Fox, Philips lead DTV chip-set effort

Fox, Philips Electronics N.V. and Australian National University have created a new
digital-television-reception chip set that goes a long way toward solving the
multipath-reception problems that have plagued indoor reception of digital-TV and high-definition-TV

"We've proven that 8 VSB [vestigial sideband] is perfectly usable for commercial deployment," said
Andrew G. Setos, Fox Group president of engineering. "That puts to bed anyone
who says we needed COFDM [coded othogonal frequency-division multiplexing], which has its own problems."

The chip set is the result of a study published in the most recent issue of
the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers' IEEE Transactions on Broadcasting journal. According to the study,
indoor reception rates are 85 percent.

The study was a multiyear study in which the consortium gathered digital-TV-reception data from 1,100 locations in four cities (New York, Los Angeles,
Chicago and Atlanta). The data were then taken back into a lab where engineers
from Philips Research and ANU attempted to tweak the chip-set algorithms to
improve reception.

Setos said the chip set will be available to all consumer-electronics
manufacturers from Philips Semiconductor.

"The way Fox gets value was to make sure that no one consumer-electronics
company could monopolize this and, so, therefore, only one brand of set would
work," Setos said. "By putting the technology into the hands of Philips
Semiconductor, any set maker can theoretically buy the chip