The David Sarnoff Research Center is demonstrating at Comdex '96 here the capabilities of high-definition television (HDTV) to deliver interactive applications to both computers and advanced television sets.
In the Sarnoff demonstration, an automobile commercial shows the sharper, wide-screen video and enhanced sound of HDTV. Simultaneously, an interactive electronic brochure on the car is downloaded to all receivers in the broadcast market. Viewers can select an on-screen icon to peruse the brochure, and they can also request more information electronically by querying the advertiser through the telephone system. The demonstration runs on an Apple Macintosh.
"Our demonstration vividly shows the unique capabilities of HDTV," stated James E. Carnes, Sarnoff's president and CEO. The HDTV technical standard now before the Federal Communications Commission is the most flexible and highest-performance television system ever devised, he said.
Carnes said prompt FCC approval of the HDTV standard -- developed over eight years with broad industry participation -- will speed the convergence of television and computing. The broad and flexible standard provides maximum opportunities for companies in both industries without prematurely foreclosing any choices for consumers, he explained.
The digital HDTV system offers consumers much more than great television -- sharp images in a wide-screen format with CD-quality sound. Uniquely, it can transmit digital information to the same international standards used in current, high-speed data networks. HDTV operates equally in the progressive scan format used in computers and the interlaced scan used in television sets.
In short, Carnes, said, the HDTV system before the FCC is truly interoperable because it provides the necessary technical standards for sending digital video, audio and other data using a variety of signal formats, performance levels and transmission modes for various applications in different industries. Prompt action by the FCC in adopting the HDTV standard will stimulate the production of television sets and broadcast equipment in the U.S. and encourage broadcasters to send programs in HDTV. Conversely, lack of action by the FCC will inhibit this promising new technology from coming to market.
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