Scientists at the US Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed a technology that could make the transition from current analog television to high-definition television a lot easier.
The technology is a new transmission algorithm capable of compressing a HDTV data stream to the point where the HDTV and analog TV signals can be broadcast over the same channel.
This is of particular significance to consumers in the US since the US Congress has mandated that HDTV be the required format for broadcast television signals by 2006.
‘The most significant advantage of the technology over existing methods is that broadcasting television networks can avoid spending millions of dollars on transmission systems for both analog and HDTV signals,’ said Los Alamos’ George Nickel, the algorithm’s developer. ‘Those potential savings could help stimulate a more rapid acceptance of this technology.’
The LANL compression technology allows both the new digital and old analog TV sets to receive a signal compatible to each system without requiring broadcasters to simulcast two distinct signals on two separate channels.
The compression concept permits transmission of digital and analog signals in a form that does not require a converter for old receivers since an added software loop in the HDTV receivers recovers the digital information from the same channel.
The Los Alamos technology is the result of compression research initially conducted for image processing used in underground nuclear testing. A patent application has been filed on this technology and Los Alamos is seeking qualified licensees.
Licensees must be able to demonstrate prior professional experience in the fields of television broadcasting and/or equipment manufacturing.