Can you see me now?


Your October 2006 editorial brought to mind an incident from my days as chief at Channel 3, the ABC affiliate in Corpus Christi, TX. One day the phone rang. It was a little old lady who asked, “Did you know Channel 10 is on your channel?” I stifled my sigh and gave my standard chief engineer response: “Thank you for calling. We'll look into it.”

My brain got into gear. My guess was that what she thought was Channel 10 was probably Channel 3 in Lafayette, LA, located 200mi away, across the Gulf of Mexico. My station occasionally received cochannel interference from them (and caused it, too).

Sure enough, the Layfayette signal had wiped us completely out for an area of several miles around the station. I zipped over to the news director's house to take a look. It was all Lafayette and none of us, which means at least 40dB relative signal strength difference, and our transmitter was only 17mi away.

The ducting lasted about 20 minutes before we magically reappeared. The interesting thing was that the little old lady had referred to the signals as “Channel 3” and “Channel 10,” not by call letters or network affiliations. Those poor folks must be really confused by now.
W. Louis Brown, PE
Sales Engineer

Connection standards

Aldo Cugnini:

I read with interest your September 2006 article “Get connected” on the Broadcast Engineering Web site. I have several Sony DSR-80 decks that were built before FireWire was an accepted standard for professional video. At the time, I was connecting to my editors via SDI.

They are still in great shape, but this has become an expensive way to move data because most editors now use 1394 as standard, and SDI-to-DV connection boxes add cost to the system. I'd hate to retire these decks. Is there a method to convert Sony's QSDI (SDTI) to 1394?
Marc M. Myers
Suffolk County Department of Health Services
Hauppauge, NY

Aldo Cugnini responds:

According to Sony Support, while the DSR-80 comes standard with SDTI, there is no i.LINK (IEEE-1394) option for the unit. It would be expensive to outfit every deck you own with an external SDTI-to-1394 converter.

Some other Sony decks (e.g., DSR-1600) do have both SDTI and 1394 outputs. So there may be a remote chance that some board swapping is possible, but still at a considerable expense.

And while it's conceivable that you could get a custom house to retrofit a 1394 interface into existing decks, the cost of that would be even more prohibitive. Unfortunately, you are up against one consequence of technological progress — the inevitable obsolescence of previous standards.

TV that's no good

A note from the editor:

The Broadcast Engineering December 2006 article “The end of television as we know it” generated some interesting comments. Paul Allen, vice president of network operations for No Good TV (NGTV), sent a flier announcing the station's launch. It carried the theme “The end of television as you know it.”

The December article and the last Broadcast Engineering Summit addressed meeting the needs of the new viewer. David Payne, senior vice president and general manager for said, “Younger audiences demand a different experience. Give them what they want on the schedule they want.”

This is an example of a network foregoing the traditional TV model in order to attract those younger viewers. NGTV's alternative programming begins this month. You can watch the promo at

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