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Re: ATV / DTV Standards



Martin writes:

<< Table 3, from a client's point of view, is nothing less than a nightmare.
That 
little innocent table expands into this: [long ... ] >>

I truly hope that no client or post/production facility manager is ever
presented 
with the whole of Table 3 and told that they have to pick the right numbers or
else.  They might as well play the lottery while they're at it!  I don't think
this 
was ever the ATSC's intention.  What I believe will happen is that after a
little
experimentation, the various production groups out there will gravitate to the
one 
or two formats they find most advantageous to use, and not bother with the
rest.  Just because options have been made available doesn't mean everybody
has 
to use them.

<< 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 a terrestrial and a cable
delivery of 
the same resolution >>

I'm not sure what's going on with cable and DTV, though I notice that most 
cable system operators haven't been in a big hurry to do anything except to
tell us all about how they aren't going HD.  While cable's double bandwidth 
looks good on paper, it may not amount to much of a visible quality difference
since it only means the data compression won't have to work as hard.

<< 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 >>

My personal take on CEMA's statements is that they are sitting on the fence 
just like everybody else; the manufacturers are not going to tool up to make
mass quantities of HDTV sets until there is a definite market for them.  Which
should be in about a year if all goes well.  To put it another way, the 
(theoretical) 300-year backlog on HDTV receivers is a good excuse for why 
the first ones are going to cost so much!

<< I firmly believe we invented color tv for "Baywatch". >>

Well, that's certainly a better use for it than some I've seen !!!

<< 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. >>

It depends.  The networks plan to sending MPEG compressed video to 
their affiliates, which is causing all kinds of fits since nobody stopped to
ask 
how you do a clean video cut or commercial insert into a MPEG bitstream!  
I think in time we will deliver edited masters in compressed form, especially 
since they are now talking about "Mezzanine Compression," which is a fairly
benign (4:1) compression that may solve the problem of recording 1.5 Gb/S 
HDTV video without having to buy a $300,000 D-6 VTR.

Compressed or not, "metadata" is coming.  Aside from time, ownership and
copyright, and closed captioning, it also contains key information on minor 
details such as video format and aspect ratio needed for home TV sets to
reconstruct the images.  You don't have to fill in all the "blanks" in the
meta-
data, but a certain minimum amount has to be present in order for the DTV
system to work.

<< 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 be cause you can do something it doesn't mean you should. >>

Few have expressed any strong feelings one way or another to me.  I guess 
they are waiting to see what becomes the "format du jour," which is 
probably sensible considering the limited demand for HDTV programming at 
the present time.  On the other hand, people in manufacturing are tearing
their 
hair out, since they don't want to be left in the dust without anything to
sell this
fall.

<< 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. >>

Maybe and maybe not!!!  DTV is going to be a struggle for many years to come;
I don't expect the dust to finally settle for another 25 years.  Yes, there
will be 
a lot of confusion, dead ends, heated emotional arguments and warring factions
(see the 720p Hatfields vs. the 1080i McCoys).  But in the end, I think we'll 
come out of it with something that will be more than the sum of film,
television, 
and computers.  The ATSC gave us a framework to get there with, rather than 
just another soon-to-be obsolete TV standard, which is what I wanted to thank 
them for at the start of this thread.

Best regards,
Christopher Bacon










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