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The demonstration also gave Joe a platform to kick off an extensive lecturing tour around Europe during which he warned that if the continent did not embrace high definition television, it was going to be left behind in the Dark Ages of Television.

Evolution of Television 1920-2020

People listened when Joe spoke. Of course, there was much more to the role Joe played with HD than being its No.

The former chairman credits Joe with bringing to his attention the fact that a digital —not analog—advanced television system existed. Even before I arrived at CBS, Joe had a reputation for bringing management around on high definition television. Following that successful public showing in the United States, Joe wanted to move the demo to Washington, D. Invitations were printed and mailed and arrangements were made to transport the Hi-Vision gear to D.

But at the last minute two senior broadcasting executives at CBS told Joe to cancel the demo. I think it is important to give our regulators in Washington insight into where we could be in the near future. While Joe was undeniably a brilliant and visionary television engineer, I remember him fondly as a renaissance man in every sense of the word. His annual holiday gift of home baked Irish soda bread was a delight.

Last updated: September 30, I t's funny to look back on ancient home appliances and laugh at how crude and useless they seem today. Televisions from the s and s, with their polished wooden cases and porthole screens, seem absurd to us now, fit only for museums; in their time, they were cutting-edge technology—the very finest things money could buy.

In much the same way, the televisions we're all staring at today are already starting to look a bit old hat, because there's always newer and better stuff on the horizon. Back in the s, HDTV high-definition television was an example of this "newer and better stuff"; today, it's quite commonplace.

But what makes it different from the TVs that came before? And what will come next? Let's take a closer look! Photo: HD isn't just about TVs. All televisions make their pictures the same way, building up one large image from many small dots, squares, or rectangles called pixels. Having many more pixels in a screen of roughly the same size gives a much more detailed, higher resolution image—just as drawing a picture with a fine pencil makes for a more detailed image than if you use a thick crayon.

SDTV pictures are typically made from rows of pixels stacked on top of one another, with columns in each row.

Visioneering the Future: Interactive High Definition Digital Television

One early HD standard, HD Ready , introduced back in , required a minimum resolution of rows. For the sake of comparison, our eyes contain million light-detecting cells called rods and cones so our vision is effectively megapixels. Put that another way and it means the images created on our retinas are at least 50 times more detailed than the images created by HDTV and over times more detailed than SDTV. This is what six times more pixels looks like.

What is HDTV?

In SDTV and in earlier versions of HDTV, odd-numbered rows were "painted" first and then even-numbered rows were painted in between them, before the odd-numbered rows were painted with the next frame the next moving picture in the sequence. This is called interlacing , and it means you can fill the screen more quickly with an image than if you painted every single row in turn which is called progressive scanning.

It worked very well on old-style cathode-ray televisions , and cruder LCD televisions that built pictures more slowly than they do today, but it's not really necessary anymore now there are better LCD technologies. For this reason, the best HDTVs use progressive scanning instead, which means they draw fast-action pictures for example baseball games both in more detail and more smoothly.

So when you see an HDTV described as p, it means it has rows of pixels and the picture is made by progressive scanning; an HDTV labeled i has only rows and uses interlacing; a p has rows and uses progressive scanning. SDTV would be technically described as i using the same jargon.

Multimedia Broadcasting and the Internet

Photo: Interlacing and progressive scanning: With old-style interlaced scanning 1 , the red lines are scanned one after another from the top down. Then the blue lines are scanned in between the red lines. This helps to stop flicker. With progressive scanning 2 , all the lines are scanned in order from the top to the bottom.

Where SDTV was an old-style analog technology, HDTV is fundamentally digital, which means all the advantages of digital broadcasting: theoretically more reliable signals with less interference, far more channels, and automatic tuning and retuning. If you're not sure about the difference, check out our introduction to analog and digital.

Farnsworth, and Vladimir Zworykin see our main article on television for more about that. SDTV involves electron beams sweeping across a screen controlled by electromagnets, so it's absolutely an analog technology; HDTV is completely different in that it receives a digitally transmitted signal and converts that back to a picture you see on the screen. HDTV is about doing more with less—putting "more picture" in roughly the same space, but how do you do that exactly?

In a cathode-ray tube TV, the size of the pixels is ultimately determined by how precisely we can point and steer an electron beam and whether we can draw and refresh a picture quickly enough to make it look like a smoothly moving image.


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Even if you could double the number of lines on a TV, if you couldn't draw and refresh all those lines quickly enough, you'd simply end up with a more detailed but more jerky image. The same problem applied when cathode-ray tubes gave way to other technologies such as LCD and plasma , but for different reasons. Previously, DTV had been thought to be impractical to implement due to the huge amounts of data required; standard TV would require 6 million bits per second and HDTV 30 million bps.

With compression systems it became possible to use existing channel bandwidths for DTV channels and later even for each to use smaller bandwidths. It was set up with the intention of creating technical standards. A seperate organisation, the Working group on Digital Television began studying the feasibility of terrestrial digital television in Europe.

By the end of the year a world standard, the MPEG-2 compression system was agreed upon, which also has the advantage of high interoperability with computer technology.

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However, modulation, conditional access and multiplexing were all still to be considered. The group began work and consulted closely with the DVB project group. Work by various companies in the early 's resulted in their collaboration and in they formed the Grand Alliance, setting down a single American standard from the work of each individual company.