Waving the broadcast flag
I am writing to congratulate you on your recent editorials against the broadcast flag. I do not understand why the content providers believe that digital changes the landscape. As you point out, the movie studios are better off as a result of analog videotape, and I believe they will be better off down the road as a result of legal HD-quality, after-market distribution. It boggles my mind that they do not see this.
I have a large collection of MP3 and WMA audio files that I use because I find them more convenient to listen to on portable players, and because I can create collections of my favorite songs. Every one of these songs was copied from a CD that I already own. Not one was downloaded from the Internet. Am I an anomaly? I don't think so. But the content providers would have you believe that I must be stopped.
I hope the regulators agree that I should have the same flexibility with my digital video content that I currently enjoy in the analog world. I hope the content providers realize the same economic benefits from digital that they currently get from repurposing analog. I suspect they will.
Evaluating audio compatibility
To John Luff:
In your December 2002 article on HD and SD conversion, you wrote, “Ideally, converters should be capable of handling all types of audio.” At Dolby we are certainly interested in the performance of broadcast products and their compatibility with technologies such as Dolby E.
You mentioned latency as one parameter that manufacturers need to watch. In addition to latency, there are other parameters that we investigate as part of the evaluation of products for inclusion in the Dolby E Partner Program. The purpose of the program is to assist broadcast equipment manufacturers in the creation of new products, or in the modification of existing products to make them Dolby E compatible. Feedback and advice are provided to OEMs to assist them in making any corrections necessary for better performance of their products. For example, we have evaluated a number of different embedding and de-embedding products and found that the performance varied significantly among manufacturers. This points out one of the reasons that evaluation and qualification of products is important for broadcasters. Technology compatibility information is critical for broadcasters and systems integrators for project planning.
To the editor:
I am looking for information on the origin and development of DAW products. I am studying for my BSc (Hons) in music technology at Staffordshire University, and as part of my final project, I am writing a piece on the impact of computers and microprocessors in the recording studio.
If you have any information you think would aid me in my work, I would be most grateful.
Yasmin Hashmi, Broadcast Engineering contributor and editor of The DAW Buyers Guide, responds:
The DAW originated simultaneously in the UK and the United States in the mid-1980s. My paper, entitled “The Tapeless Studio,” provides background on the development of the DAW from 1985 to 1998. It can be found in the “Audio Engineer's Reference Book,” second edition, published by Focal Press, ISBN 0-240-51528-5. The Audio Engineering Society Web site, www.aes.org, also allows you to search its convention papers and journal articles from 1953. To check out the latest version of The DAW Buyers Guide visit http://SYPHAonline.com.
To John Luff:
I have a pretty specific problem. I have a client with an archive of D3 tapes that we're trying to digitize. Our encoder accepts SDI input (from the SDI output of various VTRs) but does not accept composite digital. Is there an outboard converter on the market that could convert composite digital to SDI? Is this even possible? How are people dealing with D2/D3 media in new SDI edit suite environments?
John Luff responds:
Your question is one that comes up only rarely these days, as there are not too many D2 machines in normal usage in most applications, and most people with the need to convert libraries acquired converters some time ago. Sony made an adapter (DFX-1201) for their D2 machines that did a conversion from composite digital to component digital (143Mb to 270Mb). It is still referenced on their Web site. The simplest way to make the change is to output the NTSC signal and convert that to component digital, at a cost of under $3000. An all-digital conversion can be done by a number of devices from other manufacturers.
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