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Re: 480P - Anyone know what this is?

In a message dated 98-07-10 16:24:51 EDT, Martin writes:

<<  I find it laughable that a meeting of our greatest minds came up with some
THIRTY+ different standards, some of which are nothing less than stupid, and
no clear direction for the industry to follow.  We shouldn't even be arguing
about what standard we should be going to.... it should have been engineered
properly from the beginning.   >>

To those who can't be bothered to look at the ATSC standard, or can't
comprehend it, laughter is probably as good a response as any.  To those of us
who do understand it, it is one of the most intelligent and well thought out
documents (or set of documents actually) ever produced in any technical field.
It also happens to be a most remarkable thing that in an industry pulled in
opposing directions by extremely wealthy and powerful forces, it grants no
special favors to any one group.  If anything, it levels the playing field
between broadcasters, cable companies, telcos, satellite operators, and the
computer industry.

Eighteen recommended formats (36 if you count the 0.1% slower "sister" formats
that were thrown in for backwards compatability with NTSC) are a problem?  The
system actually has more possibilities than that--and the FCC will let you use
them too--as the example of 1080p proves.  Not only does the ATSC standard
address needs from Web TV to HDTV, but it does so in a very elegant way.
Regardless of the format in use, you'll still get a picture, within the
capabilities of your receiver.  That's the whole point--it really doesn't
matter a whole lot which format anybody uses.  720p, 1080i, 480p, who cares?
They all have advantages and disadvantages.  Some of the original 36 formats
will probably never see the light of day, others will be used for a while and
then disappear, and new ones may emerge.  You aren't being asked to go out and
buy two or three (or 36) different TV sets; all these formats can be converted
to viewable form for whatever display device you own.  

<< They blew the opportunity to put the whole world on a single and reasonable
standard.  There should have been no questions at this point, only a rush to
implement. >>

The European Digital Video Broadcast standard and ATSC are similar in many
respects, but due to the fact that the practical realities of European and
American broadcasting are quite different, it proved necessary to continue to
have two different standards.  However, since both are based on MPEG-2, it
appears that standards conversion is going to be far less of a problem in the
future than it has been in the past.

<< It is my point of view that what should have been done was the definition
of a 24fps progressive scan standard that [ ... ] >>

Okay, we could do this, but how would you convert video from 29.97 video
sources (i.e. without a 3:2) to 24 fps progressive without severe motion
problems?  Junking the existing NTSC TV system all at once and replacing it
outright is certainly not realistic.  Again, the ATSC folks deserve a lot of
credit for coming up with something that can economically be implemented
alongside of the existing television system, and then surpass it.

Best regards,
Christopher Bacon


Thanks to Doug Leighton, Ted Brady, & Gary Coates for support in 1998.
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