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Omnibus Systems, Inc. offers broadcasters interactive technology for television

To keep up with the rapidly changing television industry, Omnibus Systems Inc., developed Colossus, a system designed to bridge the gap between audio, Internet and datastreaming applications while addressing the needs of broadcasters who want to add more numbers of existing channels to their output quickly.

The Colossus system offers broadcasters interactive technology for television that gives its viewers more choice in what they want to see.

Colossus has now been enhanced to include a cache manager to help manage media access across a large number of servers, while providing a graphical interface that displays the amount of space available on each of the servers. It also shows the media flow between them.

Colossus was recently used at this year's Wimbledon event.

Paying for DTV

SCRI International recently asked television stations how it planned to pay for the transition to DTV. The responses showed that many believed a variety of sources will be used. Despite the potential DTV provides for a variety of new revenue sources, commercial sales is seen as the most common source for revenue. Almost 71 percent of the stations saw commercials as a key to the station's future.

Datacasting, one potential revenue source, was ranked as the second in popularity, at 62 percent. For the non-commercial stations, PGS memberships and governmental grants were seen as the way to pay for DTV.

Two areas often mentioned as new opportunities for DTV stations were multicasting and high-definition programming. Almost one-in four stations, at least 24 percent, said it would use multicasting as a revenue source. No data is available on how many stations viewed HD as a revenue source.

Stations clearly are not relying on pay-per-view to pay for DTV. A little more than 1 percent surveyed said PPV was in the station's future. Stations are planning to use more than one source, as evidenced by the fact that the total exceeds 100 percent.

See the graph below for results.

TV stations are looking at a variety of ways to pay for the transition to DTV.

For more information, contact SCRI at www.scri.com or info@scri.com.

Sony migrates to all-digital line of acquisition equipment

Sony Electronics announced that it has now completely migrated to an all-digital lineup of professional acquisition equipment. Sony said the acquisition lineup, which ranges from the one-fourth inch DVCAM® format to the high-definition one-half inch HDCAM® format, offers a significantly higher performance at lower price points then the analog camcorders it replaced.

Sony said its all-digital acquisition equipment is a key component of the company’s “Anycast” theme. “Anycast” products are designed to help content producers and distributors originate and deliver the highest quality digital content over a variety of distribution channels.

Sony’s line of digital acquisition products separate into two parts. The first includes a range of digital camcorders on the one-fourth inch platform – the DVCAM family – which are tailored to the contemporary needs of ENG, event videography, independent moviemaking and documentaries. The second is based upon the one-half inch platform and constitutes the product portfolio targeted for the multifaceted mainstream world of DTV.

ParkerVision hires former CEO of iNews

ParkerVision, Inc. has hired Matt Danilowicz, former CEO of iNews, as a senior member of its video management team. In his new position, Danilowicz will assist the company on a wide range of issues including sales, marketing, strategic planning and product development. He will also develop third party integration/partnering activities.

Danilowicz joins ParkerVision with 16 years of experience in the broadcast technology marketplace. An early founder of newsroom computing, he most recently served as CEO of iNews and Vice President of Broadcast for Avid Technology, a worldwide supplier of news computing software for journalists and television producers.

Prior to forming iNews, Danilowicz held various executive positions with Avid Technology, including Vice President of Worldwide Channel Sales. Before joining Avid, he pioneered the Digistore, the world's first video-server based commercial playback system to be used on-air. Danilowicz also developed applications for the first radio frequency-based interactive television solution, TV Answer.

Danilowicz said his main objective in his new position is to help establish ParkerVision as a vital and significant technology provider to broadcasters and webcasters worldwide.

Sony unveils new CineAlta Web site for TV, independent film and motion picture professionals

Sony Electronics introduced a new Web site to serve as an industry resource for its 24P technology.

The site, http://www.SonyUSACineAlta.com , offers breaking news from the CineAlta technology news desk, technical information, critical reviews and articles about 24P.

It also includes 1080/60i high-definition projects, case studies, equipment and media specific FAQs and industry white papers. In addition, the site features content from creativeplanetcommunities.com, www.cinematographer.com, www.digitalCINEAmag.com, and http://www.videography.com.

Tektronix, Inc. presents multi-city technology symposium

Tektronix, Inc. announced its Technology Symposium 2001. The symposium is a free series of seminars that will address topics from optical measurement in 40 Gigabit/s systems to test and measurement challenges for wireless LANs to MPEG tests. The ten-city tour across the U.S. and Canada runs from November 6 to December 7.

Participants can choose from three different technology tracks during each all-day event. The three tracks will focus on Mobile Communications, Optical Communications, and Digital Video. It will offer individual 90-minute classes focused on key technologies and measurement techniques within each discipline. The day’s activities will conclude with a product fair showcasing the latest test instrumentation from Tektronix.

The Tektronix Symposium will travel to these locations:

November 6 - Ottawa, Canada; November 8 - Boston, Mass.; November 12 - Longbranch, N.J.; November 13 - Princeton, N.J.; November 15 - Baltimore, Md.; November 27 - Atlanta, Ga.; November 30 - Dallas, Texas; December 4 - San Diego, Calif; December 5 - Irvine, Calif; December 7 - San Jose, Calif.

Sony mobile truck to facilitate HDTV broadcasts for Pacific Northwest sporting events

Paul Allen's Action Sports and Entertainment Mobile Television (ASEM) has taken delivery of an advanced high-definition production truck - offering 60i and 24P production from Sony Electronics' Systems Integration Center. ASEM will use the new state-of-the-art truck from Sony to broadcast Portland Trail Blazers, Seattle Seahawks and Portland Fire games in high-definition on Allen's Action Sports Cable Network. ASEM will also make the truck available for rent.

The 53-foot "Expando" trailer is packed with the latest high-definition production gear from Sony including: The MVS-8000 digital multi-format production switcher, 10 Sony HDTV cameras, 11 HD tape machines, a Sony Oxford digital audio mixing console and three Sony 42-inch high-resolution flat panel monitors.

Thomson multimedia wins Scientific and Technological Emmy

Thomson multimedia Broadcast & Network Solutions have been awarded a Scientific and Technological Emmy® Award for its pioneering work in shared video-data storage systems technology for use in television video servers. The technology was made commercially available in the Media Pool server delivered to Home and Garden TV in 1994.

Thomson multimedia servers incorporate the latest in SAN technology. Its research and development teams continue to build on the SAN technologies first delivered in Media Pool, with its Nextore server.

More than 270 Thomson servers are used throughout the world, serving approximately 2,500 channels every day.

Freeze Frame

A look at the technology that shaped this industry

Panasonic increases commitment to high-definition production community

Panasonic Broadcast & Television Systems Company announced the establishment of the High Definition Business Development Center, based at 3330 Cahuenga Boulevard West, Los Angeles, CA. The establishment of the HD Center is the latest development in a series of recent investments in Hollywood by parent company, Matsushita, to support high-definition and video networking technologies and its application in digital cinema, broadcast television, scientific analysis and e-commerce.

The facility is one of three strategically-located Panasonic Broadcast facilities, including Secaucus, N.J., servicing New York and East Coast-based television networks; and Washington, D.C., servicing federal government agencies such as NASA, already a user of Panasonic's high-definition camera systems for scientific analysis and public relations relating to the space shuttle.

New TIA/EIA tower standards

A new standard for steel antenna towers and antenna supporting structures is being finalized. The standard, called Revision G, will replace the current rules, called Revision F, which many of today’s towers are operating under.

The changes in the standard are primarily driven by new knowledge of wind and load factors on tower and similar structures. Also, as broadcasters are intimately familiar, local zoning and national building codes often impact plans to construct towers, and new solutions are often needed.

The current standard (Rev. F) is under review by a committee of volunteer professionals, primarily tower engineers, and other communications product engineering consultants. The proposed new standards are expected to be made public after the first of the year. The EIA committee is likely to vote on the new standard sometime next year.

How will Revision G affect tower design?

The key differences will be noticed by tower designers. New calculations will change how loads are computed. For instance, the current standard calculates wind loading based on Fastest-Mile wind speed based on history and distance. The new standard will calculate wind loading according to three-second gust wind speeds. This means that a 50mph wind speed is not considered the same as a 50mph three-second wind speed. The new standard’s goal is to more accurately reflect the load a tower might encounter.

The new standard is also likely to include a mandatory ice load factor. Tower location will determine if the ice region calculations apply.

Will you have to modify your tower?
Maybe. If you plan on adding antennas or increasing the load, you may have to bring the tower into compliance with Rev G. If your tower currently meets today’s criteria and you’re not adding anything, additional changes are unlikely to be needed.

What about new towers?
If you’re planning to build a new tower soon, you should work closely with your tower designer and contractor. While the standard isn’t official now, a competent engineer or company can help you determine if your tower is likely to meet the new criteria. This could help protect your tower investment by ensuring the structure meets both today’s and tomorrow’s requirements.

Brad Dick
Editorial Director

Editor’s note: PiRod has a brochure reviewing the proposed new regulations and how they may impact broadcasters. You can obtain a copy by contacting the company at: 219-936-4221 or www.pirod.com.

Is 2002 the year of DTV?

SCRI International recently asked, “By when do you expect to be on the air transmitting a digital signal?” The responses showed that, cumulatively, more than 84 percent of TV stations plan to be transmitting DTV signals by the end of 2002.

By the end of 2003, a cumulative total of 92.5 percent plan to be DTV-compliant. Most significantly, perhaps, is that 2002 seems to be the year of DTV, with more than 48 percent of respondents saying they would be adding DTV sometime next year. For more information, contact SCRI at www.scri.com.

UHF stations get DTV delay

The FCC has announced new flexibility in the voluntary moving of broadcasters from channels 60-69 to other bands. The Commission, which is in a hurry to get broadcasters out of the 700MHz band, has approved new guidelines that permit those stations additional freedom and benefits if they’ll just move.

Based on a petition from the Paxson group and others, the FCC granted their request that makes it easier (and beneficial) for a station to move from the upper UHF band to their second assigned (DTV) channel. There are several benefits to the station that voluntarily makes this change.

First, any broadcaster that voluntarily moves out of the 700MHz band and gives up one of its channels to accommodate band clearing will be allowed to operate in the analog mode and then later convert to DTV at any time up until December 31, 2005. Also, these stations can seek a further extension of the DTV construction deadline if less than 70 percent of the television households in its market are capable of receiving DTV signals.

Second, the Commission also granted these broadcasters limited relief from DTV policies regarding interference protection of non-replicated service areas. The bottom line is that they don’t have to meet the same interference requirements as other stations.

Finally, these stations are promised a 90-day processing timeline for modification applications filed in connection with band-clearing arrangements. The FCC said there would be no delays in getting approval of their applications.

So, does this hint of further delays in DTV implementation? Probably not. The real reason for these new “flexible” rules is that the FCC has been under tremendous pressure to open the 700MHz band for Verizon and others to establish new cellular video and internet services. However, until all stations have vacated the band, the auctioning of those frequencies could not take place.

It’s the potential to generate billions of dollars through an auction that has forced the FCC to act on this petition. It’s no secret that the government (read Congress) and the FCC desperately a cut of those revenues. Therefore, if the FCC had to give a little on the DTV deadline to get their money earlier, so be it.

Paxson and other high-band UHF stations hope they can convince the FCC to share some of the financial pie generated by the sale of thise broadcast spectrum. That should prove to be an interesting battle to watch.

Getting back on the air

BY LARRY BLOOMFIELD

September 13, 2001-Resilience may best describe how America treats adversity. It may also represent well how the broadcasters in New York City met this nation’s most recent tragedy. There have been perhaps thousands of stories written about the events of Sept. 11th, but there is one story that seems to have eluded the mass media -- the one about the resiliency of New York broadcasters in returning service to New York viewers.

Effect on WTC broadcasters
It was in the upper floors of the North Tower of the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York that the transmitters for most of New York’s television stations and several FMs resided. Of the twin 110-story towers, the North Tower was the most distinctive, crowned with its Dielectric broadcast antenna, which added 360 feet to the structure. The list of tenants in the World Trade Center’s North Tower reads like a page out of NYC’s TV Guide: WCBS-TV, Channel 2 (CBS – O&O); WNBC-TV/DT, Channels 4 and 28 (NBC – O&O); WNYW, Channel 5 (FOX – O&O); WABC-TV/DT, Channels 7 and 45 (ABC – O&O); WWOR-TV/DT, Channels 9 and 38 (UPN – FOX O&O); WPIX-TV/DT, Channels 11 and 33 (WB – Tribune O&O); WNET-TV/DT, Channels 13 and 61 (PBS – Educational Broadcast Corp.); WPXN, Channel 31 (PAX Net – Paxson O&O); and WNJU, Channel 47 (Telemundo – O&O).

In addition to these television stations, four FMs were located there: WKCR-FM, 89.9MHz; WPAT-FM, 93.1MHz; WNYC-FM, 93.9MHz; and WKTU-FM, 103.5MHz.

Up until the early 70s, nearly all New York OTA television was broadcast from the Empire State Building. At a height of 1250 feet, the Empire State Building was the tallest building at the time, which made it the logical choice for TV antennas. The addition of the broadcast antenna structure raised the height to 1472 feet to top of antenna.

With the construction of the World Trade Center complex in lower Manhattan, local broadcasters found a new, higher structure for their antennas. Tower 1 was completed in 1972 at a height of 1368 feet and Tower 2 in 1973 at a height of 1362 feet; both 110 stories high. The foundation for each tower had to be extended more than 70 feet below ground level to rest on solid bedrock. From the observation deck of the World Trade Center, it was possible to see 45 miles in every direction.

Few New York viewers realized the catastrophic effect the loss of WTC-1 would have on the broadcast community — and their own viewing habits. Although off the air for a while, WCBS-TV (Channel 2) was able to switch to its auxiliary transmitter located on the Empire State Building. However the remaining stations initially remained dark. About 30 percent of the New York viewing audience depends on over the air (OTA) broadcasting for television reception, so initially many thousands of viewers had little choice in what channels they could watch. Because cable systems in the New York area get their programming via fiber or satellite feeds, those systems continued.

Returning to the air


Major Edwin H. Armstrong's laboratory and first transmission site was thought by most to have been relegated to history. With the WTC tragedy, rather, it has become the foremost important tower site on the East Coast. Shown here is the original laboratory building, which still houses some broadcast equipment.

W ithin hours of the attack, broadcasters and potential vendors were discussing recovery. With support from a variety of manufacturers, available transmitters were soon identified by Harris, LARCAN, EMCEE and Thales Broadcast and Multimedia (formerly Thomcast). Dielectric, Andrew and RFS began working on transmission line and antennas. The plans were fairly straightforward -- get back on the air as soon as possible, with whatever power was available, from any location. The final location selected by several stations as their new site turned out to be quite significant in broadcast history. The selected location in New Jersey, just west of NYC, was the original site of (Major) Edwin H. Armstrong’s laboratory and first transmission site. His laboratories and a tower remain there today. CBS fared best among the New York broadcasters. With a working backup on the Empire State Building, WCBS is now back at full power in NTSC as well as DTV.

LARCAN shipped a 6KW transmitter to WNBC-TV. Initially there were some issues with the shipment of the LARCAN transmitters across the Canadian/U.S. border but finally, after a thorough inspection by customs and the FBI, the equipment was allowed to enter the U.S. and headed for New York. WNBC-TV also took delivery of a 20KW Harris transmitter in Alpine, NJ.


The Armstrong tower resembles more an electrical power transmission tower than a broadcast one. The three horizontal arms made for difficult broadcast antenna installations. And, until now, it was used primarily for two-way, land mobile and cellular antennas.

Dielectric shipped antennas, feeders and accessories to WCBS-TV2, WNYW-TV5, WABC-TV7, WWOR-TV9, WPIX-TV11, WNET-TV13, WPXN-TV31 and WNJU-TV47.

Andrew Corp. supplied Heliax cable to broadcasters at the emergency New Jersey broadcast site. Andrew also supplied a standby broadcast antenna and transmission line to the Telemundo station in New York. According to Andrew representative, Greta Brown, Andrew also supplied two diplexers and low pass filters to Harris for use on 4 and 11.

Harris shipped new transmitters for WABC-TV, WNBC-TV, WNYW-TV and WWOR-TV on Sept. 11. WNYW-TV (FOX) is now back on the air from the Empire State Building with a 20KW Harris transmitter. A transmitter for WPIX was shipped on Sept. 12, and a new transmitter for WCBS is currently being built.

Thales also delivered a 100KW transmitter to Pax's WPXN-TV (Channel 31) in West Orange, NJ. In the interim, several LPTV stations in East Orange, NJ, and Amityville, Long Island, NY, are carrying the station’s signal. Thales delivered a 100KW transmitter to WNJU-TV, who will be joining the others at the Alpine, NJ, site. WNJU-TV (Telemundo) called EMCEE looking for a UHF transmitter. The manufacturer had a portable 1KW broadband unit in nearby Harrisburg, PA, and it was quickly sent to the station for temporary use.

Harris Broadcast, LARCAN and Thales Broadcast & Multimedia (formerly Thomcast) also redirected transmitters destined for other customers.

WABC-TV will install a 2KW transmitter in Alpine, NJ. The station returned to the air on Saturday, September 15 using a temporary panel antenna.

WWOR-TV plans to resume operations from the Empire State Building soon. They took delivery of a LARCAN 3KW transmitter and a 2KW Harris, while Tribune’s WPIX-TV has opted to use a 10KW Harris in Alpine, NJ.

Everett Helm, director of RF engineering for Oregon Public Broadcasting (Portland, OR) said he’d been asked to ship a 10KW Thomcast loaner transmitter directly to WNET at the Alpine site. WNET was back with a temporary system using a 1KW LARCAN by Thursday, September 13.

Frank Graybill, WNET-TV, said, “The cooperation from broadcasters across the country, manufacturers and vendors has been outstanding.” He said that an engineer in a pickup truck drove up with a load of Heliax transmission line on Wednesday, September 12 and said: “Here it is. Use what you need.” If that wasn’t enough, Graybill said he was pleased and surprised when he was able to get an antenna the same day from MYAT in Norwood, NJ.

Initially there were problems obtaining local property variances for the Alpine, NJ site. Also, because the Alpine sight is some 500 feet lower than WTC-1, few stations were prepared for the drastic changes in their coverage areas. Some stations have decided to install translators to help fill coverage gaps in key areas.

STL feeds
New STLs and, in some cases, TSLs had to be established for the stations at their new sites. Nucomm is located less than an hour away from New York and was able to provide emergency equipment quickly. Nucomm’s president, Dr. John Payne said they received a call on Tuesday from WABC-TV to provide an STL from their studio facilities at Lincoln Square to the new transmitter site in Alpine, NJ. “We sent an engineer with the equipment to assist the ABC engineers and had the link up and running by midday Wednesday September 12.” The company is also providing equipment to WNJU and WNET for feeds to the Alpine site.

Nucomm also provided microwave relay links for New York One, Time Warner Cable’s 24-hour news channel, and ENG systems for WNJU-TV and WNET-TV.

Microwave Radio Communications (MRC) provided STL links for WPIX-TV and WCBS-TV. They are also supplying two-way STL and TSLs for WWOR-TV and WNYW.

The long haul
Irrespective of the equipment and location, the sites everything is being installed in are only temporary. The Empire site does not have the infrastructure to handle increased demand from everyone who wants it.

The next step is for all the affected stations to turn these low-power emergency installations into full-power transmission facilities that can be used for several years. Despite all the talk of rebuilding the Trade Center towers, any reconstruction would be many years in coming. That means the Empire State Building and the Alpine tower are likely to remain the area's primary TV sites for a while. So, while the New York broadcast community was able, with the help of broadcast equipment manufactures and others, to return to the air quickly, a long-term solution is years in the making. One benefit of the delay is likely to be a better mix of backup sites and with new technology, even better coverage for New York viewers.

Lest we forget
Several broadcast engineers were working on WTC-1 when it fell. While they are still officially classified as missing, all readers share a common concern. For the most current information, please visit the New York City SBE Chapter’s website, www.broadcast.net/~sbe15. You will also find information on how to donate to the Broadcast Engineer's Relief Fund that has been established to help the families of those engineers that may have died in the tragedy.

Hammer Films purchases Nothing Real's Tremor HD

Nothing Real, a compositing software provider to the digital content creation market, announced the sale of a Tremor HD compositing system to Hammer Films, a Los Angeles-based trailer production company. Tremor is modeled as a front room, client-based solution, engineered to handle the demanding needs of film, HDTV, commercial video and broadcast production professionals. The sale marks the first installation of the compositing system in the Los Angeles area.

24p HD workshops to be held

The Santa Fe Workshops are offering a high-definition workshop series in Los Angeles, October 6-10. Sponsoring the series are Sony, Fujinon and Gancie Television.

In the HD 24p Advanced Cinematography Workshop, October 6-10, Sony HD specialist Jeff Cree offers an intensive study of the HDCam menu structure for both 24p and 60i. The workshop includes the creative manipulation of camera settings for optimal imaging when shooting for film or television, as well as sessions on lighting, studio set-ups and remote locations.

The HD 24p Operators' Workshop, October 6-8, provides intensive training on Sony's F900 menu system and on the camcorders used in feature films and episodic television. Hands-on instruction is provided by Sony's HD specialists, including Jeff Cree.

Finally, the workshop High Definition Production Guide: From Concept to Post and Beyond, October 8-10, offers producers, directors, editors and production managers with instruction on high-definition productions and how HD changes their approach to all aspects of programming, from development through program delivery.

For more information, contact Gancie Television at 202-885-4280 or at gancietv@aol.com, or visit the Web site at www.santafeworkshops.com.

Avid World & Pro Tools Conference rescheduled

Due to the recent tragic events in New York City, the Avid World & Pro Tools Conference, which was to begin October 7, has been rescheduled for December 9-12, 2001. The event will still be held at its original location, The New Yorker Hotel, and all conference activities, including seminars, speeches, exhibitions and networking functions, remain intact pending further changes.

"We took into account the hundreds of people and companies involved in this event - speakers, exhibitors and delegates - many of whom are flying in from around the country," said Rick Friedman, president & co-founder of Mindshare Ventures, a co-organizer of the event. "It's our desire to give them and local participants more time to recoup from the tragedy. Mayor Giuliani and other local government officials have repeatedly stated that the best way Americans can help the city through this calamity is to continue to bring business to town. And to help out, we've extended the conference's Early Bird Registration discount to November 2, 2001. Together, we will represent the very best that the video and audio fields have to offer."

The Avid World & Pro Tools Conference is a 4-day event that also includes a 2-day expo. Targeted toward sound designers and video editors, the conference will include four parallel tracks of 70-plus classes, keynote speeches and networking events designed to offer users all the information and contacts they need to more effectively use and benefit from Avid's tools and technology. Mindshare Ventures, a producer of vendor-specific audio and video user conferences, and Future Media Concepts, the nation's largest Avid Authorized Education Center, organized the conference, in cooperation with Avid and Digidesign.

For more information about the conference, and for updates on schedule changes, contact Anna Hirvonen at Mindshares Ventures at 212-645-8140 or Jennifer Craigen at D. Pagan Communications at 631-659-2309, ext. 12. Or, visit www.avidworldeast.com.

US TV stations still interested in COFDM over 8VSB

SCRI, a source of market and technology information for broadcast and professional video/audio sectors worldwide, announced the results of its DTV Migration Survey of US TV, which shows that US TV stations are still interested in COFDM over 8VSB, despite the statements of the FCC supporting 8VSB.

According to SCRI's recent survey of US TV stations, when excluding the 18 percent of stations that were unsure, just under half of all stations (45 percent) are interested on some level (extremely, very or somewhat) in making the move from 8VSB to COFDM. Just over half (53 percent) are interested in going directly to COFDM.

Considering the fact that the largest supporters of COFDM own a considerable number of stations, mostly in markets 100 or smaller, it is easy to see how these numbers stack up.

Each modulation system has its own merits: COFDM appears to work better close-in to the transmitter and in places where there are highly reflective structures or terrain, whereas 8VSB appears to work better at distances away from the transmitter and over longer distances. Irrespective of the attributes of either, the FCC has said on several occasions that 8VSB is the standard that will be used in the United States, ignoring the fact that 8VSB is not a world standard like COFDM.

COFDM has the added advantage of on frequency repeaters. Since repeaters are a way of life west of the Great Plains, it would appear to be a wise move as far as spectrum management is concerned. There are 10 states that have 300+ repeaters extending the coverage of local televison stations. As one television station general manager said, "If it weren't for my repeaters, I would not be able to cover my market or make the station pay for itself, and we only have eight here in the 200th market."

The change-out of an exciter stack at the transmitter would, most likely, be the only expense a station would have to bear should it decide to make the transition from 8VSB to COFDM. As the industry reaches the 200+ digital television stations on the air, it would be prudent to make this change or permit either modulation scheme now rather than to wait. It is unlikely, at this time, for that to happen. In a smaller market where a station has alreay gone online with 8VSB, this would not be a particularly welcome move, irrespective of advantages or disadvantages. Last, but not least, the additional cost of a dual standard (8VSB and COFDM) digital television receiver to a potential purchaser could stand as an additional deterrent in a marketplace where DTV receivers are already considered rather pricey.

The current total number of US TV stations broadcasting in digital is 208. Sixty-eight markets now have stations transmitting DTV signals that serve 69.39 percent of US TV households.

For more information, visit SCRI International's Web site at www.scri.com

News Technology Group selects Fujinon HD lenses

The News Technology Group, a unit of the News Corporation, has purchased a full set of eight Fujinon HD Cine-Style Prime lenses and two HA10x5 and HA20x7.8 Cine-Style Zoom lenses for specialty production work on episodic television programs. The lenses, delivered in early August for use on Panasonic HDC-27V and Philips LDK7000 high-definition cameras, have recently been used for film-style production on "Titus," as seen on the Fox Network in prime time, and for production of "Bernie Mac," a new Fox sitcom.

"The Fujinon lenses feature a greater range on the focus knob, and the overall scope of the focus and zoom gears make them suitable for film-style production," said Jim DeFilippis, vice president Television Engineering, News Technology Group. "When adjusting the focus on these lenses, the image size remains constant, therefore providing minimal focus breathing. Along with their ease of use, these lenses are capturing high-quality images."

Thomcast renamed as Thales Broadcast & Multimedia

Thomcast, an international broadcast, multimedia and wireless communications company, announced the rebranding of its global operations, with a new corporate identity and a new name: Thales Broadcast & Multimedia, effective immediately. The move follows the December 2000 renaming of parent company Thales (formerly Thomson-CSF).

Thales Broadcast & Multimedia, headquartered in Conflans, France, has operations in the USA (Southwick, MA, and Mountaintop, PA); France (Conflans and Cesson-Sevigne); Switzerland (Turgi); and Germany (Mannheim). Thales Broadcast & Multimedia has changed the company's brand to reflect the complete breadth and depth of its products and services. In the past several years, Thomcast has transitioned from a pure transmitter company to a global player involved with terrestrial transmission, MPEG-2 video processing, multimedia distribution and wireless communications.

Former ADC Broadband Wireless Group announces new name & appointments

The former ADC Broadband Wireless Group will operate under a new name, Axcera, and pursue new opportunities for growth. Addressing the needs of the fast-growing, worldwide digital television market, Axcera will remain a supplier of low-, medium- and high-power digital and analog television systems, continuing to offer a complete line of transmitters, translators and exciter systems. On the broadband wireless side of the business, Axcera will continue to enable Multichannel Multipoint Distribution System license holders to deploy flexible, cost-effective solutions for the last mile.

In related news, Axcera announced the appointments of two veteran executives to lead the new company. David Neff will serve as president & CEO, and Ken Foutz will serve as senior vice president & COO. Together, they have more than 55 years of experience in the broadcast, MMDS and broadband wireless markets, nearly 35 of those years with the company.

Pinnacle Systems acquires video software business from FAST Multimedia

Pinnacle Systems announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the assets of FAST Multimedia, a developer of video editing solutions, headquartered in Munich, Germany. Pinnacle Systems plans to integrate FAST's products into its family of video, authoring and streaming solutions.

Pinnacle Systems will acquire all intellectual property, software rights, products, other assets and certain liabilities of FAST Multimedia. The purchase price will be approximately $15 million and will be paid for in a combination of cash and Pinnacle Systems' stock. The transaction will be accounted for as a purchase and is expected to close in early October.

"This acquisition furthers Pinnacle's expanding family of software applications and solutions to provide higher value-add for our customers," said Mark Sanders, Pinnacle Systems president & CEO. "FAST's advanced software for video content creation fills an important gap between our consumer editing software products and our high-end broadcast systems."

NBC has made a three-year strategic technology agreement estimated up to $25 million to deploy Grass Valley Group solutions in support of the network’s companywide central-casting, news production, media asset management and high-definition playback.

Thomson Multimedia has made an agreement with Royal Philips Electronics for the purchase by Thomson of Philips’ Content Creation activity for professional broadcast markets, as part of Philips Digital Networks’ MP4Net Group.

ABC Television has purchased a Panasonic DVCPRO HD production system comprised of an AJ-HDC27A and an AJ-HD150 studio VTR. The Panasonic camcorder and recorder will be primarily used to capture and edit high-profile programming.

WTBS, Turner Broadcasting System selected Thomcast’s DCX Millennium transmitter system for its digital conversion. In addition to TBS’ purchases, the DCX Millennium was the transmitter of choice for two PBS member stations, WEDN in Norwich, CT, and WHRO, the public telecommunications center for Hampton Roads, VA.

The nation’s smallest market station on the air with a digital channel, WBOC-TV, Salisbury, MD, has purchased Panasonic’s AJ-HDC20A DVCPROHD camcorder and AJ-HD150 DVCPRO HD studio VTR.

WHDT-TV has purchased six AJ-HD2700 1080i/720p switchable VTRs and has three AJ-HD3700H D-5 HD multiformat mastering VTRs from Panasonic. The station will initiate over-the-air HD broadcasting in late July and will be carried by the Adelphia and Time Warner cable system, with a combined potential reach of six million viewers throughout south Florida.

Quantel has moved its North American headquarters to New Canaan, CT. The company’s new address is 199 Elm Street, New Canaan, CT, 06840. The new telephone number is 203- 972-3199 and fax number is 203-972-3189.

The New York Times Company will standardize on Grass Valley Group digital switchers, deploying Kalypso Video Production Center and Zodiak systems across its broadcast properties. The New York Times will deploy the systems across its entire station group, which includes WHNT-TV, Huntsville, AL.; KFSM-TV, Fort Smith, AR.; WHO-TV, Des Moines, IA; WQAD-TV, Moline, IL.; KFOR-TV, Oklahoma City; WNEP-TV, Scranton, PA; WREG-TV, Memphis, TN; and WTKR-TV, Norfolk, VA.

WRAL-TV, Raleigh, NC, has chosen a Wheatstone TV-80 series audio console to produce the audio for its HD newscasts. WRAL-TV was the first station in the United States to broadcast an HDTV signal in 1996 and is the world’s first news operation to present HD local news on a continuous basis.

Two Solid State Logic consoles were recently added to the National Mobile Television fleet of trucks. The 48-fader SSL Axiom-MT digital broadcast console will be installed in a new all-digital truck that will be used for FOX Sports NFL broadcasts in Dolby Digital surround sound.

Bexel Corporation has purchased 10 LDK 23HS MKII super slow motion cameras from THOMSON Multimedia Broadcast & Network Solutions. The cameras will be available from Bexel’s headquarters in Burbank and their rental locations in New York, Miami, Atlanta, Dallas, Seattle, Washington DC and Orange County, CA.

FloriCal has been awarded the contract by NBC to automate all of the NBC-owned-and-operated TV stations in the United States.

Fox Digital has purchased four Philips’ LDK 7000 Digital Cinematography cameras for use in television productions by the FOX group of companies.

TANDBERG Television has acquired AVS. The AVS’ RF technology will enable TANDBERG Television to maximize on Digital Electronic Newsgathering global market opportunities.

Encoda Systems has appointed Greg M. Jacobsen as chief executive officer. His most recent position was as president and CEO of XOR, Inc., an Internet integration company.

Communications Engineering, Inc. has appointed Bill Beckner as integration manager and Joe Strobel as project manager.

Videotek has promoted Polo Recuay to vice president of engineering. Recuay’s primary responsibilities will include directing new product development in engineering as well as supporting the existing product line. In addition to Recuay, Videtek appointed Jochen Kuhnen as the International Sales Manager.

Scopus has appointed Steven Bonica as president. He will have full responsibility of Scopus marketing and sales activities in North America.

Don Bird has accepted the position of vice president of sales and marketing for both U.S. and international operations at Avica Technology.

Jerry Gepner has been appointed president of National Mobile Television. As president Gepner will be responsible for all aspects of sales and technology. His prior position was as executive vice president, operations and engineering, FOX Sports Networks.

Noah Meiri has filled the position of president at Orad Hi-Tec Systems. Meiri was previously the managing director at Orad.

A 20-year software development veteran Stephen Chalkley has been appointed the engineering development manager at ANT Limited.