No DTV for me.

"I will not live long enough to see the last analog broadcast!"

No DTV for me


I've been in broadcasting for more than 54 years and continue to be occupied in the industry through the ownership of one television station. DTV for broadcasters is a “solution in search of a problem”! It is impossible for the eye to see any difference between analog and digital in sets below 32" screen size. Digital has been designed for the “big” theater screen but, quite frankly, I don't have a place in my home to accommodate a 60" screen.

If I understand the Consumer Electronics Association correctly, from inception through Dec. 31, 2001, there have been fewer than 300,000 HDTV sets delivered to dealers capable of receiving off-air DTV, with a total of 29 million analog sets sold. I will not live long enough to see the last analog broadcast! That's quite a difference in numbers and one the politicians are not likely to ignore when the FCC starts turning off analog stations. Can you imagine the stink raised?

Further, over 60 percent of the people in the United States have indicated that they are not interested in a quality signal. Otherwise, they wouldn't be hooked up to cable!

People will adopt HDTV under two possible circumstances and two circumstances only: Mandate DTV tuners in every set sold and/or make high profile programming available only on DTV.

I think you've sold your soul to the digital equipment manufacturers!
Jerry Proctor

Media propaganda

Dear Mr. McGoldrick:

In response to your December article in Broadcast Engineering, I believe it is not the real purpose of al-Jazeera TV, but about the real purpose of all mass media (TV, radio, newspapers).

As you know, some countries run the mass media under the control of the Ministries of Information. A similar body in the USA is the information agency running the Voice Of America. Such ministries and agencies treat the mass media as a sovereignty and operate it for propaganda purposes to support their captive regimes and to push their alleged policies.

al-Jazeera TV can broadcast virtues but should not carry out dialogues, debates or sins about the government of Qatar. The United States' National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice, has won an agreement from American broadcasters to edit the inflammatory language from Al Qaeda videotapes, noting that it might contain secret messages to bin Laden sleepers to launch an attack against America (Newsweek). Those instructions to the American broadcasters has led to less talking and reduced media exposure of bin Laden and also degraded al-Jazeera TV's creditability. All this matched with the USA administration's desire to lower the profile of bin Laden as part of the tactics of the war on terrorism.

Similarly, after Sept. 11, the mass media did a remarkable job in providing news and information. The most important task involved broadcasts by other networks. Large and dominating organizations like Voice of America, BBC, Air France, Deutsche Welle and others have redirected their services towards the battlefield, and some went even further by purchasing airtime on other nation's transmitters near the action.

So, my perspective on the topic is that the main purpose of mass media is for propaganda, although it is used for other purposes as well.
Ibrahim Adlan

Dear Ibrahim:

I hope you are wrong. Certainly commercial TV broadcasting in the United States and the rest of the “Western” world is there to make money — and the lowest common denominator in programming seems to attract the most advertising revenues.

News broadcasting in the United States is also very parochial, and a live car chase in Los Angeles is more likely to be aired than a shooting on the West Bank. We still have to turn to a CNN or FOX News-type of program to get real world news, and we can continue to benefit from the still-untarnished reputation of the BBC. The willingness of U.S. broadcasters to limit the amount of time bin Laden's tapes were aired was a bow, I believe, to common sense. The government could have issued “D” notices, as it has done during war, preventing the airing completely — but it did not.

Yes, there are a lot of countries where there are borderline political/entertainment issues — but at least they usually start playing martial music when they are about to wave the political cane.

Thanks for reading.
Paul McGoldrick