Job loss

One reader has concerns about a past issue and another questions whether the technological advancements will cause job loss.
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An accurate test?

To the editor:

I read with great interest your November article entitled “Dolby Pro Logic II vs. SRS Circle Surround.” While we at SRS appreciate the positive points made about Circle Surround, we have some serious concerns about the accuracy of the article.

Regarding the steering torture test, the Circle Surround decoder was designed to provide highly stable and accurate steering under a wide range of real-world conditions. In direct comparison tests performed at SRS Labs, we found that on both Dolby-encoded and Circle Surround-encoded music and movie soundtracks, the Dolby DP564 decoder exhibited transient steering instabilities that were not evident with the Circle Surround decoder.

As a result of the design decisions made to provide highly stable steering, the Circle Surround decoder may not respond as quickly to high-speed transient material moving between the channels. Due to the complex nature of steering trade-offs made in matrix surround solutions, it is quite possible to create test material that confuses the steering logic of any decoder. Depending on the test material and the decoder's particular algorithm, one decoder may fail a test that another decoder passes, while different source material would cause the opposite result. Because of this, we believe the kick drum portion of your testing did not represent a real-world situation that accurately reflects what users would experience with normal use of the system.
Alan Kraemer
SRS Labs

Ken Pohlmann, director of the music engineering program at the University of Miami, responds:

Pro Logic II and Circle Surround were subjected to the same test signals, and the results were interpreted independently, without any editorial influence by either SRS or Dolby Laboratories. We stand behind our test methodology and our independent assessment of the results.

Job loss

To the editor:

I find it hard to believe that you would support the FCC's push to further station consolidation. You must not talk to many folks that you don't see at NAB. The issue is job loss. The fact is that laying people off saves money, props up earnings, makes shareholders (the folks you DO see at NAB) happy and feeds the juggernaut of technology.

The New York Times Company digital operating center runs about 11 stations from a control room in Norfolk, VA. Is it technically feasible? Yes. Is it cost-efficient? Yes. Is it humane? Not to the people who lost their jobs over it. The operators that work at the DOC are simply asked to do more for the same pay. I know they stopped coming to our SBE luncheons when we raised the price to $10 per person; I don't know any who own HD sets either.

I realize that technology will progress whether we want it to or not. I don't advocate that we should return to the days of three-person camera crews, or one operator per tape machine. My point is that so many technicians already work for janitorial wages. Job loss through consolidation just puts the actual mop in their hands.
Charlie Farr
Virginia Beach, VA

September Freezeframe:

Q. Who was the FCC chairman Broadcast Engineering magazine referred to as “the most disliked chairman ever” for his actions on broadcasting?

A. William Kennard

October Freezeframe:

Q. Can you answer this question from one of Michael Robin's recent columns: What is the vertical resolution of a 1920×1080/60i format signal expressed in LPH?

A. 756 lines per picture height (LPH)

November Freezeframe:

Q. What were the names of the two incompatible digital video disc formats that were later standardized into what is now officially called the digital versatile disc (DVD), and when was the format officially launched? (Hint: The format war was between Toshiba/Time Warner and Sony/Philips.

A: SD from Toshiba/Time Warner and MMCD from Sony/Philips. Officially launched at the Winter CES show, January, 1996.

Winners:

September — Garen Braun

October — Augusto Villasenor, Globecomm Systems

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See the Freezeframe question of the month on page 6 and enter to win a Broadcast Engineering T-shirt.

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