Microsoft Promises Better DTV System

Mar 31, 2003  •  Post A Comment

In an effort to show U.S. broadcasters what they’re missing, a coalition of high-tech companies that includes Microsoft Corp. is slated to demonstrate an improved digital TV system during the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas next month that can transmit to portable and mobile antennas-and to the millions of personal computers in consumer homes.
Transmitting to anything but stationary antennas has proved to be a problem using the existing ATSC/8VSB DTV standard. Critics say that behind-the-scenes efforts to improve the standard have largely failed. Some industry officials believe the ability to reach mobile antennas is critical to letting broadcasters use at least some of their DTV frequencies for competitive data services that could help finance the transition to the new technology.
Industry officials said the new 2VSB system to be demonstrated at NAB is capable of transmitting HDTV-quality programming and a broad array of data services to simple antennas simultaneously, even to moving automobiles.
“It’s going to blow people’s socks off,” said Mark O’Brien, executive VP of SpectraRep, a Chantilly, Va.-based datacasting company that is working on the demonstration project.
Coalition representatives said one important attribute of 2VSB is that it is closely enough related to 8VSB that it could be incorporated into the U.S. system without causing major technical upheavals.
The drawback, they said, is that the estimated 500,000 DTV receivers already said to be in the U.S. market aren’t equipped to receive 2VSB.
Nonetheless, Bob Rast, president and chief operating officer of Chicago-based Linx Electronics-the company that developed the 2VSB system-said he believes countries that have yet to adopt a DTV standard, particularly in South America, will incorporate 2VSB into their plans.
Coalition representatives said the demonstration, which uses Microsoft software, will be transmitted by Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Las Vegas DTV station, KFBT-DT.