Excellence in development and innovation in broadcast technology were recognized last Thursday when members and guests of the National Television Academy gathered at the Plaza Hotel in New York to celebrate the 55th annual Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards.
Below are the previously announced names of the winners and an explanation of what their technological contribution has meant to the industry. Two additional honorees were announced at the ceremony itself: Nascar.com's Pit Commander for Outstanding Achievement in Advanced Media Technology for the Enhancement of Original Television Content, and Cablevision's io Interactive Optimum Digital Cable Service for Outstanding Achievement in Advanced Media Technology for the Creation of Non-Traditional Programs of Platforms.
Pioneering Efforts in the Development of Automated, Server-Based Closed-Captioning Systems
Clyde D. Smith, senior vice president of broadcast technology for Turner Entertainment Networks, led a team that, in 1995, began looking to make it easier to handle the FCC's call for more closed-captioning. The result? Migration from pre-encoded videotapes to server-based Time of Air Encoding in 1996. Turner worked with the National Captioning Institute, Invisible Hands Software and Xorbit to develop a system that uses timecode to link video files on a server with caption information. NCI focused on captioning creation and delivery, and Turner focused on the playout server and interfaces to automation systems.
Pioneering Development of Digital Modulator Adaptive Pre-Correction for ATSC 8VSB Digital Transmitter Systems
In an effort to help broadcasters deal with new constraints related to DTV transmission, Thales designed a DTV exciter called the DAP (Digital Adaptive Pre-Correction). Embedded within the company's ADAPT DTV exciter, it minimizes the setup and maintenance times required with traditional manual correction systems. It also minimizes both linear and non-linear distortions while improving 8-VSB signal performance and lowering the out-of-band products (or "shoulders").
Development and Application of Sub-Pixel Imaging Devices for Television Cameras
Thomson is receiving two awards this year. The first is for the development of its Dynamic Pixel Management (DPM) technology, which uses "super-pixels" to oversample picture information across each of the camera's three 2/3-inch sensors. This provides more picture information to the CCD and results in a cleaner, more colorful image. It's found in a number of Thomson Grass Valley cameras, including the LDK series.
Dolby, Fosgate and Scheiber
Development of Surround Sound for Television
Dolby, Fosgate and Scheiber developed the technologies that led to the surround sound system for television. In 1972 and 1973, Peter Scheiber filed for two patents: one for a quadrasonic sound system, the other for a multidirectional sound system. Dolby then licensed those patents and began working on a Dolby surround sound matrix for movies that also had compatibility with home video and consumer encoding (and television broadcast and cable). Fosgate's contribution was multichannel audio decoders, the first commercially successful multichannel products. Since then, Dolby has designed and standardized a consumer decoder, offered free encoding services for content creators, offered no-cost sublicensing of Scheiber's earlier patents, and continues to evolve the technology.
Pioneering Development of mass-produced digital reflective imaging technology for consumer rear projection television
Digital Light Processing (DLP) technology is currently used in digital theater projectors and also consumer HDTV sets. More than 1.5 million DLP chips have been shipped since its introduction in 1996, providing an entirely digital connection between a video source and the screen. It also is not subject to burn-in because it uses reflective technology; it also has no convergence difficulties because it uses a single panel to create an image.
Pinnacle Systems, Montage, Philips and Thomson
Technology to simultaneously encode multiple video qualities and the corresponding metadata to enable real-time conformance and/or playout of the higher-quality video (nominally broadcast) based on the decisions made using the lower-quality proxies
Pinnacle's Vortex editing system tapped developments at Montage (now owned by Pinnacle) to allow for the simultaneous encode of a high-resolution, broadcast-ready copy and low-resolution proxy copy. That step makes it easier for editors to work on projects without the need for an infrastructure to support transfer of large files. Thomson and Philips also worked on a similar approach. Like Pinnacle's, it ensures that the two files are linked so that an editor can create a rough edit-decision list offline with the proxy files, then finish the edit with the high-resolution version.
Dr. Kees Immink
Coding Technology for Optical Recording Formats
Immink has been involved in R&D of optical recording systems since the early days of the technology in 1970. He developed the EFM coding technique in 1980 for the CD, greatly improving the reliability of the format. He was also involved in DVD development, a technology known as EFMPlus. It has 6% better efficiency than EFM and essentially the same virtues as EFM, yet the way it translates data is completely different. In 1995, after much internal wrangling, the consumer-electronics industry accepted EFMPlus as the coding technique for the DVD.