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This is the first in an upcoming series of articles from the HDTV Technology Review 2006 Report by Rodolfo La Maestra, published in March 2006. If you are interested in purchasing the full version of this report, it is currently available for purchase from our HDTV Technology Review page.

As with every year, this report reviews the state of H/DTV technology and the industry behind it. The information is up-to-date as of March 2006 and includes future products announced at January's International CES (Consumer Electronics Show).

If you are looking for a particular piece of equipment or technology that is not mentioned in this report, please consult earlier CES reports. These reports include previously released equipment that may still be available to consumers. Previous CES reports are available on the HDTV Magazine website at the following address: www.hdtvmagazine.com/reports/hdtv-technology-review.php.

These reports also provide the historical background of government mandates, industry agreements, satellite/cable plans, definitions, and descriptions of some technologies introduced at that opportunity. Together with this 2006 report, readers are able to use this series of CES reports to better understand the past, present and future of recently released products and technologies.

When applicable, I will provide a brief summary to give an historical perspective of a given subject so that the reader can be familiar with the background before getting into the detail of this year.

During the year, prior to CES, many announcements are made and industry events occur (such as dealer meetings, or conferences like CEDIA every September) which manufacturers leverage to introduce new products.

For these cases, I will mention the month of product introduction to provide a perspective of its maturity in the market. In addition,
products announced at CES 2006 that are planned for release throughout 2006/7 are highlighted within each manufacturer grouping so the reader can have a view of the future.

Most publications only show current DTV products with few specifications. They exclude equipment expected in the medium-term future, and they do not analyze the market to guide the reader in making the right choice. Hundreds of products are included in this report, with specifications and features intended to facilitate comparisons with other models, brands, and technologies.

Many people attend CES to plan future purchases and start saving for products that could be released months or years later; or rather decide to buy now a current product because CES helped confirm that it might not be worth the wait.

In this report, I highlight industry trends, the adoption/abandoning of H/DTV technologies, the remarkable increase in number and variety of flat panel displays, the growth of LCoS, the 1080p Holy Grail, the Hi-def DVD format war, ED in all its variances (SED, NED, OLED, FED), etc.

This report assumes that the reader has a basic understanding of H/DTV. The technical information provided might seem overwhelming to readers
that feel the need to understand the basics first. If you would like to understand the basics of H/DTV, you may want to consult the Glossary and some of my tutorial articles at the HDTV Magazine website: www.hdtvmagazine.com.

All types of H/DTVs and technologies are covered in this report: RPTV (rear projection TV), FP (front projectors), Direct-view (CRTs, CRPs, etc), Plasmas (PDP), DLP (Digital Light Processing), LCD (Liquid Crystal Display), LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon, including JVC's D-ILA and Sony's SXRD), and SED, OLED, FED, NED, etc.

This report also reviews DTV related equipment such as Hi-def DVD for playback and recording, HD tuning set-top-boxes (STB) for small-dish satellite, digital cable, and over-the-air (OTA) w/antenna reception, HD DVRs (Digital Video Recorders), and the implementation of digital video connectivity (DVI, HDMI and IEEE-1394 Firewire).

As always, this report makes more emphasis on H/DTV displays over 40" diagonal (except for a smaller few mentioned in the CRT and LCD-TV groups to round up the introduction of a new line). It excludes computer related HD-tuner cards, computer Hard Disk Drives (HDD) for HD video storage (a computer DVR), C-Band (big dish) satellite equipment, and some after-market modifications to HD-Set Top Boxes (HD-STBs) for DBS small-dish satellite HD recording (www.169time.com).

All the information about models, prices, and specifications has been researched and confirmed with product demonstrations, lab tests, industry press releases, technical material, and my manufacturer interviews at CES. Prices are consistently shown as MSRP (rounding the 999s to the next dollar to make for easier reading). Product availability is stated as TTM (Time to Market) or TBA (when unknown).

As the industry grows in complexity, variety, and number of products, the effort to research, analyze, review products, and wrap with a full H/DTV coverage at CES with my projections is becoming an overwhelming task year after year.

Most people refer to this effort as a "CES report". The truth is: CES is just one piece of the industry perspective offered in this document. In most cases, I already know what will be appearing at CES beforehand because I follow the industry on a daily basis. CES permits me to see (and in some cases test) those ground breaking H/DTV products and talk to the engineers that participated in their creation. No press release can provide that, and you have it here.

Nevertheless, I still make the effort because maintaining the broad scope allows me to link all the pieces together, which facilitates a deeper analysis from a wider perspective across manufacturers, technologies, and the industry in general.

The readership benefits from a unique report, a historic and summarized statement of a year of the H/DTV industry, which also becomes a research tool, rather than just showing the photographs of selected new products with modest background information, as most publications do, when they do.

Although considerable effort was made to consolidate and verify the correctness of all the complex data included in the report, I cannot assume responsibility for omissions or errors.

Any information you might want to contribute to correct or enhance the usefulness of this report would be certainly welcomed. Should you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me at rodolfo@hdtvmagazine.com.

Thank you for your continued support and interest in my work.




Rodolfo La Maestra


Your HDTV Magazine at CES 2006
Shane, Dale, and Rodolfo


We have a lot to cover this year, now reaching 207 pages, so let us time travel to the future of H/DTV.

Table of Contents
 
H/DTV Highlights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7
 
H/DTV Implementation
    Background Summary (1998-2004) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
22
    The Updated Plan (2005 and Later) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
23
        New Deadline, STB Subsidy, Public Education Program
        TV Statistics
        Converter Boxes for the Transition
        Integrated Tuner Mandate Update
        H/DTV Programming
        DTV Market Penetration
        Analysis, Projections
 
DTV Standards - Update . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
30
    Enhanced AC-3 Audio Standard
    ACAP Standard
    Enhanced-VSB (E-VSB) Transmission Mode
    High-Definition Audio-Video Network Alliance (HANA)
 
Satellite, Cable, Broadcasting
    Satellite
        DIRECTV . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
32
            The Planned Upgrade
            2005/6 Update
        Dish Network . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
33
            The Planned Upgrade
            Voom
            2005/6 Update
        Cable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
34
            Managing the Progress to Bidirectional
            Microsoft and CableCARDs?
            Unidirectional CableCARD in a Bidirectional Cable World
            iDCR and DCAS
            OCAP
            OCAP Implementations
            ETV
        Broadcasting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
37
            Must-Carry Multicasting Channels
        USDTV . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
37
 
H/DTV Displays (*)
    CRT, SED, OLED, FED, NED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
39
    Digital Light Processing (DLP) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
45
    Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
64
    LCD Projection (FP and RPTV) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
70
    Plasma Panels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
73
    LCD-TV Panels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
83
    (*) Includes Direct-view, Panels, Front (FP) and Rear (RPTV) Projection
 
1080p into HDTV Displays
    1080p Implementation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
95
    1080p by Brillian . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
97
        Upconversion to 1080p
        Deinterlacing Implementation
        1080p Acceptance
        Upgradeability
        Integrated Tuners, FireWire, ISF
        Brillian Moving Forward
 
Other HDTV Equipment
    HDTV STBs (Tuners / DVRs) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
103
    Hi-def DVD (HD DVD and Blu-ray) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
112
        Background
        Formats Reconciliation
        Universal Player
        Interactivity
        Content Protection
        AACS Down-Res
        PVP-OPM
        Gaming
        Format Specifications
        Computing
        PC Applications for BD
        Discs
        BD Discs
        Recording media for HD DVD and Blu-ray
        BD-ROM Pre-recorded Media
            Studio Announcements
            Launching Announcements
            HD DVD Launch
            Blu-ray Launch
        HD DVD Equipment
        Blu-ray Equipment
        Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
128
            Choosing the Player
            Cutting out Early Adopters, Possible Consequences
            1080P and Hi-def DVD
            A Different View of Hi-def DVD Booths at CES
    Taiwan's Forward Versatile Disc (FVD) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
131
    HD Signal Processors
        Video Processing Engines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
132
        Processors Using HD Video Processing Engines . . . .
136
    HDTV Video Cameras . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
139
 
Digital Connectivity - Tutorial
    DVI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
144
    IEEE1394 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
146
    HDMI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
147
 
Digital Connectivity Implementation
    HDMI Connectivity (2004-2005) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
148
        2004
        2005
        PanelILink Cinema (PLC) Partners Program
    HDMI Connectivity Update (2005 - 2006) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
149
        HDMI Licensing, v1.2 Specification
        HDMI First Receiver SiI 9033 with v1.2 Specification
        HDMI Receiver IC Support for 1080p
        HDMI SiI 1930 and 1390 Transmitters
        HDMI SiI 9023 Receiver
        SiI 4726 Processor
        HDMI SiI 9020 Transmitter for HD Cameras
        Simplay Labs Introduction
        SiI 8200 Video Processor
        iTMDS Internal Link Technology and SiI 7170 Transmitter
            and 7171 Receiver
    HDMI Version 1.3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
153
    HDMI Industry Adoption . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
153
    HDMI in 1080p Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
154
    HDMI Multi-channel Audio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
155
    Other Digital Connectivity - Update . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
156
        IEEE1394 over Coaxial
        IEEE Approves Initial 802.11n Spec
        IBM Developed Wireless HD Chip
        UWB
 
Multi-channel Audio for HD
    Hi-bit Dolby Digital Formats - Connectivity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
158
        Single-Cable Digital Connection
        Multichannel Analog Connection
        S/PDIF Connection
        Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus in A/V Receivers
    Legacy Discrete Surround Audio Formats for Hi Def DVD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
162
    Hi-bit Surround Audio Formats - Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
163
        Dolby Digital Plus
        DTS-HD (DTS++ and DTS-HD Master Audio)
        Dolby TrueHD
    Hi-bit Audio Application to Hi-def DVD Formats 164
    Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
165
 
HD Content Protection
    DTV Content Protection Rulings and Agreements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
167
        Plug-and-Play Cable Agreement
        Broadcast Flag
        Other Technology Alternatives to the Flag
        Down-res
        Analysis - Some Loose Ends
        What Could You Do?
    Graphical Representation of Rulings and Agreements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
177
    HD Content Protection - Update . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
178
        AACS
        AACS Down-res Approved
        PVP-OPM
        Broadcast Flag
 
Glossary of H/DTV Terms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
182
 
About the Author . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
207

Posted by Rodolfo La Maestra, March 27, 2006 12:51 PM

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About Rodolfo La Maestra

Rodolfo La Maestra is the Senior Technical Director of UHDTV Magazine and HDTV Magazine and participated in the HDTV vision since the late 1980's. In the late 1990's, he began tracking and reviewing HDTV consumer equipment, and authored the annual HDTV Technology Review report, tutorials, and educative articles for HDTV Magazine, DVDetc and HDTVetc  magazines, Veritas et Visus Newsletter, Display Search, and served as technical consultant/editor for the "Reference Guide" and the "HDTV Glossary of Terms" for HDTVetc and HDTV Magazines.  In 2004, he began recording a weekly HDTV technology program for MD Cable television, which by 2006 reached the rating of second most viewed.

Rodolfo's background encompasses Electronic Engineering, Computer Science, and Audio and Video Electronics, with over 4,700 hours of professional training, a BS in Computer and Information Systems, and thirty+ professional and post-graduate certifications, some from MIT, American, and George Washington Universities.  Rodolfo was also Computer Science professor in five institutions between 1966-1973 in Argentina, regarding IBM, Burroughs, and Honeywell mainframe computers.  After 38 years of computer systems career, Rodolfo retired in 2003 as Chief of Systems Development from the Inter-American Development Bank directing sixty+ software-development computer professionals, supporting member countries in north/central/south America.

In parallel, from 1998 he helped the public with his other career of audio/video electronics, which started with hi-end audio in the early 60’s and merged with Home Theater video, multichannel audio
, HD, 3D and UHDTV. When HDTV started airing in November 1998, and later followed by 3DTV and 4K UHDTV, he realized that the technology as implemented would overwhelm consumers due to its complexity, and it certainly does even today, and launched his mission of educating and helping consumers understand the complexity, the challenge, and the beauty of the technology pursuing better sound and image, so the public learn to appreciate it not just as another television.