[opendtv] Re: Optimizing the system

  • From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "OpenDTV (E-mail)" <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2004 15:18:57 -0500

Craig Birkmaier wrote:

> You may well challenge this, however, keep in mind
> that any display smaller than 40 inches does not
> need 720P resolution,

Again, with broadcast or DVD storage, you don't need
to focus on the minimum requirements of any one
display. You need to provide adequate quality for
the best displays, while still being
signal-compatible with the simplest and cheapest

> This is not even true today. Hollywood is still
> holding out for 4K x 2K. And the Japanes are
> already developing Ultra High Definition formats.

Neither of these other formats is called HDTV. They
are instead "digital cinema" or UHDTV.

> Just out of curiosity Bert, can you provide any
> examples of where the consumer electronics
> industry has optimized products around the
> highest level of performance for a mass market
> product?


In 1948, FM radio was designed to exceed the
quality levels of just about any radio in
existence at the time. In short order, radios that
would play the entire audible spectrum were
developed, although FM broadcasts were also
meant for cheap low-fi radios. Fortunately,
there were no short-sighted people out there
decrying the wasted spectrum, given that radios
of the day could barely reach 4000 Hz and 30 dB
of dynamic range.

LPs were developed at the same time as FM radio,
to about the same level of audio performance.
Even though most record players of the day were
unable to extract the best quality from early
LPs. In fact, to hide the effect of dirt and
scratches, many 78 RPM record players
deliberately filtered anything above around
5000 Hz. And early LPs were played through
these same compromised sound systems.

CDs were developed with uncompressed encoding.
Although some golden ears objected to the sound
from early players especially, the sampling rate
was chosen to match human hearing (out to 20 KHz),
and the word length to match the practical limits
of dynamic range (96 dB, which, in the presence
of background noise in even a very quiet home,
will challenge human ears to the point of
damage). CDs were not "optimized" to some
arbitrary boom box level of performance.

All of the above examples were clearly standards
aimed to satisfy the very best equipment, *but*
these media were also designed to be
interoperable with the cheapest of consumer audio

The audio standards for FM, LPs, and CDs were
aimed to meet human sensory capability, not the
lower capabilities of cheaper consumer products.
There's no reason why TV standards should be
written to anything less. Aim for the best,
make the standard signal-compatible with
affordable consumer products, but without
constraining yourself to the playback limits of
today's products. Even 100" screens are not out
of the question for homes in the future.

As to standards like DVD-A, which you brought up,
I might equate that with UHDTV. It is perhaps
not enough better than an existing standard to
cause consumers to jump. With 1080 HDTV, it's
likely that UHDTV won't be seen as a big enough
improvement, even for wall-sized screens.

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