[opendtv] Re: Analysis: Should Apple Buy Hollywood?

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2012 16:33:14 -0500

At 6:38 PM -0600 2/26/12, Manfredi, Albert E wrote:
Sorry, Craig, but this is, and has been, your own narrative, not necessarily related to reality at all. We very simply disagree.

No Bert, it is a simple fact that can easily be verified.


RTO Online
Rate: Notebooks Outsell Desktops and LCD Monitors Unit Sales Surpass CRT Monitors in May

According to recently released sales results from The NPD Group's point-of-sale tracking service, May 2003 marked the first time that the dollar sales of notebook computers sold surpassed the dollar sales of desktop computers in U.S. retailers. Additionally, May marked the first month ever that LCD monitors generated more unit sales volume than standard tube-based CRTs. These two milestones occurred as May retail computer product sales posted their best year-over-year sales results in nearly four years, jumping 13.6 percent over May 2002.

Market takeover

Although plasmas continued to hold an arguable picture quality edge over LCDs, and even a price advantage for sets at the critical 42" size and larger, LCD prices started falling rapidly in 2006 while their screen sizes were increasing at a similarly rapid rate. By late 2006, several vendors were offering 42" LCDs, albeit at a price premium, encroaching on plasma's only stronghold. More critically, LCDs offer higher resolutions and true 1080p support, while plasmas were stuck at 720p, which made up for the price difference.

Predictions that prices for LCDs would drop rapidly through 2007 led to a "wait and see" attitude in the market, and sales of all large-screen televisions stagnated while customers watched to see if this would happen. Plasmas and LCDs reached price parity in 2007, at which point the LCD's higher resolution was a winning point for many sales. By late 2007, it was clear that LCDs were going to outsell plasmas during the critical Christmas sales season. This was in spite of the fact that plasmas continued to hold an image quality advantage, but as the president of Chunghwa Picture Tubes noted after shutting down their plasma production line, "Globally, so many companies, so many investments, so many people have been working in this area, on this product. So they can improve so quickly."

You are correct that LCDs were featured in some consumer electronics products in the '90s - the first major application was portable DVD players and car theater systems. But the driving force during the '90s was the requirement for LCD panels for Laptop Computers. As screen sizes grew and prices came down, LCD monitors rapidly displaced CRT monitors with the result that by 2003 the majority of computers sold were LCD notebooks, and LCD desktop monitors outsold CRT monitors.

Please not that at this time only a handful of TV stations were broadcasting in HD, and there were no other HD programming sources. Yet HDTV sales were starting to grow. Also note that LCD TVs did not outsell analog CRT TVs until the Christmas season of 2007.

So what was driving the sales of early HDTV displays (of all types)?

Here's a clue. The FIRST HDTV demonstrations I saw in consumer electronics stores were analog projection TVs connected to DVD players. Later plasma TVs began to show up, also connected tro those DVD players.

You write:

Super VHS can provide a luminance bandwidth of 5.4 MHz, which is very, very close to what DVD players provide, and is quite a bit better than 4.2 MHz of OTA NTSC (in 6 MHz channels). DVD players provide about 5.6 MHz luminance bandwidth. So, very similar.


SVHS is still a color under system where the subcarrier signal is encoded along with a luminance signal.

DVD is a digital component system using MPEG-2 encoding of three components:

Y - luminance (which primarily consists of green information)
R-Y - The red channel information from which the luminance signal is subtracted
B-Y - the blue channel information from which the luminance signal is subtracted

These is no subcarrier or the extreme bandpass filtering of the I and Q color components that are encoded on that subcarrier.

Instead, the color difference signals are bandpass filtered to 1/2 the bandpass of the luminance (Y) channel, which you correctly noted has a bandpass of 5.6 MHz. Not only does this provide more color detail, but this detail is easily recoverable because you do not need to filter out luminance information as you do with NTSC decoders (typically using a comb filter). RGB is easily derived mathematically from Y, R-Y,and B-Y.

Digital component processing became the new TV industry standard in the late '1980s thanks to the development of the ITU-R BT 601 standard and new tape formats that implemented this standard. Much of the European broadcast infrastructure had upgraded to "601" plants by the time DTV became a reality - it was a natural step for them to simply migrate from PAL to MPEG-2 delivery of digital component video. This is the major reason that HDTV introduction lagged in Europe- they had just upgraded to digital and did not want to start all over again. The quality of 576 line digital component TV was very close at the time to the first generation HD formats.

Close enough, that digital component video delivered via DVD to new HDTV displays provided the content that drove the first wave of HD adoption both in the U.S. and around the world.

The very first HDTV appeared on store shelves with the introduction of HDTV transmissions. You can pretend it was something else, but you'd be wrong. Stores that displayed HDTV sets showed HD content, not DVDs.

Patently untrue.

I can go back in the list archives and find numerous threads about the LACK of OTA HDTV content in stores until well into the next decade. The major problem was that no TV station was HD all the time; at best there were a handful of TV shows broadcast in HD during the '90s. Stores wanted people to see screens filled with high quality video, not upscaled SDTV encoded from NTSC. So there were two options:

1. DVD
2. ATSC transport stream devices that played HD content from Hard Disk drives creating MPEG-2 transport streams distributed around the store via cables.

And sales of HDTVs did not pick up definitively until maybe 2006 and later.

Thanks. At least you were right about this, as the articles I posted above verify. But LCD displays were already dominating in the computer industry by 2003.

 > resolution and in multiple aspect ratios are driving the uptake of
 panel displays for a simple reason. These displays do an excellent job
 of presenting ALL forms of imagery,

True, but this is irrelevant. It has also been your narrative, but it's beside the point.

No Bert it is not irrelevant.

We are moving into a world where very high resolution graphics are producing imagery that is as good or better than HDTV. The iPhone and soon the iPad will feature displays with more than 300 pixels per inch. This vastly exceed HDTV resolution AND you can have transitions between pixels that are NOT Nyquist limited as is the case for video.

For much of the content from the web we need all the detail possible at the display, especially for text and graphics which are NOT Nyquist limited. Since Video is filtered, we can use those extra samples to emulate those filters. In very simple terms:

For web content I can have BWBWBWBWBW pixel transitions

For TV content I need BGWGBGWGBGW where G is a grey pixel between the black and white pixels. LCD panels do both quite well.

All you are saying is that even 480i material can be helped if the image is upconverted to 1080i or 720p. But that's simply a fortuitous side effect. In spite of what you try to push, Craig, people did not rush to stores to buy HDTV sets, only to watch S-VHS or DVDs. Early adopters did rush to stores to buy HDTV sets and 1st gen ATSC STBs, to watch HD games.

Yeah right!

There was one NFL game broadcast in HD in 1998 - only in New York City

In 1999 ABC offered all MOnday Night Football games in HD

by 2004 only 10 NFL games per week were broadcast in HD.

Virtually every HDTV sold went out with a DVD player. As I stated before, one of the major benefits of the early HDTVs was that they did a decent job upscaling NTSC to the big screen; essentially the cheap deinterlacers in these TVs provided functionality that cost upwards of $5,000 from Faroudja and others.

HD did not become a "significant reality" for most Americans until 2005 or later. DTV broadcasts did not begin in Gainesville until 2001, and then only a trickle.


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