Editor: When the head of Chronicle Publishing asked me if digital reception would be better than analog reception, I responded that I thought it would follow the hereditary principle of birth control. That being, if your parents didn't have any children, you won't have any children either. So far, circumstances have proved me correct. Difficult reception areas are difficult reception areas.
You can use any terrestrial technology you want but rock is still rock. Multipath is better tolerated using COFDM. But in a signal-blocked region reception is still zero. That includes ravines in the urban canyons of commerce. A notch in a multicarrier scheme can be overcome but the remaining carriers must still exceed receiver threshold.
My back-of-an-envelope calculations tell me that a COFDM station, using the power levels presently permitted for DTV, will cover about 30 miles. Beyond that, on-channel repeaters will be required. They will work with COFDM.
Because the peak-to-average ratio is higher for COFDM, to achieve a given average power, you'll require twice the transmitter rating required for 8VSB. To extend coverage, you must budget for repeater sites in multiple locations.
While I acknowledge problems with 8VSB reception and, frankly, don't know how well they can be solved, I do know that going down the COFDM road will require really deep pockets to extend coverage beyond 30 miles. COFDM isn't a panacea. It's a shame that the Grand Alliance was waved off of developing certain but lower resolution reception in difficult signal areas. Roy Trumbull
To the Editor: I just bought a DTC-100 after waiting way too long for these new STBs that will supposedly improve reception. It was and still is a huge headache to get all the L.A. stations, even with a rooftop antenna. Still, I get some but not all. I am glad you see what many early adapters have learned the hard way: that OTA 8VSB reception sucks. I am appalled that the FCC is screwing up another great technology by refusing to let the field results prove that 8VSB doesn't work. As an owner of the current 8VSB demodulation scheme, I am all for COFDM. I agree with everything you said. I only wish the FCC would listen. Who the hell do they work for anyhow?
The bottom line is that it doesn't work as advertised, and I am a perfect example of a typical user that struggles with 8VSB and will continue to if things don't change. I have nothing to gain by either demodulation scheme. I want HD reception and programming as much as anyone else. But I can tell you this: there is no way masses will be swayed by HD OTA with the current standard - it doesn't work well. I'd be pleased to discuss this with anyone.
Keep up the fight, and let the best technology win! John Haghighi Haghighi@ucla.Edu
Brad, HDTV looks great, but so does Cindy Crawford. Neither is likely to end up in my living room anytime soon.
I did some early work setting up HD demos in several cities, only to find that even in areas without many large obstructions there were still reception problems. Since this technology is being force fed to the public in vague product descriptions, led by political lobbying, with strange press releases ... it's doomed. Consumer demand must drive a new technology in the marketplace or it will end up in the Betamax wastebasket of high-quality products. Patrick Turner
Dear Editor: As someone who has invested $3500 on my HDTV gear, I have in the past studied the issue of DTV standards and the actions from the FCC, Congress and the broadcasters. In addition to many e-mails, I also participated in phone calls and certified U.S. Mail complaints to the FCC and other agencies.
The fast growing HDTV consumers, although still in minority, are very vocal and will not sit on the sidelines and watch DTV derail at the hands of some broadcasters and the FCC.
They will have to go over our dead bodies to do so because too much is at stake. This movement is I think unprecedented (even compared to any others like VHS vs. Beta...), although frustrating. I am glad to be part of it. James Young