At 8:52 AM -0500 2/16/07, John Shutt wrote:
Craig,Your underpowered G3 might be able to handle the latest H.264 software codecs, but at what framerates? Furthermore, how much processing power should we build into a STB or integrated tuner today to anticipate unknown codecs developed in 2017? Do you want your STB to cost as much as a laptop just so it has the available processing and memory power "just in case?"
Clearly there are some trade-offs here, at least in the short term.By way of example, I think we would both agree there is more than adequate CPU power to handle the decoding of virtually ANY audio codec that one could imagine using for a broadcast application.
I'll admit that my poor little G3 cannot decode some of the higher quality content that is being streamed today. But my wife's four year old 1 GHz G4 has no trouble at all. And even more important, video decoding is now a distributed process that is shared by the CPU and the GPU, which typically has hardware support for sub-processes like image scaling, DCT and inverse DCT, etc.
The point I am trying to make here is that we are very close to the point where CPU/GPU performance exceeds application requirements for now and well into the future. Perhaps it may be difficult to teach a 2010 box how to decode 4 Mpixel digital cinema files, but I have a very strong feeling that 720P and 1080P will still be around in another decade or two. The sweet spot for OTA television is going to reside somewhere between 320 x 240 for mobile, and 1080P for fixed HDTV. In fact, I think in time 720P will become the most popular emission format, as it provides a nice optimization of resolution potential and motion portrayal at reasonable emission bit rates.
And I might add that Apple TV has all of the guts needed for a STB except for the demod, and it includes a 40GB hard drive, 100baseT, and 802.11n networking. It costs just $299 today, making the Samsung ATSC STB look rather overpriced.
Consumers are not going to be driven by the notion that their STBs must last for decades, nor that the tuners inside a TV are all that important. They are going to be driven by the services that are available, as the majority of TV viewers are today with cable and DBS (which amortize their STBs in less than seven years). And in many cases, the services subsidize the cost of the STBs.
One could easily build a business case for broadcasters developing an open, extensible DTV platform with DVR capabilities that would be used to cache both free and premium content. In the process, broadcasters could develop a relationship with their viewers, as the box would leverage broadband connectivity, providing the back channel needed to develop new service that use the broadcast pipes to push IP multicasts and other new data services to the masses.
I think the problem is that broadcasters are still thinking about TV in terms of the '60s and '70s, when everyone was watching only them. Broadcasters seem content to leverage the technology infrastructure of others, and expect CE manufacturers to support archaic legacy analog and DTV systems as a standard feature of their products.
Obvioulsy the CE manufacturers could care less about making your life easier. Regards Craig ---------------------------------------------------------------------- You can UNSUBSCRIBE from the OpenDTV list in two ways:- Using the UNSUBSCRIBE command in your user configuration settings at FreeLists.org
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