Published by: Larry Bloomfield & Jim Mendrala
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Subj: Tech Note #045
- Increasing Optical Media Densities
Feed back from: Garry Margolis,
Director, Technology Liaison, Philips Entertainment Group email@example.com
CD-Audio discs will not
change sampling rates or bit depths, because any such change would
be incompatible with the upwards of 600 million CD players in
There are two new next-generation
audio formats, which will provide high resolution and multichannel,
audio: Super Audio CD and DVD-Audio.
Super Audio CD has been
developed by Philips and Sony and provides the capability of a
CD-Audio layer as well as a high-resolution layer with separate
two-channel and six-channel program areas. SACD utilizes Direct
Stream Digital encoding, a delta-sigma one-bit digital signal
operating at 2.8224 megabits/second/channel. Lossless data packing
developed by Philips can be used to increase the storage efficiency
by factors greater than 2:1, depending on the characteristics
of the program material.
Two-channel SACD players
and discs are now on the market; Philips has announced the release
of multichannel players and discs in the second half of next year.
The Philips players will also handle DVD-Video and DVD-Audio (see
DVD-Audio is an extension
of the DVD-Video specification and has been developed by Working
Group 4 of the DVD Forum. It can contain up to six channels of
full-bandwidth audio in PCM format, with sampling rates of up
to 192 kilobits/second (two-channel only) or 96 kilobits/second
(up to six channels) with bit depths of up to 24 bits. It does
not allow backward compatibility with existing CD players, as
it does not
contain a CD-Audio layer.
Lossless data packing developed by Meridien is part of the standard
to allow increased playing time.
No DVD-Audio players or
discs are currently available. The last announced ship date is
after the first of next year. The Matsushita players announced
last September will play both DVD-Video and DVD-Audio discs --
it will reproduce the CD-Audio layer of an SACD, but not the high-resolution
Hageman said: "I realize
that if they change the CD technology it would not be compatible
with all CD layers already in the field. When color TV came out
one of the requirements was that it was compatible with the black
& white system, so all those people could still use their
old sets. The CD technology is not really compatible with that
restriction. It would be nice if it was."
Margolis: That's exactly
the point of the hybrid capability of Super Audio CD. The same
disc can play in any existing CD player and in a next-generation
A blue laser is used for
recording a DVD master. It is not necessary, fortunately, to have
a blue laser for playback, because it is very expensive and has
life. The required laser
for reading a DVD has a shorter wavelength than the one used for
Subj: Tech Note #045
- Increasing Optical Media Densities
Feed back from: BILL HOGAN
- Sprocket Digital - firstname.lastname@example.org
The information contained
in the article is totally wrong.
Hageman: Well, as you know
the DVD was made possible by the blue laser diode.
Hogan: No, As I know and
most of the world knows the DVD does not use a blue laser diode.
It uses a slightly different wavelength red diode for the DVD
read out. Some high-end DVD players that of course also read CDs
use a different diode for the read out of CDs. This two-diode
approach optimizes the reflectivity of the different CD and DVD
reflectivity. This helps when reading CDR and CDRW disks.
Hageman: An application
of this technology and as a side note, when are they going to
increase the sampling rate on audio CD's? 44.1KHz is not fast
enough to properly reproduce the complex harmonics generated by
classical, jazz, and other music styles.
Hogan: I guess he has had
his head somewhere because it seems that he has not heard of DVD-Audio
or Sony/Philips SCCD. The DVD-A allows sampling up to 192
kHz and also at 92 kHz.
Also at 88.2 kHz. This should be high enough for the dog whistles
to be recorded. The Sony/Philips system is a one-bit system
that samples and records at many megahertz-sampling rate.
Best Regards, Bill Hogan
Subj: Tech Note #045
- Increasing Optical Media Densities
Feed back from the author:
Kurt Hageman - KHageman@Trigaero.com
I was not aware of the new
CD technology. That is good, but I was hoping for an even higher
sampling rate than 192KHz. Is not the 1 bit system he is talking
about basically a single-slope A to D converter? If so, is the
ramp actually at several
MHz? Let me know, I am interested.
(Please respond directly to Hageman)
DVD issue, how are they able to pack all the data in that tight
of space. What then is the limiting factor in data density? I
did read about the use of blue laser diodes in the DVD field.
DVD is still aluminum flashed on the Lexan disk with the bit
pattern on it and then laminated.
I have watched this first hand at Ron's CD-DVD factory in Hollywood.
I am talking to Garry; he
is straightening me out. Blue lasers are for recording DVD's only.
I thought they were needed for playing too. Ron has them in his
new CD-DVD factory he just built in Hollywood. Below is what Garry
sent me back.
I am not completely wrong
on this. I got this statement from the following web site.
Optical storage is touted
to be the application for blue laser diodes due to the shorter
wavelength of the light. The storage density for optical storage
devices can be raised by a factor of about two or four compared
to the commercially available red or infrared
laser diodes, respectively
(High Density CD-ROMs, holographic storage devices). In home-entertainment
systems it will be possible to store a movie in high-resolution
HDTV quality together with several audio-channels in HiFi-stereo
and digital surround
sound on a small HD-CD (DVD).
Multimedia applications such as interactive databases or video-animated
computer games would also be greatly enhanced.
I am not completely screwed
Blue diode lasers have very
short wavelengths, which means that they can be used to pack data
more densely than red lasers, in storage media such as CDs.
A blue laser, the key component
needed to jump the capacity in various fields, is essential for
next-generation disk systems that can store high-definition movies
and a mandatory light source for high-resolution printers and
large-capacity optical communications
Well, I have learned something
too. Also apparently the limiting factor still relates to the
wavelength of the light. I thought blue light was used in the
playback process. I was wrong but that's OK I have been wrong
Subj: DOD Video Working
Group Recommends Public Debate on Digital Modulation Systems
From: a press release dated:
November 29th, 1999
The Chairman of the Department
of Defense /Intelligence Community / United States Imagery and
Geospatial Services (DOD/IC/USIGS) Video Working Group (VWG) has
raised concerns about potential problems with the "8VSB"
digital television modulation standard mandated in the FCC "Fourth
Report and Order." The VWG
Chairman requested that
the FCC consider conducting open, public debate on the question
of continued use of the 8VSB-modulation standard. The FCC was
requested to consider an
additional digital modulation system known as COFDM be allowed
for use in the United States.
The Chairman of the VWG
has concerns about our national capability to employ digital television
broadcast systems to communicate with the public during civil
and defense emergencies. There is growing evidence that digital
television receivers using 8VSB may require large, highly directional,
outdoor antennas for adequate signal reception. Large outdoor
8VSB antennas may be the first things destroyed in adverse weather
conditions, natural disasters, or other hostile propagation environments.
The COFDM digital modulation
system appears to be a robust modulation system, which would significantly
improve the ability to guarantee reception in routine and national
emergency environments. It has been implemented by a majority
of other countries around the world and provides digital television
broadcast capability, including the ability to use small, portable
and mobile antennas.
It is a fundamental DOD
mission to provide domestic support in times of national emergency
(such as natural disasters, and National Security incidents).
The existing US analog NTSC transmission system currently has
the ability to operate in poor signal conditions.
The VWG Chairman said that
technical improvements have been recently announced to improve
8VSB receiver designs. Any such improvements are welcome and encouraged.
Improved 8VSB receivers should be fairly evaluated as part of
the proposed open, public debate.
The Department of Defense/Intelligence
Community/United States Imagery and Geospatial Services (DOD/IC/USIGS)
Video Working Group (VWG) was chartered to establish video imagery
and related standards for the DOD, the IC and the USIGS.
Subj: Update on FCC
From: Mark E. Hyman, VP
Corporate Relations - Sinclair Broadcast Group
We completed a second round
of visits at the FCC regarding the DTV modulation standard. The
meetings went very well. Commissioners and staff have been very
receptive and engaged on this issue. While I am certain no one
at the Portals is overjoyed that a significant problem with the
ATSC standard has been identified, it is what it is, and they
realize it must be addressed. They also realize that a solution
is at hand.
The Commission must still
place the broadcaster's petition on public notice for comment.
Very small minorities of groups with financial interests in 8VSB
and/or the status quo have lobbied against placing the petition
on public notice. However, several hundred stations have filed
in favor of the petition and a few hundred more have taken the
public position that the DTV modulation standard warrants further
review. If you and your organization are uncertain of your position,
but believe that this matter is deserving of public scrutiny,
then I urge you to immediately notify the FCC that you support
a public comment period. It is only then that the hallway discussions
and the secret-handshake meetings will end and all parties will
have to "put their cards on the table," go on the public
record and back up their claims with technical data and hard facts.
We have been in contact with various groups, which are awaiting
public notice before they file comments on this matter. Unfortunately,
there are some groups with self-interests that are not aligned
with free, over-the-air broadcasting that would prefer to have
this matter swept under the rug.
As one Commissioner told
us, "You deserve your day in court and for that reason I
will vote to place your petition on public notice." We believe
this is the proper approach, as NO ONE WANTS THIS MATTER DECIDED
IN THE COURTS OR IN CONGRESS.
A few more groups have recently
gone on the record in support of the petition with more to come.
Broadcasters are realizing that it is time we reclaim the leadership
of broadcasting's future and not leave it to trade associations
not aligned with our best
interests, Washington lobbyists
who oppose our industry and a minority of manufacturers whose
entire future is invested in a single product that does not work.
Thank you. Mark E. Hyman
Subj: Tech Note #045
- E-cinema maybe not
Feed back from: Peter Krieg
former Dir. of the Babelsberg High Tech Center a digital film
and production center outside of Berlin.
I am afraid Larry Bloomfield
is wrong. 35 mm film camera negative in 16:9 aspect ratio is considered
the equivalent of 4.096 pixel (4K) vertical resolution (equivalent
because film is analog and has no pixel structure like digital
media). Once this camera film is copied to Interneg and finally
to exhibition print stock, resolution has dropped to about 2 K
in the cinema. Tests have shown that for practical purposes 2
K in a digitally generated
image is absolutely equivalent to the analog camera original.
This is the reason why all CGI for 35 mm today is done at 2 K
vertical resolution. (for compositing life action footage with
CGI the camera neg. is scanned at 2K and later recorded back to
film at the same resolution. 4K scanning is only used for Imax
and 65mm (70mm exhibition format) film.
So in fact we are comparing
a 2,048 by 1,152 (16:9) film standard with a 1,920 x 1,080 HDTV
digital cinema standard.
If you consider that digital
film has no jitter like a projected film, no grain, dust, dirt
or scratches, you can expect the quality of the digital cinema
image superior to the eye of the viewer than the projected film
image. The key here is the projector and the
problems of digital projectors
are not so much resolution (this will "grow naturally"
with better chips and technologies currently evolving) but rather
with contrast. Contrast ratio in film is between 1:6,000 - 1:10,000,
while contrast in digital high-end
projection is just entering
the 1:1,000 range. (office video projectors currently are between
1:100 and 1:300) I personally consider a projector that does 1,920
by 1,080 resolution at 1:2000 contrast ration as absolutely fit
for digital cinema.
footnote: George Lucas has
included secretly (so the tale goes) some 1,920 vertical resolution
digital images into Phantom Menace, using the prototype Sony 24p
camera. None of the critics noticed or complained.
Best- Peter Krieg can be
reached KriegPeter@aol.com in Berlin Germany.
Response: The information
was gotten from Kodak out of the SMPTE Journal, Nov. 1999, page
753, as stated, so "they" must be wrong. I did convert
the pixel equivalent to the aspect ratio that is nominal for wide
screen. Jim Mendrala, our resident expert in E-cinema will be
responding to this in our next issue. Larry
and other DTV anomalies that have not been addressed.
From: email@example.com (John
The opinions expressed here
are strictly my own and do not reflect the opinions of KTVQ Communications,
Inc., and probably won't sit well with a few others either,
but here goes!
MICROWAVE AND DTV:
As we discussed, our interconnect
between stations all around Montana (Billings, Bozeman, Butte,
Great Falls, Missoula, Kalispell) is nearly all 7 GHz and all
paths. The longest is over
100 miles, most are over 70 miles. The speculation on the robustness
of digital microwave runs from "it won't work past 30 miles"
to the over-water 130 mile frequency/space diversity experiment
in Hawaii. We'll see, but the wait makes for difficult long-term
MICROWAVE, DTV, AND PROGRAM
CBS does not provide a Mountain
Time zone feed, so we have to do it ourselves. Will they provide
a DTV time shift? If not, and because our interconnect is unlikely
to successfully pass digital, each station will have to invest
in a DTV delay system of some kind. OK, maybe a server will provide
a 1-hour delay, but what about one-day, 3-day, and one-week turnarounds
for syndicated programs? You're starting to talk about some serious
storage, and serious cash. ...for each station...
Each of our stations has
to lay out money for a digital system of some kind. An $800K transmitter
costs the same in Billings as it does in New York. The difference
is that $800K in New York is some fraction of the annual capital
expense allotted, and a small fraction of annual cash flow. Here
in Billings (or other small markets), that total represents the
entire annual capital allocation for several years, it
represents a SUBSTANTIAL
percentage of annual cash flow, and all you have is the transmitter.
That's no microwave replacement, no studio equipment, no tower
and antenna, no field gear.
That's a bunch of cash, which many small market television stations
will be unlikely to produce. The result? I expect many stations
to go dark because they simply can't afford DTV. The survivors
may be able to siphon off the dark stations' network contracts
and multicast or cherry-pick them. So much for minority and female
ownership. The big will just get bigger. How will FCC's Mr. Kennard
counter this problem of ownership concentration....a low-power
TV initiative like his ill-conceived low-power FM project?
DTV AND TRANSLATORS:
I'm going to quote you some
figures supplied by Nielsen (Nov 1998) for the Billings television
Market Ranking - 169
DMA Counties - 18
Cable Penetration - 54%
Metro Households (served
directly by our transmitter,
or by microwave to cable
headend) - 49,760
Total Viewing Area Households
- 105,720 (end of quote)
Now, you do the math: total
viewing area households minus Metro households roughly equals
the number of households served by translators, either by the
having his own aluminum
up in the air, or by the local cable headend carrying a translator
signal to distribute KTVQ. My TI-30 says it's about 55,960 households
(around 53%) that we will not cover with DTV because of the inability
of existing microwave to carry a DTV signal, and because there
are no provisions in the DTV scheme for translators. Unless translator/microwave
provisions change, we will
definitely and completely
lose these households if and when NTSC goes away.
THE NETWORK RELATIONSHIP:
Fox and NBC have demonstrated
clearly and startlingly that the old order.... network delivery
to local affiliate.... is a concept undergoing relentless attack.
Have you ever wondered why the networks have been conspicuous
by their silence on revisions to the Satellite Home Viewer Act?
It's simple: their goal is to have eyeballs, by any means. Whether
it's through my transmitter or through EchoStar's satellite is
immaterial to them. For now, local stations have to live with
reduced network compensation, then zero network compensation,
and finally, paying the network
for programming and services
that are no longer exclusive to the local affiliate. Throw in
the expense of DTV, and you'll see a lot of local television go
down for the count.
WHO'S STEERING THIS SHIP,
From my isolated vantagepoint,
the whole DTV issue looks driven by flatlanders who believe real
mountains and deep valleys exist only in fairytales, in Tibet,
and on post cards. No, the world is not all like what's inside
the Beltway, geographically or otherwise, and if those folks on
the inside think Pennsylvania is a big state, reflect carefully
on the fact that you can park two Pennsylvanias inside Montana,
leaving room for several national parks. We can hide a number
of New England states within the borders of some counties out
The DTV issue is also driven
by the egos of people who want to leave a lasting mark on broadcasting,
preferably with their names etched on the same marquee as Colonel
Armstrong for FM and David Sarnoff for television They are using
DTV to achieve that goal.
We're having DTV crammed
down our throats by electronics concerns trying to generate revenue
streams through legislative obsolescence of video and RF equipment.
Why not the same transmission standard as used in Europe? Corporate
welfare for US industries. (So explain why Kathrein, a German
outfit, got the DTV antenna contract in Salt Lake City over Harris
and other US firms?) Perhaps the most lame-brained of all, Congress
thinks DTV is a good idea because they expect to reap $500-billion
off sales of the old analog spectrum, and to use that cash to
balance the federal budget. What constipated Congressional (or
Administration) accountant worked that one out with a pencil?
The DTV issue is NOT being
driven by the one segment that counts.... The consumer. Save for
the few "golden eyes" out there, for which money is
no object, there is no clamor by the public for this stuff. Yeh,
they may see the PBS HDTV transponder in their local high-end
television store and maybe come away impressed (especially with
the cost), and what? Obviously, very few outside the industry
can see the stepped gradations in existing DTH video, or we'd
have heard about it plenty by now. Why would these people suddenly
find themselves conducting a high-definition feeding frenzy if
the only real difference their untrained eyes can observe is a
16:9 aspect ratio? People just want to watch clean pictures
with no snow or ghosts and hear sound (stereo, thank you very
much) and be entertained or informed. Technology has not and never
will make good television... that's the job of content providers.
DTV proponents continually
point to the development of color television as their model for
the rate of public acceptance of DTV. Their model is without merit;
my grandmother's 1956-vintage tube-type television set will still
receive KTVQ just fine today, in monochrome. My own 1996-model
RCA color set will never ecode DTV. There is no upgrade path here,
no downward compatibility, and only complete system replacement.
And forget set-top box technology as a migration route, unless
the box allows the user to completely control the set, including
channel AND audio level, from a SINGLE remote control (read, "stereo
modulator" with gain control, full interactivity, closed
captioning, etc.), just like the DirecTV boxes, AND sell for under
The current Satellite Home
Viewer Act problems we are all suffering through point out just
what the consumer wants:
1. Consumers do not want
antennas on their roofs. To the consumer they look bad; they are
a hazard to install, frightening to maintain, and one more thing
to keep out of the neighbors' yards in windstorms.
2. Serious (and real) safety
issues and potential liability concerns arise in my mind when
I deny a satellite waiver for someone who has no experience installing
or maintaining antenna systems.
3. 18-inch satellite dishes
are sexy, they're status symbols, and expressly permitted in any
zoning or covenant I've seen to date. (Never mind they are protected
by Section 1.4000, along with television antennas...)
4. DTH penetration in Montana
as of mid- 1999 was over 33%, versus 10.90% for the total US as
of November 1998. Montana's DTH penetration is the highest in
the nation. In the Billings DMA, satellite penetration in May
1996 was 8.81%. In November 1998 we were up to 17.63% (Nielsen
Station Index). For Missoula, MT,
14.24% in May '96, up to
26.97% in November '98. For Butte-Bozeman, MT, May '96 was 16.67%,
up to 25.38% in November '98. What do you suppose happened to
these numbers in the past year? Can anybody see a trend here?
In this environment, how
is terrestrial DTV going to make a dent? How are consumers going
to be convinced to dump a pile of money on a new television set
whatever form), install
an antenna on their roof, and make advertisers happy? Great programming?
Nope.. too many other outlets for that. Answer.. it ain't gonna
happen. How am I, a small-market television station, ever going
to recoup the cost of the DTV transmission system I'm forced to
have on the air by mid-2002? I'm not going to get any more eyeballs
with it... in fact, I stand to eventually lose half of my present
audience altogether because of the current NON-plan for DTV translator
service. At best, I'll simply fragment my existing analog audience.
Start broadcasting digital
data services? Maybe, but
Senator McCain (and others) believe broadcasters were handed "free"
spectrum, and by God, we had better show our gratitude by broadcasting
high definition programming, or else Congress will personally
see to it that we do. So much for wideband Datacasting in prime
time. It's pretty tough to be a
profitable data carrier
under those conditions; in data/internet/etc., if you're not ALWAYS
there, you're not there at all.
WHERE I THINK THIS IS GOING:
I believe that as NTSC goes,
so goes terrestrial free over-the-air broadcasting, and DTV has
no hope whatever of succeeding unless the following conditions
1. DTV sets of reasonable
size (equivalent to 27" sets today, NOT set-top
boxes) sell for under $500.
2. A single digital transmission
standard is adopted.
3. Cable systems, willingly
or otherwise, carry DTV.
4. DTH also goes fully and
compatibly DTV. Even then, the odds for success don't look good.
Eventually, I believe there
will be a lot of mountaintop real estate for sale that once was
the home of high-power television transmitter and translator sites.
We television stations will still be
here (at least some of us
that survive the DTV buildout few consumers will watch), we'll
still be in the entertainment, news, and advertising business,
but the delivery system will be DTH. Free over-the-air television,
if it exists, will be a gaunt shadow of
its former self, serving
very few. There are too many looming RF spectrum issues, power
consumption and operating costs, audience fragmentation problems,
irrational radiation scares,
zoning difficulties (Denver and San Francisco come to mind), loss
of skilled technical talent (read, "RF and antenna")
to jobs that pay better and provide better working conditions,
and other resource issues to allow the
current system to go on
The miracle of technology
the DTV proponents believe and pray will rescue their problem
child from oblivion (like, the next generation of decoder ships,
or the latest forward error correction scheme) is the same technology
miracle that will make DTV obsolete before it takes firm root:
Technology will resolve Local-to-Local satellite capacity, and
we who survive the DTV buildout will have shut off our transmitters
because we will be on satellite.
And don't talk to me about serving the poor who can't afford satellite
dishes... A precedent has been set for this in the form of minimum
telephone service and minimum cable service price tiers. The same
will happen with DTH, mandated by law if necessary. I've dealt
with too many waiver requests from self-professed old-retired-on-fixed-income-can't-afford-a-rooftop-antenna-and-I'm-crippled
folks who somehow are able to subscribe to DTH, and are damned
upset that I won't grant them waivers to watch the East Coast
network feeds so that they can get to bed by 8PM!
DTV has an ominous resonance
with that 1980's train wreck, AM Stereo. No single transmission
standard was decreed in the end for AM Stereo. (Sound familiar?)
broadcasting continued to
lose market share not just because of its inferior performance
compared to FM, but because programming sucked! At least AM Stereo
was downward compatible with 1955 Studebaker radios.
Not DTV. It's still a non-compatible
over-the-air transmission pipe dream, and it will never measure
up to the performance of satellite or (some) cable-delivered video,
except when you're close enough to the DTV transmission antenna
to hit it with a rock. Some would also hold that network
television programming sucks today. All the more reason to pay
close attention to the lessons of AM Stereo.
Montana is rural, without
a doubt. I grew up 50 miles from Billings watching skip interfere
with Channel 2, but I was used to it and didn't mind it too much
at the time. One waiver requester recently called this "country
television". Today, everyone on the
continent can retrieve sparkling
clean pictures with a very small, rugged, unobtrusive and inexpensive
antenna. Rain fade or an occasional wet snow is about the only
thing to cause a problem for these systems. I'm afraid the genie
is out of the bottle... Pandora's box is open... they've tasted
the good clean stuff off satellite and VHS and DVD, and will never
again settle for marginal television performance. I am one of
those who won't. I suspect the same is true in metropolitan areas
as well. DTV is dead at the gate, and over-the-air television's
future is no longer endless, no matter what happens to DTV.
To quote a recent country
song, "That's my story, and I'm sticking to it".
John Webber - Chief Engineer
(Ed Note: The
Editors and Publishers of the Tech Notes wish to thank Des Chaskelson,
Research Director of SCRI International for his generosity in
posting the Tech Notes on the
SCRI web site. www.SCRI.com).
Subject: FREE HDTV
Report for US TV Station
From: Des Chaskelson , Research
Director, SCRI International
The following report is
available FREE to US TV Stations only who respond to SCRI's new
HDTV online survey at:
On completion of the survey,
you will receive via email "The Millennium Report - The Migration
To Digital Television," an 80 page report compiled by Larry
Bloomfield, publisher of DTV Tech Notes and writer for Broadcast
Engineering Magazine. Results of the survey will again be
published in Broadcast Engineering Magazine.
The Tech Notes are published
for broadcast professionals, and others, who are interested in
DTV, HDTV, Electronic Cinema, etc., by Larry Bloomfield and Jim
Mendrala. We can be reached by either e-mail or land lines (408)
778-3412, (661) 294-1049 or fax at (419) 710-1913 or (419) 793-8340.
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