EBU President Reflects on 25 Years of HD

In a speech delivered at the 58th EBU General Assembly in Istanbul, Turkey, in early July, EBU President Fritz Pleitgen recalled the first-ever HDTV demonstrations in Europe, which occurred in Killarney, Ireland, at the 1982 EBU General Assembly.

Pleitgen said those demonstrations were a major milestone in the development of HDTV and raised European awareness of the potential of HDTV to provide a significantly improved viewing experience.

The demonstrations were arranged by George T Waters, then director general of Irish public-service broadcaster RTÉ. They were seen in Killarney by several hundred programme makers and engineers from across Europe and beyond.

Pleitgen said that 25 years ago European public-service broadcasters realised that high-definition television (HDTV) would have a major impact on the future of the media and society. He gave special recognition to HDTV pioneers at the Japanese public broadcasting corporation, NHK, an associate member of the EBU, and the inventors of HDTV. He noted that many individuals and organizations made the first demonstrations of HDTV possible including NHK and CBS, associate members of the EBU, together with Sony, Ikegami, Panasonic, and Hitachi, who made equipment available.

Delegates to the 1982 Killarney assembly saw HDTV on a 100-inch Projection Screen with stereo sound, a new feature at that time also. Hitachi and Panasonic provided a 65-inch projection display and 24- and 28-inch monitors. Ikegami provided an HDTV camera, and NHK an HDTV digital video tape recorder.