Title: The role of technology in the future of television: some implications for HDTV broadcasting systems

Authors: William F. Schreiber

Addresses: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, Mass., USA

Abstract: Simply improving picture and sound quality is unlikely to provide the public with sufficient incentive to buy HDTV receivers in large quantity. Even that improvement is likely to be difficult to achieve, particularly in terrestrial channels, unless means are found to overcome analogue channel impairments. Actually, viewer behaviour indicates that more programme choice is much more desirable than resolution enhancement. International and domestic controversy over standards, and over whether a new system should be compatible with the installed base of receivers, is primarily economic in nature. There is also widespread need to improve the efficiency with which TV utilizes spectrum so that important new services can be accommodated. In view of this, it appears that technology has several potentially more fruitful roles in HDTV than merely increasing the resolution of studio pictures. One is developing transmission systems that can deliver the improved quality to the home under practical conditions. Another is facilitating transcoding among the various formats that will be used in different media and different countries and at different stages of an introduction scenario. Another is providing more viewable channels of a given quality with a smaller overall allocation of spectrum, this making spectrum available for alternative uses. An approach to system design that can support all these requirements is described. It is based on adaptive sub-bank coding and scrambling. The achievement of superior performance depends on the eventual abandonment of NTSC and similar formats, which are inherently wasteful of bandwidth and highly vulnerable to channel defects. Simulcasting is required during the transition period to a new system. It is believed that this is not only practical, but that it is more likely to end up with a satisfactory system than approaches based on receiver compatibility. In this paper, brief descriptions will be given of the various techniques mentioned, together with some numerical examples illustrating the benefits that can be obtained by using this approach to TV system design.

Keywords: broadcasting technology; broadcasting systems standards; high-definition television; HDTV; technology management; TV system design.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.1992.025756

International Journal of Technology Management, 1992 Vol.7 No.6/7/8, pp.644 - 659

Published online: 24 May 2009 *

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