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Transition to DTV has obstacles

Wed, 07/25/2001 - 8:00pm
Anne Kerven

Looks like the transition to digital broadcasting won't exactly be pain-free. According to ATSC performance compliance analysis performed by digital datacasting and testing company Triveni Digital, digital transport streams from broadcasters are filled with enough errors that they could have a negative impact on picture quality. In May, Triveni analyzed 23 different transport streams, supplied by 21 of the 185 TV stations that had converted to digital broadcasting at that time.

At least 70 percent of the streams suffered from problems related to the ATSC Program and System Information Protocol (PSIP), which can cause receivers to require more time to tune and, potentially, lock up. Roughly half of those tested also had problems related to audio buffer usage, leading to degraded sound quality or lip sync problems.

Nearly 40 percent had missing PSIP tables or syntax errors, leading to receivers not being able to navigate or access electronic program guides.

Other problems included blank lines in the EPG for certain channels; program clock reference jitters and frequency deviation, leading to receivers not being able to synchronize with encoders; and lost PSIP metadata, which is needed to navigate and access EPGs.

Triveni's analysis was turned over to each broadcaster so that the streams could be further analyzed and corrected.

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