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Disgraceful

It’s disgraceful. As an industry, we seem to be doing a lot of things wrong lately. Whether it’s overworked staff or apathy, we’re screwing up in bigger and bigger ways--whether it’s sitting in black or a program that’s frozen off the server.

Last month, the FCC issued a Report & Order requiring broadcasters to finally implement a dynamic PSIP system by February 1, 2005. The R&O adopts the ATSC A/65 PSIP standard in its entirety, with no exceptions (see http://hraunfoss. fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-04- 192A1.doc).
Why is this good...really good? Because most stations across the country haven’t given a rat’s ass about PSIP and that really sucks for DTV viewers. Since the FCC is in Washington, DC, I thought I would pick on stations in that market. Look at the screen grabs to the right provided to me by Graham Jones, chair of the ATSC T3/S1 Specialist Group on PSIP Metadata Communication, who presented at the Government Video Expo last month. This is the state of PSIP in the nation’s capital.

Disgraceful, isn’t it? I’m sure that “Regular Schedule” and “DTV Program” are very helpful to DTV viewers in that market. The sad part is that DC is not alone. Here in West Palm Beach, FL, our EPGs look just as pathetic (and, as in DC, the smaller stations seem to be more PSIP-capable).

Just what are you required to do? Christopher Lennon, program manager within Encoda Systems’ automation team (now part of Harris), knows. In “Now That I Have to Do PSIP, What Do I Do?” on page 34, Lennon tells us the FCC R&O will require that “all tables and descriptors that require one-time setup should be set correctly, including TSID, Short Channel Name, Service Type, Modulation Mode, Source ID, and Service Location Descriptor. ATSC A/65B also requires that broadcasters send populated EITs covering at least a 12-hour period. These EITs should be populated with the correct information, so that the user knows what programs are on for this 12-hour period.”

Let’s remember that when the FCC says “should,” they mean it really should...anything else will be a violation of the rules.

So, are you all set? Need more help? A handful of companies are here for you. For example, there’s Encoda/Harris (www.encodasystems.com) and Triveni Digital--which also presented at the Government Video Expo (www.trivenidigital.com/psip).
It’s time to stop screwing around with DTV...PSIP will soon be the law.