January 21, 2002
Tech-Note - 096
This is YOUR forum!
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
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!
RE: Sat TV quality.
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.
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.
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.
RE: Great comments about the supposed
obsolescence of current analog TVs.
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.
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:
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 http://www.ilovehdtv.com)
“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.
“This is all anyone needs to know about FOX! Somebody should tell FOX that mail is not carried on Horseback anymore!!!”
“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.”
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 http://www.zenith.com.
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.
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.
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.
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
Attendance is limited. To RSVP for this event, please contact Lisa Charnes at 310.402.8854, or by email, Larta2002@cs.com.
To Download the executive summary or purchase
a full version of this report, visit www.larta.org
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: http://www.scri.com/sc_reprt.html
It’s been an interesting weekend. Removing the now defunked “@home.com” 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: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/01/07/technology/ebusiness/07GADG.html 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: http://www.infoworld.com/articles/hn/xml/02/01/10/020110hnlcd3.xml?0110thpm
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/emonline.com>http://www/emonline.com
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: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/01/06/books/review/06ZALEWST.html 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: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC- 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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