Japanese Digital Satellite Broadcasting System Approved As International Standard

The digital satellite broadcasting system (ISDB-S) which Japan had proposed was approved as a Recommendation by ITU-R vote.
An ITU-R (International Telecommunication Union-Radiocommunication Sector) meeting regarding broadcasting related issues was held May 31 through June 2, 1999 in Geneva, Switzerland. On this occasion, the system that had been proposed by Japan was adopted as a draft Recommendation, in addition to the already-recommended European and U.S. systems. The approval procedure by vote was conducted until its due day of October 7, and the system was approved as a Recommendation on October 13.
The main advantages of the digital BS broadcasting system that Japan had proposed are;

  • The adoption of TC8PSK that can transmit two HDTV programs.
  • The mechanism that permits continuous broadcasting even with weaker signals caused by heavy rains.(hierarchical transmission)

Digital BS broadcasting will start in December, 2000 using this system.

Japanese Digital Terrestrial Television Broadcasting System Adopted at ITU-R

At ITU-R held February 2000, the digital terrestrial television broadcasting system (ISDB-T) proposed by Japan was adopted as one of the draft Recommendations.
The Japanese system (ISDB-T) was adopted in addition to the European (DVB-T) and the U.S. system (DTV) which had already been approved as digital terrestrial television broadcasting systems.
Although all of the three recommended systems are able to broadcast approximately one HDTV or about three SDTV programs for fixed reception, the Japanese system features: 1) good mobile reception which can be maintained even under severe transmission conditions and 2) flexible use for fixed reception and portable/mobile reception in one channel.
The conducting of a vote for the final approval is scheduled, with the draft Recommendation requiring more than 70% of the total votes in its favor to receive approval.

Agent-TV Development by FACTS

TV with automatic customized program selection for viewers

The multi-channel, multimedia era will make massive amounts of information accessible to viewers via digital broadcasting such as ISDB or other interactive networks. To deal successfully with the new media age, advent of intelligent, functional TV sets called "agent-TV" are expected. Such TV sets can select and present programs of personal interest to viewers. These TV sets store in their receivers information regarding viewers' individual preferences and profiles as well as indexed information such as live broadcast programs. This will enable an agent-TV to select and display programs according to an individual viewer's interests.
The FACTS (FIPA Agent Communication Technologies and Services) project was established to validate and to propose modification of standard specification by implementing actual systems based on international agent technology specification. FACTS is a two year project which started in March of 1998 and will continue until February of 2000. CSELT (Italy), The Imperial College (UK), IRST (Italy), and NHK have participated and promoted research and development for the project. As a result and a first in the broadcasting field, an agent application that complies with the international standard was implemented.

BBC's Science Program: "Tomorrow's World" Introduces Integral 3D Television
The BBC's science program "Tomorrow's World" introduces the world's latest developments in science and technology. It ranks as one of the finest scientific shows in the history of television.

In the January 19th edition of the program, the Integral 3D Television researched and developed by our laboratories was introduced. The Integral 3D Television is a three-dimensional TV that can be enjoyed with no special glasses. One of its characteristics is its ability to display the proper stereoscopic image that corresponds to the viewer's position. This means that a viewer can enjoy autostereoscopic effects even when watching the TV while lying down. A trial 5050 pixel system was constructed and it was verified that 3D video images could be acquired. Our laboratories exhibited the trial system at the open house last year, and it was also presented at international and domestic academic conferences. Although it is still in a basic research stage, the successful trial manufacture of a 3D video display system was a world first. The program introduced NHK's epoch-making 3D television research, as well as the mechanism of the Integral 3D television. The HDTV camera shoots a subject from different angles with an HDTV camera system, using a special compound lens similar to an insect's eye. The application of this same type of compound lens in the display produces an autostereoscopic image that corresponds to the viewers position as the viewer moves about vertically or horizontally within the viewing area. Director Okano of Three Dimensional Audio-Visual Systems Division appeared in the program and described the determination to pursue this research on future 3D television.

Home Server Exhibited at NAB2000
The home server, a product of research and development, was exhibited at the NAB2000 (National Association of Broadcasters) on April 10 in Las Vegas, USA.

Five years ago, our laboratories started research and development on a home server to function as a program storage device of the digital era. The home server offers various new and convenient TV viewing styles and has drawn international attention. These features include home program libraries that automatically record favorite programs and provide desired programs at any time. The system also allows for catch-up viewing of programs already in progress.

A commercial standardization organization established last year, the TV Anytime Forum, is working toward the standardization of service systems by combining broadcasting and communications technology within such storage devices. The home server will be presented at the TV Anytime Forum exhibition.