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TV Tech Pioneer Charles Rhodes Dies

Charles W. Rhodes, broadcast engineer, consultant, and high-definition and digital television pioneer, died March 20 following a fall.

Rhodes was former chief scientist for the Advanced Television Test Center (ATTC) from 1988 to 1995 and before that was head of the the TV engineering department at Tektronix.

The ATTC, which was instrumental in the development of a digital TV standard, closed in 2003. ATTC shared a 2009 tech Emmy for its work on developing the ATSC 1.0 digital transmission standard.

Rhodes received the National Association of Broadcasters Engineering Achievement Award in 1995.

"The industry just lost one of its greatest friends and valiant warriors. Charlie was a friend and a mentor," said Mark Aitken, Vice VP of advanced technology for the Sinclair Broadcast Group. "He brought calm reason to troubling problems. With a vast, vast, array of interests (whether steam engines, nuclear physics or anything to do with radio science), Charlie always had time for a hearty laugh and broad, gleaming smile."

"He was a brilliant engineer who contributed very effectively to our ATSC 1.0 standard development" said Dick Wiley, former chairman of the FCC Advisory Committee on Advanced Television Service. "He was one of the smartest guys from a technical standpoint and one of the most effective engineering minds that I have run into."

“NAB is mourning the loss of one of television’s great engineers, Charlie Rhodes," said National Association of Broadcasters EVP Dennis Wharton. "Charlie had a tremendous role in leading the transition from the analog system of the 1950s to the digital television system we know today. NAB has continued to support his important work on spectrum sharing as television moves towards the Next Generation."

John Eggerton
John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.