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>You have restated several compelling arguments to conclude that HDTV
>broadcasting in the USA could not be sustained in the foreseeable future.
>Your posting has inspired me to suggest several other less well-argued
>reasons (to date) to support such a claim.  I would be interested to get
>the TIG's reaction to them:

Although I personally agree with the above, I recently had a conversation
with someone whose opinions I highly respect that felt to me somewhat like a
conversation with Arthur Jensen (Ned Beatty's character in "Network" ---
"There are no countries........"). He placed the entire subject of HD in a
different light. Consider this.....

It doesn't really matter if HDTV represents a major technological
breakthrough. It doesn't even matter whether the consumers at large want it.
It will happen. It will happen because in a capatalist society, industry
must evolve. Large industries must constantly grow. This is a rule of
economics. Fact: the consumer electronics industry, driven for many, many
years by the growth of television, particularly color television, although
more diversified today with the growth of computers, games, digital
telephones, and the like, has seen its revenue from new television sales
slow considerably. Televisions today are among the most reliable complicated
consumer electronic devices ever manufactured. Think about it -- you buy
one, you take it home, you plug it in, it works almost perfectly for 10
years, then you throw it away and buy a new one. Not to mention the fact
that after 50 years, television penetration in homes is now about 100%. The
industry needs a "carrot." Something to sell that you don't already have.
The amount of money involved is far higher than that involved in the
broadcast industry. Although there doesn't seem to be much financial
incentive to broadcasters, there is great interest on the part of the
government to make HDTV happen. Why? Well, partly because of what I've
already mentioned. Industry must grow. Technology must evolve.

For those of us in the production/post production business, you can look at
all of this 2 ways. One way is to say that this is going to require a very
large investment without any notion of serious return. In other words, who's
going to pay for all this stuff???? It certainly doesn't seem like the
studios are going to ante up if their customers, the networks, don't. So
there will certainly be a great deal of contention in terms of license fees,
studio rates, and what hourly rates will be settled upon that will allow
post facilities to equip for the changes. However, another way to look at it
is this: The "low end" and the "high end" have been inexhorably rushing
towards each other in the last few years. The days when "broadcast quality"
could only be achieved in an expensive on-lite editing suite using very
expensive equipment are gone. Direct output from systems like Avid and Media
100 is airing, even at the network level, every day. Post facilities no
longer have a monopoly on air master finishing (although services such as
telecine still remain out of reach for most users). Visual effects can be
created, at the highest level of quality, on nearly any desktop PC or Mac.
Now consider what happens with HD. The bar gets raised once again. The
creation of HD material using desktop equipment is quite a ways away. In
other words, the post facilities, although a large investment will be
required, get an opportunity to re-invent themselves to serve a new
technological need. Business, hopefully, becomes invigorated and the entire
financial cycle starts over once again.

Will this scenario play itself out? Maybe, maybe not. But it is naive to
think that consumer demand alone is going to drive HDTV. The needs of
industry and economic necessity have always driven what often appears to be
consumer driven. That's the real world.

Mike Most, Encore Video, L.A.

           Thanks to Lipsner-Smith for support in 1997

      TIG subscriber count is 854 on Sat Sep 27 18:26:43 PDT 1997
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