Poor profit margins stall HDTV adoption

Poor profit margins stall HDTV adoption
Steve Bush The adoption of high definition television (HDTV) in the US remains stalled, according to an industry spokesman. “Companies that could introduce HDTV services are not doing so because they can’t yet see an obvious financial benefit,” said Dan Turpack, president of Tektronix’ measurement division. “The networks are scratching their heads for a business model. If they can get additional revenue streams by transmitting three or four more conventional channels, why should they use additional bandwidth to transmit existing channels in HDTV format – where is the profit?” Tektronix is interested in HDTV because it has developed test equipment for HDTV manufacture and has an extensive video production equipment business. Turpack said: “We have designed the equipment and are ready to roll whenever there is a market.” The latest clutch of satellite-broadcast TV channels are MPEG-2 encoded into 1.5Mbit/s data streams which give barely acceptable results. To achieve this reduced data rate, material is first selected and pre-filtered before encoding to remove images whose high information content would cause obvious artifacts. Last year the US Congress accused US broadcasters of dragging their feet over HDTV broadcasts on spectrum allocated for the purpose, and even of intending to use the spectrum for conventional TV channels instead.


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