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DTV receivers get better

Just in time for NAB, the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology has released its interim report on the state of digital-television-receiver development. Test results indicate that things are looking better.

Traveling to 51 sites in and around Washington in a field-measurement test van, OET engineers used a "second-generation" Zenith ProDemodulator and Decoder combination, along with a series of spectrum and vector signal analyzers to measure signal-to-noise ratio. When it became available, a third-generation ProModulator was installed in the test vehicle as well.

The difference between the second- and third-generation versions was said to be improved pre-ghost performance and longer ghost-cancellation times in the third-generation units. Other manufacturers' receivers were tested, but company names were omitted at the request of the companies.

Generally, the study found that outdoor reception with a 30-foot mast was good at most of the test sites and greatly improved over a 1998 FCC test using first-generation equipment. Indoor reception antennas performed better, too; a bowtie and a Silver Sensor directional antenna on a 7-foot tripod were used, with measurements taken outdoors.

Tests will continue throughout the year in Baltimore.