Studios-led ATVEF format to standardize world's television transmissions
In the past, Video Age has often reported three basic facts:
1) The future for broadcast transmission of digital high-definition television (HDTV) has never looked promising.
2) The ATSC (the U.S. terrestrial digital TV transmission standard) was born obsolete. Similarly, the European DVB-T will not fare well.
3) Television of the future will use an Internet-based protocol transmission, like the one proposed by the ATVEF (Advanced Television Enhanced Forum).
ATVEF is a royalty-free license intended to give consumers enhanced (interactive) television programs in the least expensive and most convenient manner possible. To achieve this, ATVEF has developed a baseline specification using existing Internet standards and technologies, and broadcast extensions that content providers can use to develop programming enhanced with other data, such as Internet content.
On October 22, ATVEF will demonstrate its Internet Protocol (IP) in the Italian beach resort of Giulianova, a short distance east of Rome. It will do so in the presence of Italy's deputy minister of Communications, Vincenzo Vita, Italian public and private broadcasters and cable operator Stream.
In the past, ATVEF has demonstrated its open standard to engineers in the U.K., Germany, France and Holland. However, the presentation in Italy marks the first time that ATVEF will be introduced to policy makers and TV executives.
Recalling the issues that brought us to ATVBF, the April 1999 issue of Video Age reported that HDTV only makes sense for expensive big-screen sets, which are unfit to place where most viewers watch their TV: the kitchen or the bedroom.
Last month, Video Age was the first to report that in the U.S., the Sinclair TV station group called on the industry to abandon the ATSC digital-TV format in favor of the European DVB-T standard.
It is now clear that by using line-doubling technology at the receiving end, there is no need to transmit HDTV, which takes up all 6 MHz of TV bandwidth (19.39 Megabits per seconds -- Mbps -- in digital terms). Also, viewers have no incentive to purchase a digital-analog converter, as that will only convert programming that they can already get in analog form. Broadcasters have invested so much money in digital technology that they don't want to pay more for new programming especially designed to encourage consumers to purchase new TV sets or digital-to-analog converters.