[opendtv] Re: NBC's Reitmeier to head ATSC board

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 8 Dec 2006 08:07:28 -0500

At 9:26 AM -0500 12/7/06, Allen Le Roy Limberg wrote:
Glenn was a lab director at Sarnoff Laboratories for a number of years
before joining NBC and is knowledgeable about DTV receiver issues as well as
DTV transmitter issues.  He is pretty good at speaking out on systems and
business issues, so I think he should be a good addition to the ATSC board.

Note: Glenn is NOT an addition to the ATSC board. Just taking his turn as the rotating head of the board.

I've spent many hours discussing DTV issues with Glenn. He clearly understand all of the key issues, and has used this knowledge to protect the OTA franchise. When I say protect, I mean the business interests of the companies that made certain that the DTV spectrum would not be used to field a competitive service to cable and DBS. Thomson was a key sponsor of Sarnoff and was instrumental in the development of the DirecTV system - Thomson built the first half million STBs for DirecTV. NBC was also part of the Sarnoff consortium that built one of the proposed systems prior to the Grand Alliance.

And then there was Bob Rast, who came to the ATSC from General Instruments, where much of the compression technology used for DBS was developed. As a result of the development of the technologies that eventually became MPEG-2, the U.S. abandoned the original augmentation scheme that would have used two 6 MHz channels to deliver HDTV and moved to a single 6 MHz channel digital system.

And did I mention the way the MPEG-2 process was corrupted, when Sony, Thomson, Sarnoff, GI, and other broadcast interests took it over and entrenched outdated technologies like interlace for SD and HD? Or that they did this again with H.264?

The point here is that the people behind the ATSC are also the people behind the DBS industry and the consumer electronics industry. They were not primarily concerned about the viability of the U.S. DTV standard - if anything they did their best to cripple it. What they wanted, AND GOT, was the force of government behind the idea that everyone would need to upgrade to HDTV capable receivers/displays.

As we have seen in another thread this week, HDTV is now a legitimate success, at least in the U.S., and it achieved this success without significant market support from broadcasters. The broadcasters traded their support for ATSC/HDTV for a DTV transition designed to add significant life to the real cash cow - NTSC.



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