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Diamonds and HDTVs are a girl's best friend

December's “Modern Woman”; editorial

I recently received your December issue of Broadcast Engineering and read the editorial entitled “The modern woman.” It's great — and oh so true! I have to confess to spending an entire weekend buying a desktop PC (plus accessories) along with a new digital camera. This then lead to office furniture and communications issues — i.e. phones and lines. And so, I have to confess that I'm that woman who's going to make you want to “die right there on the showroom floor” with the way I was talking to the salesman in the store about my very specific requirements.

But I still want the jewelry…
Jenny Evans, Manor Marketing

HDTV and 8-track tapes

Sound synchronization problems, unnatural digital motion, dropouts, lock-ups, 3:2 screen burn. Count me on board. Oh, and lack of programming.
Dave Frick, Bell Atlantic

April's Mobile 8-VSB editorial

Loved your April Fools story in Broadcast Engineering. Trouble is, it's too close to reality.
Bob Jordan, WPXI

January editorial

Brad,
I found myself laughing out loud at your response to Scott Hamilton at News Corporation and your editorial “dig” at Fox Engineering. They are certainly within their rights to demand copy protection for their product, as is anyone in this digital age.

However, if any copy protection system becomes too onerous for consumers, I am sure there will be other content providers ready to step into the breach and satisfy the demand for digital programming. Mark Cuban of HDNet has already indicated he does not favor overreaching copy protection methods, and perhaps those eyeballs put off by draconian copy protection schemes will migrate to his channel.

That's the beauty of our free market system. As a “retailer” of mass-market entertainment, you make money by distributing your “products” as widely as possible. On the other hand, if you restrict the distribution of your products, other broadcasters will be quite happy to take your place and your market share. There are simply too many channels competing for our attention nowadays — no one wants to take a chance on losing viewers and negatively impacting their bottom line.

As for FOX's decision to adopt a non-HD, 480i/p standard for broadcasting digital TV, more power to them. I happen to think that many of the FOX 480p/24 filmed programs have superb transfers and high entertainment value. “24” is a good example. And a widescreen 480i/p component video format for live sports is certainly better than plain old 4:3 480i composite video. They're getting the most out of their digital pipeline.

But they may increasingly be going it alone. Once again, market forces are coming into play with regards to HDTV. In addition to CBS, NBC and ABC's extensive HD schedules, PBS is expanding its carriage of true HD programs with each month. WB has opted to carry several shows in the 1080i format. And Viacom will be converting many of their O&O UPN affiliates to HD in the near future.

With ESPN-HD, Discovery HD, HBO, Showtime, NBA-TV and other cable/DBS networks adding HD programming, it's clear that the majority of networks believe there is a strong future for HDTV. CBS' recent HD telecast of the Grammys in Dolby Digital 5.1 was superb technically and at a new level of TV programming. I expect ABC to answer the challenge with their HD coverage of the Oscars.

When all is said and done, TV audiences will decide if FOX's decision is a wise one. In the meantime, cool your jets and enjoy all of the HD programming that's there for the viewing.
Peter H. Putman, Roam Consulting

April Freezeframe:

Q. In the ten-year period from 1971 through 1981, new tape formats were introduced, it seemed, almost yearly. Name the formats introduced during this period and the companies proposing each of them.

A. 1971

U-matic format introduced by Sony, TEAC and JVC

1973

A format 1-inch VTR shown by Ampex

1975

B format 1-inch VTR shown by Bosch

1976

C format 1-inch VTR shown by Sony

1981

Beta introduced by Sony

1981

M format introduced by Panasonic, RCA and Ikegami

Winner:

Olu Mide, Computer Warehouse

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