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Worldwide terrestrial standards Mr. Robin: I am the head of the digital TV industry group within Asimelec, Spain's electronics industry association. We

Worldwide terrestrial standards

Mr. Robin:

I am the head of the digital TV industry group within Asimelec, Spain's electronics industry association. We perform market research for the industry and liaise with the Spanish government to assist in the migration to digital TV. Further, I serve as media consultant to the broadcast industry. I've seen your articles and wanted to ask whether you could point me to useful articles or Web sites offering a comparison of U.S. and European digital (terrestrial) TV standards.

Michael Robin responds:

There is a scarcity of articles dealing with the items of interest to you. Insofar as the North American development of terrestrial digital video transmissions is concerned, the best sources of information are the ATSC documents that deal with U.S. standards and their implementation. These documents are available for download at Irrespective of the reliability of the off-air terrestrial transmissions using the U.S. 8-VSB transmission method as opposed to the European COFDM transmission method, the trend in North America is the development of digital cable and satellite DTH transmissions. The superior reliability and large choice of programs offered by these alternate transmission modes all but predict the eventual demise of the terrestrial digital video transmissions. As far as the future of HDTV is concerned, I would like to direct your attention to the July 2004 issue of “EBU Technical Review” and especially to the article written by John Ives of Sony Europe titled “Image formats for HDTV.”

Wanted: superhuman

For more than 20 years, I've been scanning the classified ads in magazines like Broadcast Engineering. Ads seeking broadcast technicians or engineers almost always demand the applicant be up on not only every possible variation of studio, ENG and EFP equipment repair, but also have IT expertise and experience as a live-truck driver-operator/grip and roustabout, master control operator and camera operator. Oh, and of course, applicants have to be up on the planning, designing, construction and management of broadcast facilities.

OK, that's a little bit of an exaggeration. But only a little.

My question: Do the stations posting these ads ever get any applicants, and do those applicants actually have the superhuman qualities demanded? If so, I'd better stay where I am until I retire or die — the competition is way too stiff.

Brad Dick responds:

Yes, stations do get applicants for the jobs posted in Broadcast Engineering. Now, I wouldn't be so sarcastic as to say that some employment ads, no matter where they are placed, are there because of ridiculous EEO requirements, but a reasonable person could come to that conclusion.

As to why you've never been contacted, maybe you need new set of threads, something with a large “S” on the chest and, oh yes, don't forget the red cape.

IT versus RF

Dear Brad,

I wholeheartedly agree with your observation [“The value of a good engineer,” May 2004]. IT engineers and broadcast engineers have a vastly different view of system reliability standards. I'm amazed by the number of Internet discussion threads that contend that five-nines is overkill for IT systems and that an hour a month of downtime is acceptable. Of course, I'm also amazed that there aren't more young broadcast RF engineers who will take care of the RF systems when all of us “old-timers” retire. But that's another letter…

May Freezeframe:

Keep up the good work!
Tom Franklin Norcom

Q. What product, first introduced in Broadcast Engineering, called itself the first “digital storage system” providing what we now know as video serverlike functions? Some have called it the first video server. What company made it, and what year was it introduced?


A. Dynatech D2S2 (pronounced, D-squared, S-squared), digital storage system, 1993. It was a Pick Hit.

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