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Re: the TV part of HDTV



Subj:	Re: the TV part of HDTV
Date:	03/19/98
CC:	schifrin at pacbell.net

In a message dated 98-03-19 17:00:56 EST, Steve Schifrin writes:

<< Given #1) CBS' currently proposed delivery specification for High
Definition calls for shows produced on 35mm film to be delivered for
broadcast in 1080I, mastered on Panasonic D-5 recorders.  >>

I don't mean to sound sarcastic, but there's a feeling out here that CBS'
specifications may be premature, unrealistic, and possibly not the way the
rest of the industry is going to head.  There are other formats in the ASTC
standard which might be adopted by other networks, different production
methodologies which are capable of producing equally acceptable results (such
as Super 16 film), and presumably lots of interesting new things coming up at
NAB. 

<< Given #2) At least three of the networks have committed to having an
initial group of digital television stations on the air, with programming, by
November 1998 (as in, 'just around the corner'), and the balance of the top-
most markets by the end of the upcoming season. >>

The FCC only says you have to broadcast a digital signal comparable in quality
to the existing NTSC service, not that it must be HDTV!  That means you could
take an old VHS machine, hook it up to a MPEG encoder, and be in compliance.
So digital television can and presumably will be on the air by the deadline,
even if a lot of it is only going to be standard def at first. 

<< Given #3) Going into this year's NAB, none of the equipment manufacturers
that we've come to know and love have yet demonstrated all the pieces of a
'system' which would allow a facility to parallel or match the services they
now provide their episodic customers in standard definition with similar
services in High Definition.  >>

I think if one has a little creativity and trainloads of cash, there is enough
HDTV gear available right now to do almost anything done by standard
definition video systems. But the "money train" is stalled in the station;
most of us out here in post-production land don't yet have a way to make HDTV
pay until either the equipment comes way down in price, or the demand for it
(and the rates we can charge) go way up.

<< [...] But, I'm very interested in finding out how the vendors who will have
to deliver HD masters to us intend to do so. As I said, I'm sure that many of
THEM haven't thought about it yet. I'm just as sure that many of YOU have. >>

Again, not wanting to sound sarcastic or mean-spirited, but shouldn't this
question be turned around and asked as: what is going to happen this Fall if
CBS finds out that it simply can't get the programming it wants in the format
it wants, or that it will cost an order of magnitude or more money than the
rest of the industry pays for programming to meet CBS' specifications--and
advertisers won't foot the bill because there is no such thing as a consumer
HDTV set in anybody's house yet?   

Best regards,
Christopher Bacon


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