stations an opportunity not granted to other new licensees – a longer construction period than is usually permitted. However, these stations can construct their digital facilities and forego construction of their analog stations – just as long as the digital operation is up and operating by the construction permit deadline of analog permit.
Class A Stations
Class A television stations have a protected status that LPTV and TV translators do not have, i.e. they cannot be displaced by full-power stations or other primary spectrum users. There has long been a question of how the Class A designation (which was assigned in a one-time window almost a decade ago) could be transferred from a Class A station's analog channel to its digital channel. The FCC stated that, for those Class A stations that have already flash cut to digital, their Class A designation will automatically follow the license to the digital operation. If stations plan to flash cut to digital in the future, the designation will go with the license at the time of the flash cut.
For those Class A stations with a digital companion channel, the process is minimally more complicated, as such stations must file a Form 302, Application for a License, to transfer the Class A status to the digital channel. The Commission makes it sound as if this will be a simple process, granted routinely to transfer the Class A status to the digital channel.
The FCC also decided several other issues related to the Digital conversion of these stations. The Commission decided that power could be increased on stations operating in the VHF band from the 300 watts now authorized to 3000 watts in order to overcome the interference that has plagued stations on that portion of the band.
NPR and others had requested that LPTV stations not be able to use channel 6, as it has the potential to interfere with noncommercial radio stations at the lower reserved end of the FM band. Others have requested that these channels be reallotted for radio use. The FCC has rejected this proposal – apparently deciding to maintain this channel for TV use for the foreseeable future. The FCC did note, however, that LPTV stations, as secondary stations, must protect full-power FM operations in the noncommercial band. That question has come up from time to time in the past without a clear answer.
There was also a question of what to do with pending applications for new LPTV stations. In May 2010, these applicants were given 60 days to file amendments to convert their applications to digital. The Commission never took any action against those applicants who did not file the required amendments. In this Order, the FCC decided to dismiss all remaining analog applications who did not follow the May 2010 order.
Questions were also raised about notice required before digital transition, to educate the public about the conversion. The FCC said that it would address consumer education issues later – closer to the 2015 deadline. Questions to be considered include what notice is necessary as the digital transition has principally occurred with full-power stations. The FCC recognizes that the public will need to be reminded to re-scan their digital receivers to find the stations on their new channels when stations make a change in channels before the 2015 deadline. A question unique to these stations is that many stations, particularly translators, don’t originate programs, so how can they provide notice to viewers?
Stations making a conversion between now and 2015 need not give the FCC any notice before any flash cut or the surrender of an analog license. Unlike in the full-power transition there is no need for stations to make a public interest showing of their need to convert early. As so much of the transition has already occurred, the FCC did not see any need to slow any stations intent to convert before 2015. However, if they do terminate analog operations before 2015, they must warn consumers about the conversion, by broadcasting prior notices at times when most people are watching the station. If the station has no origination capabilities – and it would be a hardship to come up with such origination capabilities – the station needs to come up with other ways of notifying its community of the conversion, whether it be through the primary station or through some other method (e.g. newspaper publication). Thirty days before the September 2015 deadline, those stations still operating both analog and digital stations must notify the FCC as to whether they will surrender their analog channel, or flash cut to digital on their analog channel and surrender the channel that had been used for digital operations.
A number of technical changes in LPTV operations were also authorized. The FCC modified the definition of a minor change in an LPTV station's facilities - limiting such status to any change where the proposed transmitter site has not been moved more than 30 miles from reference coordinates of current principal community. This limit applies to station moves, even if the previously used contour overlap methodology would have allowed move of a greater distance. The FCC noted that it would entertain waivers of this 30 mile limit, and clarified that the contours of the current and proposed facilities must overlap - the 30 mile rule does not permit a move of that magnitude unless these contours overlap. Changes were also made in rules dealing with the submission of antenna vertical patterns, and the use of full-power television station's emission mask to compute interference.
Finally, beginning December 1 of this year, LPTV stations operating any ancillary nonbroadcast service using their digital channel must pay the same 5% fee paid by full-power stations.
Conclusion and Implications
The decisions made here preview many of the decisions that the FCC may make in other proceedings brought about by the portions of the digital conversion that has already occurred. Various proposals are pending to allow channels 5 and 6 to be used for radio. Given the decision on the proposals to restrict the use of channel 6 that were rejected by the FCC in this order, it appears that the broader proposals for the use of these channels for radio are on hold while the FCC considers spectrum repacking issues as part of the proposed reclamation of parts of the television band for wireless broadband use.
The issue of use of Channel 6 LPTV stations for radio-like uses also seems to have been resolved by this Order. The audio from these stations can only be received on FM radio receivers when they are operating in an analog mode. Some had argued that there should be some degree of analog operations allowed after the LPTV digital transition ends, to allow these audio operations to continue. The Order does not appear to make any provision for such carry-over analog operations - so these quasi-FM stations may well be out of the audio business by September 2015.
Finally, the Order implies that any repacking of the television spectrum will not be completed by 2015. This is far after the 2012 reclamation that the Commission suggested in their Broadband Report. Now, it appears that the FCC does not expect that it will have identified the final channels on which television stations will operate after any repacking until some point after 2015. This may well reflect realities - as Congress has not yet authorized the incentive auctions that make the reclamation possible by sharing some auction revenue with television stations to convince some to give up their licenses to clear spectrum. Once that Congressional authorization comes, the Commission must finalize its repacking plan which, while the process has begun, will still not be easy to fully implement. So this realization that spectrum repacking will not be complete by 2015 seems to reflect reality.
This Order is, of course, subject to reconsideration and appeal. Look for some parties to seek such review of many of the more controversial issues decided here. Like the full-power transition, this will not be a quick and easy process.
[Updated, July 20, 2015, to correct the paragraph dealing with notice to the FCC of a station's decision to terminate analog operations]