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Q&A: ATSC Chief Richer Says Transition Going ‘Quite Well’

As the final shut-off of analog in February 2009 looms barely more than 500 days from now, HD Notebook put these questions this week to Mark Richer, executive director of the Advanced Television Systems Committee:

HD Notebook: 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.”

HD Notebook: 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.”

(The ATSC currently is considering a range of proposed manufacturer-submitted standards for mobile/handheld DTV for local broadcasters.)