[opendtv] A 30 year commemorative commercial

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: OpenDTV Mail List <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 4 Feb 2014 08:25:43 -0500

Just about 30 years ago, while working at the Grass Valley Group, I bought one 
of the first 10,000 Macs. I used it to put together the marketing  materials 
for the GVG Model 100, which we launched at the 1984 NAB. At the time, NHK and 
"Japan Inc." we're demonstrating the 1125/60 HDTV system. 

Soon thereafter, the NAB told the FCC they needed more spectrum to deliver HDTV 
to the masses. This led to the Advisory Committee on Advanced Television 
Services, which in turn begat the ATSC standard in 1995. When the standard was 
approved it cost well in excess of $1 million to shoot and edit HDTV content. 
Japan Inc. and many U.S. Video equipment manufacturers believed they were on 
the cusp of a new Golden Age of TV, with a bright future building expensive 
HDTV gear.

But in 1995 I demonstrated broadcast quality SDTV to the SMPTE Winter 
Conference in San Francisco. The high quality component video was playing off 
of the hard disk of a Mac with a non-linear editing system board developed by 
Media 100. The conference turned into a shouting match between the traditional 
video equipment manufacturers and the upstart computer industry, which had 
already transformed the production of high quality audio content.

About the same time in 1995, another Silicon Valley upstart changed the world. 
Version 1.0 of Netscape Navigator was released in December of 1994, and the Web 
was born. 

HDTV did not save Japan Inc., or the U.S. video equipment industry. By the turn 
of the century, non linear editing systems had scaled to handle HDTV - anyone 
watching what Moore's Law was enabling could have figured this out by the time 
the ATSC standard was approved in 1995. I for one did, writing about all of 
this on the pages of broadcast industry publications, and on an Internet 
enabled forum that became OpenDTV.

About a week ago, Apple produced an HDTV video to commemorate the 30th 
Anniversary of the Mac. It was shot entirely on the iPhone 5s, at locations 
around the world. You can watch it on Apple's home page, Apple.com.

In 1984, the cable industry was beginning to create new channels, and started 
charging subscribers small monthly fees for these new channels. The era of 
bundling was underway.

30 years later, the equipment side of the television business has been 
"fundamentally transformed" by technology. 30 years later the content side of 
the industry has driven the cost of HDTV home entertainment to $100/month, 
while it holds the Internet at bay as it seeks to control it as well...

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  • » [opendtv] A 30 year commemorative commercial - Craig Birkmaier