Thirteen broadcast engineering and standards bodies from around the world gathered at the National Association of Broadcasters convention last week to sign an agreement that would set up an initiative to develop a new global standard for broadcast television.Since the birth of television, countries have establ9shed a variety of technical systems, or standards, for their local terrestrial, wired, and satellite TV broadcasting. And most of these are not compatible with one another. Variances in power systems (50 Hz vs 60 Hz), the desire to set a more technically advanced system accounted for some of the variation, and political considerations fought against setting a single standard. Moreover, the analog standards were significantly incompatible with one another, making translation of signals difficult and expensive. With the transition to digital, there was once again consideration of developing a single standard, but in the digital universe, translating signals across standards is fairly easy, so the initial push for a single standard once again was waylaid by the myriad needs of different groups. (The U.S. ATSC "standard" actually embraces a wide range of screen format/resolution/frame rate mixes).
Today, its easier (and cheaper) to build a digital receiver chip that can receive any of the world's broadcast standards, decode the digital signal, and translate the signal to any receiver output, than it is to develop separate production lines for the different standards.
That's the difficulty facing the "Future of Broadcast Television Initiative," as it seeks to guide the world's various standards-setting organizations as they consider what will be the next generation of digital television.
“Broadcasting has to go from linear to nonlinear solutions for tomorrow,” said Lieven Vermaele, director of European Broadcasting Union’s Technology and Development Department, at the panel session. Mark Richer, the president of ATSC, said: “The first step is for broadcasters to make sure we all believe in the same goal and have the same shared vision moving forward. If we do not have that, we can’t expect other industries to make that happen. … If you want everyone to sing from the same hymn sheet, you have to write the notes first and the lyrics.”There are areas where standards would clearly help, but establishing a global standard is increasingly unnecessary, as well as increasingly problematic as more and more devices with different power needs, screen sizes and orientations, and resolutions, are used to watch broadcast television. Good luck, FoBTV folks - it's going to be a rocky and difficult path to a future where the next big shift may not come from traditional broadcasters, organizations, or equipment manufacturers.
Source - Global Next-Gen TV Group Gets to Work, TV Newscheck