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Close interaction with its customer base enabled ASC to identify real-market requirements; most significantly, the need for improved methods of transferring and storing data. The company, recognizing the potential benefits of advancing this technology, initiated development of the VR* line of products. The first VR digital disk recorder shipped in 1994, and revolutionized the field of nonlinear, random access digital picture. In response to customer feedback, ASC continued its development efforts and implemented the advanced features and increased storage capacity that characterize VR video server systems now in operation world-wide.
The 1997 introduction of the VR300 Broadcast Video Server establishes ASC as the leader in video server technology. ASC's patent-pending Fibre Channel technology, the result of development that began in 1995, provides features no other server can match - the greatest sustained bandwidth yet achieved in video coupled with simultaneous shared access to media by multiple users within a facility.
As Dennis demonstrated the ins and outs of his product, we began to realize the depth of thought that goes into every design. I especially liked the "invisible" ventilation gap left under countertop lips and the edging placed at foot-level to keep laminate from chipping. The wire passages shown were ingenious as well. Further, we were shown a large working cabinet shop and mill.
Dennis Murphy still uses oak edging because it takes the abuse from 24/7 use. If your radio station needs a face-lift, give him a call. We're fortunate to have a local supplier with a nationwide reputation.
In other business, we're about to mail our sponsorship campaign letters. If you'd like to join our sponsors, drop us a note. We're adding a scholarship fund this year in order to get more new blood into the business. If you're interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact us.
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Need more information? Call them at 760-631-8021 in Oceanside, or visit their web site at <http://www.gmsinc.com>
When Rich Lochmann, KFMB-TV Chief Engineer, walked in to greet us on the morning of February 19, it was with a noticably lighter step. "The FCC posted their new DTV allocations," he said, "and KABC got a new channel." Definitely good news for Midwest Television.
In fact there were a quite a few changes from their April 1997 6th Report and Order regarding Digital TV (DTV) U.S. allocations, but the KABC-TV change was the biggest (You know, Disney and all). You see, the FCC's April table had KABC-DTV Los Angeles on channel 8 from Mt. Wilson, in plain sight of the Mt. Soledad, San Diego channel 8 transmitter. An oversight?
The Maximum Service Television (MSTV) filing with the FCC in November 1997 addressed many short-spacings and VHF drop-in problems. Others are left to be settled. For whatever reason, whether the increasing cable and DBS penetration, the "phasing out" of AM analog technology, hand-wringing at the prospect of massive spectrum auctions, or just the FCC's desire to move on, a number of technical questions were set aside in making the final table.
Further, the FCC announced it would retire channels 52 through 59 (along with 60 through 69 announced earlier) at the end of the NTSC-to-DTV transition in a decade. This means that KSWB will retreat from channel 69 to 19 and KFMB will have to give up channel 55 at the end of the period.
Background: The 6th Report and Order uses a principle of "Replicated Coverage", or being given sufficient power to cover a station's current "Grade B" coverage zone, up to a limit of 1 Megawatt average (about 5 MW peak). Because the Grade B zones were created in the 1950's without the use of terrain in calculating coverage, the Grade B zones for San Diego VHF's include Temecula--an impossiblity. Further, marketing zones aren't considered. For marketing purposes, most stations' coverage maps in the 1990's are based on "Areas of Dominant Influence." ADI's may extend far beyond Grade B coverage when cable companies import signals to satisfy viewer needs for sufficient network and independent stations. "Replicated Coverage," therefore, is based neither on science nor on marketing, but is, instead, on a convenient line in the sand.
Trying to replicate maximum power VHF facilities gave these stations a decided advantage when the new allotted power levels were doled out. You may notice that KFMB-TV "tops out" at 1 Megawatt while KNSD is given 93.3 kW due to the theoretical restriction of their present channel 39 coverage.
For one, the FCC seemed to turn a blind eye to real world adjacent channel filtering questions. When you get adjacent channels on cable TV, your provider takes great pains to balance adjacent channel levels within a decibel or two. In Portland, channel 45 DTV at 960 kW sits adjacent to channel 46 at 153 kW. A theoretical digital capture effect is presumed to take care of this problem.
Translator and low power services were thrown out like warm house cats into the cold, dark night to fend for themselves. What will happen to K19BN (marketed as "KBNT") on Mt. Palomar when KSWB-DTV lights up on channel 19? How about the complete overtake of channel 19 in San Diego?
Said the FCC: "Entravision Holdings, LLC, (Entravision), (licensee) of K19BN in San Diego, California and KGHB-LP in Pueblo and Colorado Springs, Colorado will be displaced by DTV allotments. It argues that, in San Diego, instead of providing DTV channel 19 for KSWB-TV and DTV channel 18 for KUSI-TV, we could allot these stations two channels from 43, 47, 62, 63, 64 or 65; alternatively, we could reserve one of these channels for K19BN. Entravision submits that we should revise the DTV Table to either preserve co-channel or adjacent channel LPTV stations or reserve the allotments that are not needed for DTV for co-channel and adjacent channel displaced LPTV stations." The FCC denied this petition, and another like it from Univision, whose programs air on these low-power outlets.
LPTV's must file for new channels, and KBNT general manager Philip Wilkinson says, "We're already working on something. The FCC promised displaced (LPTV) stations first crack at any more new channels." Most of his audience is on cable. "Let's face it," he said, "At the end of the day, with 80% cable penetration, it's not much of a concern."
What about implications for Mexico and Canada? The Memorandum Opinion and Order on the Reconsideration of the Sixth DTV R&O addresses the issue vaguely, stating that while U.S. channels are now cast in stone, allocations for our neighbors are a works-in-progress: "...we have been coordinating for some time now with Canada and Mexico on the allotment of DTV channels in the border areas. We indicated that we are working to complete interim agreements on DTV allotments with both of these countries and that we have also coordinated the DTV Table with the Canadian and Mexican administrations and believe that it will be generally acceptable to them. We stated that we therefore expect only minor adjustments will be necessary to conform the Table to these agreements."
"...we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Mexico relating to cooperation in the use of TV channels for DTV service and have established an informal working group with Canada to facilitate the coordination effort." There. Now go a ahead and spend five-million dollars and rest assured there will be no conflicts.
Reading the voluminous collection of petitions asking for alternative allocations, one can appreciate the game of chess being played. KSCI San Bernardino, channel 18 NTSC asked that KUSI in San Diego not be given a co-channel allocation. The FCC denied the motions, and hinted that they should file to move to Mt. Wilson to keep L.A. receive antennas pointed north.
NBC filed a petition to seek better replication of its Southern California facilities. Theirs is an interesting case of extremes, bringing into question the very notion of replication. In Los Angeles, low band VHF channel four provides a huge coverage that simply can't be replicated on UHF. The FCC forecast only 84.3% replication on channel 36 due to the maximum DTV ERP of 1 megawatt. In San Diego, channel 39 NTSC service greatly limited their theoretical coverage, therefore their replication power (93.3 kW) on channel 40. (Note that KFMB-TV, covering the same demographic market area, was awarded a full megawatt.) According to the FCC, NBC pledged "to cooperate with the efforts of the Broadcasters' Caucus to coordinate possible allotment changes in the region." The FCC denied the request for any allotment changes.
In Los Angeles, Fox sucessfully kept Fouce Broadcasting, owners of KCRA NTSC channel 62, from moving its DTV allocation to channel 12. The FCC stated a desire to protect co-channel XEWT in Mexico, but didn't directly address the issue of dropping an adjacent channel VHF between two long-existing powerhouses.
Assuming Baja California can find space for DTV operation, all that remains is for facilities' planners to hit the ground running. There's enough permitting, transmitter buying, tower erecting, and program buying to last for years. L.A. stations must use or lose their channels by May 1999. San Diego stations must light up their DTV facilities by November 1999.
We prefer an e-mail JPEG attachment; however, printed photos can be scanned and returned if you provide a self-addressed, stamped envelope. SBE Chapter 36, P.O. Box 710702, San Diego, CA 92171.
SBE Chapter 36 Newsletter ©1998.
For more information on how to become a sponsor, or to make suggestions, contributions, or comments, e-mail email@example.com. This newsletter was written and edited by Gary Stigall, but I appreciate your contributions. You're free to redistribute or quote, but please attribute our original material, as you would have us attribute unto you, okay Barry? Updated 3/6/1998.
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