Sinclair praises new LG Electronics DTV receiver chips

Sinclair Broadcast Group, a severe critic of early DTV reception, said in the latest generation of DTV receiver technology that significant improvements will mean better over-the-air reception of DTV signals using simple indoor antennas.

Sinclair’s previous concerns were based on 8-VSB modulation standard DTV signals with strong dynamic multipath (ghosts) and varying signal levels. Earlier-generation receivers were unable to handle these signal conditions.

Nat Ostroff, Sinclair’s vice president of new technology, said that he is pleased to see the progress made by Zenith (a brand of L.G. Electronics) that will allow consumers to easily receive free digital television broadcasts in their homes. He said that broadcasters and consumers could now look forward to a robust DTV service delivered over-the-air without having to subscribe to cable or satellite.

He added that this is especially timely because of the FCC-mandated rollout of millions of large-screen HDTV receivers with integrated over-the-air tuners beginning this summer.

Informal joint field tests, conducted last month in Baltimore by representatives from Sinclair and Zenith, involved testing reception at sites Sinclair had previously identified as having difficult multipath conditions. Many of these sites did not have successful reception with early generations of receivers investigated by Sinclair.

Sinclair said results of the new trials show dramatically improved reception with the receiver built around a new DTV chip developed by LG Electronics. The fifth-generation integrated circuit allows it to lock onto signals in severe multipath environments even when the ghosts have long delays or are larger than the main signal.

Ostroff said that, with indoor reception now more viable, broadcasters need to examine their current transmitting power levels to assure that they deliver an adequate signal inside the home, and consumer electronics manufacturers need to ensure that breakthrough technologies such as this are available in the market.

Field data was collected from multiple DTV stations at numerous sites, including parking garages and sidewalk locations, many without direct line of sight to the transmitter. Simple indoor antennas were used to explore the improvements that have been made in indoor reception and ease-of-use in moderate and strong signal areas.

The fifth-generation receiver chipset tested will be introduced by LG Electronics later this summer.

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