Thursday, October 13, 2005
The author, Mitchell Medford, is a popular reviewer of consumer electronics and technology. He has written for numerous publications and served as a product development consultant for several consumer electronics manufacturers.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
During the 1970s and 1980s, the trial product for HDTV was being developed in Japan as a way to improve television quality and therefore sell more TVs. The first HDTV system was called MUSE and employed filtering tricks to reduce the original source signal to decrease bandwidth utilization.
The idea of introducing HDTV in the United States was met with mixed responses. In the 1980s, the National Association of Broadcasters in the United States invited NHK, Japané─˘s public network, to present the ideas behind the MUSE system to the Federal Communications Commission. At that time, there were two groups that were adamantly against the introduction of HDTV in the U.S.
The first group that opposed the introduction of this new technology was the Terrestrial Television Broadcasters. They were scared by the possibility of being excluded from the HDTV market because HDTV required more bandwidth (the amount of information sent through a channel or connection) than standard TV. These broadcasters worried because the channels that they already had license to would not be able to handle the bandwidth of this new form of television.
The other group that became concerned about HDTV in the U.S. was Congress. Congress felt threatened by the many Japanese innovations that they saw arriving in the U.S. and ultimately they didné─˘t want to introduce a new form of communication that was owned by another country all together.
With these two complaints in mind, the American government sought to invent a new form of HDTV. Groups of researchers and manufacturers were gathered together to form different teams. Each team would attempt to create an HDTV system that could fit into the existing channels that were used by broadcasters. After years of work, the separate teams of researchers and manufacturers decided to combine forces. This unity gave birth to a new group known as Grand Alliance.
As researchers continued their attempts to develop this new form of HDTV, they discovered that this new technology would have to be partially digital in order for all the necessary information to fit into the existing channels. With this in mind, they were able to develop a system that was quite different from the Japanese system.
The Japanese NHK version of HDTV was analog but the updated version created by the American researchers ended up being completely digital.
Unlike BETA VCRs and 8-track players, HDTV is one form of technology that is being built to withstand the test of time. With the decades of development and research that have gone into optimizing the HDTV system, this form of television is likely to endure for decades to come.