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Tech Notes

Published by: Larry Bloomfield & Jim Mendrala

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March 13, 2000

Tech Note - 051


Talent does what it can, but genius does what it must!

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Subj: More than Mt. Rainier, a Space Needle and overcast skies.

By: Larry Bloomfield

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."

Maker 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."

When 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 center."

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.

If 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 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://

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Subj: "Mission to Mars" in D-Cinema

By: Jim Mendrala

The 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

The 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.

Doug 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.

The 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."

The following locations will feature the all-digital screenings of "Mission to Mars:"

           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 (Irvine)

           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 (Richmond)

Paul 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."

The 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:

If 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.

For more information and links to the selected theatres, visit:

As 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:

DTV 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.

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Subj: Del Dougiallo

From: Gary Talkiewicz

Del 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.

After 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.

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Subject: From Argentina; coming back from Brazil

From: Roberto Lauro

Anatel (, 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.

The presentation for Mercosur took place on 21st and 22nd (of February) in Sao Paolo and I assisted as broadcaster belonging to ATA.

a) Comments:

1) The selection panel of Brazil is formed by several partners, among them "CPqD"(Research and Development Centre, the Institute Mackenzie (a University with more than 30000 students at School, High School,

College and University levels) and Abert/Set group (Abert: Broadcasters Association, Set: Television Engineers Association). Anatel is coordinating the activities of the partners.

2) On Day 1,in the Research and Development Center we were presented, in brief:

The theory (math included) of the modulation systems for DTV and The type and results of the tests performed.

3) 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.

b) My firsts conclusions on this:

"There 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.

*Also the transparence of the tests is out of discussion: with the qualification of the partners it's unthinkable to have political influences.

*It 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.."

c) Receivers used in tests:

Regarding 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.

d) Bit rate used:

For 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

e) Scope of the tests:

Only 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 3 systems.  

f) Field tests: see Chapter V -2

*Coverage.  (See Chapter V-2.1, fig 7 & 8 of the Brazilian report:):

At 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 comparison purposes.

On 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).

*Tests 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.

It 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.

The 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.

The 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:

For 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."

A 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.

g) 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.

h) Conclusions:  

*This 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"

*Anatel 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 Part 1.

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Subj: Famous Three-Letter Call SIGN "KHJ" Returns to Los Angeles  

From:  Reprinted 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.)

Effective Wednesday, March 15, 2000, the call letters KHJ will return to Los Angeles! KKHJ, 930 kHz, will become KHJ.

Since 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.

The 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.

Jerry Lewine, C.E., Liberman Broadcasting,

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Subj: Qualified RF Broadcast Engineers - An Endangered Species?

From:  Reprinted 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."

(As 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.)

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(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.

Subject: HDTV Marketplace Trends and Product Reports: 2000 - 2004

From: 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: &/or contact:

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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. The Tech Notes are sent (BCC) directly only to those who have asked to be on the mailing list, however feel free to forward them, intact (including this message), to anyone who you think might be interested.  There is no charge for this Newsletter, no one gets paid (sigh), there is no advertising and we do not indorse any product or service(s). The ideas and opinions are those of the individual authors. We still administer everything manually. We don't use any "majordomo" automatic servers. News items, comments, observations, opinions, etc., are encouraged and always welcome. We publish when there is something to share. Material may be edited for brevity, but usually not. Tech Note articles may be reproduced in any form provided they are unaltered and credit is given to both Tech Notes and the originating authors, when named. If they are to be used by a publication that normally compensates their writers, please contact us first.