|Originally posted by Rich Peterson:|
While it's true that NxtWave's engineers couldn't necessarily live up to the hype their markets presented in this press release, their chips do actually work quite well and few with STBs who use them have reception problems. I'm not sure what your point is by revisiting this now, but receiving digital broadcasts is what this is all about and NxtWave's systems perform well today.
When I think of "hype" the "ice cream taste great" or "the car emotes a sense of luxury", comes to mind.
In the context of the time this press release was issued and testimony before Congress the following summer by Nxtwave which was instrumental in the choice of 8-VSB as our US standard saying "With the NXT2000 we've cracked the code for indoor and mobile reception, shown that VSB is a robust and commercially viable standard, and paved the way for mass market deployment of error-free digital TV," said Matt Miller, president and CEO of NxtWave Communications Inc." is not my idea of hype.
The big question at the time was should we revisit the standard, change it or allow a dual standard and which of those options would cause delay and which would speed up the DTV transition. It has been two years and the delay continues as they attempt to "fix" 8-VSB which according to Mat Miller (President) "provides the highest reliability and performance available." which was patently untrue at the time and even more so today.
Works "well" compared to what? These chips and later versions were tested by MSTV more than a year after this press release and the best that they could say was "disappointing".
This fall they are supposed to test the "fixed" receivers and they "may" be compatible. How many people are waiting for these new receivers due when? Talk about delay, how about stagnation.
Mat Miller also talked about how the big US market would ensure lower prices for receivers and in this press release talks about "lower prices". Are newer 8-VSB receivers costing substantially less?
In cautioning Australia about reversing their decision for 8-VSB one of the main arguments for staying in the 8-VSB fold was that no one would make receivers and if they did the price would be unacceptably high for such a small HDTV market as Australia. Australia is only as big as New York City.
The fact is that in Australia there are many HDTV receivers being sold or in the offing at prices of around $350. One even includes installation in your home at $343.
We tried the $350 HiTop HDTV receiver in Toronto last week and were receiving perfect video at 73 mph 30 miles north of the city with only 3500 watts of broadcast power from the CN tower using a simple non directional UHF antenna on channel #66. This was at a data rate the same as Sinclair demonstrated 720p at in Las Vegas last year.
What I am saying is that the press release was not hype. It was intentional and it was successful in delaying the DTV transition for an untold number of years. Will they have what they promised in 1999 in 2002, 2003 or 2004? I don't think so.
Further the monopoly that 8-VSB represents cost the American consumer more dollars in Intellectual Property cost, $5.00 per receiver as opposed to $.63. This would not be possible if there was competition. The cost of receivers is higher than elsewhere. This would not be possible if there was competition. And the extra cost for more complicated antennas and their installation and the requirement that a rotor be used for directionality in many cases all add to cost.
HDTV will prosper in the US but not over the air. Over the air broadcasting as we know it will die and its spectrum be auctioned off or it should be with the present and projected decline in viewers who depend on it.
BTW the marketers didn't run off and leave the NxtWave engineers with egg on their face with those empty promises in the press release. Mat Miller runs the company, read the press release expressed the exact sentiments of the press release to me personally at the time and has a PHD in physics from Princeton. I think he knew what he was doing and what the chips were actually capable of an the time of the press release and the result has been the delay we are experiencing.
A high percentage of those contemplating an 8-VSB receiver purchase have got to be waiting for the new "fixed" receivers due sometime.