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ATSC's Richer Named Chairman of Future of Broadcast Television Initiative

The Future of Broadcast Television (FoBTV) initiative has announced that Mark Richer, who is president of Advanced Television Systems Committee, has been elected FoBTV chairman and that Phil Laven, chairman of the Digital Video Broadcasting Project (DVB) has been named FoBTV vice chairman.

In addition, Wenjun Zhang of NERC-DTV was named its first chairman of the FoBTV Technical Committee.

The formation of the group was announced last week at NAB, when a number of major broadcasters, standards organizations, research groups and industry associations come together in an effort to develop more standardized technologies for the next generation of terrestrial broadcasting.

The effort, if successful, would mark a major shift from the traditional broadcast landscape, where broadcasters have traditionally adopted different standards in different regions of the world.

The group is not intended, however, to become a new standards body, noted Richer in an interview. Rather it would recommend a more harmonious approach to new broadcast technologies that would be adopted by existing standards bodies.

The idea of having similar technologies and standards around the world would obviously cut the costs of creating and manufacturing new equipment and services by achieving economies of scale. But it would also make it easier and less costly for manufacturers to develop new products for a global market, which in turn would increase the supply of innovative products that broadcasters need for their future success, Richer believes.

The founding FoBTV members making up the Management Committee of the group include: ATSC, the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC), Communications Research Centre Canada (CRC), Digital Video Broadcasting Project (DVB), European Broadcasting Union (EBU), Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), Globo TV-Brazil, IEEE Broadcast Technology Society (IEEE-BTS), National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), National Engineering Research Center of Digital TV of China (NERC-DTV), NHK Science and Technology Research Laboratories (NHK), Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and Brazilian Society of Television Engineers (SET).

In addition to naming Dr. Wenjun Zhang as the first chair of the Technical Committee, the group also named Dr. Yiyan Wu, CRC's principal research scientist; Dr. Toru Kuroda, director of NHK's Planning and Coordination Division; and Dr. Namho Hur, general director, Department of Broadcasting System Research at ETRI as vice-chairs of the committee.

The committee will solicit ideas and work to evaluate of technical proposals and recommendations of the major technologies that might be used as the basis for new standards.