AMST pitches for tech center

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The Association of Maximum Service Television is asking the TV industry to pay for a technology development center similar to CableLabs in order to keep the pace of innovation needed in the digital era.

"Without this investment there will be no broadcast industry," MSTV Chairman and LIN Television Corp. President Gary Chapman told the Media Institute in Washington Thursday. Because there have been a few technological changes since the invention of TV, broadcasters have grown complacent about supporting research, he said. But digital transmission will allow, and require, new interactive TV services to be developed rapidly just as in the computer industry. "We too are now in the digital treadmill," he said.

A tech center also would help the industry solve current digital TV problems such as indoor reception and multipath problems and improve on-channel repeaters, he said. To jump start the tech center's creation, MSTV and the National Association of Broadcasters have roughly $1.2 million remaining from funds raised to test 8-VSB, the DTV modulation technology.

More cash will be needed, but Chapman said he doesn't know how much ultimately will be required. He did predict the center's annual budget will be less than the $8 million slated for CableLabs.
- Bill McConnell

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