Our Very First !
Archived Tech-Notes 
Published by: Larry Bloomfield & Jim Mendrala      The following are our current e-mail addresses: 
E-mail = hdtvguy@garlic.comor J.Mendrala@ieee.org 
 We have copied the original Tech-Notes below as it was sent out.  Some of the information may be out of date. 
North West Tech Notes

% Larry Bloomfield & Jim Mendrala 

521 Forest Grove Dr. 

Bend, Oregon 97702 

(541) 385-9115 

Email =   larrybend@aol.com 



NWTN - 001 


May 18, 1997 

Hello for the first time! 

by Larry Bloomfield 

Yes this does look a little like the CGC Communicator, but it is our purpose to take a slightly different approach and address some different issues. Jim Mendrala and I feel that there is a need to have an electronic listening post or clearing house for what's happening in the wonderful world of DTV, ATV, ATSC and HDTV, etc.  This effort will only be successful with the assistance of those who want to keep on the cutting edge of this technology.  Since we are all setting sail on uncharted waters, it will be interesting to see what develops.  Anyone who wishes to share their experiences, knowledge or anything else relating to this area of our industry, please feel free to E-mail us and we'll make every effort to share it with our fellow broadcasters. 

Who will we send these to?  Anyone interested.  Just E-mail us your request to be added to the mailing list and it's done!  Feel free to forward this on to your associates, but let them know that you've do so and it's not directly from us.  If we send it to you and you're not interested, just let us know and off the mailing list you come. 

This, very much like the CGC Communicator, is a work of love.  We see a need and we're doing this solely with the idea of keeping ourselves and our associates informed.  We ask no compensation for our efforts, just the latest information you may have on what's going on.  We will not pass on anything that can not be verified or the source can not be identified.  This is for obvious reasons.  And now our first report. 


Subj:   White Paper on DVB 

Date:   May 15, 1997 

From:   Jim Mendrala 

I attended the SMPTE Hollywood Section meeting the other night in Los Angeles. The program was about Tektronix Objective Testing of Picture Quality developed by Sarnoff Labs. The Just Noticable Difference image quality metric, called the "JNDmetrix" digital evaluation method of digital TV. 

There is a white paper on DVB at the following address on the WWW.


The DVB is somewhat similar to the ATV Standard adopted by the FCC on April 3, 1997. 

Hollywood rumor has it that the producers want to release in HDTV.  Some have been shooting in 16:9 and protecting to 4:3.  The Post-Production houses are scrambling to get there HDTV telecines as fast as possible. 

Steve Russel said that Philips-BTS has sold twice as many Spirit Telecines so far this year than all of last year.  He gave a talk at the April STE meeting about the Spirit Telecine. 


Subj:   STE Meeting May 15, 1997 

From:   Jim Mendrala 

Tonights meeting of the Society of Television Engineers was very interesting.  Bob Ross, VP of Engineering and Operations, CBS Television stations Group, presented his views on the transition process as well as some of the costs to implement the newly mandated Advanced Television System.  His talk was mostly about CBS's plan for ATV. CBS plans it's transition to be done in 5 years.  April 6, 1997 CBS went on the air with WCBS-HD from the top of the Empire State Building. They are presently doing demos and evaluations. Within 18 months they plan on broadcasting HDTV, from film, in New York, 

San Francisco, Philadelphia and Detroit.  The next 18 to 24 months Los Angeles and Boston will come on line.  The next 24 to 30 months, Chicago, Miami, Minneapolis, Baltimore, Denver and Pittsburgh will come on line.  The next 30 to 60 months Salt Lake and Green Bay will come on line. CBS has ten transponders that are now being used for NTSC at 15 Mbps.  In the near future they plan on combining the 10 transponders down to 5 transponders leaving the HDTV at 45 Mbps on the remaining 5 transponders.  In the studio they plan on using HDTV cameras with dual outputs, one for HDTV and the other for NTSC.  This is superior to trying to bump up NTSC to HDTV.  The camera person will frame in the 16:9 aspect ratio and protect the 4:3 aspect ratio. The HDTV Master Control Routing Switcher will be a 1.5 Gbps router.  (They don't have one as of yet.)  Of course the "On the Fly" ATSC/MPEG-2 Encoder will produce a 19.3 Mbps bit stream for the digital transmitter.  There MPEG-2 Encoder cost $250,000 ea. 
DirecTV is using CLS and I beleive Divicom Encoders for the NTSC video. There are talks about HDTV on DirecTV by last quarter of 1998 if the market demands it.   The Cable Companies in most towns will not be able to carry this new signal at this time but a pair of "rabbit ears" will be able to receive a ghost and noise free picture from the local stations.  Who knows what the cable companies will do about HBO, Cinemax, ShowTime and other Premium Pay-for-View channels.  DirecTV and PrimeStar are already there with DTV. 
PBS, TLC and the History Channel are just starting to air 16:9 on film and video. 

New York and Los Angeles will have HDTV Telecine's, Edit Suites and Viewing Rooms.  CBS is concerned that at the moment there are not any HDTV Telecines around.  (BTS has sold in the last month more "Spirit" telecines then all of last year, per Steve Russel, Philips-BTS) 

There are three phases to CBS's plan. 

Phase 1 - Network pass through by the affiliates with local playback of syndicated shows in HDTV 

Phase 2 - Will include Phase 1 plus Local Program Origination (News, etc.) 

Phase 3 - Complete Plant Conversion 

In 1998 all CBS Prime Time will be in 1080x1920 Interlaced 16:9 30 fps. There were two studies done and it was found that at this time (Dec. 1996). One was done by Bruce Allen, Thompson.  It showed that 15% of the viewers have "Home Theaters" in there homes now.  The consumer has spent $2.4 billion on TV sets costing more than $1,300.  The biggest penetration of over 54" TV's were in homes where the average family income was less than $20,000 a year.  One coment from the audience was that in low income neighborhoods a large heavy Home Theater TV would be less likely to be stolen because of it's size. 

The average income in the U.S. and Canada shows: 

67% -  $60,000 

55%  - $20,000 to $59,000 
40%  - $20,000 
The picture quality of a live HDTV camera and 35mm film look about the same. (limited by the HDTV 1080x1920 Interlaced resolution at 30 frames 60 fields) Film will be transmitted at 24 frames in a 1080x1920 Progressive format. 
Super 16 has a lesser quality so films being shot on S16mm like "Texas Ranger" will go back to 35mm.  Regular 16mm is worse than S16mm. 

NTSC is terrible, however in the beginning CBS will have to switch between HDTV and NTSC until the studios are converted. 

It's been 9 years 1 month and 8 days for the FCC to announce the coming of the new DTV standard.  That occurred on Dec. 24, 1996.  CBS claims it was a gift from the FCC to Joe Flaherty. 

It's been 9 years 3 months and 22 days for the FCC to announce the DTV Standard on April 3, 1997. 

I suppose this is about the same as what NBC told you (Larry) at the Affiliate Meeting in Las Vegas. 

I Thought you'd find this interesting.  Again I say go HDTV, DTV and Component.  At this time there are a lot of unanswered questions that only time and the DTV set manufacturers will tell.  NTSC is on it's way out. I should know more Saturday at the USC/SMPTE Seminar (5/17/97). 


The NWTN is published for broadcast professionals who are interested in DTV, HDTV etc. by Larry Bloomfield, Chief Engineer, KTVZ, Bend, OR and Jim Mendrala, Consulting Engineer, Val Verde, CA.  We can be reached by either E-mail or land line (541) 385-9115, (805) 294-1049 or fax at (805) 294-0705.  Thanks to the folks at Communications General Corporation for inspiring us to do this.   News items are always welcome from our readers 

letters may be edited  for brevity. 
larrybend@aol.com    ---------   J_Mendrala@compuserve.com 

NWTN articles may be reproduced in any form provided they are unaltered and credit is given to the North West Technical Notes and the originating authors, when named. 


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