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Re: ATV / DTV Standards



I'll make this my last post on this thread 'cause it could stop right about
now.   :-)

><< My thought was that the initial standard should have been something of a
>more well defined product with a linear resolution scale.  Easy to
understand,
>easy to use, easy to sell and with no room for confusion >>
>
>You mean like ATSC "Table 3" ?!?

Maybe I'm seeing all this stuff from a production or a client's point of
view and you are looking at it as what is technologically achievable.  Sure,
all of this is realtively easily achievable with current and
soon-to-be-developed technology.  But just because you can do something is
not reason enough to do it.   Table 3, from a client's point of view, is
nothing less than a nightmare.  That little innocent table expands into
this:

                (... if I didn't make any mistakes expanding it)

1-      1920x1080    Progressive    23.976 fps   16x9
2-      1920x1080    Progressive    24.000 fps   16x9
3-      1920x1080    Progressive    29.97   fps   16x9
4-      1920x1080    Progressive    30.000 fps   16x9
5-      1920x1080    Interlaced      29.97   fps    16x9
6-      1920x1080    Interlaced      30.000 fps    16x9
7-      1280x720     Progressive    23.976 fps    16x9
8-      1280x720     Progressive    24.000 fps    16x9
9-      1280x720     Progressive    29.97   fps    16x9
10-    1280x720     Progressive    30.000 fps    16x9
11-    1280x720     Progressive    59.94   fps    16x9
12-    1280x720     Progressive    60.000 fps    16x9
13-    704x480       Progressive    23.976 fps    4x3
14-    704x480       Progressive    24.000 fps    4x3
15-    704x480       Progressive    29.97   fps    4x3
16-    704x480       Progressive    30.000 fps    4x3
17-    704x480       Progressive    59.94   fps    4x3
18-    704x480       Progressive    60.000 fps    4x3
19-    704x480       Interlaced      59.94   fps    4x3
20-    704x480       Interlaced      60.000 fps    4x3
21-    704x480       Progressive    23.976 fps    16x9
22-    704x480       Progressive    24.000 fps    16x9
23-    704x480       Progressive    29.97   fps    16x9
24-    704x480       Progressive    30.000 fps    16x9
25-    704x480       Progressive    59.94   fps    16x9
26-    704x480       Progressive    60.000 fps    16x9
27-    704x480       Interlaced      59.94   fps    16x9
28-    704x480       Interlaced      60.000 fps    16x9
29-    640x480       Progressive    23.976 fps    4x3
30-    640x480       Progressive    24.000 fps    4x3
31-    640x480       Progressive    29.97   fps    4x3
32-    640x480       Progressive    30.000 fps    4x3
33-    640x480       Progressive    59.94   fps    4x3
34-    640x480       Progressive    60.000 fps    4x3
35-    640x480       Interlaced      59.94   fps    4x3
36-    640x480       Interlaced      60.000 fps    4x3

Now.  Put that in front of a content producer and ask them to decide on a
format.  I predict you'll see several reactions,  horror and confusion might
be two of them.

To make things worst  (and I haven't heard anyone talk about this) you could
argue that you really have 72 transmission standards and not 36.  Why?

Because depending on delivery capabilities, the compressed data rate could
vary as much as 100%.   For sake of simplicity let's call the terrestrial
data rate 19.28 Mbps (payload, 19.39 Mbps total) and the cable rate 38.57
Mbps  (again, payload, 38.8 Mbps total).  Although I have to admit not
having seen comparisons, I'm pretty sure that a quality difference will
exists between terrestrial and cable delivery of the same resolution
material, particularly the higher-resolution and higher frame-rate formats.
if a client chooses, for example, 1920x1080 / Progressive / 30 fps / 16x9,
he/she is really choosing two different quality options depending on how the
program will be delivered.

To be fair, this transmission data rate issue is not avoidable, no matter
what you do to the video standard definition.

>If you see the sole purpose of DTV to be watching movies at home, then why
are
>we even bothering with this?  It would be one heckuva lot cheaper and
easier
>to just give everybody a 16mm movie projector and ship out rental film
prints.

Hey, now that's a sensible idea.   :-)

>CEMA (Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association) came up with the
>figures, which I've seen cited in a couple of different trade publications.

Don't believe everything you read and everything "experts" say.  Here in
California, just before they were going to raise the maximum speed limit on
highways all kinds of experts and studies came out saying that it would be
carnage, people would die in large quantities and we'd have ten times more
accidents.  It was all over TV.
What actually happened was that the accident rate went DOWN and none of the
"expert" predictions made it the the realm of reality.

I have many friends in the consumer electronics manufacturing world.  I'm
not talking about stuffy managers sitting behind desks.  I'm talking about
guys who own factories in China or brokers who get product made in China,
Taiwan and Japan for other companies.  If the financial incentives are there
these guys can absolutely crank out product like you wouldn't believe.

>By this logic, we should have stayed with monochrome TV, or radio for that
>matter, since there's an awful lot of programming that would be the same in
>black-and-white, or just plain black.

Isn't that the truth.  Particularly the "plain black" part.  I firmly
believe we invented color tv for "Baywatch".

>You'll be glad to know that there's now such a thing as "metadata," which
>takes the place of timecode

Right, ... but I would guess, and correct me if I'm wrong, that all station
automation will have to happen before MPEG compression.  I see compression
as the last thing you do before shooting it out the the TX.

>I'd be willing to bet you've never hung out in a bar with a bunch of
gamblers
>while the horse races were on!


No... but I'm a Soccer fan and wanted to watch the World Cup at 1080P / 60
fps 16x9 !!!!!   :-)

I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree and keep this thread from going
on forever.  I suspect the DTV arguments are going to be subject of such
emotion and controversy as the Microsoft vs. Apple vs. The World arguments.

I would urge the production and post communities to push for a 24fps
non-interlaced standard as the norm.  Actually, let me rephrase that
slightly.  I don't care about the frame rate.  All I care about is that one,
and only one, digital frame correspond to each film frame.  If you had this
and progressive scan as the norm, it would trully be the start of a great
new way of doing things.

I'm primarily concerned with what a client's point of view and feel for this
next step.  Those I've talked to are scared, terrified and confused (and
angry because us technoheads haven't made it simple for them).  I'm not so
much concerned with the technology because I know that virtually anything
reasonable is attainable.  But, as I said before, and I've learned this the
hard way, just because you can do something it doesn't mean you should.

-Martin




---
Thanks to James Erickson & Dennis Mahaffay for support in 1998.
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