[opendtv] 2VSB Status? (was Lawmakers Establish 2009 Deadline for Analog TV Phaseout)

  • From: "Stephen W. Long" <longsw@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 24 Dec 2005 14:14:11 -0500

Does any one know the status of 2VSB in the chips / specification for ATSC?

When my small group dared to say publicly that ATSC had no clothes, in a
now classic story, the lawyers on the ATSC side of the table insisted that
robust and mobile reception was going to be delivered via 2VSB.  All of the
8VSB receivers would have 2VSB modes and everyone would be happy.

I have not heard a peep about 2VSB since that time.  Is it possible that
the 20 lawyers on the other side of the table that day that threatened to
sue me personally for delaying the DTV transition were not telling the
entire truth?  Did they know 8VSB reception was problematic and that only
2VSB could provide robust reception?

The most incredible "truth" I ever heard an ATSC proponent say was the
remark - "Oh, ATSC works great - in our tests it worked 75% of the time..."
  In the stunned silence at this remark, an advisor to my boss's boss made
the reply comment that "in our business, we are use to communications
working at least 98% of the time."  My boss slipped me a note under the
table, saying, ..."you were right after all."  I could only nod.

Some of us tried to tell the truth.  We lost the battle, and I was
threatened by one lawyer with personal financial ruin if I continued to
fight - the other side had too much money to buy lawyers instead of
engineers.  ATSC is here, probably to stay.  It still does not work well
enough to warrant the investment made by the broadcasters and since there
is no mass market rush to buy ATSC receivers, free OTA television is a lost
cause in the USA.

At the time, several people told me I did not understand what was really
going on - ATSC was a perfect solution if you wanted OTA television to
fail, which means everyone would switch to cable and satellite, then all of
that UHF spectrum could be sold off to cell phone companies.  I told such
folk they were too cynical.

Now, I am not so sure they were wrong - I believe that is exactly the path
we are on - OTA will cease to exist, or at least no significant number of
people will ever rely on it.  And that is a problem for the Nation.  When
extraordinary weather or even worse events happen, I still believe we need
OTA television to get information to the public.  When a tornado passed
within a mile of my house, I was watching my local TV weatherman and his
Dopplar radar to see the path.  I wanted to SEE the path, not hear about it
on the radio.  My family was hiding in the basement, using rabbit ears on
an old basement TV.  The picture worked!  The DirecTV dish quit working -
clouds too thick.  The cable company here is a joke - service drops out
frequently (when it rains), so I threw them out of the house years ago.

I recently bought the Accurian ATSC DTV box.  I can only reliably receive
three digital stations, in a market of ~10 transmitters.  Using the SAME
coaxial cable, I can get beautiful analog reception on 10 out of 12
stations on my TV/VCR, etc., and the two marginal stations are viewable,
just noisy (low band VHF sucks in my neighborhood).  On the basis of my
superb analog UHF reception, I do not believe it is my antenna that is at
fault.  Since the UHF DTV transmitters are collocated (most of the time)
with the analog UHF transmitters, it is not an antenna pointing problem
that is causing the bad DTV reception.

So, I will repeat the question I first asked in ~1999 - what is the plan to
use 8VSB transmission to provide emergency communications to the American
public?  In public testimony years ago by the then head of ATSC to
Congress, the claim was made that ATSC/8VSB was important to the national
defense - ATSC would be a vital tool for public communications. Will 8VSB
provide at least the same performance as NTSC in this vital role?  No, 8VSB
will never work properly as a reliable communications system in adverse
echo environments (the real world of cities and suburbs, where most of the
people live).  So, can we trust the promised use of 2VSB to provide this
service?  I don't know - I just want to see delivered what was promised.


At 11:40 AM 12/22/2005 -0500, John Golitsis wrote:
>Oh good, you're just as confused as I am over John's last comment.
>Smart is to Mercedes Benz (who offers SUVs) as DVB-H is to ATSC.   
>Related, but catering to completely different markets.
>Even if there was an ATSC mobile "mode", do you really think the  
>networks would allow you to broadcast their material that way?  How  
>much does Verizon and Apple (for example) pay them to address the  
>mobile market?  How much do you?  How much would you?
>On 22-Dec-05, at 11:33 AM, Mark Aitken wrote:
>> What do I and smart cars have in common? Did I miss something?
>> <http://www.thesmart.co.uk/>
>> <http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6605730767077503480>
>> <http://www.smartcarofamerica.com/>
>> And, oh, by the way, Smart Cars are safer than most SUV's...
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