Secrets of how TV works! - the most important part of a broadcasting tower
- MitaHow have you accumulated those kind of technical skills?
- HidakaNEC began its broadcasting business back in 1923. I think that it is because of the know-how and technical skills that we have ceaselessly built up in the 89 years since then that we can manufacture digital terrestrial TV transmitters today.
- MitaSo, it all began back in the 1920's? ... You've been involved in the broadcasting business since way back, haven't you?
- HidakaYes, that's right. This is slightly off-topic, but interesting things occur if you have a long history in things, you know. For example, power consumption of the digital terrestrial TV transmitters installed on the Tokyo Sky Tree® has been reduced by more than 40% compared with conventional transmitters. This was made possible because we succeeded in developing a technology for increasing the efficiency called the "Doherty method."
- MitaIs this the first time this method was applied?
- HidakaNo, it isn't. If you check on this, you will find that NEC had already developed a radio (medium wave) transmitter that used this Doherty method in the 1940's. It's interesting, right? This means that a method the same as one that was used before the war is incorporated in the very latest digital terrestrial TV transmitters installed on the Tokyo Skytree.
- MitaSo, a method that has been around since more than 50 years ago is being applied to power saving technology, isn't it. By the way, earlier on you said that high-level technology and know-how are needed for manufacture. Ordinarily, how much time is required from production through to final delivery?
- HidakaIn the case of Japan, this would take from half a year to about one year after receiving the order and numerous meetings and surveys. On the other hand, when we export digital terrestrial TV transmitters to overseas such as South America and Europe, we are sometimes pressed to deliver within extremely short delivery deadlines in some regions.
- MitaWith "short delivery deadlines," does this mean that you have deliver immediately after receiving an order?
- HidakaYes, it does. For example, in Europe, in lots of cases we've had the transmitter up and running on site in just two months of receiving an order.
- MitaSomething that would take between half a year up to a year in Japan in just two months! You can actually do that?
- HidakaThe specifications required by customers and the number of meetings differ between Japan and Europe. However, just that does not allow us to respond to "ultra-short" delivery deadlines. Through various measures and continuous effort, such as the sharing of information with sales, production control, procurement of parts, and establishing production line, etc., we are managing to compete with rival manufacturers in Europe. It's incredibly tough at the production site. Because digital broadcasts cannot be started without digital terrestrial TV transmitters. Delivery deadlines must be met at all costs as transmitters form an infrastructure for supporting our lives.
- HidakaIn actual fact, the factory where NEC's digital terrestrial TV transmitters are made is located in Fukushima which was struck by the great earthquake in 2011. At this time, we had received an order for digital terrestrial TV transmitters from Arqiva Ltd., a major British broadcasting transmission operator.
- MitaReally! If the factory is destroyed, it will be difficult to meet the delivery deadline, wouldn't it. Were you OK?
- HidakaAfter the earthquake disaster, water was not supplied and gasoline was tight. In these circumstances, a total of 300 workers from the production department and other personnel got down to the task of restoring the factory, and operation was resumed ten days later. Though the homes of many had suffered damage in the disaster and aftershocks continued, they still pressed ahead with work and managed to meet the delivery deadline. For this, we received a letter of gratitude from Arqiva Ltd. It was after that earthquake and tsunami, so I think that the people in Arqiva Ltd. were worried about whether or not their digital terrestrial TV transmitter would really be delivered.
- MitaIt's amazing that you were able to meet the delivery deadline under those conditions. Now I feel as if I understand the reason why NEC is one of several companies in the world that can make digital terrestrial TV transmitters. Please continue to support the broadcasting industry. Thank you for your wonderful talk today.
- HidakaIt's my pleasure. I was pleased you asked all these questions. Thank you very much.
How did you like our interview on the digital terrestrial TV transmitter? Working in the TV industry, I'm ashamed to admit it, but I was surprised at how much I didn't know.
The TV programming that we casually enjoy wouldn't have existed without the high-level technology and know-how that have been accumulated over the years. Next time, we will find out abut how the TV station manages programs and commercials.
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Tokyo Skytree® is a registered trademark of Tobu Railway Co., Ltd. and Tobu Tower Skytree Co., Ltd.