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Reinvention of Broadcast TV: 10 Things to Know

Broadcasters bet its future on ATSC 3.0
10/23/2014 02:00 PM EDT
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MeasurementBlues
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Re: Better be compatible
MeasurementBlues   11/3/2014 10:04:22 AM
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Bobsview,

Can you see the ball at your cousin's house? If you can, then that's all you need. We still record shows on VHS tape and I know plenty of people who also use VHS. Do you really need an HD picture to watch a sitcom?

People would rather watch TV on their phones or tablets. HD does nothing for a small screen.

What I thought DTV would do is give people more programs over the air. Yes, TV stations can broadcast more than one program, but the cable compaies don't carry them, at least not on my system AFAIK. It's the same with HD radio. Nobody is listening to the additional programs. Stations have slowed down even mentioning HD signals. Why bother when you can get far more online?

BobsView
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Re: Better be compatible
BobsView   11/3/2014 9:54:22 AM
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I read your commentary on DTV from 2006.  Interesting, but one prediction did not come to pass.

Everyone thought, myself included, that with digital it would perfect resolution or nothing.  That's not the case today.  Somehow they've managed to downgrade the resolution by compression so that even though many of us are getting a DTV picture, it is not true HD by any means.

The thing that irks me is, the public doesn't seem to care!

I have a cousin that has the best 60 inch flatscreen money can buy.  We all go over there for Thanksgiving dinner and watch the game. Unfortunately, his picture is terrible thanks to the local cable company.  I told him about OTA (Over-The-Air) broadcasting since he's only about 20 miles from a transmitter, but it's too much trouble for him.  He's satisfied with the current (terrible) picture.

Well, what are you going to do if the public could care less about a quality image?

 

Dan Euritt
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Re: Do We Really Need 4K?
Dan Euritt   11/1/2014 11:16:05 PM
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There is near-zero infrastructure and content that supports 4k, and the public isn't asking for 4k; this is not about 4k.

It's got to be all about the broadcast industry trying to save what little spectrum they have left. Suing the FCC last summer will do little to stop the cell phone industry juggernaut, because the FCC bends over backwards for industry. Look at what's happening with the cable companies, and net neutrality.

If I read this right, the TV broadcast industry is going to work with the cell phone companies, by providing them downstream bandwidth? Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. 

cookiejar
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Desperate last gasp of consumer electronics industry?
cookiejar   11/1/2014 2:59:20 PM
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3D flopped.  UHD going the same way?

1.  The majority of viewers don't get HD right.  Even ConsumerReports say your viewing distance should be from 1.5 to 2 screen diagonals away, otherwise you won't see the detail that's there.  "No mom, its not hard on my eyes.  Mom, you view your PC screen from less than 1 diagonal away in order to see the detail, and it's the same technology. "   So even with HDTVs, a 1.5 to 2 screen diagonal distance really limits the viewing audience for typical screen sizes.

2.  UHD, ConsumerReports writes, should be viewed at 1/2 the distance of HD to see the detail that's there.  That translates to 3/4 to 1 screen diagonal.  So you should be sitting 45" to 60" away from your jumbo 60" UHD screen!  Visualize that - 4' away from your 5' screen.  How many people are going to do that - <1%?

4.  4K works in premium movie theaters where the huge screen and controlled seating forces people closer.  You'll notice the crowded rear rows though.  We're still waiting for affordable 4K projectors and of course real 4K sources.  Speaking about projectors, whatever happened to the 3 laser diode DLPs that were available on some models of rear screen HDTVs a few years back.  Their color purity and punch were something to behold, not to mention the lazer diodes' long life.  DLP Projector manufacturers are sticking with their $500 cash cow bulbs and spinning color wheels.  You can get cheap HD 3 laser diode DLP projectors of the low power, battery operated variety and even built into some camcorders for next to nothing.  UHD DLP laser projectors are desperately needed for UHD TVs survival to get the large screen sizes.  The designers can do it easily enough, but the MBAs are stopping them.

5.  The cable companies, satellite service providers and Internet don't even deliver real HD.  The compression to cram in all those unwatched channels prevents it.  OTA is vastly superior when it comes to delivering HD quality to the small knowledgeable minority who bother. The proposed 4K OTA above has non-backward compatibility as its killer.

6.   3D and 4K are desperate attempts by the electronics industry to keep TVs from becoming a cheap commodity.  They need killer apps to keep the public buying premium priced products to support their research and design departments (engineers).  The problem is the public is far less interested in quality than in quantity.  Just look at the popularity of MP3 and YouTube.  There will still be those of us who appreciate quality in our sound and video reproduction, but not enough to keep the premium consumer electronics industry from collapsing.  Many of these large manufacturers that we know so well are bound to disappear just as the large consumer electronics manufacturers have in the U.S..

7.  UHD TVs do have a bright side though, as PC monitors via HDMI.  I have a $300 Seiki 39" with a $100 video card - far less clumsy and cheaper that having 4 HD 20" monitors of equivalent content - a desktop the size of a desk.  The off-angle viewing beats any PC monitor I've seen.  For me this is the biggest advance in the PC world in the past 10 years.  I'm not holding my breath to view quality UHD on this UHD TV though.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Better be compatible
junko.yoshida   10/30/2014 5:32:39 PM
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Good one!

BobsView
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Do We Really Need 4K?
BobsView   10/29/2014 9:38:15 AM
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I'm still in awe over 1080P.  And I can barely tell the difference between 720P and 1080P.  4K seems like a collosal waste of bandwidth with a minimal benefit.

The cable companies can barely get 1080P right from what I've seen.  It looks down right terrible  on my neighbor's TV's compared to OTA broadcasting.  Of course, there might be other reasons for this.

I say lets stick with 1080P for at least another decade.  4K is a nice idea, but is the infrasructure ready for it?

 

 

 

Some Guy
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Who watches Broadcast TV?
Some Guy   10/28/2014 5:32:09 PM
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Pretty much everyone watches broadcast TV. Millennials are leading the way in cutting the cord with cable. Right after they cut the cord with land-line phones and moved to cell-phone-only households. The cable industry's monopoly practices and predatory pricing have disgussed Millennials. They're watching Broadcast TV, shunning cable, using their Internet for streaming and chopping their TV bill by an order of magnitude. That switch to streaming is going to eventually kill broadcast.

In the end local broadcast TV is likely to go the way of the local newspaper. Content is king, so the networks will survive, but local media is headed for the same cliff that local newspapers went over during the last 15 years. At some point all TV broadcasting becomes an historical footnote and content gets streamed because it is so much more energy efficient than MW transmitters 24x7. Especially when there's no local revenue stream.

To the extent that local broadcasters develop streaming and a way to montetize it, they will survive. Conversely, no amount of format improvement allows them to create a sustainable competitive barrier, nor saves them from cherry picking by IP-connected streaming. Thus, TV broadcasting is headed the way of the Dodo.

As Bob Metcalfe points out: who would have thought 30 years ago that TV would be wired and Phones would be wireless?

MeasurementBlues
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Re: Better be compatible
MeasurementBlues   10/27/2014 12:41:38 PM
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Junko,

Here's a tongue-in-cheek piece I wrote in 2006 about the DTV transition.

DTV could cause an uproar

There may, however, be a silver lining in the DTV transition. Many people subscribe to cable just to get a better picture from their local channels. I'm one of them. With terrestrial DTV, your picture will either be perfect or nonexistent. I expect perfect reception will come to my house, and I can then save $50 a month in cable-TV costs.

Well, I still have cable Smiley

The bill is now about $85/month for the same service. Smiley

MeasurementBlues
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Re: Better be compatible
MeasurementBlues   10/27/2014 11:23:51 AM
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The problem is, some things are on broadcast channels only, some on cable channels only, and some now on Netflix/Hulu only. So, we (my household) end up with all of them to get what we want, but pay for lots we don't want--shopping channels, religious channels, and channels in languages we don't speak.

Last week, I saw part of a show on CNN (Anthony Bourdain in The Bronx) but CNN stopped showing that episode and doens;t put the entire episide onlie, only excerpts. The part I wanted to see isn't available anymore.

 

OldNHMan
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Re: Better be compatible
OldNHMan   10/27/2014 11:05:34 AM
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Junko, A recent Nielsen poll showed that the average Aemrican home receives 179 channels, be it from cable or setallite. However the average number of channels actually viewed is 17. So we are paying for 10 times the channels we actually watch. Is it any wonder a growing number of people are subscribing to Netflx/Hulu/etc?


As much as people complain about the always-rising cable rates, it is the content providers who dictate cost, location of the various channels on the cable/satellite programming tiers, as well as ramming rarely viewed 'niche programming' channels down the throats of cable/satellite providers and their subsribers. It's no surprise the number of video subscribes has been falling for some time and the rate of decline is increasing.

Dish recently stopped carrying all of the Turner network programming, including rarely watched channels like CNN. So far no one I know is complaining. Also, Viacom priced itself out of the market when a number of rural cable TV companies balked at paying the huge fee increases Viacom was demanding and decided to drop all Viacom programming. From the last update I read, less than 1% of their customers complained about the dropped programming.

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