The future of broadcast

In this month's reader feedback column, one reader thinks DTV can bring better news programs and entertainment shows, another reader clears up a few fiber optics issues and more Freezeframe winners are announced.
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The future of broadcast

I just read your article titled “The Future of Broadcasting.” You chose people it seems with a vested interest in the area they wrote about. As a person who has been in broadcasting for over 35 years, you seem to still miss the point (or maybe I did).

All the “digital technology is great” made things better in many respects with more channels, more information and better quality. The part I disagree with is that people are really that excited about HDTV. Picture quality is great, but I don't want to see Jerry Springer in HDTV.

What we need is access to better quality news programs (BBC, CBC) and better entertainment shows. DTV can bring some of that to us. People I talk to do not say my picture looks bad, they say there is nothing to watch.
Larry Baker

More on fiber

Dear Mr. Gilmer,
I always take pleasure in seeing fiber optics highlighted in magazines to improve its visibility and acceptance. The Light Brigade is the world's largest fiber optic training company and a corporate member of the Optical Society of America (OSA). As such, we like to make sure articles are correct. Understanding that you have a fixed amount of space in an article I can see where mistakes can be made. For this reason, I wanted to clarify a few issues in the article.

  • The 50/125 fiber is a multimode fiber and not single-mode.
  • This fiber has been well accepted for high bandwidth (video) applications versus the 62.5/125 fiber, which is preferred for local area networks.
  • Missing in your article was the “next generation multimode fibers” (NGMM), which are designed for laser transmission and higher bandwidths than the standard multimode fiber types.
  • You referenced the use of 1550nm, which is great for long distance (50-100Km) because of its lower attenuation. However, the lower cost and high performance of the 1310nm wave-length for single-mode fibers is still much more cost-effective than 1550nm fiber.
  • In reference to the “fiber to the desk (FTTD) statement,” we have used FTTD since 1990 in three different buildings and now operate at 100 Mbits/s (Fast Ethernet), and I've never had a failure due to optical or mechanical problems. This includes the fibers, cable, connectors and jumpers. An entire generation of patch panel products and office furniture has evolved to handle fiber as just another media.
  • I would add a note of caution on the issue of connectors. The performance of a connector is limited by the skills of the installer and the quality of the tools used. The low-cost kits mentioned have cheaper tools for scribing the fibers. As a technician, I would invest in a better cleaving tool and be assured of good cleaves, which would increase my yield substantially and lower maintenance costs.

We have worked with fiber since 1977, and with Belden cables in many diverse applications. We have produced two customized training programs on fiber optics for Belden cables and look forward to working with Belden further as HDTV continues to grow and expand.
Larry Johnson
President
The Light Brigade

Recent Freezeframe winners

The August Freezeframe question generated more entries than any question to date. Many readers offered their own histories and experiences with the Videograph or Vidifont. The August question:

Who invented the CG?

Name the year, model number and the famous, but long-gone, company that developed the first working “videographics” device. The device allowed the operator to correct a spelling mistake in only “40 minutes”! Hint: The device wasn't called a “CG”.

The correct answer is the A.B. Dick Videograph, circa 1967. It was the first character generator used in TV stations. It was this device that evolved into the familiar company CHYRON.

Readers submitting the correct answer;
George Lemaster
Murray Bevitz
Jim Wulliman
Harvey Caplan
Alan Schoenberg

All these winners will receive a Broadcast Engineering T-shirt. See page 8 for this month's question. Enter and win!