An End To Fuzzy DTV?
Zenith and NxtWave say they have now merged their technologies into a single "best-of-the-best" system that "exceeds the requirements" of the ATSC RFP aimed at broadening the DTV standard's transmission and reception capabilities. The companies report that the joint system combines NxtWave's error-correction coding and pre-coder technology with Zenith's dataframe mapping, interleaving, and packing algorithm.
The result, the companies claim, is a multi-rate modulation method that "further enhances DTV reception while having no negative impact on any existing ATSC receivers already deployed. This backwards compatibility is critical, and no other proposed enhancement can make this claim." According to Zenith, "new receivers with Zenith-NxtWave technology will be able to decode the standard 8-VSB and the more robust enhanced signal with improved multipath performance for both, as well as better signal acquisition and significantly improved 'white noise' performance for enhanced programs and data."
Zenith's Richard Lewis says, "For manufacturers, our joint solution will mean continued one-stop shopping for VSB licensing. Under the agreement with NxtWave, we will license related intellectual property of both companies—without any increase in royalty rate."
NxtWave and Zenith say they have formally submitted their joint proposal to the ATSC technical committee charged with exploring possible DTV reception enhancements. "Industry testing already has successfully proven backwards compatibility between the Zenith-NxtWave technology and a large number of existing ATSC receivers," say the companies. Comprehensive industry testing, using prototype Zenith-NxtWave transmission and reception equipment now being constructed, is planned for this fall.