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and interactivity. Both will stimulate the construction and acceptance of improved interactive networks to the home.

Consumer interest will determine whether interactivity is first introduced into homes through the PC or the digital television. Over time, homes will contain a powerful PC capability in a den or work location and a sophisticated digital television entertainment center in the family room. Many of the communication networks and software programs will serve both home setups. Full use of the attractive services and products of both industry groups will greatly accelerate the development and use of NII in the home.

Maximum implementation of digital television and interoperability across all media require certain federal government and industry actions.

What is key is the completion of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Advisory Committee on Advanced Television Service (ACATS) process, with the FCC adoption of the Grand Alliance (GA) HDTV standard as early as possible—late 1995 or early 1996—as recommended by the May 1994 NIST Workshop on Advanced Digital Video in the NII and the recent report by the NII Technology Policy Working Group (TPWG). FCC action must include allocation of new 6 MHz transition channels to all broadcasters. This ACATS-FCC action is moving along toward completion.

Establishment of new infrastructure network rules for the previously separate industries of local telephone, long-distance telephone, cable, broadcast, and so on. for all NII type services is vital. Maximum network development and investment must await a clear set of regulations.

The more difficult government-industry challenge is the establishment of an open interoperable infrastructure within the digital video world. Closed proprietary systems and the potential for many different video systems and interfaces will retard consumer acceptance. Confusion over systems, standards, and interfaces, as in the past, will cause consumers to delay acquisitions. One key ingredient that would help is to provide consumers with the option of buying all home hardware at retail from competitive suppliers. Consumer decisions plus competition will help to establish open and interoperable systems and products.

A concern expressed in some quarters is industry's commitment to commercialize systems and products. Commercial commitments will not be a significant problem if the obstacles cited here can be dealt with. As an example, the digital television actions of Thomson Consumer Electronics are tabulated below. Every reasonable effort in the areas of standards, product development, and promotion is being supported, to accelerate the conversion of the home entertainment center into an exciting new interoperable digital center with uses far beyond those common today.

Thomson's digital video activities include the following:

Key participant in development of MPEG 1 and MPEG 2 standards.

Leading participant and early proponent of the use MPEG flexible packets for the U.S. HDTV standard. Charter member of earlier Advanced Digital HDTV Consortium and of the recent Grand Alliance HDTV development team.

Developer, manufacturer, and marketer of the RCA Digital Satellite System (DSS), the first high unit volume digital video system ever implemented.

In cooperation with Sun, announced an interactive digital operating system, "OpenTV," that is extremely economical and that can be interfaced through a TV remote control or a PC.

Announced MPEG 2 encoder capability for SDTV (1995) and HDTV (1997).

Announced capability to produce set-top receivers with full microprocessor capability.

In cooperation with Hitachi, demonstrated and announced commercial plans (1996) for a digital D-VHS VCR for the home recording of the DSS signals.

In cooperation with Toshiba and others, announced standard, manufacturing, and commercial plan (1996) for a digital videodisc (DVD) player.

Chaired worldwide working group that reached consensus on a digital recording standard (DVC) for the GA HDTV system.

Announced plans for manufacture and sale of digital television receivers with interactivity (1997).



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