Published by: Larry Bloomfield & Jim Mendrala
E-mail = email@example.com or J.Mendrala@ieee.org
December 20, 2000
Sharing experiences, knowledge, observations or anything relating to Digital Television, Digital Cinema, etc. with fellow engineers and readers is our purpose. Our mission statement, other relative information and this current issue of the Tech-Notes is now posted on our website. You can also find all our past issues there as well. We’ve had over 3400 visitors since July 1st, 2000. Thanks. We are growing. We now have over 895 subscribers. Thanks to our regulars and welcome to the new folks. This is YOUR forum!
We need help, suggestions, etc.
Visit us at: http://www.Tech-Notes.net.
Subj: Reader Responses –
From: Robin Rowe of www.MovieEditor.com
Hi. I enjoyed reading the viewpoint from Duane Dunn. Who is this? Why no company affiliation listed or email?
I don't mind, but I was surprised to see my response to your quick survey (including my email address) posted in your newsletter. If I had known it was for attribution I might have written something more.
Just curious, do you offer an HTML version of Tech-Notes that is easier to read?
Happy holidays, Robin
Editor’s response: Thanks for the compliment. Duane Dunn is an engineer with Harris Automation in Sunnyvale, CA. We will be more than happy to direct any e-mail to Duane, if you wish. Your response to the survey was great; that’s why it was posted. We have had many requests not to send our e-mailing of the Tech-Notes out as HTML. This is why we have a web site. If there is anything HTML worthy, we’ll post it there and put a link in the mailed edition.
Subj: More Reader Responses –
Ed Note: Not exactly a reader response, but a comment, nonetheless.
I wonder if the Japanese are digging their own hole on this interlace issue. If you check the current trend in consumer camcorders the buzzword for new and improved is "progressive CCD" or variations thereof. By marketing of this type, the consumer may make the connection that new and improved has to be progressive thereby leaving interlace as old and inferior.
Now when Joe goes to buy his HDTV set, the models that promote 1080i will be read as inferior and outdated as compared to the sets that are, or support 720 p.
Please do not release my name should you comment on this in any publication (internet or otherwise). You can use my initials.
ETG - Principal Engineer - HDTV Research - Department of Defense
Subject: NPR’s cry for Government Funding
By: Jim Mendrala
A few weeks ago on NPR’s Morning Edition, Nina Totenburg said that if the Supreme Court supports Congress, it is in effect the end of National Public Radio (NPR), the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). PBS and NPR and NEA are facing major cutbacks in funding. In spite of the efforts of each station to reduce spending costs and streamline their services, some government officials believe that the funding currently going to these programs is to large a portion of funding for something which is seen as not worthwhile.
She continued to say that the only way that our representatives can be aware of the base of support for NPR, PBS and NEA for funding for these types of programs is by making our voices heard.
The above is an annual campaign by NPR. Perpetuating the same misrepresentation in substantially the same way each year. They do this by omitting significant facts and downright lie in support of a worthy cause.
It is true that we need to inform our representatives but is it right to omit significant facts and downright lie in support of a worthy cause?
What isn’t said is that the Federal Taxpayer funds to NPR, PBS and NEA, amounts to about 17 percent of their total budget.
NPR, PBS and NEA, are heavily dependent upon corporate contributions, as well as advertising by corporations.
The last time we heard from Congress was that the reduction of the government’s financial contribution would be reduced over a three-year period, which would allow ample time to seek alternative sources for the funds they would lose.
To imply that the cut in funds will in effect cause the end to NPR, PBS and NEA, is a down right lie and is unnecessary. NPR, PBS and NEA, serve a significant audience and provide a public service. This is a free society and the less government funding the better unless it’s sole purpose is to disseminate government information in a neutral fashion.
William E. Haynes, retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel said, “My ear tells me that NPR is far more an outlet for liberal points of view and far less “enthused” about broadcasting conservative viewpoints. While I as a conservative, am therefore sometimes frustrated by what I hear from NPR, I served during three wars to preserve the right to do so. I object to their doing it with my (or any other Taxpayers’) dollars.”
In my humble opinion NPR, PBS is a worthwhile expenditure of $1.12/year of my tax dollar.
Subj: Where have all the Transmitter guys gone?
By: Larry Bloomfield
Hardly a week goes by that I don’t hear of one Transmitter maintenance guy or another either retiring or passing on to the next life. I had occasion today (Dec. 20, 2000) to go a retirement party at Mt. Sutro, in San Francisco. Two very qualified and experienced transmitter men told the world that they were hanging up their spectrum analyzers and would be seeking the life of Reilly. (For those who don’t know who Reilly is or was, ask your dads or granddads.) Not that there isn’t a little bit of envy on my part, but several others in attendance spoke of the very short time when they would be joining the ranks of those on the retirement lists as well.
Now here’s the point! There are a plethora of schools across the country where someone with a vacation can go learn all the fine points of how to point a camera, cut a show and the other nice artcey-craftsy parts of our industry, but where does someone go to learn the art of keeping the box on the hill up and working? Face the cold hard facts: without that box on the hill feeding the stick on the pole, there is NO terrestrial television or radio.
Some stations are relying on contract people to fill this void, while others are replacing the transmitter personnel with factory service people. Unless your station has redundancy up the kazoo, plan on being off the air, from time-to-time; this is not the trustworthiest way of playing broadcaster. There’s nothing like calling Cliff or Bob or Ray or Roy or Milt, knowing that they know exactly what to tweak to get you back into the broadcast business.
I had one station manager tell me that broadcast engineers are a necessary evil. What a fool! I suggested that he try running his station without engineers! Well we won’t go there, but they’re not on the air today and, yes, I didn’t last very long. Picture trying to make the transition to DTV without engineers; Yuck! Only a senseless boob would even consider it.
Transmitter men stand in the same light as Merlin the magician. Most everyone at the studio thinks that what the “transmitter guy” does to keep the transmitter up and working is akin to magic. In a way, it is. If nothing else, that monstrosity, with all the strange, large, copper plumbing coming out of its top with the brobdingnagianly like appetite for consuming amaranthine kilowatt-hours of power in a heartbeat, commands respect and fear from all but the RF brotherhood of transmitter repairmen.
One of my favorite parts of interviewing candidates for a technical position at the several stations where I’ve been Chief Engineer is to ask them: What is a spectrum analyzer and what is it used for? What is a time-domain-reflectometer and what is it used for? Or, If you know the impedance to the input of your transmission system and can read the RF current, how can you determine the output power of your transmitter? Then if that didn’t get them, I ask them to pick one of three tubes and tell me how it worked: Klystron, IOT or a power Tetrode. Yes, yes, I know that’s all Greek to many of you, but not to the RF guy. He needs to know this and a lot more. Surprising as it may seem, I did find one or two out of the hundreds.
In talking with Bob Gonsett recently, we mused about the only difference between a receive antenna and its transmission line, and that of a transmitter’s is its power handling capabilities. Not only do most “so called” television engineers not know or understand this, but they don’t care. The job at the transmitter is not one of the “glory” jobs that normally get a credit at the end of a show, but for some, the sheer satisfaction of knowing that without the good steady craftsmanship of the transmitter engineer, it would be impossible for the station to deliver the sponsor’s message to those eager viewers and listeners. And besides, where else in a television station could you deal with such high voltages and absolute power? What to watch me draw an arc? Just kidding!
If you know of any place, besides “the factory,” where a young aspiring broadcast engineer can get a good formal foundation in RF theory and practical application, drop me a line. I’d like to know and will pass it on.
Anyone for standing waves? Larry
Subject: Boeing Digital Cinema and the movie “Bounce”
By: Jim Mendrala
A little over a month ago the Miramax film "Bounce" premiered digitally at the AMC Empire 25 theaters on 42nd Street in Manhattan, having gotten there via Boeing’s “Cinema Connexion” satellite and William’s Vyvx’ Broadband Media Services to the theatre. The download to the local server in the theatre having taken a reported 10-12 hours according to Dr. Robert Maehal, Senior Vice President of Business Development at Boeing. The method used was a store-and-forward mode, which Boeing thinks will be the most likely application for theatrical distribution.
In attendance at the Premiere was Mark Gill of Miramar Films, Executives from Boeing (Digital Connexion), AMC Theaters, Bob Lambert, Disney (Renters of the TI DLP-Cinema Projector), Texas Instruments (Maker of the DLP-Cinema Projector), Quvis (The maker of the proprietary Wavelet compression system and video server), Energy Digital (who organized the event) and William’s Vyvx (who provided MediaXtranet and the fiber connections).
Bob Lambert also demonstrated HDTV footage from the Disney owned ABC Television Network and trailers from some of the new and upcoming Disney films.
Tig H. Krekel, President of Boeing Satellite Systems said that Boeing can distribute locally, nationally or worldwide to a theatre in a matter of hours.''
Dr. Robert Maehal stated that the net cost for the complete digital cinema delivery system for a theatre is around $130,000 per theatre and live broadcasts of digital cinema content approaching the quality of ABC’s 720p high-def footage particularly for material originated in high definition video instead of film.
Subject: SID and Information Display of the Year Awards
By: Jim Mendrala
The Society for Information Display (SID) and Information Display magazine have announced the winners of the 2000 Display of the Year Awards, which will presented June 6, 2001 at the Awards Luncheon of the big SID Symposium and Exhibition in San Jose, California.
The winners were selected by an international committee of distinguished display technologists and technology journalists in a four-month process of nominations and voting. Awards are made in three categories, and there is a gold and silver award in each category.
In the Display of the Year category, which honors developments in display technology, the Gold Award went to eMagin Corp. (East Fishkill, New York) for its OLED-on-Silicon microdisplay, which uniquely combines two of the industry’s most exciting technologies: organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) and display-on-silicon microdisplays. The Silver Award went to Ise Electronics Corp. (Ise, Mie, Japan) for its carbon-nanotube (CNT) FED high-brightness lighting element – the first commercial product to use CNT field-emission technology.
In the Display Product of the Year category, which honors products that incorporate displays in ways that enhance or make possible the product's appeal, performance, and utility, the Gold Award went to inViso (Sunnyvale, California) for incorporating its OptiScape II LCOS microdisplay module into a product called eCase, a hand held viewer that can be synchronized with a PC, allowing the user to carry documents while on the go and to view them at approximately the same resolution and color depth as on a desktop monitor. The Silver Award went to Sharp Corp. (Osaka, Japan) and Semiconductor Energy Laboratory Co, Ltd. (Kanagawa, Japan) for Sharps LC-R60HDU 60-inch high definition rear-projection video monitor, the first commercial product using LCD imagers with thin-film transistors made from continuous-grain silicon (CGS). The monitor presents SXGA images (1280x1024) with a very high luminance of 1000 cd/m2 and a contrast ratio of 400:1.
The Display Material or Component of the Year category honors materials or components that are used in displays or display systems. The Gold Award in this category went to DigiLens (Sunnyvale, California) for its Application-Specific Integrated Filter (ASIFTM), which applies a new electrically switchable Bragg Grating technology to make a solid-state replacement for the mechanical color wheel that is used to obtain full color from a one-panel projection display. The Silver Award went to Toppan Printing Co. Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan) for its EBU-CF matrix color filter that features new pigments and dispersing parameters matched to new phosphor specifications for the backlight that is used with the filter. This result is the first color filter that allows LCD TV sets and computer monitors to render colors as well as their CRT-based competitors. The Filter is the first to comply with the European Union (EBU) color reproduction standards.
Subj: It makes one wonder
By: Larry Bloomfield
It makes me wonder why some people take the approach to things they do. I get a preponderance of e-mail for Tech-Notes, not to mention my efforts for Broadcast Engineering. This story refers to an e-mail I got in my position with the Tech-Notes as an addressee. It involves two different people, who are well respected in the broadcast community and whose opinions are highly regarded: Bob Gonsett and Dane Ericksen..
Permit me to elaborate: As most all of you know, I sent out an “I need your help” message about what engineers would have to face in the coming year. I was overwhelmed with the sheer number of responses. Those responses I didn’t use for BE or that came in too late, I choose to publish in our last Tech-Notes and carried over the rest to this one.
The Tech-Notes was started over three and a half years ago, inspired and encouraged by Bob Gonsett, who publishes a regional newsletter in
Southern California, The CGC Communicator. We frequently use material from Bob’s newsletter and he borrows from us as well. It has always been a very good working relationship.
I’ve known Dane Ericksen from before the Tech-Note days when I was active in the SBE in San Francisco and while Chief Engineer at KCNS-TV Channel 38. Dane’s credits go on forever. Dane has contributed his opinions and given us rock-solid guidance, both technically and professionally for the Tech-Notes and ourselves. Many consider Dane, a fountain of highly reliable technical knowledge and ability, as do we here at the Tech-Notes. When he replied to our “I need your help” message, but too late for BE, we published it in the last issue of Tech-Notes. (See our web site: www.Tech-Notes.net for both Dane’s input and his lengthy credits.)
Bob, liking what he saw, did what we mutually have agreed to do and that’s get permission to reprint the material in question. E-mails were exchanged, permissions were granted and then we got this e-mail today from someone out of the link. Where in hell does this guy get off saying who can publish what, once it has been put in print? Since we did not see anything asking us not to publish it, here are the contents of the e-mail – you make up your own minds:
Subj: Parting shots -What’s to come in 2001?
By: Larry Bloomfield (with a lot of help from our readers)
We had so many good responses to our question about what will impact engineers in 2001, we saved some for this issue.
From: Rich Lochmann firstname.lastname@example.org
The greatest impact to broadcasters in San Diego is the soaring energy costs and no relief in site.
Richard Lochmann - Director of Engineering - Midwest Television Inc.
From: Mike Kalanchekaev email@example.com
I would glad to see next 3 things:
1. Real implementation of the SAN technology with real providers and experienced customers;
2. Transition from standard def. video to HDTV from facility point of view;
3. Convergence of computers and specialized devices.
Mike Kalanchekaev, Moscow, Russia
From: Charles R. Caillouet, Jr. firstname.lastname@example.org
I do not consider myself a broadcast engineer anymore because I work on the production side and don't do much RF but I do see some issues out there that will affect us all. Most are obvious, some may not be.
1) One impact on engineers could be any changes which occur in the FCC leadership as a result of the changing of the guard in DC. The animosity shown by the Chairman toward broadcast stations is not good and reflects the lack of direction in the commission over the past few years.
2) Another could be the identity crisis that stations are suffering as they begin to transition to true digital broadcasting. They will each have to come to grips with the idea that they are still "free, over-the-air broadcasters" with the responsibilities of that designation but they are also purveyors of bits, which can be manipulated and allocated in previously unperfected ways. Figure out how to manage the new processes will be a big challenge.
3) Maintaining a predictable image quality through a dynamic processing and transmission system will be a big chore for engineers. Without this predictability, it will be hard to sell products and to justify that the products were delivered as specified. I would love to see some of those discrepancy reports.
Charles R. Caillouet
From: Jim Skinner JIMS@backtothebible.org
Maintenance of new technologies is a good topic. Particularly specifics. What test equipment is crucial, even in a small low budget operation? What periodic tests are necessary for good audio and video?
We have been using DVCPro for three years now. We are still trying to
figure out the best way to maintain the equipment.
Thanks for the Tech-Notes. I find I read your stuff more than the printed magazines. (Just couldn’t edit this out.)
Jim Skinner CSRTE - Audio/Video Studio Technician - Back To The Bible
From: Smith Anthony email@example.com
Content will become more important than transmission will grow enormously, become more complicated, and we may see the likes of the Software (Interactive TV) growing faster then the Transmission systems can offer capacity and set top boxes (hardware) can handle as in the PC world of today. The Engineering Community of the Broadcasting world cannot get suckered into this kind of environment...they must control
the development of content and be aware that we have a duty to the public and businesses to maintain steady and healthy growth of services.
From: Burt I. Weiner firstname.lastname@example.org (Contract broadcast engineer in the Los Angeles area)
From where I sit, I see people, normal everyday people who are fear driven and un-appreciated. I've watched people make changes to what they hope will be a better situation as an employee only to find a variation of the same thing. They had been wined and dined and told how great things were going to be. I recently sat in on several meeting of those types in which a friend was being wined and dined. He was promised the moon and then some, if only he'd become the chief for this conglomerate. Well he finally accepted and after about two months the honeymoon was over. They wanted him to build 3 studios and keep the budget way down and by the way, at the same time maintain 5 different transmitter sites, all in about two weeks without outside help. A week or so later when they said, "Well! so-and-so can build studios in 3 days". My friend told them to go hire so-and-so back (after they had fired so-and-so). A few days later they said the same thing again. That was it. My friend gave them a week’s notice and he was out of there.
The Chief Engineer used to be a highly respected member of the staff. (Note I didn't say team. To me a member of the team is someone who plays "in a game".) The chief could make decisions without being questioned (as to why we need to buy a tube for the transmitter). His word was law as to how all-technical aspects of the station were handled.
It seems to me that isn't the case much anymore. I know there are some that would read this and say these individuals are poor corporate types who cannot make good company decisions. No, that's not the case. Usually they have many stations under them, are overworked and over stressed. To add to it, with the computer, e-mail, cell phones and fax they are expected to respond right now. "Don't take time to think". It's burnout without compassion. To many companies the engineer is a necessary expense, a necessary evil. There are some exceptions, however those companies seem to get swallowed up by bigger companies who keep a close an eye on the bottom line, the dollar, at anyone’s expense.
I don't like what I see; not at all. I really believe the government should never have allowed these mergers to take place. Not at all. Some rules were put into place to protect us from the greed aspects of human nature. I realize there's been corruption in government since the beginning of time. It's just that in recent years it seems to have boiled over the top and directly into our lives. The business of government has gotten self serving and greedy. You got me goin' again!
From: Mark Doering-Powell email@example.com
Real long shots possibly of no interest to anyone but myself:
1.) How to truly implement 16:9 framing - broadcast as such (HDTV/DTV future). As you know, one can only truly frame for one aspect ratio, and "protect" for the other. I would be great to letterbox, and to avoid squeezing/unsqueezing.
2.) Is it possible to have a 40p HD signal and still satisfy/downconvert without great expense (heavy processing that's no longer cost efficient). Must the frame rate be 24p or 25p or 30p ? Are these frame rates too stroby on a progressive scan monitor? (I think 24p can be too stroby on a 24p monitor).
Mark Doering-Powell -- LA
From: Per Lundblad (Göteborg, Sweden) firstname.lastname@example.org
1. STREAMING MEDIA SUCH AS VIDEO AND AUDIO.
2. BROADBAND TECHNOLOGY TO EUROPEAN HOMES
3. WIRELESS APPLICATIONS
4. BLUETOOOTH FOR THE HOME.
THEN ALL TRADITIONAL BROADCAST STUFF AND ON THE TOP I RANK MEDIA MANAGEMENT AND COPYRIGHT PROTECTION.
From: Tony Green email@example.com
Down here in Australia as of the 1st of January 2001 we will be 'tripplecasting' !!! This means existing PAL, 625 standard definitions digital and 1080/50i HDTV. We will be using DVB-T (COFDM) for transmission. So it looks like HDTV and whether or not it takes off in Australia will have the greatest impact on our day-to-day engineering lives.
Tony Green (Engineer - Omnilab, Sydney, Oz.)
From: Roy Trumbull - firstname.lastname@example.org
I think that major problem facing engineers and the industry is that lack of a business plan that accounts for the declining role of the networks and the excessive cost of syndicated programs.
Someone needs to come forward to make the technical and personnel investments required to become a net producer of programming rather than a net consumer of programming.
The possibility of recovering the past is zero. We need bold leaders to re-invent community based television.
From: Mark J. Pescatore - Editor, Government Video MPescatore@aol.com
As a magazine editor (Government Video), not an engineer, I'm not sure how much weight my opinion holds. But from a practical standpoint, I still think DTV set sales will set the tone for the entire broadcast industry. After all, how much money will most stations invest if DTV sales stay low? Are they really going to go for the full DTV/HDTV bells and whistles if viewers can't appreciate the changes -- or will management simply make the minimal, mandatory changes? Technical issues aside, it all comes back to the audience.
Mark J. Pescatore
From: Gary Talkiewicz, Chief Engineer - WKBW Ch-7 email@example.com
The short version: Tower DTV project/ not final yet, keeping the bigger piece of the pie against cable and satellite and Internet utilization, in-house and for distribution.
From: Terry Horbatiuk, THorbatiuk@Panasonic.ca
While we share a common border and many things technical, our culture, both business and particularly broadcast is different.
We have no mandate for digital TV or HDTV here. We have adopted the ATSC and AC3 and are now testing COFDM and 8VSB again.
Our broadcast climate is in stasis. We are however watching the owners slowly buy each other out, such that we will have very few players between telco, cable, DTH and OTA broadcasters.
For engineers what has been happening and will continue to happen is that as these firms buy each other, each purchase shakes out more overhead into layoff or retirement.
Thus those engineers that are still working are working that much harder for most often same dollars. Those that are retired/laid off, are back on contract working for the firms that just let them go, for twice the dollars. Don't it always seem to go....
There is no mentoring of young engineers, because there are no young engineers. The process of mentoring also gave us a succession process for our engineering managers. This too is gone.
Were mentoring possible the older people are just too busy or tired or both to do it.
Young people were swept out by a lack of jobs and the draw of IT/MIS etc. Now a lot of those IT/MIS jobs have become lower value, so young folks have gone into internet engineering.
The greatest impact on engineers here is the lack of any process to replace the engineers digging a hole while running on the spot maintaining the waning capital of NTSC to such a depth, that they now have bloody knees.
We are most likely to never have a digital over the air broadcast system. Most of the major broadcast outlets in Canada have their signals on the DTH services which are digital delivery.
The most threatened by extinction as broadcast engineers are the folks in RF maintenance.
2 Cents Canadian - Terry Horbatiuk B.A C.B.P.E C.Tech
Senior Manager, Systems Engineering Group - Panasonic Canada Inc.
From: Albert Abramson
(Ed Note: Albert Abramson is a well know author of several books on television and television history.)
It would be wise to get the FCC to adopt a single High Definition standard. Otherwise we will end up like AM stereo, which has languished to this day. Also to adopt a TV transmission standard that is the best for the country. Otherwise we will end up like
AM stereo which has languished to this day. Second, of course would be to get a satisfactory TV transmission standard that works for everybody. Second would be a workable transmission standard that satisfies everybody.
From: Martin Jacklin firstname.lastname@example.org
The mobility option of COFDM, coupled with the new DVB-RCT (Return
Channel Terrestrial) specification, released in January, Millenium 3, year 1.
In the words of Professor Ulrich Reimers, Chairman of the DVB Project Technical Module: "DVB has completed a full set of the required specifications to address the requirements for mobile digital television". While DVB-T lends itself to the "captive audience" public transport advertising driven business model, as in Singapore's ground breaking TV Mobile Service, its ability to carry between 8 and 12 Mb/s to a moving receiver without fail is most interesting when the user is given control and the freedom to choose the services he or she wants, these could include internet access, email on the move, and a variety of mobile services.
The new DVB-RCT option is something, which causes as much excitement (among new entrants to DTT) as fear (to incumbent "50s" style broadcasters and regulators). DVB-T/RCT is ultimately more flexible and offers greater capacity for number of interactive users than either the DVB-S/RCS satellite return channel (too much latency, and maximum user capacity too quickly overrun), or the DVB-C/RCC cable return channel (when everyone on the block is using their cable modem you're better off with a 56k modem).
This will lead inevitability to the cellularization of DVB-T, which has been referred to by some as "4th generation mobile". Together with the work which DVB is doing with IP, UMTS, and the MHP, this technology will transform the traditional TV content/service model into a platform for fully converged services. Device vendors will be able to choose from a variety of configurations, including two way UMTS, or perhgaps UMTS with a rich media forward path that uses DVB-T's superior bandwidth, and the incredibly flexible DVB-RCT return path system. Indeed there is a possibility that converged service rollout will be much faster this way than with the much touted 3G systems. Plus, this approach will allow the traditional one to many model to flourish in a point to point age.
From: Eli Sofer - VP, Business Development - Runcom Technologies Ltd. email@example.com
I would like to touch on an innovative idea or solution that might have a great impact relative to entire DTT industry. For a quite a long time huge resources were dedicated to develop a viable Return Channel for the DVB-T. At least three major European R&D programs supported by the European Commission through ACTS and IST programs were not successful in delivering the promised solution. The promised solution is already here and the Return Channel Terrestrial concept is going to be endorsed by DVB as the new standard, hopefully first quarter 2001.
The emerging standard is the result of intensive work of RCT ad hoc working group assembled from leading industries, R&D centers, ASIC manufacturers and broadcasters.
More than 200 contributions (Design notes and simulation results) were submitted to RCT group to substantiate the proposed concept and design the PHY and MAC layer.
Now to the significance and implications of the new RCT solution:
1. OFDMA technology was selected to access the return channel, OFDM is the same robust technology being used for the broadcast stream and A stands for Access. Out of 1024 or 2048 carriers ( 2 FFT sizes are possible) different number of carriers can be assigned to subscribers according to their desired service and the bandwidth needed to support that service. The aggregated data rate on the return channel is 32Mbps (on 8MHz). This capacity can be dynamically shared between large communities of users. A Base Station collects users messages on the return channel. Obviously, there is virtually no limit to range of interactive services that can be launched, starting with televoting, VoD, e-commerce and VoIP. The implication is that the RCT solution is indeed an enabler technology that can achieve a true convergence between broadcast and telecommunication.
2.Three operating modes were designed taking into consideration future evolution of broadcast and the inevitable migration from existing high power broadcast transmitters to deployment of low power transmitters in dense deployment of small cells. The RCT solution supports DVB cellularization, where the broadcast and the collecting Base Station are deployed in small cells with radius extending to a few km. The implication is that a large population in urban areas can interact simultaneously,
3. The RCT solution is, in fact, 4g solution and surpasses by far the UMTS solution. Once Broadcasters can secure MHz bandwidth for the return channel it will be possible then to enter new and exciting era where broadcasters, if they will, can turn into telco companies.
It is most likely that DVB-RCT will be demonstrated within NAB exhibition and a pilot system is scheduled for deployment in USA as a joint effort with a local broadcaster.
From: Mark Schubin firstname.lastname@example.org
From roughly 1927 to roughly 1976, broadcast TV was pretty much the only source of moving images in homes. Cable TV was used primarily to improve reception of broadcast TV. Then came home video, which cut significantly into broadcast viewing time, but wasn't live.
Now cable and satellite programming have also cut significantly into viewing time, and, perhaps more significantly, their distribution is so extensive that networks have threatened affiliates with non-broadcast distribution in their areas. Add streamed video and audio through dramatically increasing broadband connections, and broadcasters are increasingly besieged.
DTV could help, but not if DTV signals aren't readily receivable.
From: Jeremy Bancroft, President - OmniBus Systems Inc.
As I see it, the biggest change will be (and we are already seeing the start of this) that the decision making process for new infrastructure purchases will be based more on cost of ownership and workflow criteria than on the technical aspects of an individual solution.
This means that decisions will be taken by CEOs and CFOs with diminishing input from engineering personnel. We are seeing, however, much more influence in the decision making process from IT personnel and the widespread use of consultants.
The fact is that 'conventional' broadcast engineers are not well equipped to understand the technologies and being rolled out by advanced broadcasters and the HR and workflow implications thereof. The problem is, if you are not sure whether this technology will work for you, whom are you going to call?
From: Name withheld by request
Biggest impact will be the lack of equipment to build DTV stations. Especially (in rough order of scarcity); tower erection, antennas, filters, transmitters.
From: Jay Martin, Senior Director of Marketing, Dielectric, Inc.
There are a number of items that will impact the broadcast engineer in the upcoming year. First: the May 1, 2002 deadline for the commercial broadcaster to be on the air. Product must be on order in 2001 to make this happen. Second, the March 6, 2001 Channel 60-69 spectrum auctions. If this proves successful with significant revenue potential (I have heard revenue projections from $4 billion to north of $40 billion), I see the FCC/Congress adhering to the current build-out/transition schedule as closely as reasonable with "allowances" made for those stations/broadcast engineers that have product on order and truly are making an effort to meet their requirements. I would not be surprised to see much less tolerance for those stations/broadcast engineers who have simply waited to see what happens. Last but not least is the issue of capacity in the rigging world.
There are a limited number of rigging crews that can safely address installations on towers over 1000' and with antenna systems that can weigh thousands of pounds. Plans should be in process to coordinate equipment delivery and an installation crew.
From: Joe Fisher, Leader Instruments Fisher@LEADERUSA.com
From where I sit the issue to resolve in 2001 is 8VSB versus COFDM. After this issue is decided the conversion process can move forward and accelerate. Let's see maybe if Bush orders the Pentagon to surround the FCC with tanks it just might get resolved? Stay tuned for your 4:3 film at 11.
From: James Babinski, James.Babinski@weamfg.com
Passing ancillary data streams for web connected appliances. Tivo, Replay, DVD-RW based recorders, just a thought. Interactive TV from local storage.
From: James Edwards of Tektronix
I think the un-funded federal mandate of DTV upon the TV Broadcast Industry and the required expenses thrust upon these private companies, not to mention the cost to the general public in order to receive these digital signals, is one of the greatest example of too much government power and another example of the FCC Directors having no technical knowledge of the industry they regulate. It is another example of politicians trying to "balance the budget" by selling the spectrum, which I question their ownership, at the expense of the broadcast industry and the consumer. I am a great advocate of DTV but against the way the government is implementing it.
This to me is the singular greatest impact on my fellow broadcast engineers.
Regards, Jim Edwards
From: Sterling Davis, Cox BroadcastingSterling
Try Digital conversion of TV plants and digital transmission modem format decision.
Happy Holidays – Larry and Jim
The Tech-Notes are published by Larry Bloomfield and Jim Mendrala. We can be reached by either e-mail (above) or land lines (408) 778-3412, (661) 294-1049 or fax at (419) 710-1913 or (419) 793-8340. The opinions expressed herein are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of their friends, employers or associates. If you wish to remove yourself from this list, send an E-mail to: email@example.com. In the subject area put the word Remove.
Please visit our web page to review our policies and to see any additional information. http://www.Tech-Notes.net Thanks.