Testy over testing


Although broadcasters last week overwhelmingly backed the existing 8-VSB digital TV transmission standard at joint meetings of the National Association of Broadcasters and the Association for Maximum Service Television in Carlsbad, Calif., there were a few contentious moments.

Sources say Hearst-Argyle President and CEO David Barrett was "furious" when he learned that DTV tests conducted by the Sinclair Broadcast Group the weekend before the meeting were actually performed at Hearst-Argyle station WBAL-TV Baltimore without Barrett's or any other high-ranking executive's consent.

In Carlsbad, Sinclair handed the two boards a report on the new tests, which said WBAL "agreed to broadcast comparative program streams...in an effort to replicate earlier transmission test results." Sinclair executives say they asked a WBAL engineer to switch their transmitters back and forth between 8-VSB and COFDM, and were clear that they were running additional tests. A WBAL source disagrees, saying Sinclair said it was just setting up for future tests that MSTV already planned to run later in the week.