ATSC Chief Optimistic About Digital Transition

With the final shut-off of analog on February 17, 2009 barely 500 days away, TVB sister publication TV Technology put these questions to Mark Richer, executive director of the Advanced Television Systems Committee.

Q: How would you assess the HD rollout up until now and what, if anything, do you think the industry could do differently that would improve the transition?

Richer: When you step back and consider the magnitude of the DTV transition, it’s going quite well. If I were able to change anything, it would be the industry focus on the government mandate to cease analog and [instead] put the emphasis on the benefits of digital television. Over-the-air broadcasting has a very bright future as we move to a digital-only environment.

Q: How do you see HDTV affecting the overall DTV transition?
Richer: HDTV is currently the killer app for digital television, and HDTV production continues to grow. I am very excited about the progress local stations are making to produce their newscasts in HDTV. Also, mobile and handheld services offered by local broadcasters using their DTV signals will be another killer app that will be able to co-exist with HDTV.