April 14, 2003
DTV Demo Time In Sin City
It’s spring. The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, and the broadcast world has its eyes on Las Vegas. Traditionally, local broadcasters in that market host or assist in technology demos in conjunction with the NAB show. This year, perhaps due to the still-slumping economy, not as many stations will be participating in demos. But there are still a few that are showing off technologies worth seeing.
Two of the select few are Sinclair’s two O&Os in the market, KFBT (Independent) and WVWB (WB), which will provide the digital signal for a mobile HDTV transmission demo by LINX Electronics. LINX is holding the demo mainly for some potential customers in South American countries, many of which are interested in beginning a digital transition, but have yet to adopt a standard modulation system, such as the U.S.’s 8-VSB and Europe’s COFDM.
For the demo, LINX will send a 6Mhz HD signal at 9Mbps from the Las Vegas Convention Center to a van provided by Microsoft. The demo will use an advanced compression system developed by Microsoft. The van will also be equipped with a rooftop antenna so that the signal can be received in the Microsoft booth (SL136).
Meanwhile, the PBS affiliate in town, KLVX, also has some tricks up its sleeve. It will be providing the digital signal for Dallas public broadcaster KERA’s demo of its proprietary datacasting system. “We’re always interested in doing these demos,” said KLVX engineer Gary Jones. “They’ve worked out well for us in the past. We can get early access to the technology, and get a feel for how it works.” KLVX will also be providing the digital signal for a demo of Triveni Digital’s SkyScraper datacasting technology.
KTNV, the ABC affiliate in Las Vegas, will be holding technology demos in conjunction with iBlast. At press time, Ron Adair, KTNV’s director of broadcast operations and engineering, said iBlast and his station were still working on the exact details of the demo, but that he knew his station would be providing the on-air digital stream for it.
Jack Smith, chief engineer over at KVVU, the Fox affiliate, was still not certain as to whether or not his station would do any tech demos. Doug Kramer, the chief engineer at KLAS, the CBS affiliate, said his station would not be hosting any demos this year. KVBC, the NBC affiliate, did not return repeated calls.