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

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2012 10:14:14 -0500

At 4:35 PM -0600 3/1/12, Manfredi, Albert E wrote:
Originally, the ATSC standard *did not* even include SDTV, so MPEG-2 MP@HL was mandatory.

Only after the standard settled out. None of the proponent systems used MPEG-2. But the traditional CE vendors invested HEAVILY in MPEG-2, ESPECIALLY with respect to the development of new IP for the encoding of interlace (both for MP@HL and MP@ML). The IP for interlace was mostly in the public domain; by creating a boatload of new IP involving interlace, the CE vendors assured that interlace would survive the digital transition and that the 1080i format would be supported. We came very close to excluding interlace from the DTV standard in 1993 - but the Grand Alliance"deal" forced its inclusion in the eventual ATSC standard.

Note: the tools for encoding Interlace were not included in MPEG-1, because it was already well understood that interlace and entropy coding are at odds with one another - essentially the concatenation of two compression techniques.

Even after SD was added, wisely enough, ATSC still mandated HD stream reception. So that, unless some sort of decimating feature was developed, MPEG-2 MP@HL would be mandatory regardless. Even if the image eventually went to an SD screen.


What would you expect when a mostly "foreign" special interest group spent a small fortune to develop the ATSC standard and lobbied the politicians and regulators to mandate it in every new TV?

I would point out that the ATSC decoders did not start to appear until the first receiver mandates kicked in starting in 2005, a decade after the standard was approved. During that decade hundreds of millions of MPEG-2 MP@ML decoders were deployed for broadcast, cable, DBS and DVD.

As I said back then, that was a mistake. For DVB-T, excusable given their history with HD-MAC. For DBS, maybe, given their spectrum issues? Not sure about that. For cable? No excuse. They were just dead set against ATSC.

No. They were interested in deploying a practical DTV system that would support the content that was, and still is dominant in the marketplace - i.e. SDTV.

It has only been in the past 2-3 years that the majority of broadcasts and cable networks have been available in HDTV. MOST local U.S. broadcast stations still do not originate local content in HD.

May I instead use myself as the market average case?

I bought my first LCD HDTV in late 2003 or early 2004. I had a DVD player, but like (virtually) all DVD players from the years before then, this one had no component outputs. So I used, IIRC, S-video.

Sounds like a personal problem. DVD players with component outputs were available from the launch of DVD in 1997. You chose poorly.

However, there was no question why I bought the HDTV set. It was in anticipation for the time when the CE companies would FINALLY provide a 5th gen ATSC STB. I got sick and tired of waiting, so in 2005 I bought an Accurian 3rd gen, quite decent STB. And then a few weeks later a second similar one, for our upstairs setup. (And since then, upgraded both systems to integrated sets.)

So yes, we did have DVD on HDTV sets before real HD content, but that's hardly why we bought them. We bought them for watching HD content as it was meant to be seen.

You represent a very small portion of the marketplace Bert.

Everyone appreciates the improved quality of HD. Not everyone is willing to pay for it. My daughter's in-laws still subscribe to analog cable for their LCD TV.


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