[opendtv] Re: Truthiness 2

  • From: "Albert Manfredi" <bert22306@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2006 21:03:17 -0500

peter wilson wrote:

>Europe went through an ugly and unpleasant trade war
>with Japan over the HDTV system in the 80's until early

And MUSE and MD-MAC failed, which soured Euro-DTT to the idea of HDTV right 
at the start. I think that was one of the problems Europe had with ATSC from 
way back -- the emphasis on HDTV. However that particular aspect of ATSC was 
just fine, and now European DTT is playing catch-up for HD add-on. And 
having to deal with the SD legacy.

>The European and Japanese CE companies watched in
>horror as the ATSC grand plan evolved. The Computer
>lobby waded in, the story at the time was that the
>chairman of the FCC Reed Hunt was a school friend of Bill
>Gates and slowed everything down to allow MS to catch

That's exactly the way I saw it back then also. But Reed Hunt seemed to snap 
out of that toward the end of his term as Commissioner. And in spite of 
continued protestations by some vocal contributors on here, the *global* 
de-facto standards for HDTV are 16:9 aspect ratio, 1280 X 720, and 1920 X 
1080, for transmission formats. What the Grand Aliiance had proposed in 1992 
or so, which had caused such a reaction from some in the computer lobby. 
Granted, the ATSC added SDTV in 1995, along with 4:3 aspect ratio option. 
The latter not necessarily to anyone's benefit, I don't think. 4:3 is more 
of a nuisance than anything else, IMO. Still a lot of time was wasted with 
those stalling tactics.

>Worst of all was the plan by the ATSC to convert the
>world to ATSC thus breaking up decades of trade
>arrangements between European companies and their
>ex colonies.

I'm missing what you say here. The fact that a US TV standard attempts to 
assert itself in Europe would not be something new. The fact that this US TV 
standard fails to assert itself in Europe is also not new. For example, in 
1964, RAI experimented with NTSC (and SECAM) transmissions, but ultimately 
settled on PAL like most of Europe. Even before then, Europe never adopted 
525 line TV, opting instead for almost anything but -- 405, 441 in trials, 
819, 625, and likely others I'm unaware of.

Similarly, since all time, European AM and FM radio channels have been 
different from their US counterparts (9 vs 10 KHz spacing, 100 vs 200 MHz 
spacing), as is the FM de-emphasis curve (50 us vs 75 us). So this is 
difference in RF standards is not anything new.

>There was also at this time a lot of collateral to prove
>that COFDM was superior to VSB. The Irony is as Steven
>Long has said many times on this list that COFDM is also
>an American Invention.

But the thing is, it was never a matter of US invention or not. If anything, 
it was a matter of patent holders. The US is not a country of "buy 
Amurrican" rednecks, in spite of the image many seem to have. For instance, 
Japanese cars became thoroughly commonplace in the US long before they did 
so in Europe. The issue here was patents, not which country "invented" which 

But so be it. Changing the physical layer of ATSC is not impossible, 
although I'd like to see some real world C/N margin comparisons now that 
8-VSB demods of decent quality have been developed. Come to think of it, if 
the FCC does consider a change to COFDM, I would be surprised if they DIDN'T 
do another battery of comparison tests. Cool. More fun down the road. Can't 


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