[opendtv] Re: Frames Per Second of 720P

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 28 Jul 2008 09:33:25 -0400

At 10:19 AM -0700 7/27/08, John Willkie wrote:
This is fun!

Glad you are having a good time!


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.

Broadcast execs are looking for ANYTHING that will help their stock price and stop the bleeding in general. The unfortunate reality is that it may be very expensive to launch an entirely new service for which there are no receivers...yet.

In turn, this begs the question of whether broadcasters can raise the money and work together to achieve success in a market for which there has been lackluster consumer interest to date.

I'm not giving odds, just noting that simply putting a few new services on the air will not be sufficient to successfully launch a new M/H service. One of the reasons that broadcasters are excited about the potential for M/H is that "their" market research suggests that there is a multi-billion dollar market for paid services - e.g. subscription TV and PPV downloads.

To date, the cost of subscriptions for the telco mobile video services have been a show stopper.

If it turns out that the only viable market is Free to Air for mobile receivers, then the question will become: How much NEW revenue can we generate from this service? And by inference, is the new revenue adequate to offset the start-up costs and still produce new revenue streams.


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 better than the last 27" CRT display I bought in 1990. I have no problem watching and enjoying TV shows and movies produced for the screens in the family room and theaters.

Do I do this often?

No. But this suggests that there is something other than resolution at WORK here. For me it is the fact that I do not watch a lot of TV and movies, and when I do, I typically favor a more conducive environment for entertainment than typically exists when i am working and mobile.

The point is simple. Your perception that small screens cannot convey content designed for big screens has primarily been driven by the size and quality of the screens that have been available for M/H devices. Clue - the iPhone and iPod Touch have changed that picture (sic).

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.

Yes John, like yourself I've been reading about and looking at video on M/H devices for years. And I have written about them too. I bought an iPhone first and foremost because, as a phone, it is clearly superior to anything I have ever used. Second because it provides a highly functional web browser with integration for location based services, phone functions and mapping functions. Third because I can sync it with my music library and load high quality photos into it that I use to show clients my work. And last, because there are times that I do want to view video when there are no PCs or TVs around.


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
EVERY ARTICLE I'VE EVER READ ABOUT THE SUBJECT.

Yup! And the market research on Automatic Teller Machines indicated to the banking industry that nobody would use them because they would not trust a machine and wanted a real person handling their money.

Given the limitation of most first generation video capable phones, I would write the same thing...

Not very useful.

Perhaps you have read too
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.

It's called letterbox. Works just fine. But many shows are delivered in the 4:3 aspect ratio because most shows are still protected for the much larger 4:3 viewing audience.


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.)

Correct. They simply decided to stop hitting their heads on the wall built by the vidiots who insisted that we needed "one aspect ratio to control them all." So instead of trying to get the TV guys to move to a wider screen aspect ratio, they decided to start releasing everything in the projects native aspect ratio. As a result almost every movie you can rent or buy today on DVD is letterboxed on a 16:9 screen.


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.

AFD is another unintended consequence of trying to introduce a new aspect ratio while still delivering the same content to millions of legacy receivers. If the TV industry would simply accept the reality that programs will be delivered in MANY aspect ratios this problem would not exist. The simple solution is to fill as much of the 16:9 frame as possible, and forget about the folks who are still using legacy sets.

This is exactly what YOU suggested for my iPhone - letterbox the widescreen stuff into the 4:3 display. The difference is that the iPhone display has enough resolution for this to work, while letterboxing a 16:9 TV show on an old 4:3 CRT display tends to make that old small screen look even smaller.

Of course, broadcasters COULD embrace 16:9 and start using it for more than prime time.


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.

Correct. That's why your position is so nonsensical. There is no reason to change shooting techniques for mobile entertainment. NONE!


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.

More brilliant market research.

Could this have been influenced by the devices that were available in the marketplace when MTV launched this service? Could it be that early video enabled phones with 1.5" screens sucked? Could it be that the time needed to download these clips given telco bandwidth restrictions made it too tiresome and expensive to download the entire music video?

For some reason Apple did not find the same issues when they launched the video services at the iTunes store. SOmehow they have managed to sell millions of full length music videos, millions of broadcast TV shows, and millions of movies. Not all are viewed on iPods. These purchases can be viewed on a PC or a TV as well. And that's the point...

When products and services are properly designed it is possible to share media across multiple devices. Given the choice of watching a movie on my iPhone or my MacBook Pro while traveling to NAB, I opted for the 15" HD screen of the notebook. But only because I had enough room for the laptop. I could just as easily have used the iPhone.

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

You bet. But this has noting to do with technical issues. It is about attention span and trying to find a way to get people to watch mobile video when they are otherwise moving about and typically rather busy. I typically turn on the TV when I have nothing else to do but sleep...


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.

Amazing.

Yesterday you told us you love standards because there are so many of them.

Your beloved SMPTE and ATSC create lot's of standards. Most are barely used.

Why would Google want to get bogged down in SMPTE standards work? They want to create exciting new services, not protect legacy markets that are dying.

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.

I spent years working on standard John. I've been to more SMPTE and ATSC meetings that you are ever likely to attend. And I spent several years working ion MPEG standards as well. By the way, I subscribe to several e-mail reflectors related to MPEG work. The discussions are dominated by engineers trying to make "their" mush work.

And here's a real grin for you. The MPEG standards were designed to be extensible - all kinds of reserved bits were included for future extensions. Unfortunately, the mush masters trying to design MPEG-2 decoders simply hard coded around many of these extensions. And when push came to shove, the companies that built non-conformant decoders blocked attempts to add new features, because the non-conformant products they had shipped would break if the reserved extension were used.

It is unfortunate, but standards are used as much to block innovation as to enable innovation.

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

Yes, they dabble in this area.

;-)

Let's just say that I'll put my money on Google over the ATSC when it comes to the way that the masses will search for TV content in the future. Did I mention watching YouTube videos on my iPhone.

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.

Why would they bother?

They can access TV listings for the information they will integrate into their search engines.

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.


A prime example of duplicated efforts. Why do we need another standard for displaying info on a M/H device? There is a near 1005 certainty that these devices will be able to parse and display HTML...

Regards
Craig


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