March 11, 2002
Tech-Note – 098
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Reader comments:
RE:  Parting Shots – Tech-Notes #97
From: Nicholas Bodley   nbodley@alumni.princeton.EDU 
I couldn't resist replying to your endnote about people calling you names for standing up for what's right. I see our society in a near-crisis (which one? :); the one I'm referring to is a dangerous belief that you can do anything you want, including taking greed to the point of terrorism, if you don't get caught. 
Nevertheless, as the Perpetually-Alive aspect of 8VSB has shown, rampant greed will make people do strange, wondrous, and sometimes extremely-uncivil things. Basically, by standing up for civility and what's right, you have been splattered with a tiny bit of mud from their protestations. Tiny? Yes, but considering the possible degree of nastiness, even a small amount of mud can be quite unpleasant.
OK to quote me (edited), if you wish; I think I'll take the hits if you publish my name.
Blessings to you! 
(Ed Note: And we can use it too!)
RE:  Parting Shots – Tech-Notes #97
From: Peter H. Putman
Keep it up. This whole DTV transition and all of the posturing by NAB, the NAB-CEA Digital TV Zone project, the cable industry statements on HDTV, and the attempts by Hollywood to copy protect everything we watch will be a endless well of controversy.
Consumers aren't getting a clear and detailed message about DTV, and the biggest problem with the transition nowadays is simply public relations. DTV and HDTV sell themselves, once demonstrated. But how do people find out more about DTV and what it can do? Where can they get reasonably unbiased, factual information on the DTV transition?
I catch hell sometimes for making similar statements. But there have to be watchdogs out there. We are heading into uncharted waters with digital media in general - broadcast, digital cinema, MP3, MPEG-4, broadband cable, ATM distribution of HD content, etc.
It’s funny how consumers have forgotten that they still have all the power here, simply by sitting on their checkbooks.
(Ed Note: As the old saying goes, Pete: “Illegitimus non Carborundum!” – Don’t let the bastards grind you down!)
RE:  Parting Shots – Tech-Notes #97
From: Victoria Battison
As always, I enjoyed this issue. Especially your "Parting Shots". Good for you. You always report it like it is. And provide a good service of sorting out the sometimes overwhelming info. Oh, and thanks for the tip about Outlook. I shall forward it to all my friends who use it. In light of all the viruses, I'm glad I don't use Outlook. But, unfortunately, many people do and I have been the recipient of their computers' viruses. So, again, thank you!
RE: Arrogant Bastard – Tech-Notes #97
From: Bill Pasternak (WA6ITF) Amateur Radio Newsline, Inc. 
I forwarded this issue to my friend Jim Meachen (ZL2BHF) ( in Auckland and he has an update on the guy who was charged that "special" telephone fee for allegedly being an ‘arrogant bastard.’  It seems that the fellow has gone into business on the web. Meachen reports: “Well this guy has been on the winning side because Telecom has made him a several thousand dollar payout to keep him quiet. All a bit late really, The guy is getting great attention from the international media and would you believe yesterday he opened a web site to sell his fine arrogant bastard promotional materials!” 
(Ed Note: A bit off topic, but I find comfort in knowing that it does pay to be an argent bastard, after all.)

Editor’s Note:  We have put a simulation of the various types of TV formats from analog to digital on the front page of our web site. Please pay it a visit and let us know what you think.


Subject: NAB 2002
By: Larry Bloomfield
I have occasion to speak with many Chief Engineers and Directors of Engineering across the country and lately I’ve been asking if I’ll see them during the annual trek to the desert’s TV convention. The responses have not been very encouraging. It would appear that the economy, and a number of other lamed-brain excuses perpetrated by the various stations’ bean-counters, is going to very seriously impact attendance this year. There are very few opportunities for engineers to see, first-hand, what’s new and to have the chance keep up with the latest “whatevers.” Not sending at least one engineer to NAB is tantamount to stifling their technical education and preventing the facility from keep abreast of what’s going on out there in the wonderful world of not only television, but the transition to DTV. How utterly stupid!
There is little doubt that attendance will be down this year. It has even been suggested that there may be more foreign broadcasters in attendance than from the US. It makes little difference weather your station or network is a member of NAB or not, the experience and potential for the interchange of ideas and technologies doesn’t happen anywhere else on this scale and it’s a crying shame to miss the opportunity. This is like taking the bean-counter’s calculators away from them – now there’s an idea.
It has been suggested that I look into the possibly of taking some of the smaller items and services on the road in an effort to afford those who couldn’t make it to Las Vegas an opportunity to see and hear about some of those services and products that shined. The response, to date, has been very interesting. So I’m putting together a “road show.” If the engineers can’t make it to NAB, then the products and services at NAB should go to them! Well not all. My van is not that big, but some.
Many engineers know me through Broadcast Engineering magazine over the past several years, and through this and other writing efforts. This should help to get television engineers to meet with me, as I travel across the United States, to hear about the latest products and services I take with me. Obviously I’ll not take the place of NAB, but I can bring a part of it with me. For those engineers who are able to make it to NAB this year, the trip will serve to be reinforcement of what they saw. 
This will be a two way street. I will also have the opportunity to meet and speak with many of my peers and find out how things are out there in the trenches. You can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll have my laptop with me and be recording the event for not only Tech-Notes, but any other journal that wishes to run them. 
An itinerary has been generated that covers thirty-one venues, of which all twenty-one top US markets are included. (#1 in New York through #21 in Pittsburgh) The trip will begin April 22nd, just after NAB and end on July 3rd. and anyone interested in seeing it may contact me for a copy. (Larry@Tech-Notes.TV
Several things have to come together for this to happen: Sponsors and hosts are needed.
If a half-dozen companies or organizations chip-in and share/pay the way, it would cost them each less than half a page in most any of the trades and probably be more effective. There is already some very active interest, but it needs to be more than that. Local people are needed who will step up to bat and provide, or arrange, a place for the meetings; preferably a local TV station, post house, cable company or a manufacturing reps offices. Hotels or motels are not conducive to demonstrating or talking about television related products or services. There should be some locally provided refreshments: Tell an engineer he’s going to be fed and he’ll show up to nearly anything (I know – I’ve been there and it looks like it too.)
Yes! The itinerary is ambitious, but not too ambitious that it can’t be well executed while getting the attention of prospective customers. Keep in mind that ambitious efforts usually garner ambitious results. I also believe I have come up with a locations vs. time ratio that is the best possible under the circumstances.
Local folks are needed who will ensure that the engineering staffs of all television related businesses within a 50-100 mile radius are invited and encouraged to attend. Since engineers do move between different types of facilities, it doesn't hurt to let everyone know about the event: management and craft. This is why not only TV stations, but post houses and cable companies should be on the invitation list. This is a small world and engineers do talk to each other; especially in the smaller markets. As you know, word of mouth is the best kind of advertising.
If your company or organization wishes to participate, your local reps in each of the venues should do their part in helping to get a good turn out. They should be present during the presentations, as well. Someone will need to take the orders. The reps should also see to it that literature and other product information is available at each venue. Time is running out so a decision to participate should be forthcoming. 
Financial arrangements and other details about this venture can be discussed on the phone. Our office number is (541) 902-2424.  Remember we’re on the West Coast. Once a company has agreed to sponsor this venture, their competitors will have to either fish or cut bate.
If you are going to NAB, be sure to look us up at the Pixel Instruments booth. You can find it on their website at: www.Pixelinstruments.TV. Be sure to check out their new audio-over inserting device for digital facilities. Either see you there or on “the trip.”
Subject: Lo-band DTV
From: "Roy Trumbull" 
I was looking at the NAB list of DTV stations on the air and I noted only two lo-band channels: WBBM, Chicago and WKYC, Cleveland. I believe WBBM shut down after their signal got into cable boxes around town but I've neither called them nor read anything recently about their plans. The FCC database still shows their DTV as being on Ch3.
Dennis Wallace did comparison tests at WKYC between COFDM and 8VSB that were reported on at the 2001 NAB and which are available at the ATSC website under "papers" ( COFDM is very vulnerable to impulse noise so 8VSB was the clear winner. That said, the number of homes that could get either signal was surprisingly small.
There was a paper presented at last falls IEEE that had an amazing list of co-authors that railed against the FCC planning factors. In short, the issue of what an appropriate power level is for each TV band needs to be revisited.
When doing field measurements, what you actually find versus what you should find, based on theory, is impacted by terrain clutter and man-made interference. I once thought that a great leap of faith was required to use the numbers generated using the traditional FCC contour prediction method. Then I found those numbers were quite conservative when compared to Longley-Rice.
My questions are; who has picked up the torch on this issue? Is it NAB? Is it MSTV? There are a lot of lo-band owners that need to figure out which way to jump and soon.
Roy Trumbull
Subject: 24p technology; another tool to be used by television commercial directors
By: Larry Bloomfield
Question: What happens when you put new technology in the hands of some of the hottest names in commercial direction? Young & Rubicam and Sony Electronics recently presented the result, to leaders in the advertising community in both New York and Los Angeles; the project was greeted with very positive reaction.
"We created the "Dreams" events to introduce 24p technology as another tool to be used by television commercial directors," explains Ken Yagoda, managing partner/director of broadcast production for Young & Rubicam, New York.
"We simply gave them a single topic, Dreams, a timeline and the equipment (camera & post). When the final works arrived, we were astounded by their vision and innovation. And we think our industry will be too." 
Dreams is a series of shorts produced on the new Sony 24p CineAlta Camera - directed by the following top-rated commercial directors: 
- Peggy Sirota - HSI 
- Frank Tornado -  @ radical media 
- Jordan Scott - RSA 
- Simon Blake - Chelsea Pictures 
- Tony Kaye - Tony Kaye Film 
- Chuck and Clay - Crossroads 
- Bruce Dowad - Bruce Dowad Associates 
- Bob Giraldi - GSP 
"It's highly stimulating to see these directors wholeheartedly embrace this new technology to create beautifully compelling works of art," states Yagoda. He also added, "The way I look at digital film production now is much different than the way I looked at it a week ago. There's tremendous upside potential."
After two successful coastal presentations, Young & Rubicam and Fletcher Chicago (with Sony Electronics' assistance) are making plans to bring this event to the Midwest.  As we find out, we’ll pass it along.
Companies that have used 24p CineAlta to shoot spots already include:
Sears, Budweiser, McDonald's, Ford, Little Caesars, Kraft, Hallmark, Best Buy, BMW, Pizza Hut, Adidas (Europe), Tylenol, Apple, Toyota, Reach, Mitsubishi, Fox Sports Net, Sony, Electronics, Subaru, Red Lobster, Comcast, Weber Grills, Mazda, Galyans, Lowes Hardware, US Army, Volvo (Europe), Blue Cross/Blue Shield, SmithKline Pharmaceuticals, Procter & Gamble (Europe) and Principal Financial Group.
Now if we could just get them interested in doing this in HD.
Subject: Of the FCC’s auctions
By: Larry Bloomfield
While perusing the daily FCC reports, I noticed that there were a number of analog television channel assignments being auctioned. Immediately the question – Why? – came to mind. With all the push on to move into the digital era, how can this be? Hardly 30 seconds pass and I was on the phone to the Friendly Candy Company (FCC) to see what was up. Jeff Crooks took my call and the following is what was discussed---
Tech-Notes: An auction of analog TV stations does raise several, what I consider, interesting questions. Per your website, this particular auction addresses Channel 47 in ColumbiaSC, Channel 51 in PittsfieldMA, Channel 34 in MageeMS and Channel 16 in Scottsbluff, NE. Why is the FCC auctioning off analog TV channels when there is a committed move to digital? 
Crooks: There are still some pending analog applications that have been pending since 1996. The Communications Act requires that we conduct an auction in such cases.
Tech-Notes: What are the requirements for these new licensees to get a digital facility up and operational?
Crooks: Not sure I understand the question - these licensees will have a single channel following the auction. They can build either analog or digital facilities. They will have 3 years to do so. Once the DTV transition is complete in 2006, they have to be operating digitally.
Tech-Notes: Are these full power channels or are they low power?
Crooks: Yes, Full power.
Tech-Notes: Is there a corresponding digital TV channel that goes with the analog channel the bidders are bidding on?
Crooks: No.
Tech-Notes: Are the transition rules to digital different for these new analog TV stations than for the legacy analog stations? 
Crooks: (No response).
Tech-Notes: Will they also have to meet the May 2002/2003 requirements for analog station to be digital as well? 
Crooks: No.
Tech-Notes: Is this the first, last or only auction of analog TV channels the FCC is considering. 
Crooks: It’s the third.
Tech-Notes: If there are other channels in other towns, what are they?
Crooks: There are other pending analog applications - we don't maintain a master list. You can search our on-line CDBS database (accessible through our web site to check on pending analog applications.
Tech-Notes: How many auctions of analog TV channels have taken place since the migration to digital was "cast into stone?" 
Crooks: Three.
Tech-Notes: How many more auctions of analog TV channels are planned for and/or scheduled? 
Crooks: There are currently no other full power television auctions scheduled.
Tech-Notes: How do we read the transition to digital in light of these analog auctions -- is there something we need to know?
Crooks: These were pending applications from 1996 - the fact that we are licensing a handful of new analog stations is irrelevant as to the progress of DTV.
Tech-Notes: Thanks for the information about the auction.
Subject: A look at the news
By: Larry Bloomfield
A lot is happening out there in our industry. Rather than give you all the gory details, here are some brief synopsis of what has come in over the past week or two. Links will be provided, where possible, so you can get the fuller story, if interested.
According to a piece that appeared in the NY Times, there’s trouble at the Tiffany Network. It seems that Sumner M. Redstone, chairman and chief executive of Viacom, told the company's board at a special meeting recently that he would not renew the contract of its president, Mel Karmazin, after Karmazin's term ends in May 2003.
The full story can be seen at:
An appellate court decision would appear to ease limitations for media giants with respect to ownership caps. The court handed a huge victory to the nation's largest television networks and cable operators by ruling that the government had to reconsider sharp limits on the number of stations a network can own and striking down the regulation that had restricted cable operators from owning television stations.
The full story can be seen at:
See Parting Shots in Tech-Notes #93 at www.Tech-Notes.TV for our spin on ownership caps.
According to information out of Japan, nine consumer electronics makers including Japanese giants Sony and Matsushita Electric Industrial said they agreed to uniform standards for next-generation blue-laser DVDs. This is a reversal. There are currently no standards for DVDs. If they play on a preponderance of playback machines, they’ve passed currently quality control standards.  For the full story see:
There are some rather extensive changes to EAS. It would do well to check out the full FCC R&O at -- all 53 pages. 
Here’s a boiled down version of changes:
(1)   Add new state and local event codes, including a Child Abduction Event Code, and new location codes;
(New marine address codes have been added.  This has more to do with NWS than broadcast.  Some coastal stations and stations on the Great Lakes may wish to use them.)
Here is the list of event codes that have been added. None of the old codes have been removed.
Avalanche Warning                       AVW
Avalanche Watch                         AVA
Child Abduction Emergency               CAE
Civil Danger Warning                    CDW
Coastal Flood Warning                   CFW
Coastal Flood Watch                     CFA
Dust Storm Warning                      DSW
Earthquake Warning                      EQW
Fire Warning                            FRW
Hazardous Materials Warning             HMW
Law Enforcement Warning                 LEW
Local Area Emergency                    LAE
Network Message Notification            NMN
911 Telephone Outage Emergency          TOE
Nuclear Power Plant Warning             NUW
Radiological Hazard Warning             RHW
Shelter in Place Warning                SPW
Special Marine Warning                  SMW
Tropical Storm Warning                  TRW
Tropical Storm Watch                    TRA
Volcano Warning                         VOW
Addition of the new event codes and the addresses codes is voluntary. New EAS equipment built after Aug 1, 2003 must have the new codes.  Radio, TV and Cable systems that replace equipment may not replace existing equipment with a older non upgraded equipment after Feb 1, 2004.
(2)  Permit broadcast stations and cable systems to program their EAS equipment to selectively display and log state and local EAS messages.
(This means you nor your equipment have to log events that you receive but don't pertain to you or your area.)
(3)  Increase the time for retransmitting Required Monthly Tests ("RMTs") from 15 to 60 minutes of receipt of the RMT message;
(4)  Revise the minimum required modulation level of EAS codes;  (Max obtainable but no less than 50%)
(5)  Permit broadcast stations to air the audio of a presidential EAS message from a higher quality, non-EAS source;    (Stations can't delay. No waiting for a network feed to start.)
(6)  Eliminate references to the now-defunct Emergency Action Notification ("EAN") network;
(7)  Eliminate the requirements that international High Frequency ("HF") broadcast stations purchase and install EAS equipment and cease broadcasting immediately upon receipt of a national-level EAS message;
(8)  Exempt satellite/repeater broadcast stations which rebroadcast 100% of the programming of their hub station from the requirement to install EAS equipment;
(9)  Authorize cable systems serving fewer than 5,000 subscribers to meet the October 1, 2002 deadline  by installing certified EAS decoders, to the extent that such decoders may become available, rather than both encoders and decoders; and
(10)  Provide that low power FM stations need not install EAS decoders until one year after any such decoders are certified by the Commission.
(11)  The definition of County Subdivisions has changed.  We will now have a North, South, East & West without the added word "Central". 
Looks like a low cost converter box for digital-to-analog that will address all those legacy analog TV sets is on the horizon. According to information received from the brass at Bonneville Broadcasting, KLS, KUED, KBYU, in conjunction with development partners, OpenTV, Static 2358, & Intellocity, tested a box produced by WOW Digital, a Salt Lake City based company during the Olympics. 
WOW Digital TV has developed a low-cost set-top box for receiving free-to-air digital terrestrial broadcasts.
The company announced that a number of commercial broadcasters have agreed to test and deploy the new box: LIN Television (owns and operates 18 network affiliates, 8 of which are in the top 50 markets), KGTV (McGraw-Hill-owned ABC affiliate in San Diego), Sunbelt Communications (owns 8 stations, including Las Vegas NBC affiliate, KVBC), and Larry H. Miller Productions (owns Utah independent station, KJZZ). WOW Digital TV also said that it has signed on Utah's largest bank, Zion's Bank, for a multi-year sponsorship of ITV services over the box.
Our good buddy Josh Gordon tells us that the cover story of a recent issue of Business Week notes that what happens on the much larger consumer product side of Sony has impact on the b-to-b group. 
The article describes a company with tremendous strength in consumer electronic products that are becoming unprofitable commodities. 63% of Sony revenue came from consumer electronics which generated almost no profit last fiscal year. Computer games which accounted for only 7.4% of Sony sales generated over half the companies profit. From the article:
The bad news at Sony: “…most analysts are forecasting a 40% decline in the company's operating profits, to about $1 billion, on flat sales. “And games aside, there is little likelihood of an overall recovery in the coming year. Says Masahiro Ono, senior analyst at UBS Warburg (Japan): "It's only going to get tougher to sell electronic gadgets, regardless of the Sony brand."
The good news at Sony: “Last business year, the company sold 5.5 million camcorders, 2.6 million digital cameras, and 2.5 million Vaios, while its movie studio grossed more than $1 billion in box-office receipts. With only about $5 billion in net debt, Sony's revenue from these richly diverse streams will surely keep the company at the top of the heap.”
The full story can be seen at: 
The Consumers Electronics Association (CEA) reports that the Home Rerecording Rights Coalition has urged a Senate committee to preserve fundamental home recording practices. They say that stringent copy protection systems will stymie the digital revolution and that selectable output control will disenfranchise existing DTV owners
The full story can be seen at:
According to a recent front page story in USA Today, “Many TV stations not ready for digital rollout.”
The article says that more than 30% of commercial TV stations told federal regulators earlier this month that they will miss the deadline of May 1 to begin digital broadcasts.

They had until midnight of March 4th to ask the Federal Communications Commission for a six-month waiver. At least 412 of the 1,288 commercial stations - mostly in small to midsize markets - said they need the time to solve technical, legal or financial problems.

To see more of what you probably already know, see the whole story at:
In a news release, the Board of Directors of the Advanced Television Systems Committee, Inc. (ATSC) has elected Philip Livingston to be the chairman for 2002. Livingston is the Vice President, Technical Liaison and Technical Spokesperson for Panasonic Broadcast & Television Systems Company.
Also elected were Lynn Claudy, NAB Senior Vice President, Science and Technology, and Jay Adrick, Harris Vice President, Strategic Business Development to serve as Vice Chairmen. 
It will be hard to say bad things about ATSC now that they have people there that we know and have spoken with on many occasions, but that has never stopped us before.
Subject: Three in Ten TV Stations to be using HDTV (1.5 Gb/s) over Fiber by 2005
From: Des Chaskelson, SCRI International (,
The plus side of using fiber is its ability to accommodate extremely high bit rates, irrespective of content. Bits do not know if they are HDTV or anything else.  The bandwidth required for HDTV is significantly greater than that required for SDTV. Bandwidth capacity is the key important factor in any medium of transport – fiber, cable or over the air.
SCRI's DTV Migration Trends Survey among US TV Stations tracked the adoption rate of HDTV (1.5 Gb/s) over fiber. In response to the question: "By when do you expect your station to accommodate HDTV (1.5 Gb/s) over fiber?", almost three in ten stations (28.4%) expect to do so by 2005. However, almost two out of three stations (63.5%) did not know by when their stations would be using HDTV (1.5 Gb/s) over fiber) -- this is indicative of the current climate of uncertainty around the adoption of HDTV among US TV Stations. 
The recent 2001-2006 DTV Migration Report Series conducted by SCRI  International includes the Production / Post Production DTV Migration Trends  Report, plus TV Station Trends and Products Reports. To view the table of  contents for the DTV Migration Reports online, go to: 
SCRI also has a new HDTV Overview Report available for $495 | $295 to SCRI's  Insider Report Subscribers ( For more  information and table of contents, contact 
Parting Shots
By Larry Bloomfield
I don’t believe it is ever bad to give yourself a break while serving the reader’s needs. Here’s an interesting article entitled: Where’s it all going?  Courtesy SCRI
From: David Krall, president/CEO, Avid Technology
We're seeing a polarization of technology at the high and low end. At the low end falls everything you can do with a hot computer and good software. There are really capable things coming on the scene, Final Cut Pro and Xpress DV. At the high end, some specialized hardware and integrated software will exceed what can be done with software only. That's what's going on with the move to HD. Since HD requires more bandwidth, disk and memory, it exceeds what can be done on a desktop computer. With Moore's law, high-end technology will continue to trickle down to capabilities for a laptop. The real value comes down to the talent; that will continue to be the competitive advantage. 
Hard disk storage is something to watch. There's been about a 60 percent improvement in density per year since 1956, and prices have dropped about 12 percent per quarter. There's going to be an interesting discontinuity. We'll see the ability to use a hard drive for acquisition [promoted] in 2002. 
We'll also continue to see increased popularity of DV as a compression standard. DV is so inexpensive, but with good quality. You are already seeing it in news [production]. We'll see Sony and Panasonic driving their compression standards. I'd be amazed if one becomes a leader. The benefit of fragmentation is that every compression scheme has some good and some bad [characteristics]. On top of that, there are different data rates. Then there's streaming media standards fighting it out on the Internet. Avid wants to be the U.N. We want to be the universal source of all compression - universal in, universal out. 
The HD adoption rate will continue to grow. Some broadcasters are going HD to future-proof their content, for syndication, etc. Five years from now, HD content will likely have a higher syndication value. 
Advertising is down, I've heard anywhere from five to nine percent of revenue worldwide. In New York people feel it's 20-30 percent. I would expect incremental improvements, driven by factors such as the Winter Olympics. 
The U.S. is probably not the world leader in interactive media. It's moving faster in Singapore and Europe, especially in the U.K. In the U.K., you can pick a court with a selection menu while viewing Wimbledon, and get player profiles and scores. Here we have content like Who Wants to be a Millionaire? I think we are going to see it move ahead pretty rapidly. 
We appreciate SCRI permitting us to run this item.  Now if I can get responses to the Road Show, I’ll consider my job here at Tech-Notes complete for this issue. Don’t be shy – let us know what is happening in your neck of the woods.
As I always say, what do you think about all of this?  Let’s go to press! Later. Larry
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