June 25, 2001
Tech Note – 083
Sponsored by: Bloomfield & Associates


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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.   Cheers,
Ed Williams


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 permit to.
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: for other publications.


Subject: Major increase in DTV product sales
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 in 2001.
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 their Url:
Comment: Craig Birkmaier, Pcube Labs
(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 take off.
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. homes.
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 Commission
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 as received.
Subject: Court Rules Against Sat Must-Carry Fight
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...
Pinnacle 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 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 now..."
Subject: Dual Modulation
From: Dan Lee Vogler - CTO, TeVCA Technologies
(Ed Note: Just when we thought this was going away here in the US)
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- has the chips today to do it, COFDM and QAM on the model OTI-7000 flatpack !
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 to Know?
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.
Do 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 Information?
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.
Docket 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.
Generally, 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 click on: ]
Informal 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 (3) copies
Notices of Appearance - Original and Two (2) copies
Type Size: All filings must be in 12 point type, or legibly written.
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 printed name.
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,
Filings 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.
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW
Room TW-204B
Washington, D.C. 20554
Hand Delivered:
Federal Communications Commission
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,  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: "get form"  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 evolving market."
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 said.
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.
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.
D-ILA 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.
You 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.
So 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 New Technology
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 integration.
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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