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Secrets of how TV works! (Part 2) - the "heart" of a TV station

  • HagaYes. And another big difference is support for high-definition broadcasts, which can deliver high-resolution video and immersive 5.1 channel surround sound to the home. Since these broadcasts involve very huge amounts of data, the system has a device called an encoder built in it to compress video and sound. Though just compressing data is not enough. We need to be sure high-quality video and sound are delivered to TV viewers.
  • MitaI see. High-quality video and sound would mean more data. And sending such video and sound would require significant compression. It seems compressing such data would be difficult…
  • HagaRight. It's not an easy thing to do. By the way, I don't mean to brag, but NEC is praised for its excellent data compression technology. The quality of video and sound offered by our technology is given a top-class evaluation. As a matter of fact, Japan's digital terrestrial broadcasting system is also adopted in South American nations and NEC's encoders are used in TV stations in Brazil and Argentina.
  • MitaThat’s interesting! In the third installment of our program on "the digital terrestrial TV transmitter," we heard that NEC's broadcast equipment business started in 1923. Does NEC have a long history of production for the TV master APS transmission system as well?
  • HagaNEC originally began its business by producing transmitters and then became a domestic broadcast equipment manufacturer. From there, the company diversified into the production of TV studio equipment and in 1963 delivered an automatic transmission device to a TV station for the first time, which was the prototype of the current TV master APS transmission system.
  • MitaThe year 1963 was...
  • HagaIt was the year before the Tokyo Olympics.
  • MitaWhat? That long ago?
  • HagaYes. At the time, TV stations needed to switch lines between programs and during such a switching, a several-second commercial was aired. They had to manually switch VCRs, films, audio tapes, tickers and many other devices. While programs were on air, there was no problem. The breaks, though, were grueling. According to what I heard, they were so busy that they called the break the "panic time." The automatic transmission device, which we delivered to the TV station in those days, enabled the switching operations to be performed automatically, instead of by hand.
  • MitaSo that was the starting point of development spanning nearly half a century up to the present day.
  • HagaThat's right. The TV master APS transmission system also represents the collective know-how that we have amassed together with members of the TV station staff.
  • MitaI guess that's part of the reason why NEC's systems account for over 60 percent of the domestic market. You've made me aware that today's TV broadcasting wouldn't have existed without the technology and know-how you have accumulated over the years. Thank you for your informative talk!
  • HagaYou're welcome. It's been nice to have an opportunity to share my knowledge. Thank you for having me on your program.

Conclusion
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 programs that we casually enjoy wouldn't have existed without the high-level technology and know-how that have been accumulated over the years. In the next installment, we will find out about how the TV station manages programs and commercials.

See you in the next installment of "MiTA TV"!

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