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Defining Vision: the Battle for the Future of Television

by Brinkley, Joel A

  • ISBN: 9780151000876
  • ISBN10: 0151000875

Defining Vision: the Battle for the Future of Television

by Brinkley, Joel A

  • List Price: $27.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Harcourt
  • Publish date: 01/01/1997
  • ISBN: 9780151000876
  • ISBN10: 0151000875
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Description: The drive to invent high-definition television - TV with such stunning brightness, clarity, and detail that it almost feels three-dimensional - began when network television executives feared that the government was going to give some of their broadcast television channels to mobile communications companies. As a last, desperate gambit, they seized on HDTV, saying they needed the channels to provide this new service to the country - even though they had no real intention to do so. Before anyone knew it, however, the issue consumed the government's attention. The Japanese already had high-definition television, and Washington fell into a panic: Was the United States going to lose another huge market to Japan? Congress held heated hearings. Columnists published funereal predictions. Out of that pandemonium, an extraordinary idea was born: The Federal Government started a race, a titanic competition among the major corporations of the world for a prize so rich no one could even comprehend its worth. Whoever created the cleverest, most advanced new television would win the right to market it in America and probably much of the world. That could be worth millions - billions - of dollars. Right away some of the world's most important corporations and institutions - AT&T, MIT, NHK of Japan, Philips, Sarnoff Labs, and Zenith - lined up at the starting gate. Defining Vision takes us deep inside the contestants' labs and boardrooms, where some tried to bully their way to the finish line. And as fast-paced contest deadlines loomed, still others cheated, offered a multimillion-dollar payoff, attempted political extortion, or tricked government leaders into turning the race in their favor.Nonetheless, almost despite itself, the HDTV race generated extraordinary creative genius. It gave birth to a wondrous new technology - digital television - even though broadcast engineers worldwide had said digital TV defied the very laws of physics. This American invention stunned the world, forcing Japan and Europe to abandon their research and publicly admit that the United States had won. Even with that, ill-informed and short-sighted American government officials - many of the same people who had issued panicky complaints about Japan years before - threatened to scuttle the race, betraying the scientists and engineers who had created a technological wonder at their request. Defining Vision reveals with shocking clarity how willing government leaders are to manipulate American business for their own opportunistic ends - promoting it at one moment, betraying it at the next.
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