June 25, 2001
Tech Note – 083
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~~ Reader Responses, Inquiries & Comments
RE: Tech-Notes #82 -- Parting Shots
From: Ed Williams, Sr. Engineer, DTV Strategic
Services Group, Public Broadcasting Service
Suggested correction—from: That's
it for this time; let's go to press! To: That's it for this
time; let's go to press the keys!
Good report. Lots of interesting material.
RE: Tech-Notes #82 -- Translators
From: Bill Burckhard
I would like to hear some discussion
of the current process the FCC is using to grant low power/translator
licensing. In my experience, the process seems to (be) completely
ignorant of "operating in the public interest" by
leaving the process open to the highest bidder exclusive to
use the construction permit owner would be putting the construction
- Subject: A Guide To Standard And
High Definition Digital Video Measurements.
- From: Tektronix
- Many people have asked about signal
measurement in the world of DTV. This should help. There’s
a new publication from Tektronix titled "A Guide
to Standard and High Definition Digital Video Measurements"
which makes for interesting reading. It is available from
you local Tektronix rep. There are some 800 numbers for
direct access: USA 800+426-2200, CANADA 800+661-5625.
You can also reach them at:
www.tektronix.com for other publications.
- Subject: Major increase in DTV
- From: Consumer Electronics Association
- May factory-to-dealer sales of
digital television (DTV) products topped the 84,000
unit mark, a 193 percent increase from May 2000 figures.
Sales of DTV sets and monitors in May totaled 84,208
units, or dollar sales of more than $148 million, according
to figures released today by the Consumer Electronics
Association (CEA). CEA predicts continued strong gains
- Consumer dollar investment in DTV
is projected to reach nearly $5 billion by the end of
this year. CEA projects sales of DTV sets and displays
to continue their rapid growth in the coming years,
with unit sales of 1.1 million this year, 2.1 million
in 2002, 4 million in 2003, 5.4 million in 2004, 8 million
in 2005 and 10.5 million in 2006. For more info visit
- Comment: Craig Birkmaier,
- (Ed Note: Birkmaier is
a well known and respected television engineer and writer/observer,
contributing to several trade journals on a regular
basis. He expresses concerns viewed by many in the industry.)
- Get used to announcements like
this. Sales of Digital TV Monitors are beginning to
- I wish, however, that the CEA would
make a clear a distinction in their press releases between
Digital TV Monitors and DTV receivers. A visit to any
major retailer will demonstrate that the CE industry
is clearly differentiating "Digital TV" from
DTV. The latter has been used to describe the broadcaster's
terrestrial broadcast standard. Digital TV is the term
that the CE industry is using to promote products -
mostly monitors - that offer enhanced or high definition
but do not include ATSC receivers.
- As one would expect, this press
release provides NO insight about the sales of DTV receivers...
- It is also interesting to note
the projections regarding sales of "DTV sets and
displays" at the end of the release. If we assume
0.9 million units at the end of 2000, and add these
projections there will be 31 million installed "DTV
sets and displays" by the end of 2006. That's less
than 1/3 of U.S. homes, far short of the 85% penetration
required to turn off NTSC. Of course there is no correlation
between these stats as they say nothing about how many
homes will be able to receive DTV broadcasts.
- If all of these displays are larger
than 30 inch (a questionable assumption), this would
represent SIGNIFICANT growth of the Home Theater market
segment, which has been hovering around 20% of U.S.
- Is this not the major goal of the
CE industry with respect to the digital transition?
- Selling affordable DTV receivers
at low margins does little to help the bottom line of
CE manufacturers. Selling top of the line Home Theater
Systems improves profit margins. Selling DBS receivers
that drive after the sale revenues to the bottom line
improves profit margins. Selling DVD players that drive
after the hardware sale software revenues to bottom
line of CE retailers improves profit margins.
- Selling DTV receivers does nothing
for profits and may add downstream risks should the
ATSC standard fail or be changed.
Regards – Craig
Subject: Carriage of digital must
carry signals PROCEEDING: Channel Capacity Survey Responses
Placed in Docket
From: The Federal Communications
- Washington, D.C. On June 20, 2001, the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) announced it has added voluntary surveys
from cable operators to the record in the "Carriage of Digital
Must Carry Signals" proceeding (CS Docket No. 98-120, FCC
01-22). On January 23, 2001, the FCC, concurrent with its
Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making ("FNPRM"), sent out
surveys to several cable operators seeking voluntary responses
to questions about their channel capacity and retransmission
consent negotiations. The Commission indicated that the responses
to the survey would be used to supplement general comments
received in the above FNPRM looking towards issues regarding
cable system carriage of digital television signals. Ten out
of 16 survey responses have been received and placed in the
docket. The remaining surveys will be added to the docket
- Subject: Court Rules Against Sat Must-Carry Fight
- From: SkyREPORT
- The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
issued an order in satellite TV's constitutional challenge
of must-carry rules, finding that the mandates do not violate
the First and Fifth Amendment rights of satellite carriers.
In its decision, the court said must-carry provisions contained
in the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act (SHVIA) do not
violate satellite carriers' First Amendment rights since neither
the provisions' language nor their purpose is content-based,
and the provisions are within the authority granted to the
government under the Copyright Clause. With respect to Fifth
Amendment claims, the court found that SHVIA does not effect
a taking of satellite carriers' property because the carriers
may choose to accept or decline a free copyright license to
retransmit the local programs of any given market. Satellite
interests are still looking at the court decision.
- Subject: Industry observations
- From: JMW
- Despite recent stock price setbacks, Pinnacle is seen
as a formidable competitor on the street - especially in their
server offerings. They have a good story, folks say...
switcher is viewed in some quarters as a "beige" compromise
- "third way" - version of a master control/production switcher
- some "features" from both, but not exactly enough for either.
- Networks claiming they are not making money, and are scaling
regional stations back to minimum manpower (four guys) and
doing a lot out of "hubs" - central casting cuts costs, but
stations loses their "locality" - which was said to be one
of their strengths.
- Satellite time is business down; used
to be tough to get time; now even a short term/late call can
get what ever you want for about $100 per hour...Why? Perhaps
more widespread fiber availability. 95% of installed fiber
is "dark" (unlit, unused). Still no one has the "silver bullet"
solution for the last mile.
- Some say it will be Motorola's
fixed point-to-point wireless. Similar to a cell phone network,
without the mobile/hand- off capabilities, it operates at
6GHz and each "telepoint" has a half mile range - and all
homes in that area get a lot of bandwidth....
- Leitch once
did some MPEG encoders, but successfully withdrew the product
and bought almost all of them back...now they use Pinnacle
cards. Pinnacle claims to be able to do HD up-conversion in
a card; competitors question this. Leitch also apparently
having trouble capitalizing on their expensive ($33M) PathOne/TrueVision
venture - no one is buying it; lack of action internally to
do something with it said to be a major factor. Lots'a blame
to go around. But "Blame is useless", as my Sainted Mother
always said. To which she added: "I'm glad I'm not living
- Subject: Dual Modulation
- From: Dan Lee Vogler - CTO, TeVCA Technologies firstname.lastname@example.org
- (Ed Note: Just when we thought this was going away here in
- Yes, if all receivers where dual-mode demodulators and they
will be, then terrestrial ATSC broadcast could come in either
8VSB or COFDM, and the market and broadcasters will choose
for themselves, just like they are free to choose 1080i over
720p. Free will in a free country I say.
- Really, we can't
give up 8VSB for the investment and momentum it has, but if
COFDM has some merits to it, either arguable or proven; then
we should embrace it as well, as an optional modulation mode.
Please look at the global communications market, the Europeans
and Japanese don't do RF technology badly, and their use of
COFDM may have something to it. Don't ignore now or the past. Nikola Tesla, a Serbian born in Bosnia, besides inventing
AC and beating out Edison's DC, and was the master of RF Propagation
theory at age 22 at the University of Prauge first applying
calculus to three dimensional fields & waves over 120 years
ago. RF theory is preserved & taught much better in Europe,
yet almost abandoned in the US universities today.
- 8VSB may
have been invented in the USA(Zenith), but COFDM is a strong
counter, but not opposing technology. Let's just embrace both,
and let the stations and the people decide what's best for
them, rather than being closed minded, just because we think
we have made a single choice and must stick to it alone. Just
make two choices. If this is important to man's evolution
of TV, we can't leave behind options before it's too late.
It's taken almost 10 years for 1st the big 6 proposals, and
then the grand alliance history to get us where we are today;
but the rate of technology (silicon) advancement has out paced
us. DTV is still in its infancy, it's not too late to just
course correct. Cellphones are now dual and triple mode, my
HDTV could and should be too!
- The answer again is simply "Dual-Mode"
(8VSB&COFDM) demodulators. The added cost to the STB today
is less than $10, and will be less than that through the next
generation of multi-mode silicon next year. Broadcom, Oren,
OAK, Fujitsu, Panasonic all have triple modes coming. I'll
guarantee my Firmware team could ramp up a STB in two weeks
to poll all modes or pull the data from ROM and solve this
silly issue by being open to all modes and just saying we
can DO IT! (both modes)
- And there is another driving factor,
really the final solution won't be just dual mode, but "Multi-Mode",
doing 8VSB, COFDM, QSPK (satellite), QAM (digitalcable), TCP/IP
and also NTSC (legacyTV) are all needed in any receiver in
the next decade. If we are going to be doing all these modes
easily, then why leave out COFDM at all.
- So in conclusion,
write your Congressman, write the FCC, the ATSC, the NAB,
and your broadcasters and networks. Advocate only the best
DTV system for America. The buzz word for this logic and campaign
is "DUAL-MODE" DTV modulation, both 8VSB and COFDM. Just as
720p vs 1080i is free choice, then let either superior RF
technology rise to the top and survive long term. PS- http://www.oaktech.com/
has the chips today to do it, COFDM and QAM on the model OTI-7000
- Dan Lee Vogler .
- (Ed Note: There is nothing that should turn your stomach
faster than a person who bitches about how the government
is run, who didn't bother to express his or her opinion by
voting! Nearly the same thing is true of the FCC. You CAN
make a difference! Many of the issues that come before the
FCC have very few comments. This observation comes from first
hand experience. Were it not for the several comments we encouraged
others to make, along with our own, the one dissenting comment
would have born the weight of "public opinion." As the result
of the several letters we inspired others to write, our cause
was successful - yours can be too.)
- Each time Congress enacts a law affecting telecommunications,
the FCC develops regulations to implement the law. The Commission
takes various steps to develop these rules. Typically, these
steps offer consumers an opportunity to submit both comments
and reply comments to the FCC.
- Are There Special Terms I Need
- Yes. Knowing your "ABCs," or specifically, one's NOIs, NPRMs, and R&Os is key to understanding the Commission's
decision-making process. Exactly what do these letters mean?
Below is a guide to understanding the "alphabets" of the FCC.
- Notice of Inquiry (NOI): The Commission releases an NOI for
the purpose of gathering information about a broad subject
or as a means of generating ideas on a specific issue. NOIs
are initiated either by the Commission or an outside request.
- Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM): After reviewing comments
from the public, the FCC may issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.
An NPRM contains proposed changes to the Commission's rules
and seeks public comment on these proposals.
- Further Notice
of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM): After reviewing your comments
and the comments of others to the NPRM, the FCC may also choose
to issue an FNPRM regarding specific issues raised in comments.
The FNPRM provides an opportunity for you to comment further
on a related or specific proposal.
- Report and Order (R&O):
After considering comments to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
(or Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking), the FCC issues
a Report and Order. The R&O may develop new rules, amend existing
rules or make a decision not to do so. Summaries of the R&O
are published in the Federal Register. The Federal Register
summary will tell you when a rule change will become effective.
- Changes after the R&O
- Petition for Reconsideration: If you
are not satisfied with the way an issue is resolved in the
R&O, you can file a Petition for Reconsideration within 30
days from the date the R&O appears in the Federal Register.
- Memorandum Opinion and Order (MO&O): In response to the Petition
for Reconsideration, the FCC may issue a Memorandum Opinion
and Order (MO&O) or an Order on Reconsideration amending the
new rules or stating that the rules will not be changed.
I Need a Lawyer to File Comments?
- No. When the Commission
proposes new rules, a period of time is established for the
public to comment on the proposed rules. Anyone can file comments.
You don't need to be an attorney or to hire one. Each of the
Commission's documents containing proposed rules clearly details
the specific dates, deadlines and locations for filing comments
and reply comments.
- Comments are just that. In your comments,
you tell us what you think about the subject topic and why
you support or oppose the Commission's proposals.
- After initial
comments are filed, there is an additional period for responding
to the first set of comments. During this second phase, you
can file reply comments. In your reply comments you can review
what others have said in their initial comments, and then
support or disagree.
- Does My Filing Need to Include Specific
- Yes. The requirements differ, however, depending
on whether you file electronically or on paper. Here are some
guidelines to help make the paper filing process easier.
Number: Rulemaking proceedings at the Commission are assigned
docket numbers. Each docket number lists a Bureau, a year
and a specific number assigned to that proceeding (e.g., MM
#99-001= 1999 Mass Media Proceeding Number 1). If you are
submitting a document that pertains to a docketed proceeding,
you must put the docket number on your filing.
you must file only one (1) original plus four (4) copies of
comments, reply comments or petitions. If you want all the
Commissioners to receive copies, file one (1) original plus
nine (9) copies. The original is always to be UNSTAPLED, while
the copies should be STAPLED. In addition, use the following
guidelines for other types of proceedings: Ex Parte Presentations
- Original and One (1) copy [An Ex Parte Presentation is any
presentation (e.g., in person, by phone, fax, letter or e-mail)
made to decision-making personnel by one party to a proceeding
when other parties to that proceeding are not present or have
not yet been served. There are ex parte rules that govern
the manner in which you may communicate with the Commission
concerning the issues in its proceedings. For more information
Comments - Original and One (1) copy
- Pleadings, Briefs, Petitions,
etc. - Original and Four (4) copies
- Table of Allotments -
Original and Four (4) copies
- Before Administrative
Law Judges - Original and Six (6) copies
- Before Full Commission
- Original and Fourteen (14) copies
- Depositions - Original
and Three (3) copies
- Interrogatories - Original and Three
- Notices of Appearance - Original and Two (2) copies
- Type Size: All filings must be in 12 point type, or legibly
- Contact Name: You must include a contact name, address
and telephone number on your document.
- Signatures: You need
to place an original signature above your typed or clearly
- Personal Hand Delivered Filings: You, or the
person making the delivery, should remove the filing package
from its box or envelope before submission. The Commission
will either sign for receipt of the filing or provide a stamped
receipt copy, BUT NOT BOTH. Hand-delivered documents are accepted
Monday through Friday, except legal holidays, during the hours
of 8:00 AM and 7:00 PM. You can direct questions to the Office
of the Secretary by phone at 202-418-0300 (voice), 202-418-2970
(TTY) or through their web site,
Sent by Mail: You can mail in your filing. If you want the
FCC to acknowledge receipt of your package, include an extra
copy of the first page of your filing and enclose a postage
stamped, self-addressed envelope. The Commission will then
stamp the page and return it you.
- 445 12th Street, SW
- Room TW-204B
- Washington, D.C. 20554
- Hand Delivered:
- Federal Communications
- 445 12th Street, SW
- Designated Counter at TW-325
- Washington, D.C. 20554
- Notations: If your document contains
information you wish withheld from public inspection, you
must write "Confidential, Not for Public Inspection" on the
upper right hand corner of each page. The documents should
then be placed in an envelope also marked "Confidential, Not
for Public Inspection."
- You can also file documents with the
FCC for all docketed and rulemaking proceedings through our
Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) on the Internet at
www.fcc.gov/e-file/ecfs, with the exception of Hearing Cases
and Table of Allotments. However, you must first obtain the
instructions for doing so by sending an e-mail to
with the following words noted in the body of the message:
ECFS accepts documents 24
hours a day with a midnight filing deadline. The official
receipt for electronic filings will reflect Monday through
Friday dates, except legal holidays. .
- Subject: HP plans to link TVs, stereos to the Web
- From: ZDNet News By John G. Spooner
- Get ready for HP in your living room.
- Hewlett-Packard plans to show off a
prototype of an Internet-enabled digital entertainment
center for households at the Tech X NY trade show in New
York, the company said.
- The device, dubbed HP Digital
Entertainment Center, marks another step by the company into
the home entertainment market and comes during a difficult
time in the PC market. HP's efforts to diversify into home
entertainment echo those of Compaq Computer, Dell Computer
and Gateway, all of which have shown off home entertainment
equipment in the past year.
- The expansion into digital
entertainment is a "natural diversification" for HP, Pradeep
Jotwani, president of HP's consumer business organization,
said in recent statement. "HP plans to leverage its
expertise, strategic relationships and knowledge of customer
needs to position itself at the forefront of this quickly
- HP's entertainment center is a
standalone appliance that will allow consumers to download
music from the Internet and then play it on a home stereo.
It will also let consumers view music selections on a TV
screen and select them using a remote control. Once
downloaded, the music can be transferred to CD or various
MP3 players, handheld devices and memory cards, the company
- The entertainment center, designed to
become part of a home stereo system, can store up to 9,000
songs. Using an Internet connection, it can also access
artist information, the RealJukebox and RealPlayer services
from RealNetworks, and other streaming video. The device can
use dial-up, DSL (digital subscriber line) or cable
connections to access the Internet, HP said.
- Compaq has a similar offering in its
iPaq Music Center, which is meant to be part of a home
stereo system and uses a television interface. The device
can store up to 5,000 songs on a hard drive and uses a
dial-up connection to connect to the Internet. It will ship
on July 15 with a price tag of $799.
- HP will demonstrate the entertainment
center device in its booth at the show. It is scheduled to
go on sale at retail stores for the 2001 holiday season.
Pricing will be announced at that time.
- Subject: NET PROMISES CLOSER TIES
- From: BBC News
- The Internet Engineering Taskforce
intends to connect all communication networks through the
Enumbering initiative, or Enum. Just as domain names are
mapped to Internet addresses, Enum would map phone numbers
to Internet addresses, thereby allowing users to contact one
another through a variety of devices, including mobile and
fixed phones, handheld devices, and the Internet. Along with
the databases that will map phone numbers to Internet
addresses, Enum would allow for programs that determine how
the user is communicating. Therefore, networks could
re-route a fixed phone call to a mobile network, transport
the call over the Internet, or even translate the call into
a voice message and have it arrive as an e-mail.
- (Ed Note: This technology
bears watching. With Internet II just around the corner,
don’t be surprised if television isn’t delivered this way in
the not too distant future.)
- Subject: Projections Systems
- From: Jeroen H. Stessen, PHILIPS
Consumer Electronics B.V.
is reflective Liquid Crystal On Silicon technology. Like all
LCD variants, it has the ability to render a continuous
grey-scale. That makes it similar to CRT, only the gamma
curve has to be corrected a bit. It is not so easy to
achieve a good deep black level with LCD, because with
crossed polarizers you can not block very well all the light
from a very bright lamp. JVC seems to be doing a good job.
will see the typical artifacts of square-pixel-aperture
matrix displays (pixilation = repeat spectra) and sometimes
scaling artifacts (spatial re-sampling), and then there is
the typical problem of most light-valve type displays that
the long temporal aperture will cause motion smear.
while LCOS is not inherently superior to a CRT, this is
certainly a very promising technology.
Expect some innovations about using a single LCOS or DLP
panel for color applications, without using a color wheel.
- Subject: Chipset Increases Satellite
Bandwidth up to 50 Percent; EchoStar's DISH Network Endorses
- From: Business Wire
- Broadcom has designed a chipset that
can increase channel offerings for satellite TV companies
while utilizing existing satellite bandwidth, considered to
be a limiting factor in the DTH industry. Broadcom’s
Advanced Modulation Receiver and Satellite TV Tuner chips
together enable service providers like EchoStar's DISH
Network to gain a more than 35 percent increase in useable
bandwidth from their existing satellites. One of their chips
also achieves a bandwidth improvement of up to 50 percent
compared to standard digital video broadcast satellite
(DVB-S) transmissions that are in use today.
- The new chipset was designed to
enable satellite TV providers to offer additional
high-definition television services and more channels while
using the current satellite frequencies licensed to Direct
Broadcast Satellite (DBS) providers. For example, Broadcom's
chipset will allow a DBS operator to deliver three
high-definition TV (HDTV) channels over a single satellite
transponder instead of the two channels currently available.
Satellite TV broadcasters can also use this technology to
transmit a greater number of revenue-generating HDTV
channels to each customer without requiring consumers to
change their hardware. The Broadcom chipset is adaptable to
current industry set top boxes that were manufactured with
an expansion port.
- Broadcom's receiver achieves
breakthrough levels of data throughput by implementing 8PSK
(Phase Shift Keying) modulation along with advanced Forward
Error Correction based on turbo codes, which enable
low-power, reliable communications.
- The BCM4500 is a highly integrated,
all-digital satellite receiver that supports BPSK, QPSK,
8PSK and 16QAM modulation, operating with both advanced
modulation satellite systems and legacy QPSK systems. The
advanced modulation turbo-code Forward Error Correction (FEC)
decoder delivers extremely high performance, approaching
theoretical capacity limits, with no requirement for
external RAM. This versatile receiver provides full variable
rate operation from 1-30 Mbaud, providing multiple operating
points for optimal system deployment. Other features include
an integrated microcontroller for configuration, acquisition
and performance monitoring, and a host interface that
operates via high-level application programmer’s interface
to reduce host software development time and simplify system
- The BCM3440 Direct Conversion
Satellite Tuner offers all the advantages of standard logic
CMOS process. CMOS technology is significant because it is a
widely available, cost-effective technology.
- The BCM3440 provides extremely low
phase noise to enable high performance 8SPK operation with
low-cost QPSK LNBs (Low Noise Block Converters). It is
designed to support the full DVB-S operating range with
support for 950 to 2150 MHz L-Band input frequencies. The
BCM3440 is based on a direct-conversion architecture to
reduce external component count and increase performance.
The BCM3440 is packaged in a 48-pin TQFP, while the BCM4500
is offered in a 128-pin MQFP. The BCM94500 Advanced
Modulation Reference Design, which integrates the chipset,
is available for system evaluation, test and design.
- Subject: US H/DTV Trends and Product
Reports Now available
- From: Des Chaskelson
2001 - 2006 H/DTV Trends Report - US TV Stations Report
tracks key trends impacting the migration to digital and
high def. among US TV Stations.. Data for this report was
derived from an extensive survey of US television stations
from November 2000 through April 2001. The 65-page report
contains survey data, charts, tables as well as commentary
by Larry Bloomfield, Technical News Editor at Broadcast
Engineering, Co-Publisher of DTV Tech Notes, and former
Chief Engineer at several TV Stations.
2001 - 2003 H/DTV Product Reports - US TV Stations
Reports track actual and planned digital and high def.
product purchases 2001-2003. Data for these reports was
derived from an extensive survey of US television stations
from November 2000 through April 2001. Product Reports
include a written category analysis, plus quantitative
summary tables and charts showing installed base and annual
purchases (units and dollars), 2001-2003, brand shares,
average prices, incidence of purchase etc. Product Reports
are available for over 20 product categories –For
more information, visit:
- -- Subscribers to Tech Notes Eligible
for a 10% Discount!! --
- Parting Shots
By Larry Bloomfield
Full edition this time, so we’ll
be brief. Keep an eye on the growth of streaming media, web
casting and the Internet, in general. With bi-directional
satellite delivery of the Internet, such as I have, and the new
“get more in a given space” technology, as mentioned earlier, by
outfits like Broadcom, bigger, better and greater things are in
store for these technologies; and we’ve only begun to scratch the
surface! There are some very interesting developments in chip
designs for studio applications. My NDA won’t permit me to say any
more. The only problems are with gun-shy venture capitalists, but
then who can blame them after their encounters with the likes of
the “dot coms?” There will always be a market for “wider and
faster,” and that doesn’t only apply to cars. The guys who come up
with the chips that can do more will create the need for their
investors to hire large armored cars to make their bank deposits;
we’re really talking big ROI! I’ve said it many time before here
in Tech-Notes, bandwidth is our future.
That’s it for this time;
let’s go to press! ( or press some keys)
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