By Ed Milbourn • Apr 1 2009, 3:55pm
When working for Sirius Satellite Radio (now Sirius-XM), I was asked to attend a seminar in Newark, N.J., sponsored by iBiquity, the developer of the HD Radio standard.
I was uninformed as to the purpose of the seminar and assumed it was a "spy" mission.
With the invitation in my hot little hand, I presented myself at the conference room sign-in desk.
Since the HD radio group considered Satellite radio the mortal enemy, I was greeted with a lot of upturned eyebrows and numerous whispers.
I discovered that...
By Ed Milbourn • Mar 26 2009, 3:49pm
I am sure most of you have experienced the superb HD picture offered by Blu-ray discs, and wonder why over-the air (OTA) HD broadcast do not exhibit the same quality.
The answer to this question is compound and has been discussed in similar blurbs on this subject.
However, one of the broadcasters' limitations to optimizing HDTV is inherent in the ATSC standard itself, and that is the obsolete MPEG-2 compression system.
When the digital (HD or SD) signal is originally digitized...
By Ed Milbourn • Mar 23 2009, 3:47pm
As mentioned in my prior wheezes on this subject, the present US economic climate would appear to present over-the-air (OTA) television broadcasters with fantastic possibilities.
With the tremendous opportunities offered by digital production and transmission (i.e.
HD and SD multi-channel and mobile and IP capabilities all at the same time), and most of it "free" to viewers, one would think that the time is ideal for OTAs to take a big chunk of penetration from their pay brethren.
However, as an undying cheerleader for success of OTA, I feel there are a couple of wishes that must be granted before broadcasters have any hopes of stopping and successfully reversing their 15% household penetration ratio.
By Ed Milbourn • Oct 22 2008, 4:22pm
Spurred on by the technical and economic success of digitally produced and distributed motion pictures, the inevitable emergence of the third dimension of consumer HD is upon us.
Consider the following items...
By Ed Milbourn • Oct 7 2008, 4:48pm
Actually, it's Indianapolis that's lucky to have WTHR, Channel 13, as one of the premier US leaders in providing local HDTV programming.
WTHR is at this time the only Indiana station producing HDTV local news and other local programming in this 25th largest market in the US - in which it has been consistently Number 1.
This narration is not to be considered a "commercial" for WTHR, (but it would not be judged an affront if so assumed).
Rather it is a salute to all those local digital broadcasting pioneers who have had the foresight to fully embraced the technology and adjust their business plans to exploit all the benefits to their customers that can be provided - including, most specifically, locally produced HDTV programming.
It is no secret that the old over-the-air (OTA) TV broadcast business model is in trouble at both the major network and local levels...
By Ed Milbourn • Jun 19 2008, 4:38pm
So far, practically all the digital transition "buzz" has been focused on avoiding the trauma that would be suffered by the "poor little old ladies" vainly wiggling their rabbit ears atop their 1975 Zeniths and getting no picture (or sound) on February 17, 2009.
Yes, I'm sure there will be a few of those.
But there will be a lot more, and very vocal, "little old ladies" who already have digital reception capability (HDTV or otherwise) who will be shocked on Feb.
17th to find out they are not receiving one of there favorite DTV channels, and many...
By Ed Milbourn • Apr 1 2008, 4:45pm
Much has been written about wireless component connectivity.
The most recent publicity surrounds the "WirelessHD" initiative - an incipient standard for wirelessly interconnecting signal processing components to an HDTV display.
This is a great concept except one big cord remains - the power cord.
Wireless power has been a much sought-after technology since Nikola Tesla first demonstrated the possibilities in the early 1900's.
Inductive battery recharging technologies have recently been aggressively explored for cordless cell phone applications, but have not been seriously commercialized.
However, a recent exciting innovation being developed by...
By Ed Milbourn • Mar 6 2008, 5:58pm
In 1969 Japan's National Broadcast Network (NHK) started research on an advanced television system to bring truly high definition television to the public.
Their goal for such an endeavor was to "appeal to a higher level of psychological sensation and emotion by transmitting highly intellectual information with detailed characters and graphics." 1
That highly eclectic goal for HDTV remained through its complex evolution to the US system commercialized in 1996.
Unfortunately, that goal is being severely and continuously...
By Ed Milbourn • Jan 28 2008, 8:46pm
As my DirecTV monthly contribution approaches $100 and with heating bills up 20% and auto gas prices up 30% and the economy under increasing stress, I decided to do an audit on the $100 bill.
I would guess that many other families are doing the same thing, particularly as Cable and Satellite bills seem to have no ceiling.
The result of my audit was not at all surprising: 90% or our viewing is among ten channels, six of them are available over-the-air ....
By Ed Milbourn • Jan 23 2008, 9:17pm
The digital/HDTV transition now in pregress by the television industry is arguably (certainly by that industry) the most complex ever experienced, though likely not since the evolvement of radio communications from Morse coded pulses to commercial broadcast radio.
That took about 15 years and with a lot of glitches along the way, But they were overlooked and corrected as the...
By Ed Milbourn • Nov 30 2007, 3:30pm
To most of us the term "9-11" connotes the terrible events surrounding the infamous date of September 11, 2001.
However, to all of us who salute HDTV, the date of September 11, 2007, is one of celebration.
For on that date the FCC adopted a significant ruling affecting not only HDTV but also the digital transition in general.
In short, the FCC (unanimously) ruled that...
By Ed Milbourn • Nov 12 2007, 6:04pm
Reams of paper have been devoted to writings by technical historians in argument as to the "inventor" of television.
In truth, there was no single "inventor" of television such as recognized by seminal technical advances such as the light bulb, airplane and the telephone.
Several individuals representing many generations of scientific discoveries and enabling technologies serially combined to give us the technical miracle we identify with "television." But there is one individual we can arguably identify as the "father" of the television system.
That is John Logie Baird, a Scotsman who virtually single-handedly devised, built and, indeed, commercialized television in Britain.
Indeed, his television developments comprised the adopted BBC television system from 1929 to 1934.
Several thousand Baird "Televisors" (receivers) were built and sold, allowing British citizens to enjoy regular television programming before anybody else in the world!* The amazing aspect of the Baird system w ...
By Ed Milbourn • Nov 1 2007, 12:46pm
This provocative article from our Ed Milbourn will echo forward for a long time to come.
While broadcasting is still a robust business the cracks in its business model are severe.
Analog technology once dictated the business model for telecasting, but that is now remade beyond recognition with the advent of digital technology.
What lays ahead for the use of broadcast spectrum? Let Ed Milbourn open your mind to an exciting and creative future.
_ Dale Cripps
Don't panic! This may be a very good thing for HDTV.
Sometimes it takes a seminal, very disruptive event to cause a fundamental change in traditional business and/or political models to ensure survival.
Failure to make those changes usually results in complete disaster.
Successful change, however, usually results in the surviving entity being stronger, more vibrant and successful than before.
History is replete with examples or this phenomenon, so I won't belabor this tome ...
By Ed Milbourn • Aug 14 2007, 5:33pm
By the end of 2007 more than 5000 North American movie screens will be capable of showing digitally distributed motion pictures, some of which are produced in 3D.
The distribution medium, however, remains mechanical, i.e.
the actual digital data are stored as encrypted files on hard discs.
Downloading of the files via satellite has been successfully demonstrated internationally, and undoubtedly will replace the ferrying of hard drives soon.
The key to this high quality, economical motion picture distribution system is...
By Ed Milbourn • Jul 13 2007, 12:08am
It has been a long battle, but it has been won - big time.
HDTV is now de-facto, not only nationally but internationally.
The marketing "S" curve is approaching its steepest slope.
Indeed, it is getting hard to find a retail TV offering that is not HDTV capable.
HDTV programming, distribution options and sources are being augmented on an increasingly frequent basis.
(Of course, there can never be enough.)
But, is there another, higher level of home AV that...
By Ed Milbourn • Jun 1 2007, 3:35pm
As I have expressed many times in my various articles, I am not a fan of rear projection HDTV, least of all being the single panel DLP variety.
Oh, yes, one can get from such DLP applications a bright, high-contrast image with definition a little bit better that SDTV, but certainly not HDTV.
That added with the spinning color wheel with its whirling noise, motion artifacts, and poor (very poor) color tracking makes a mockery out of the perceived "definition" of HDTV.
But, now, there is new light shining...
By Ed Milbourn • Apr 12 2007, 7:23pm
Strictly speaking what you are about to read is not focused upon HDTV.
Most of the communications systems forming around the world, however, are major benefactors from the technical development of HDTV.
As with NASA's spin offs the strengths found in HDTV solutions are becoming cornerstones for other services.
In this article by DTV pioneer and designer Ed Milbourn we see such developments supporting the enjoyment factor of still another of our national pass times--motoring about the countryside.
The kid in us is going to love this marriage between car and cartoon.
It's not HDTV - yet.
But this application of digital television is truly a seminal event in expanding the amazing benefits of DTV technology.
To punctuate that thought is the recent announcement by Sirius Satellite Radio that it will start providing
By Ed Milbourn • Mar 21 2007, 6:02pm
Imagine virtually any digital video source -regardless of its original resolution- being rendered in full 1920x1080 HDTV.
Of course, most any modern display up-converter/scaling system will render images in a 1920x1080 format, but not at full HDTV resolution.
Enter an incredible development shortly to be revealed - one that is truly exemplary of disruptive technology - the Ultimate Media Player or UMP, the working name and acronym for this amazing innovation.
An interesting consortium of three companies, spearheaded by a large Japanese based electronics powerhouse, developed the UMP.
(I am unable to confirm the name of this "prime contractor," but you can guess.) The key to the operation of the UMP is...
By Ed Milbourn • Jan 30 2007, 8:09pm
At least at the start.
There is no doubt (at least in my little mind) that the next big step in television development is the addition of the third dimension - i.e.
"3DTV." Interestingly, virtually all of the technical elements are in place to commercialize fully compatible 3DTV.
The one caveat to this statement is...
By Ed Milbourn • Nov 30 2006, 6:01pm
In Volume 1 of this dissertation regarding various factors that threaten the viability of HDTV, I discussed those that, in my view, are the top three: Compromised Production Values, Bandwidth Conservation, and Spectrum Super Packing.
The next three are somewhat less critical, but nonetheless threaten to compromise DTV in general and HDTV in particular.
Much of the enjoyment of HDTV depends on...