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More than Mt. Rainier, a Space Needle and overcast skies.
While in Seattle,
WA recently, at KIRO-TV, the local CBS affiliate owned by Cox Broadcasting
and doing a story for Leitch about the preponderance of equipment
they have installed there, I chanced to meet Ray Maker, the station's
automation and server guru. A finer host would be hard to
find. In chatting with Maker, he spoke of his seventeen year
old son and his accomplishments.
It seems that the
younger Maker is somewhat of a computer genius and has come up with
a bit of software that stands to make the lives of television engineers
substantially easier. Wirelists, cable records and the like
are an absolute necessity for keeping track of the plethora of cabling
and wire in a television facility, but is usually put on the backburner
because of the tediousness of the job and often times is put off
altogether, to the chagrin and detriment of all concerned.
Maker, the Younger, has taken the cable record keeping "chore"
and simplified it, making it easier and far less time consuming
by writing a database founded on Microsoft Access that will get
the user out of the pen and pencil era into the wonderful world
of digital record keeping.
Before telling you
about the software, it is important to note that this young seventeen
year old is a Microsoft Certified Professional. Now that might
not mean much to some of you reading this, but I've been going to
school for over six months to get the same certification and, believe
me, it's not easy.
So what has young
Maker done that's the greatest thing since sliced bread? It's
simple! At the risk of stating the obvious, a wire starts
from somewhere and goes to somewhere; has a purpose and is usually
assigned a number. The only other thing you would ever need
to know is the kind of wire, the kind of connection at each end
and its overall length. Enter this information into Maker, the Younger's,
database for all your plants wiring, the software will let you access
information for any number of reasons: "Find Router,"
"Find Sync. Gen." "Find Patch Panel Jacks,"
Find Video Switcher," Find duplicates," Find digital-analog,"
"Find DVE," Find DA," "Find Vector Scopes,"
"Find Transcoder," "Find DME," "Find Monitors,"
"Find WFM," "Find VTR," and more! With
the proper kind of printer, you could also get this little puppy
to print your cable labels too.
When I was at NBC
in Burbank, we had something similar to this software, but this
database is much easier to navigate and I found it much more "user
friendly." I know many engineers like to write their
own software, but who has the time anymore? Here is a piece
of software that fills a need, is easy to learn and simple to use.
It is something that could be given to a non-technical type and,
providing you give them the proper information, can be maintained
in a much more cost efficient manor than using the high-priced technical
staff to do this more mundane task.
Because of Maker,
the Younger's age, Maker senior is the President of their company,
WireBook Technologies. The Makers certainly live in the right
neighborhood, if not state, to pick up on the success "forces"
of their eighbor's, Microsoft. When asked, Maker said:
"We, WireBook Technologies are a Independent Software Vendor.
We design both retail software, such as WireBook 2.0, in addition
to designing custom tailored database software." Maker,
the Senior, didn't skip a beat and gave credit where it was due
by saying, "This is basically my son. We also offer database
intra/internet design and implementation services. Some of our products
include, WireBook, a cable and wire management system, and the Mechanical
Log, which is a full featured logging of technical support incidences
geared towards engineering departments."
said that they have two products at this time, "WireBook 2.0
which is designed for the 32-bit Windows platform and is intended
to help manage cabling and wiring throughout an organization and
Mechanical Log for WireBook 2.0, which is a log database that tracks
problems with individual machines and where the problems come from."
I asked Maker what
was in the mill and would be ready soon and he replied: "We,
my son that is, is working on WireBook 2000 he hopes to have it
finished and released sometime in mid-May. It will incorporate
many new features, but will still support legacy platforms such
as Windows, NT, 95 and 98."
asked what will the new WireBook 2000 do that the older version
won't do, I was told that it would, in addition to what was mentioned
above, "also support many features found only in the newer
Windows 2000 Certified products. It will include new technologies
such as: Auto Draw, Remote Deployment, MMC Integration, Operating
System integrated Security, Automatic Updating, Automatic Searching,
and support for SQL Server 7.0, in addition to a web-based utility
When asked what Auto
Draw will do for the user of WireBook 2000, I was told that by taking
all the information in the current database, it will display it
graphically in Visio, cutting down dramatically on the time required
to map and catalog all devices in a facility. In addition,
combined with Automatic Searching, the ability will exist so a Fluke
device can be plunged into a network segment and have it detect
all the devices, then automatically enter them into the database,
after which it will display a graphical map of an entire network.
And that's not all,
by using the new features found only in Windows 2000, WireBook 2000
will be able to remotely deploy WireBook 2000 to desktops using
a special remote management tool. Combined with Microsoft's
Management Console (MMC), WireBook 2000 can be managed anywhere
on the network, and managed only by those who are assigned "permission"
to do so.
that isn't enough, WireBook 2000 will also supports Active Directory,
allowing the user to automatically create an object in a Organizational
Unit and then keep the user informed of it's location and status
at any time.
Needless to say,
I was impressed and that's not always easy to do. If you'd
like more information on this software, contact Ray, the Senior,
at firstname.lastname@example.org and I have no doubt that he'll be glad
to discuss this and any number of other custom databases you may
have in mind. They also have a web page at Http://wirebooktech.com.
** ** ** ** ** **
"Mission to Mars" in D-Cinema
d-cinema movie presentation of "Mission to Mars" started
Friday, March 10, 2000. There are a total of 12 U.S. locations taking
part in ongoing field demonstrations of TI's DLP Cinema
Walt Disney Corporation is featuring TI's DLP Cinema technology
in all digital screenings of its new movie, "Mission to Mars."
The screenings will begin Friday, March 10.
Darrow, business manager for Digital Imaging Cinema stated: "This
represents the latest phase in our worldwide field demonstrations
of DLP Cinema technology. Our purpose in conducting them is to allow
us to show the industry and the movie-going public the benefits
of DLP Cinema technology.
audience gets a better picture, free of dirt, scratches, and degradation;
the theatre operator can learn about and influence the eventual
digital presentation system; the studio can develop the production
expertise to distribute a digital feature - and the creative has
more tools to control the final look of the movie, ensuring a consistent
presentation every time it is shown."
following locations will feature the all-digital screenings of "Mission
Chicago, Ill: AMC South Barrington 30
Cleveland, Ohio: Cinemark at Valley View
Dallas, Texas: Cinemark at Legacy (Plano)
Hollywood, Calif: The El Capitan Theatre
Kansas City, Kan: AMC Studio 30 (Olathe)
Los Angeles, Calif: Edwards, Irvine Spectrum 21 Megaplex
Los Angeles, Calif: AMC Media Center 6 (Burbank)
Orlando, Fla: AMC Pleasure Island 24 (Lake Buena Vista)
Phoenix, Ariz.: Harkins, Arizona Mills 24 (Tempe)
San Francisco, Calif: AMC 1000 Van Ness
Toronto, Canada: Famous Players Paramount Toronto
Vancouver, Canada: Famous Players, Silver City Riverport
Breedlove, business development manager for TI's Digital Imaging
Cinema said, "The success of these demonstrations have been
tremendous. Audiences have confirmed that they would rather see
movies shown with DLP Cinema technology. The twelve exhibition companies
we are working with have embraced this project and are key to its
success, and the reaction from the creative community has been extremely
positive and supportive. We look forward to expanding our involvement
to include titles from all of the major studios, and expanding the
participation to exhibitors around the world."
film, similar to "Bi-Centennial Man", was transferred
on a high definition telecine, color corrected, then compressed
using QuVis's QuBit digital motion image recorder and its proprietary
wavelet compression system. The data was then transferred
to DVD-R discs for distribution to the theaters. For more information
on the QuVis compression system, visit: http://www.quvis.com/wp_compression.html
you haven't had a chance to see what 24 fps high definition on a
large screen looks like, I strongly suggest taking a trip to one
of the theaters listed above. Make sure it is a "digital presentation",
as some theaters are running the film print also.
more information and links to the selected theatres, visit: http://www.ti.com/dlp/products/cinema/locations.shtml
for the movie itself, NASA had a lot of input on the film, but remember
it is only a story done up in the traditional Hollywood style. For
general information on the movie, visit: http://studio.go.com/m2m/index.html
broadcasters and others who are experimenting or producing in high
definition might consider running some of their productions at theaters
on the big screen. It could become a new avenue to recoup some of
the expenses of converting over to the new digital age.
** ** ** ** ** **
Dougiallo passed away on March 8, 2000 at 7:30 PM. Del passed away
in a hospital near his home near Cape Coral, Florida after undergoing
emergency surgery. We all remember Del as the guy who we called
to put up our towers, re-lamp our towers, repair our antennas and
everything else that involved tower work. Del worked for Bell Telephone
for many years while doing some part time tower work with Charlie
Gordon of Wilkes-Barre. After leaving Bell, he began Del's Tower
Service, which he operated for many years until joining partnership
with Emcee Broadcast.
several years with Emcee as the manager of the tower division, Del
went into semi-retirement from tower work. Del and his wife Pat
built a home in Cape Coral Florida as a winter retreat but continue
to reside in Hazleton during the summer months. Del will be missed
by all of us in the broadcast business that worked with him for
so many years. A service is planned in Hazleton but the date and
time have not been set.
** ** ** ** ** **
From Argentina; coming back from Brazil
the National Administration of Telecommunications of Brazil, invited
the Telecommunications Agencies and Broadcasters Associations of
the countries of Mercosur (a Common Market in South America formed
by Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina) to the presentation
of the tests and evaluation of the 3 DTV Modulation Systems: ATSC,
DVB and ISDB-T, performed in Brazil according a resolution
069 of 23/11/98 and act 4.609 of 30/8/99,resulting in a selection
of the COFDM methods of modulation.
presentation for Mercosur took place on 21st and 22nd (of February)
in Sao Paolo and I assisted as broadcaster belonging to ATA.
The selection panel of Brazil is formed by several partners, among
them "CPqD"(Research and Development Centre www.cpqd.com.br),
the Institute Mackenzie (a University with more than 30000 students
at School, High School,
and University levels) and Abert/Set group (Abert: Broadcasters
Association, Set: Television Engineers Association). Anatel is coordinating
the activities of the partners.
On Day 1,in the Research and Development Center we were presented,
theory (math included) of the modulation systems for DTV and The
type and results of the tests performed.
On Day 2, in the morning, we assisted two field tests on Sao Paolo
City. In the afternoon we went to Mac Kenzie University to
visit the laboratory where the local tests were made, we were shown
a test of the systems with 6 multipaths created by a multipath simulator
among others (see "list of tests sets" and "Tests
Procedures" on the report), and received more comments regarding
the results explained by one of the professors on DTV.
My firsts conclusions on this:
are no doubts on the professionalism, the high skill and training
grade of all the people involved on tests and high grade of technology
of the tests sets used.
the transparence of the tests is out of discussion: with the qualification
of the partners it's unthinkable to have political influences.
is the first time in the world that a comparative, deep, precise
tests are performed of the three systems contemporarily (side by
side) on same spectrum (6mhz) On UHF band.."
Receivers used in tests:
the ATSC receiver: The selection panel concluded, that the receivers
with the so called "miracle chips" had a lower performance
than a Zenith "Prodemod" receiver and used this one in
the selection tests. The Zenith has not a decoder so it was used
with a Mitsubishi decoder (also used for the ISDB receiver which
was a prototype). The DVB receiver was a NDS IRD.
Bit rate used:
ATSC 19.4 Mbits/s. For DVB and ISDB: The minimum was 18.09 Mb/s
good enough for HDTV according the panel, although it was used also
19.76 & 18.66 Mb/s (see Chapter 1-3 Padroes Testados (Modes
tested)) For DVB it was tested 2k and 8k and different guard intervals.
For ISDB 4k, 3/4,1/16,19.33 Mb/s
Scope of the tests:
Modulation, propagation and reception of the three systems, (no
bandbase formats tests) .It was used the same input signal and the
same channel, antenna, transmitter and transmitter power for the
Field tests: see Chapter V -2
(See Chapter V-2.1, fig 7 & 8 of the Brazilian report:):
12 KMs from the Transmitter the 100% of the sites were successful
for DVB 8k 2/3, 1/32 while for ATSC is about the 83 % (fig 7) (Remember
that S.Paolo is one of the bigger cities of the world and in those
12 KMs radius there are plenty of buildings so heavy multipath are
present). The 12 KMs seemed to be a reduced radius but remember
that there was not using the full power for replication, just for
figure 8: There were selected 6 difficult points with heavy multipath
and noise: The result was the 100% of successful reception for both
DVB and ISDB, 50% for ATSC (Zenith) and 0% for the so called Chip
A and Chip U (The miracle chips. There was an agreement that the
model of the chips should be kept on reserve).
performed with our presence (around 25 people from Mercosur) on
22 Feb.: We were told that we should go to two sites: one where
the ATSC had not reception and the other with reception of the 3
Systems both sites where at 6Km from the TX roughly.
was used a Van with a telescopic mast and the same antenna for the
three systems. The height of the antenna was roughly ten meters.
The Van was fully equipped for these tests.
first site (the one with the three systems working) was quite interesting:
The measurement of the minimum C/N necessary for the system to work,
gave the following results: ATSC=21 db, both DVB and ISDB 20db so
the advantage of the ATSC of 4 db on laboratory disappear on the
site because the presence of multipath. Moreover, rotating the antenna
for the OFDM systems about +/- 45 degrees do not provoke loss of
signal while the antenna for the ATSC RX was very critical to point.
second site, (where the ATSC didn't work), gave roughly the same
results but this time we measured with more accuracy the angle of
pointing the antenna without interruption of signal:
DVB = +/-90deg. for ISDB +/-45 deg. roughly. The C/N results was:
DVB C/N: 18 db, ISDB: 21 db, ATSC: not reception (too many errors
to open the signal) "I think the future tests on the
field should include the variation of pointing of receiver antenna
because the viewer at home don't care too much about the maintenance
of it and the reception angle should be "tolerant" as
in the analog TV. Moreover it should be a specification of the system."
colleague, from Buenos Aires, present on this tests, told me that
the tolerance of pointing on the VHF band is much better, according
the tests they are doing in Buenos Aires on ATSC.
Impulsive noise, see 2.5 of the report (Lab tests) and 2.5.8 results:
According these figures, the ISDB System is largely better than
the other two systems.
was the part 1 of the tests, the part 2 follows and according the
last words of part 1 it says: " ...Other the deeper studies
on the ISDB system, the next steps will include evaluation of more
than one ATSC receivers and a DVB receiver of recent implementation"
is promoting the realization of a public act on March where the
acceptation of the selection will be treated.
*From our side, it will take a couple of weeks to study the full
** ** ** ** ** **
Famous Three-Letter Call SIGN "KHJ" Returns to Los Angeles
by permission from the CGC Communicator
(Ed Note: Although
this is a radio station, there are many TV stations whose call letters
begin with "KK." This could be a precedence-setting move.)
Wednesday, March 15, 2000, the call letters KHJ will return to Los
Angeles! KKHJ, 930 kHz, will become KHJ.
we (KKHJ) broadcast in Spanish, and "KK" is pronounced
"caca" which is a Spanish profanity, we asked the Commission
for a call sign change and argued that changing to anything but
the station's original call (KHJ) would result in public confusion.
Commission granted our request. We expect the change to occur at
noon on Wednesday, March 15. It is tentatively planned that there
will be a short statement from KHJ program director Alfredo Rodriguez
in Spanish, and a comment by me in English, followed by the top
of the hour ID before returning to music.
Lewine, C.E., Liberman Broadcasting,
** ** ** ** ** **
Qualified RF Broadcast Engineers - An Endangered Species?
by permission from the CGC Communicator
Fred Vobbe's letter
asking if RF broadcast engineers are becoming an endangered species
drew over 57 responses. (To CGC Communicator) Fred writes:
"There are some
common threads, and some interesting stories. Perhaps it will
be fodder for a story for the DX Audio Service on why people are
leaving our field. What is interesting is that the same thoughts
are coming from people all over the U.S., and one in Canada."
the CGC Communicator closing statement said): We hope that Fred
will take the time to summarize his findings. (We will share them
here in the Tech Notes.)
** ** ** ** ** **
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. http://WWW.SCRI.com).
HDTV Marketplace Trends and Product Reports: 2000 - 2004
Des Chaskelson , Research Director, SCRI International
The HDTV Marketplace
Trends and Product Reports are now available. Data for the reports
was derived from extensive surveys of US television stations in
January 2000. The Trends report contains over 100 pages of data
and analysis. Each product report contains data on the percentage
of stations purchasing HD and SD units, by year (2000 - 2004), plus
total units (HD and SD) by year. Over 35 products are covered.
For table of contents see online at: http://www.scri.com/sc_reprt.html
&/or contact: email@example.com
** ** ** ** ** **
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)
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