Virtual Celebration to Commemorate 25th Anniversary of Key HDTV Vote

Grand Alliance
Grand Alliance members field questions during the NAB '95 premiere of the world’s first digital HDTV system. (L-to-R: Jae Lim, MIT; Glenn Reitmeier, Sarnoff; Carlo Basile, Philips; Ralph Cerbone, AT&T; Bruce Allan, Thomson; Bob Rast, General Instrument; Jerry Pearlman, Zenith; and Jim Carnes, Sarnoff.) (Image credit: Glenn Reitmeier) (Image credit: Glenn Reitmeier)

WASHINGTON—Mark your calendars for Monday, Nov. 30, for a virtual celebration of the 25th anniversary of the FCC Advisory Committee vote that ushered in the HDTV era.

The Zoom celebration, scheduled for 3-3:30 p.m. ET, will include an appearance by former FCC Chairman Richard Wiley, regarded as the father of HDTV.

The Grand Alliance responsible for developing the world’s first digital high definition television system demonstrated its work to the public for the first time April 10 during a press conference on the eve of the 1995 NAB Show.

Members of the Grand Alliance included AT&T, General Instrument, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Philips Consumer Electronics, David Sarnoff Research Center, Thomson Consumer Electronics and Zenith Electronics.

Wiley, a partner at Washington, D.C., law firm Wiley Rein, was recruited by then-FCC Chairman Dennis Patrick to chair the advisory committee. (TVTechnology conducted an interview with Wiley in May 2018 on the 25the anniversary of the founding of the Grand Alliance.)

In 1992, when it appeared the companies—each offering its own competing HDTV system proposal—could not agree on a solution incorporating the best elements of each, Wiley nudged and cajoled them during a make-it-or-break-it meeting at the Grand Hotel in Washington, D.C., till they agreed on a system. 

The celebration is open to the public. Registration for the Zoom event is available online (opens in new tab).  

Phil Kurz

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.