January 21, 2002
Tech-Note - 096

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Reader Comments

RE: Abbreviation
From: Ken McDaniel 

I differ with you regarding standardized electronic term abbreviations. Viz,  all terms that use the attributed inventors' surname should have that portion  of the name initial cap. E. g., Hertz, Ampere, Watt, Ohm, and Volt. Mega  Hertz becomes MHz, whereas milli Hertz would be mHz. Large values like Mega  and Giga are initial cap. Lower values like kilo and milli are initial lower  case. Re: MIL-STD-12D/ASME Y14.38, also GPO Style Manual.  I appreciate  reading Tech-Notes. Good work 

(EdNote: Thanks for your input. IEEE, an organization many of us pay big  bucks to belong to each year, was our source. Perhaps the IEEE should get  together with the US government and come up with something we can all use –  then we’ll have to deal with world standards, but then we’ve never been able  to do that very well.) 


RE:  Film chains
From: Bob B., media technician 

I was did a search for Telemation and your site came up! I enjoyed your film  chain write up and thought that I would let you know that I have been working  at a high school media center for over 20 years and have managed to squirrel  away our old Telemation/Bell & Howell 16mm/35mm slide film chain. The  students today in our production classes have trouble enough with the concept  of rolling in videotape these days, they couldn't begin to fathom getting a  graphic from a slide or running a spot from a 16mm film. I remember well how  the projector lamp dimmer had to be set just right so the vidicon tube  wouldn't flare or burn, never mind the hair or dust that would pop up on the  graphic now and then. Boy, do I wish Estar based film was around in those  days too! 

We trained many students on the fine art of threading, splicing, and cleaning  film gates that is for sure! 

Thanks again, 
Bob B. 


RE: Sat TV quality
From: Jim Walls - K6CCC 

DO SATELLITE TV IMAGES LOOK SOFT, OR IS IT JUST MY IMAGINATION?  This was the  opening line from this issue in Tech-Notes, and I saw it reprinted in the CGC  News. In case no one has addressed this, the answer, is yes - temporarily.   Both Dish and DirecTV have had to reduce bit rates in order to accommodate  all the must-carry local channels that they have to turn on in a few more  days.  In the case of Dish, they will be launching a new bird early 2002 with  area spot beams that will allow them to increase the bit rate per channel.  I  would assume that DirecTV will be doing something similar, but I don't know  that for fact. 

Jim Walls 


From: Gerry Lusk 

I just found this site today while surfing around looking for HDTV info. I’ll  be checking back frequently for more news.  Thanks! 

I live in San Francisco now having previously lived in Southern California  and I setup stadium-style video and computer projections systems for the  entertainment and convention industry. I have been an EchoStar (DISH)  subscriber for a long time and they used to have very good pictures. But I’ve  noticed that the pictures have gotten worse as they add new channels and so,  except for movies, I tend to watch DVT off the air (EchoStar 6000 and Sony  1272 video/computer projector). 

The reason I’m surfing for info today is that NBC in the Bay Area is moving  to San Jose. They advertise their channel as 3 because that’s where it is on  cable. If you live up in San Francisco and don’t have cable, they are  suggesting that you get cable in order to watch NBC. (I’m told that DISH is  providing it also.) What ever happened to free TV? I guess I’ll have to  update my antenna system with a large antenna pointed at San Jose to receive  their HD feed. 

Another thing I find interesting is how difficult it is to find information  on HDTV from the stations themselves. There is only one station in SF that  advertises with their analog and digital channels. They call themselves TV44  Digital 45 and their logo reflects this also. I can find nothing on KRONs web  site or NBCs web site about digital TV. E-mails to these stations have  resulted in stock answers that did not address the question. Almost like HDTV  didn’t exist. Fortunately, I’ve found other sites that list all of the DTV  channels and locations. And the Echostar 6000 will do a channel search to  find channels. 

Also, how do I get the CBS HD feed on ch9453 you mentioned in the Tech Note?  I pay for the east and west coast channels (NY/LA) and the superstations.  (They’ve changed the way they refer to these packages but that’s what they  called them when I signed up.) The HBOHD feed (ch9440) looks pretty good –  better than the HBOE feed (ch300) even with SD sources. You can really see  the composite artifacts on ch300 when comparing HBOE to HBOHD. 

Thanks again for some interesting information. 
Gerry Lusk
Thanks for the compliment. 

In order to receive the CBSHD channel on Dish channel #9453 you have to qualify and have a third antenna pointed to their satellite that carries the  CBSHD feed at either 61.5 degrees or 148-degrees. At the time of my  installation I was not able to get any useful signals off their 148-degree  satellite so I ended up at the 61.5-degree satellite. I also had to pay $1.50  extra to activate that CBS approved fed. It is not included in the East and  West coast SDTV feeds. In order to combine all the three antennas I have an  SW64 switch. This allows me to feed up to four Dish receivers. I only am  using two outputs at present. The regular main Dish satellites are at 110 and  119 degrees. That's why an elliptical dish and two LNBs are used for the main  Dish network. 

When I was with DirecTV I was able to get NBC East and West but Dish tells me  that NBC says I don't qualify for NBC East. (My house has not moved.) Dish  says it takes about eight weeks to get a waiver but so far I haven't got a  waiver from NBC East. I live 45 miles from Mt. Wilson in a valley where there  isn't any cable available and OTA signals are terrible and unwatchable. 

DirecTV launched in 2001 a new Boeing satellite with spot beam antenna to  serve the local markets. It has been checked and is on line. Dish on the  other hand says it will probably be March before they can get a new bird up  and positioned. So barring any unforeseen difficulties it should become  operational by mid 2002 if not sooner.  DirecTV's HD satellite receiver requires an elliptical dish to pick up the  feeds from the satellites located at two different points in the sky. 

According to a friend of mine, DirecTV now has 20 local Los Angeles channels  available for the same price as the five original LA stations. 

Jim Mendrala 


RE: Great comments about the supposed obsolescence of current analog TVs. 
From: Pete Putman 

We never hear about upgrade paths to DTV. Truth is; a person can jump in all  at once, or just get their toes wet. Using the composite or S-video  connection from an STB to an existing TV isn't a bad way to get started,  since many STBs can provide letterboxed down conversion of HD shows through  these connections. 

Another part of the upgrade path is being able to use the Dolby 5.1 outputs  for ABC and some PBS shows through an existing home theater system that may  not yet have a true HD monitor or projector. 

This is never mentioned by sales personnel in the large retail chains, such  as Radio Shack, Best Buy, and Circuit City. In fact, these folks don't  mention OTA DTV much at all, as they are primarily occupied with trying to  sell subscriptions to DirecTV. 

Consumers need to know that an upgrade path exists and that they don't need  to rob a bank to keep watching television after 2006. 

Pete Putman 
Doylestown, PA 

Subject: HDTV and CES
From : Howard V. Barton 

The Consumer Electronics Association and the National Association of  Broadcasters have announced the joint CEA/NAB Digital TV Consumer Education  Campaign. The campaign has chosen Portland, Oregon, Indianapolis, Indiana and  Houston, Texas have been announced as pilot Digital Television Zones. 

The program will bring together local broadcasters, retailers and  manufacturers to promote the experience of DTV, including, of course High  Definition Television to potential customers in these cities. Digital  television landmarks will be set up in malls, airports, museums, libraries  and local government buildings giving people the chance to see, experience  and learn about DTV. 

The public will be invited to viewing parties and tours of local stations to  learn about the transition to digital television. Digital families will be  chosen in each city, each family will be given integrated HDTV sets and asked  to chronicle their experiences with HD. 

Significant advertising concerning this effort will be provided by local  analog television stations. 

This program will commence in late January. A fourth city, Washington, D.C.  will launch mid 2002 with more to follow. 

The NAB announced that 800 DTV stations are likely to be online by the end of  this year. 

There was no announcement Wednesday from DIRECTV regarding any further HDTV  channel availability. CBS plans additional HDTV programming, but no further  information was given. HBO says that it is very expensive to provide HDTV.  ASCN now provides HD in various eating and drinking establishments in Oregon. 

Mark Cuban announced that 80 major league baseball games will be in HDTV on  HDNet next season, and that February 3rd, Super Sunday, Americans will,  indeed have some HD sports to enjoy. The Dallas Mavericks will battle the Los  Angeles Lakers on America's High Definition Network, HDNet. The news gets  better. Mr. Cuban announced that as HDNet blooms and matures, we can expect  additional channels - HDNet Sports and HDNet Movies. 

Speaking of the NBA, Mark Cuban has stood up for HDTV and for HDTV owners by  putting his money where our eyes are. He has given. As we all know, David  Stern, Commissioner of the NBA has fined Mark half a million dollars for  publicly criticizing NBA officiating. He has taken. 

In my opinion this is wrong, flat wrong. A person cannot speak their mind in  America? What's next? The Taliban gracing the Home Page of the NBA? Goon  squads enforcing gag orders from on high? 

Now that I have dismounted my high horse, it is my thought that perhaps HDTV  owners might want to stand up for a person who has stood up for HDTV. If you  think Mr. Stern is wrong, you can stand up by e-mailing your comments  directly to the NBA league office at:

Subject: Fox and the Super Bowl 
By: Larry Bloomfield  

It would appear that Fox is being foxy in their so-called Fox Wide screen  presentation of this year’s Super Bowl. Make no mistake about it – this is  NOT high definition in any sense of the world and if it is an attempt to fool  the public, they’ve FAILED! 

To clarify any misconceptions about how Fox is producing the standard NTSC  and 16:9 Widescreen feeds, and how the 480@60P widescreen digital broadcasts  will be derived from the 480@60i widescreen feed from New Orleans, we are in  receipt of the following explanation of what Fox is up to directly from the  horse’s mouth, Jim Defilippis, Fox’s head hog in charge of such things. 

“The production of the game, pre-game and halftime show will be 480i60  widescreen (16:9).  All cameras will be set for widescreen and the show will  be produced in the shoot wide/protect 4x3 mode. All graphics will be centered  and kept within the safe 4x3 area. Any legacy or 4x3 elements will be  converted to a 16x9 frame with a backplate (instead of black).  The 16x9 is  the full production mix with the 4x3 derived; thus for the first time the DTV  viewer will have everything the NTSC viewer sees and more. 

The output of the truck(s) will go to LA as a full 16x9.  In LA, an ARC  (aspect ratio converter) will cut out a 4x3.  There will be individual net  rooms, one for 4x3 the other for the 16x9.   We will deliver a 4x3 to all  stations and for the DTV stations they'll get a digital 16x9 480i60 feed.   Our stations will then convert this to a 480p60 signal for broadcast. 

Steve Martin, not the actor, but a fairly well know TV  engineer, sums it up by saying: “It is not "HD" at all. According to ATSC A- 54b, High-Definition TV refers to television that "has a resolution of  approximately twice that of conventional television in both the horizontal  and vertical dimensions and a picture aspect ratio of 16:9.". Fox may be  transmitting a *digital* Superbowl signal, but it certainly will not be "HD".

So what do HDTV affecnados have to say about all this? 

(Ed Note: The following comments  are reprinted here by permission of HDTV Magazine 

“Did anyone miss the post yesterday from Thompson Multimedia? Is anyone  confused about the importance of it? They actually went on record as  saying 'FOX, as a company, does not believe in High Definition television'.  If we let this one go, we may just get what we deserve - 480P forever. DO NOT  hit another key on your keyboard  until you find a Thompson or FOX executive  to write to and tell them what you think about that! We cannot let a  statement like that stand. We were asked to 'wait and see what happens' as if  we had no clue as to how 480P would look vs. 1080i or 720P. If you care at  all about the future of HD, you will, at a minimum, stand up and be counted  NOW. 

Watch the Super Bowl if you must, but let someone know what you think of this  travesty. If you have the guts, tune out FOX and tune in HDNet on 2/3/02.  This is all about voting with our pocketbooks. Send FOX a clear message about  what is acceptable and what isn't. At the end of the day, 250 Million sets  times 500 lines of resolution are at stake.” 

Terry from Livermore, CA 

“Oh well, just hope FOX doesn't have the 2003 Super Bowl. 'FOX Widescreen' my  a$$! Here's a news flash! On PBS it's called 'Widescreen Standard  Definition', they've been using it for all their European-produced  documentaries for two years and it SUCKS!!! But let me ask you cheapskate  prize cabbages at FOX a question. Exactly what programs would you multicast  with the Super Bowl, the most watched event in television, that would make  people grab the remote? And won't the SB advertisers, who pay millions of  dollars a minute, think twice about their investment with Miss Cleo on the  adjacent sub-channel? 

Use multicasting for daytime/latenight television if you must, but prime time  is HD-time baby! If quantity is all you think matters to us bean-eaters, why  are we buying so many DVDs, hmmmm? All you had to do was let HDNet simulcast  the Super Bowl; FOX announcers and game graphics, just like they've been  doing with FOXSportsNet since September. Hello!!! McFly!!! (sound of knuckles banging on an empty head) 

Alas, I think the Super Bowl is still produced by the entertainment division  of FOX, not FOXSportsNet, hence the seemingly schizophrenic attitude of  NewsCorp toward HDTV. 

I'm afraid the only way HDTV can get serious traction is for Mark Cuban and  Phil Garvin to outbid the networks for NFL broadcast rights at renewal time.  I don't see that happening for a while. 

And Thomson, I'm especially disappointed in you. Insulting the intelligence  of viewers is something I expect from FOX entertainment, but not from you. I  blow $4000 on one of your HDTVs, and this is what you think of me? I'll  respond in kind when I need a new HDTV...” 

Chris G., Amherst, MA 

“Can anyone get hold of Mark Cuban...He is the biggest fan of HDTV, and could  probably provide channel 199 on DirecTV as a vehicle for the Super Bowl in  HD. FOX made the wrong technology bet on this one. Nobody gives a flying %$#@  about the pre-game crap. That's what this is all about...they didn't want a  DTV pre-game, with an HDTV game, because they hired so many high priced  jerks, ooops...jocks for the dopey pre-game show. 


Peter M. 

“This is all anyone needs to know about FOX! Somebody should tell FOX that  mail is not carried on Horseback anymore!!!” 

Larry M. 

“My god this is frustrating to not watch football in HD. What is wrong with  the decision makers? Last year a tease and this year NOTHING!!!!!” 

Joe E., Composer/Producer 

“FOX could have worked with HDNet if they wanted to. Signal quality is not  important to FOX. They think all people care about is programming.” 

Mike G. 

Subject: Zenith Demonstrates HDTV Digital Disc Recorder
By Fred Lawrence 
(From a press release) 

The first high-definition, high-density video disc recorder (HD-VDR) --  featuring a built-in ATSC digital television tuner and offering about five  times more data capacity than conventional DVDs -- was demonstrated by Zenith  Electronics Corporation during the Consumer Electronics Show, earlier this  month. 

Developed by Zenith's parent company, LG Electronics Inc. (LGE), the HD-VDR  is designed to record and play back more than two hours of digital high- definition television (HDTV) programming. 

The HD-VDR doubles as a digital set-top box that receives and demodulates  digital HDTV signals using the Zenith-developed, industry-standard VSB  (vestigial sideband) technology. The HD-VDR's set-top box capability supports  user-friendly GUI (graphic user interface) features for simple operation. 

The Zenith HD-VDR is a next-generation digital video product that can record  and play back high-definition video on a 23GB HD optical disc (about 5 times  greater capacity than the conventional 4.7GB DVD). It also features an IEEE  1394 digital interface. 

Zenith plans to introduce the HD-VDR in 2003 and they say to visit them on  the World Wide Web at 


Subject: FCC Releases Annual Multichannel Report
From: NAB 

According to the Federal Communications Commission's annual look at  competition in the multichannel marketplace, cable companies are growing –  albeit slowly - and continue to increase prices at a rate that outpaces inflation. 

But satellite TV is growing faster than the wired multichannel incumbent, the  study said. 

In its eighth annual report sent to Congress on the status of multichannel  competition, the FCC said local TV channel availability – among other  factors - helped satellite TV grow from almost 13 million households to about  16 million households between June 2000 and June 2001, nearly two and a half  times the cable subscriber growth rate. 

Cable subscribers numbered 69 million as of June 2001, up about 1.9 percent  from the 67.7 million customers reported in June 2000. Cable is still the  dominant technology for the delivery of video programming to consumers, the  FCC said, although its share of the multichannel market declined to 78  percent in 2001 from 80 percent in 2000. 

During the period under review, cable rates rose faster than inflation, the  FCC said. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics cited in the commission  study, between June 2000 and June 2001, cable prices rose 4.24 percent  compared to a 3.25 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index, which  measures general price changes. 


Subject: FCC Reorganizes Bureaus 
Compiled by: Fred Lawrence 

The Federal Communications Commission is reorganizing its bureaus, with the  creation of new Media, Wireline Competition and Consumer and Governmental  Affairs Bureaus and a realignment of the International Bureau. 

The changes are subject to Congressional notification before they become  effective. 

The biggest change those in the multichannel business will notice is the  Media Bureau, which will be responsible for policy and licensing programs for  media services such as cable, broadcast television and radio. It will handle  matters pertaining to multichannel distribution, broadcast radio and  television, DBS service policy and other matters. 

It's expected that the Media Bureau will take a leading role in the merger  review of EchoStar and DirecTV as well as Comcast and AT&T Broadband. 

The Wireline Competition Bureau will be responsible for the policy programs  of communications common carriers and ancillary operations outside of  wireless services. The Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau will be  responsible for consumer and governmental affairs policies, including efforts  to enhance the public's understanding of the FCC's work and to facilitate  relationships with other governmental agencies. 

Satellite interests may also see some impact from the changes at the  International Bureau, which the commission said will be realigned along  functional lines. Under its efforts, the FCC consolidated international  policy and spectrum rulemaking functions at the bureau as well as  intergovernmental and regional leadership and planning functions. 

The International Bureau will have the following organizational units:  Management and Administrative Staff; Policy Division; Satellite Division; and  Strategic Analysis and Negotiations Division. 

Subject: FCC Works on DBS Must-Carry Disputes 
Compiled by Fred Lawrence 

The Cable Services Bureau at Federal Communications Commission continued its  work in the must-carry arena, handing down decisions concerning DBS carriage  for local stations. 

In separate orders recently released, the bureau denied must-carry complaints  filed by North Pacific International Television, licensee of KHCV in Seattle,  against DirecTV and EchoStar's DISH Network. 

According to the FCC, KHCV failed to notify the companies of its must-carry  election by the July 1, 2001, deadline. 

The station disputed that it missed the deadline, but the agency nonetheless  dismissed the complaints. 

In another move, the Cable Services Bureau denied a must-carry complaint  filed against DirecTV by Johnson Broadcasting, licensee of KLDT in Dallas. 

Digital Must Carry is one of the many stumbling blocks to delivery of quality  digital signals to homes. Must carry is a must or digital will more than  likely die on the vine. 


Subject: Digital Cinema and Entertainment Delivery
From a Press Release 

The USC School of Cinema and Television, ETC, and Larta, a nonprofit think  tank for the technology industry, invite you to a January 24 evening panel  session and launch event at The Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts, to  celebrate the release of a new report on digital cinema and entertainment  delivery, Hollywood Unstrung 2. 

This evening event will feature a panel session, Digital Cinema: Hollywood's  Emerging Challenge, opened by Dean Elizabeth Daley of the USC School of  Cinema and Television. The panel will examine the entertainment industry’s  efforts to implement a widespread digital theatrical distribution system to  potentially save from $800 million to $1 billion a year, addressing the  controversial challenges that D-Cinema poses to the industry, and what each  of the panelists feel the resolutions are. Featured panelists include (more  participants may be announced): 

Bob Dowling, Publisher, Hollywood Reporter Robert Mayson, General Mgr. of Kodak Digital Entertainment Mark Kapczynski, Principal Consultant, Microsoft Entertainment Media Division Randy Starr, Vice President, Business Development, Cinesite Darcy Antonellis/Chris Cookson, Technology Operations, Warner Brothers 

When: 6:00-9:30 pm; The panel session takes place from 7-8 pm; digital  screening and networking session, 8-9:30 pm. There will also be tours of the  Zemeckis Center. 

Where: Stanley Kubrick Stage at the Zemeckis Center, Los Angeles 
Admission: $35, $6 for parking. Appetizers served, cash bar. 

Attendance is limited. To RSVP for this event, please contact Lisa Charnes at  310.402.8854, or by email,

To Download the executive summary or purchase a full version of this report,  visit 
Subject: Sources TV Stations Plan to use for H/DTV Conversion
FROM: Des Chaskelson, Research Director, SCRI International (

The results of SCRI's 2001 - 2003 DTV Migration Trends Report - US TV  Stations, shows that local station personnel are expected to be heavily  involved in the H/DTV conversion process with over eight in ten stations  (81.1%) expecting to use local engineers.  Other important sources include  manufacturers (40.5%), SI’s (36.7%), group/network personnel (35.3%) and  dealers / distributors (22.8%).   SCRI's Technical Director, Larry Bloomfield warns that: "Unless local  stations plan to spend some money on training their local station personnel  in digital technology and how to deal with such things as the art of fiber  splicing and terminating, they are in for some gargantuan expenses in fixing  what their people will most assuredly screw up. This is a new ball game with  similar but very different technical rules."   For more information on this and other SCRI Broadcast & Pro Video Reports, go  to:

 Parting Shots
By Larry Bloomfield

It’s been an interesting weekend. Removing the now defunked “”  subscribers from the mailing list proved to be a task fraught with problems.  The mail list server proved that back up of any and all computer based  material is a absolute MUST. I learned more about it than I had ever wanted  to know. The trimming of our subscriber list, without knowing the new e-mail  address for our departed subscribers, wasn’t quite as bad as I thought it  would be. We certainly do welcome any new subscribers and would appreciate  your letting folks know about us. None-the-less, our apologies, once again,  for any inconvenience this may have caused any of you. 

There is an interesting article that appeared in the New York Times entitled:  The Battle of the Boxes: PC vs. TV.  You might want to take a look at it, if  it is still posted when you read this:  This  article is entitled The Battle of the Boxes: PC vs. TV By John Markoff. You  may have to create a free account with the NYT to access it, but it’s worth  it. 

If you are not a Dish subscriber (Direct to home satellite service provided  by Echo Star), then you are most likely unaware of an occasional program, on  a special channel, called “Charlie Chat.” Charlie Chat is usually an hour  long “show” during which Echo Star’s CEO, President (Chief Cook and bottle  washer – and any other high priced title you can think of), Charlie Ergen  sits at a desk, along with one of his cronies, and tells Dish subscribers how  things will get better only if the merger of DirecTV and Dish happens. In an  attempt to add a scintilla of credibility to the presentation, the duo  answer “live” phone calls and attempt to address e-mail during the original  airing, which is repeated from time-to-time for those unfortunate souls who  missed it. I’d sure be interested in the calls and e-mail that don’t make it  past the screeners. 

There is no question that trying to cram all the must carry into the limited  satellite bandwidth currently available has made quality of service (QoS) on  the whole system a thing that both satellite carriers seem to have abandoned.  Charlie Ergen, Satellite TV’s Don Quote, says, not “if,” but “when” the  merger happens, things will get better, all the problems of the world will be  solved and he will make the world right for digital television. 

As for “Charlie Chats”, if you have a friend who has a Dish system, ask him  or her to let you have a few minutes to take a look at this “show.” It might  be a good idea for them not to be present as their laughter may interfere  with your hearing what is said. In any event, as my wife’s often  says:  “Don’t miss it if you possibly can.” 

According to Broadcasting & Cable, “New York television stations will be  getting federal help rebuilding transmitters that were destroyed in the Sept.  11 attack on the World Trade Center. A total of 10 New York area stations  will receive $8.2 million to offset the $30 million to $40 million price tag  for purchasing and constructing a new transmission facility -- perhaps a  large stand-alone tower near the former site of the Twin Towers.” Most  engineers know that at VHF and UHF frequencies, height plays a more  significant roll in coverage than power. To get a structure high enough to  replicate or surpass the World Trade Center would require real estate that  would make the federal budget seem like chump change. 

At the risk of seeming unpatriotic, one can not help but wonder if any of  them had insurance. This certainly wasn’t an act of God and most  intelligently operated business has some sort of casualty insurance. I have  no problem helping the victims and families of the victims, but multimillion  dollar companies… I’m not so sure, but you certainly can’t fault Sen. Charles  E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), who managed to secure the funding as addition to  emergency-aid appropriation for victims of the Sept. 11 attacks – he’s simply  looking out for his constitutes. 

And I just can’t let this go: Using the logic they used in the San Francisco  Bay Area, I’m surprised that NBC hasn’t opted to put their New York  transmitter site somewhere like Trenton, NJ or Far Rockaway, Long Island. As  one reader commented on the phone, NBC engineers have a flat map of the SF  Bay Area on their wall – that must mean to them that’s the topography of the  bay area.  Loma Prieta should work just like Sutro, right…..  I don’t think  so. I believe NBC’s decision in the SF Bay Area is another fine example of  letting bean counters run the show. Once again: Who was it that said: “Stupid  is what stupid does?” If NBC wants laughs, they certainly have got them – and  from more than just the engineers over this fiasco.  Friends, this isn’t  going to go away either. 

I understand that Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is being integrated into  new routing equipment and polished by groups such as the Internet Engineering  Task Force. This may help make using the internet easier and faster in many  ways. Thou the capacity of the current standard, IPv4, which only allows for  4.3 billion individual Internet addresses seems large, it is fast becoming a  problem as developing countries come online and the number of connected  devices grows, since each Internet-connected device requires its own address.  IPv6 will allow many trillions of computing devices to be connected to the  Internet. The standard is being ironed out so that it works seamlessly with  the current IPv4 standard, and it will contain greater security features.  Juniper Networks' Kevin Dillon says that IPv6 will allow "every car, every  toaster, and every TV" in the world as well as every person to have an IP  address, making them all accessible on the Internet. 

There are a plethora of reasons to abandon the large kinescopes, better know  as CRTs. Recently, Steve Jobs said the CRT is dead! It is quite possible his  remarks were more marketing oriented than technologically based.  After all,  Apple did launch their new iMac recently and the company has contracted to  build 100,000 of the new machines per month, featuring a "floating" 15" LCD  display. 

In an interesting story from InfoWorld, the limiting factor for LCD  production is the glass substrate, or "motherglass." An associate, Craig  Birkmaier says: “After spending much of the day (recently) editing on an  Apple Cinema display, I can honestly say that once you have the opportunity  to work on a large LCD panel, you will never want to get a CRT ‘sunburn’  again...” Check out the story at:

A little old, but fairly accurate; as of January 9, 2002, there are 229  television stations in 80 markets delivering digital signals. According to  the NAB, “that includes over 73 percent of American TV households. HDTV sets  are widely available through retailers and sales are increasing.  More and  more prime time programs and sporting events are shown via free, over-the-air  digital broadcasts. The Digital TV revolution is here.” OK – Now what? 

I have always thought that the reason for a variety of newspapers and  different radio and television news programs is we’d get a good, wide range  view of local and world events. Well here’s another apparent bean counter  fiasco that would serve to give you one version of all the news. (Shades of  Pravda!)  ABC News and CBS News are reportedly in active talks on cooperative  cost-savings strategies. According to a recent story in the New York Times,  ABC News and CBS News have entered preliminary discussions about a possible  cost- sharing arrangement that could forestall their need to ally with CNN,  the cable news network that has held talks with both.  Either approach should  be rather scary to the general public. 

The story said that possible scenarios include sharing news crews or offices  abroad. The talks were a result of “a weakening advertising market” and slow  progress of negotiations with CNN. Discussions intensified after Sept. 11,  when it became apparent that the costs of gathering news were only going to  increase. Poor baby! Someone - somewhere will step up and fill the need.  I  just don’t like the BS that goes with the “we can’t afford it” stuff.  What  was it President Harry Truman said?  “If you can’t stand the heat – get out  of the kitchen!” I wouldn’t like to see ABC, CBS or any of the others stop  doing the great job they’ve done in the past. Perhaps it’s time to look at  some of the senior executives salaries and start to channel that into their  news departments. God only know what one of these high priced, ivory tower  New York executives makes would more than pay for the losses in advertising  revenue. 

If this isn’t bad enough, Sinclair Broadcast Group has shut down the news  operation at ABC affiliate WXLV Greensboro, N.C., which they own. WXLV-TV had  a 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscast. Jan. 11 marked the final day for both. In  shutting down the news division, up to 35 people were laid off.  David Smith,  president and CEO of Sinclair, reciting an all too familiar mantra  said: “With news advertising revenues being spread among more providers, it  has become increasingly more difficult to cover the necessary expenses to  operate a quality newscast.” Can’t help but ask:  Is no news good news?  For  more check out the following: http://www/>http://www/

There’s an interesting spin on protecting the old with copyright laws in the  New York times. Seems that folks like to remix audio and re-edit movies to  the chagrin of the original owners.  Check out: todays headlines The article is entitled: 'The Future of Ideas': Protecting the Old With  Copyright Law, By Daniel Zalewski.  As stated earlier, you may have to create  a free account with the NYT to access it, but it’s worth it. 

They’re getting serious about providing spectrum for portable devices. The  FCC has adopted allocation and service rules for 48 MHz of spectrum in the  698-746 MHz band (the "Lower 700 MHz band") currently occupied by television  channels 52-59 in many markets. According to the FCC, “This spectrum is being  reclaimed for new commercial services as part of the transition of television  broadcasting from analog to digital. The only problem with all this is that  the FCC doesn’t have a clear plan for clearing these frequencies.  Check out  the latest on this at: 218377A1.doc 

According to the Consumer Electronics Association, the final 2001 DTV sales  figures estimated 20 percent of products sold in 2001 can receive ATSC  signals The final factory-to-dealer sales of digital television (DTV)  products in 2001 totaled 1,459,731 units. The total sales for the year,  representing more than $2.6 billion, had already surpassed CEA's initial 2001  forecasts of 1.1 million units by November and continued to soar in  December.  Now: where’s the programming that will make these sets look really  special? ABC and NBC only have token HD shows with Fox, UPN, WB and PAX  airing nothing in HD, at this time and have very little digital programming  worth mentioning, if any at all. 

What do you think about all of this? 

Time to get out of the bully-pulpit. Later, 

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