First, my thanks to Mark for his interest and response.
More than anything else, this thread reminds me just how much I miss the
industry I walked away from a decade ago. While I attended many conferences,
and had the privilege of working with some of the top engineers and video
professionals in the world over the years, the HPA Retreats stand out as the
most educational and memorable.
Mark has a way of framing the important issues and bringing together industry
leaders in an environment that cuts through the crap.
It becomes obvious where technology trumps legacy and the inverse - "that's the
way we've always done it, no reason to change." Or worse "we need to keep doing
things this way because we don't want technical evolution to undermine our
And we learn where the real barriers are to the practical implementation of
It is also somewhat humbling and sad in a way, how little things have changed
in two decades. I do not claim to be a visionary - with Mark's grooming as
"technical editor" I became a decent reporter, and had the ability to look at
emerging technologies, explain them to readers, and describe the long term
implications with reasonable accuracy.
I miss the frequent interaction we had and the opportunity to stir things up at
the HPA Retreats...
Clearly we are at another turning point in the history of the television
industry. I have not viewed all of Mark's "next generation" You Tube
But I will.
The fact that Mark is able to extend his talent to frame issues and help us
understand them via this "new medium" says volumes. The ability to stream
"content" on demand via the Internet represents so much more than just another
way to distribute movies and TV.
Bert and I spend far too much time debating statistics and trends. One cannot
look at stats about "Internet streaming" and come away with a clear picture of
the impact on the "entertainment applications" that are migrating to the
Back in 1992 I wrote a closing comment in Videography magazine entitled The
Winds of Change. In that article I quoted comments of David Sarnoff in the
April 1932 issue of Modern Mechanics and Inventions about the potential impact
“But even more appealing to the individual is the hope that television may, at
least in a measure, enable man to keep pace with his thoughts. The human being
has been created with a mind that can encompass the whole world within the
fraction of a second. Yet his physical senses lag woefully behind. With his
feet he can walk only a limited distance. With his hands he can touch only what
is within reach. His eyes can see at a limited range and his ears are useful at
a short distance only.”
“When television has fulfilled its ultimate destiny, a man's sense of physical
limitation will be swept away, and his boundaries of sight and hearing will be
the limits of the earth itself.”
From this I concluded:
"Sarnoff dreamed of extending our vision to the farthest corners of the
earth--we reached the moon--and saw it as it happened! Can we afford to dream
of anything less than making it possible for individuals to share their visions
with anyone . . . anytime . . . anywhere?"
Turns out both Sarnoff and I were shortsighted. Television did not extend our
vision to the farthest corners of the earth, or the moon. Turns out that the
real breakthrough is the ability for anyone, anytime, anywhere, to access bits.
I no longer have to travel to an HPA Retreat to access Mark's wit and wisdom.
TV is just an application...
I do have a question for Mark that was not specifically answered in the article
I posted or his response below.
There are two distinct issues involved with the potential migration from ATSC
1.0 to 3.0.
1. replacing the modulation layer with an OFDM-based standard that offers the
a. Improve reception on a range of devices
b. Increase the throughput (bits/Hz);
c. Support SFNs to improve spectral reuse.
2. adding support for new codecs and applications, including the use of the
Internet as a back channel.
These issues are separable: the second does not require changing the modulation
So the question is: what is your sense about the level of interest among
broadcasters for each of the above?
I note from the article that Mark Aitken told the audience at the retreat that
they reach 85% of their viewers via MVPD services.
Do broadcasters really care about upgrading the OTA standards?
Could they retain the existing 1.0 standard and simply create a compatible
version of their programming for OTA, while upgrading the versions they
distribute via the MVPDs and the Internet?
On Feb 26, 2016, at 6:01 PM, Mark Schubin <tvmark@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
I think the first time we compared higher dynamic range to higher resolution
was at the 1996 Tech Retreat in Monterey. The consensus was that the
increased contrast made a better picture than the higher resolution.
HDR is quite wonderful and unquestionably delivers the most bang for the bit,
but it's not trivial. Here's a link to a recent story I did about it,
referencing the new UHD Alliance spec of 0.0005 nits for black level:
In it I reference a superb presentation by Sean McCarthy of Arris on the
interdependence of different forms of advanced imaging. HDR, for example,
makes motion artifacts more visible. I hope his paper will be published soon
in the SMPTE Journal.
In the meantime, here is a series of brief presentations I did last summer on
various forms of next-generation imaging.
Higher spatial resolution: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0BmVbfNQT4
As for the transition from ATSC 1.0 to ATSC 3.0, there's no indication the
government will supply new channels or pay for converters, as they did for
the transition from NTSC to ATSC. I don't know that the idea of broadcasters
sharing channels to effect a transition in any given market will work. Many
broadcasters are already multicasting or demanding higher bit rate for their
Back to HDR, several people at the HPA Tech Retreat last week pointed out
that it took decades for HD to get from the lab to the home, and we shouldn't
expect HDR to do it overnight.
BTW, extreme kudos to Annie Chang of Disney for putting together the HDR