Tech Leadership Awards: Glenn Reitmeier

NBCU exec pumps up the volume of innovation
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As senior VP of technology standards and strategy at NBC
Universal, Glenn Reitmeier has been involved in the creation of the network's
first high-definition cable channel, launched multicast programming and mobile
broadcasting, and spearheaded the effort to distribute NBCU content to new
consumer devices. And that's only the "lately" accomplishments during his more
than 30 years in broadcasting.

While a wealth of achievements related to HDTV has made him
well known in industry circles, Reitmeier is most proud of an innovation that
has had an everyday impact on all remote-clicking consumers. In the late 1980s,
while working for RCA, he helped secure the patent for on-screen displays that
showed a graphic when viewers adjusted the volume. "That volume bar is
something I can explain to my mom," Reitmeier jokes.

Before arriving at NBCU in 2002, Reitmeier spent 25 years
doing digital video research and development at Sarnoff Laboratories. While at
Sarnoff, he helped establish the ITU 601 digital video standard, the backbone
of modern TV broadcasting and facilities. And while he was conducting
experiments with digital modules in the early '80s, it was "very radical at the
time to think about anything besides composite analog and NTSC," Reitmeier
says. He was also involved in leading projects for RCA, working with digital
synchronization systems for professional cameras and advanced decoding in
digital receivers.

Reitmeier saw his move to NBC as a chance to "step to the
other side of the table and think a little bit more from within the business."
He helped launch Bravo HD, the network's first foray into HD cable, and
pioneered the national multicasting effort with NBC Weather Plus. The next big
challenges he will tackle involve developing authentication standards, and
broadcasting more in-depth data to mobile devices.

In addition to his work at NBCU, Reitmeier led the Advanced
Television Systems Committee, the group that developed the ATSC mobile
standard, from 2006 to 2009. He is a board member of the North American
Broadcasters Association as well as a contributor to the Open Mobile Video
Coalition's technical advisory group.

Reitmeier looks back at his decades of work with pride, but
sees a challenging landscape ahead, with lots of opportunities for more
breakthroughs.

"I'm very proud of how important some of those
[innovations] have been in terms of what we take for granted today," he says.
"I'm still extremely optimistic about the capabilities of broadcasting data and
really being able to use that data in some powerful new ways. I've got a lot of
work left to do."

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