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Re: HDTV Why?



I've read and mulled over the various responses to Asa's posting thus
far but no-one seems to have addressed the role of the PC in the debate
- so here goes.

If we assume that there isn't going to be any new infrastructure to
allow for future HD broadcasts beyond what is being put in place for DVB
here in the UK and ATSC in the 'states; then we're left with bandwidth
pooling between SD digital channels - in my view quite possible but very
unlikely - or compression. Let's face it, it's going to be compression.

But is that a bad thing? Personally, I don't think so. Using digital
'photographs' as an example, an image that has been professionally
photographed and manipulated uncompressed can be delivered as a JPEG
quite happily, now, across the internet. And lossy, psychovisual
compression schemes like JPEG afford a sizeable amount of protection to
the originator because they look fine until you want to manipulate them
in some way. So the reciever can really only use the material in the way
it was intended to be used i.e. look at it. Video compression schemes
will become more and more powerful until HD, progressive video can go
across the internet, never mind ATSC or DVB bandwidths.

As to viewing the material, people are already beginning to ask why TV
pictures don't look as good as their computer displays. Come on, 17" CRT
monitors are widely available, now, that can display 1024x768 pixels at
75Hz and better for 500. Maybe 500 is some kind of magic price point,
I guess people are going to want a 25" or 28" TV picture for that kind
of money but, surely, market forces would allow current computer monitor
technology to offer an HD CRT display in that ball-park. Asa talks about
7000, but I don't see it myself. The computer I use at home has a
PAL/SECAM/NTSC tuner on a board inside it which lets me watch TV on my
computer monitor with digital audio and teletext to boot. It's a few
years old, and only digitises the video at 320x240 pixels but it
wouldn't have to digitise if the broadcast signal was already digital.
As soon as DVB launches here in the UK we are going to be counting the
days until set top boxes give way to PCI cards and we can see these
great new component digital broadcasts on our monitors. Line doublers?
Scan rate doublers? Who cares? - your PC's video card can take care of
all of that.

The future of HD may not be on a board inside a computer, but I'd be
willing to bet that it will be if no other plans are made, the
compression involved will mean a lot of MIPS for some processor,
somewhere.

adrian

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