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

  • From: Bob Miller <bob@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 24 Dec 2005 21:42:32 -0500

Stephen W. Long wrote:

>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.
Maybe it is time to sue those who threatened suit. Any names? All twenty 
if you have them. I think names are good. Getting tired of the "they or 
them" we always hear are responsible.

It sounds like "they" are responsible for the long delay we have has in 
our OTA transition and if that is the suable offense they threatened you 
with then it should also apply in reverse.

Bob Miller
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