[opendtv] Re: Frames Per Second of 720P

  • From: "John Willkie" <johnwillkie@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 27 Jul 2008 10:19:08 -0700

This is fun!

I can say that some content owners today have the position that they won't
use M/H on their transport streams.  But, they are interested in selling
some of their content to others in the M/H space.  Just like exists today in
other mobile tv spaces.

I can also say that I have personally talked to engineering executives at
several broadcasting group owners that don't own much of the content that
they air -- including one discussion yesterday -- that are very interested
in using M/H, even on the bleeding (expensive) edge.  

One engineering executive in the first group told me -- even though his
company's stock isn't doing well -- that broadcasters interested in M/H
think that it will gin up their stock.  Certainly, that's true if the
services take off.

Craig, I'm happy that you think your iPhone screen has more resolution (I
guess you mean pixels) than an NTSC screen.  In other words, it's better
than a circa-1948 receiver, and without the curved edges.  I'm also glad to
hear that while Steve Jobs is sick, he won't tell the details to anyone on
the record, and it isn't a recurrence of cancer.

It is you that is out of touch with the reality.  I've been reading about
and actually watching mobile tv content for several years.  Apparently, you
have not been doing either, or you weren't taking advantage of the better
than NTSC resolution of your iPhone screen.  

Without exception, everything I have read about or seen in mobile tv was
either hard to see, or was shot "close-in."  This has been addressed in
much about Apple instead.  I attended a private summit just last week where
this "new difference" was discussed.  I would suggest that you engage in
some reading on the subject -- or better yet -- try to watch "ER" on your
iPhone, to see what happens to 16:9 video when shown on a mini 4:3 screen.

Last time I checked, the responsibility of dps ended the moment they
captured an image to video or film.  They largely are clueless about
realities beyond that.  Remember the ASC trying to halt the DTV transition
because they weren't consulted (and didn't discover) the 16:9 issue until
well into the game?  (They didn't hold things up for even a day.)

At this summit I attended last week, one guy who works closely with dps gave
their concerns as a reason to not do Active Format Description!  That was a
riot, since AFD is the only way to prevent their worst nightmares from being
realized in homes!  They are totally and utterly clueless about the
realities beyond their viewfinders.

But, you are missing the point.  There's a world of difference between
framing an XCU (extreme close up) for dramatic effect and making a whole
presentation that way.  
One of the first content companies to present their content in mobile tv was
MTV, in the form of MTV Mobile.  They found within a few broadcasts that
they couldn't just repurpose their standard content because 1) the images
were just too small to see on small screens and 2) the :30/:60 form was just
too long for mobile video, where people just don't have the linear time to
watch that length of content.

You have heard of the concept of 'webisodes', haven't you?  

You think Google is working on an electronic service guide?  Who the hell
cares?  They aren't involved in any standards-development work that I'm
familiar with.  They are working on much, but much of that never is released
to market, or is late (Android) or very difficult (Android) to work with in
the real world.

That's why standards are important, with the involvement of all parties in
the ecosystem; most of the issues are worked out in the development of the
standard, not months after the press releases when outside engineers try to
make your mush work.  If there are issues, the process insures that all
parties will know about it and will work to resolve the issues on a
multilateral basis.

Google is also working on TV advertising systems.  I even get web hits from
goggle.com web sites on MPEG-2 syntactical elements.  

Here's something to keep in mind: even though I use Google for web site
statistics, when a google.com employee searches for something on my web
site, they are never able to discern the geographic location?  In other
words, they'll tell me much information about routine web site searches, but
they "don't know or won't tell" the location of their employees.  And, since
you may not be experienced with Google Analytics, I know the difference
between a google gulp of my web site (which they don't report to me,
either), a search that came through a google web site, and a search that
came from a google employee.

I'm a fan of google.  While they know quite a bit about you, they prevent us
from knowing much about them.  What a fun attitude!

Worse than the number of standards is "non-standards" like Android.
Middleware that supports standards on both ends is a good idea.  Otherwise,
you end up (like Android) plowing two fields at the same time when it comes
to implementation.

Here's a prediction:  If Google wants to play in the ATSC ESG or M/H space,
they will have to become a customer of or will have to purchase one of the
four or five companies that appear to be positioned to serve the space.  Or,
since they are not listed on this page http://www.atsc.org/atscmembers.html
they will most likely be way behind.    

Come to think of it, I need to prepare web pages for M/H syntactical and
semantic elements so I can unveil them when the time comes.

John Willkie

-----Mensaje original-----
De: opendtv-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:opendtv-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] En
nombre de Craig Birkmaier
Enviado el: Sunday, July 27, 2008 7:09 AM
Para: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Asunto: [opendtv] Re: Frames Per Second of 720P

At 10:07 AM -0700 7/26/08, John Willkie wrote:
>It's totally absurd to mention the deprivation of legacy receivers in this
>context; it's like asking "how will color cameras affect black and white
>television sets?"


The important question to ask in this content is what is being done 
to enhance the the ATSC standard for fixed receivers in the home? Or 
to be more precise, will broadcasters support any enhancement that 
will not work for legacy receivers?

Clearly, h.264 is a desirable enhancement for both the new M/H 
service and for fixed receivers. One must ask whether broadcasters 
will use this codec for full resolution HD broadcasts, knowing that 
legacy receiver will go black (or blue screen).

>Let me give you an example that I can talk freely about.  When you shoot
>small screens, you "shoot bigger" than when you shoot for a large screen.
>When shooting someone's face, you would tend to make their face fill more
>the screen than if you were shooting for a large, or even room-filling

This illustrates how out of touch you are John. My iPhone screen has 
more resolution than most NTSC displays. I seriously doubt that image 
capture and framing techniques will change because of mobile. By the 
way, I used to think that way about the web on mobile devices, until 
Apple solved the problem, making it possible to view ANY web page on 
a small screen.

But this does not prevent some content creators from building web 
pages optimized for small screens, just as there will be a new genre 
of short form video for mobile devices.

>So, if you think that there's much utility in showing a screen-filling face
>on a large, room-filling tv set, rock on. \

Apparently many directors of cinematography have no problem filling a 
movie screen with a face...

>All standards are out of date in this time frame at the time they are
>adopted.  But that's not the real problem with standards.  "I love
>standards, there are just too many of them" is the real problem.  But,
>thankfully, there is only one standard for digital tv transmission in the


The ATSC standard uses h.262 encoding for video.

DirecTV and DISH are using both h.262 and h.264 encoding for digital 
TV transmissions.

Apple is using h.264 for selling and renting TV shows and movies to the

Others are using Windows Media for digital TV.

And Flash is being used by YouTube and others.

I guess John is just focused on terrestrial broadcasters, who now 
capture less than 1/3 of the digital TV audience (full day ratings, 
not just prime time).

And did I mention that the new ATSC mobile standard has competition too...

>Back to the ESG (electronic service guide).  Wouldn't it be cool if the
>devices all over the world could employ the same bits to render an ESG?  If
>that ESG would work over the web, over the air, and be usable on WiFi
>devices, mobile phones, web browsers, wireless routers, etc. etc., and be
>able to provide programming information on broadcasts, regardless of
>modulation or channel coding?  There is already such an electronic service
>guide system, and I could even talk about it without violating the ATSC
>But I won't.  "Already" might be an exaggeration, but only by a few weeks

I think Google is working on this...


>If you think that 8-VSB is more efficient than a modulation scheme that you
>know nothing about, one wonders about your sanity.  It seems to me that,
>since the payload of any modulation scheme for tv is largely carrying video
>(something like 95% or more of a program service is video) that the more
>relevant figure is the efficiency of video compression and how that is
>packetized.  I suspect that you don't mean to imply that MPEG-2 is more
>bit-efficient than MPEG-4.\

Uhhhhh John...

8-VSB is significantly more bit efficient than any of the proposals 
for mobile/hand held. Depending on the constellation that will be 
used there will be an additional 25% to 50% bit penalty for the 
ruggedized modes of the mobile standard.

What I MEANT TO IMPLY - actually I clearly stated it - is that it 
would be possible to offer a movie download service that would 
deliver the bits using 8-VSB to maximize bits per hertz, and also use 
h.2645 for encoding, which would maximize compression efficiency 
relative to MPEG-2.

Obviously, no legacy receiver would be able to view these movies, but 
that's OK.

I said this in the context that some manufacturers will most likely 
build the new ATSC enhancements into their fixed receivers. This will 
allow these fixed displays to use all of the new services offered for 
the mobile/hand held market, and to decode h.264 bitstreams that can 
be delivered with 8-VSB, the M/H modulation, a DBS broadcast, cable 
in the near future, and Internet download. This assumes that the M/H 
standard will use h.264, which I believe to be a safe assumption at 
this time.

I doubt that a broadcasters would be concerned about the 
incompatibility of legacy receivers with h.264 bitstreams delivered 
using 8-VSB, if these bitstreams are a separate paid service like 

>I think that it's unlikely that "new receivers 'may" be able to take
>advantage of the new mobile bits to improve their ability to tune to any
>channel "  The ATSC M/H process had three different modulation/coding
>schemes to consider.  I know not much about the Thomson proposal, and I
>haven't bothered to look it up.  I know a bit more about the Harris/LG MPH
>proposal, and I know quite a bit about the A-VSB proposal thanks to one R&S
>engineer I talked to at NAB that provided me with an 8mb powerpoint
>presentation.  (And, I've talked with several Samsung consultants over the
>years that their proposal has been pending.)

What has ANY of this to do with the possibility that ATSC M/H 
features may be incorporated into future fixed receivers?

>To the best of my knowledge, nothing in these proposals would have aided
>ability to tune into any legacy programming.  Indeed, if we are talking
>about the early phases of the A-VSB proposal, it would have lessened if not
>merely prevented the ability to tune into legacy broadcasts.

This is NOT my understanding. I have been told that several of the 
techniques that are being evaluated for the M/H standard can also be 
used to help guide the equalizer in the tuner, even if the goal is to 
capture an 8-VSB portion of the modulated signal. Time will tell.

>From what I see today -- and not knowing about the layers of approval
>this stuff becomes public -- ATSC M/H is a "whole new ballgame."

Hmmmm... I believe I said much the same thing, and was reprimanded by 
Mr. Aitkin:

"Where did you get the notion that almost everything had to change?"

>I would also note that just about any improvement in digital modulation or
>coding (DVB-H, DVB-T2) doesn't work with well, if at all, with legacy
>receivers.  So, that ain't an ATSC issue per se.

The nature of extensibility is to add to existing functionality 
without breaking it. This allows us to continuously upgrade consumer 
devices to do new things, but not break existing devices - you just 
need to upgrade if you want the new stuff.

You can UNSUBSCRIBE from the OpenDTV list in two ways:

- Using the UNSUBSCRIBE command in your user configuration settings at

- By sending a message to: opendtv-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word
unsubscribe in the subject line.

You can UNSUBSCRIBE from the OpenDTV list in two ways:

- Using the UNSUBSCRIBE command in your user configuration settings at 

- By sending a message to: opendtv-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word 
unsubscribe in the subject line.

Other related posts: