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Introduction to the 20th anniversary edition (aus 2008)

The team researching and writing the first edition of the Digital Fact Book back in 1987, when digital technology represented but occasional islands in the analog sea in which we all swam, could not possibly have imagined what our industry would look like today. Back then, digital was going to make the world so simple - fixing all our problems and making our lives easy.

But no one could have expected the explosion of choice that digital would bring, nor the unbelievable opportunities that have been brought about by new media channels, the internet and the mighty computer. This kind of explosion - perpetually driven yet further forward at breakneck speed by an endless stream of digital innovation - is exactly why we still need a Digital Fact Book.

Today it’s all about digital content for the whole universe - a world where the knowledge and skills of the traditional ‘broadcasting’ community has cemented a fruitful union with the new wave of ‘all media’ IT-based professionals. The result is a truly converged digital world - which is why this edition has ‘converged media’ as its subheading.

So what will the next 20 years bring? The team that put this edition together has absolutely no idea - but my goodness we know it’s going to be good and we’re looking forward to it! What is certain is that we will continue to track its unfolding with further editions of the Digital Fact Book.

We hope you find the new edition a useful source of reference in this exciting converged world. As ever, we welcome any comments or additions - email us at

Bob Pank

TV standards descriptions

TV standards are written in many different ways. The method used in this book is shown below and follows how they appear in ITU-R BT 709: i.e. -

Number of pixels per line x number of lines per frame/vertical refresh rate (in Hz) progressive or interlaced (P or I). For example:

1920 x 1080/50I

Anmerking : Wir sprechen hier von "Zeilen", und nicht von "Linien" !!!


1) The vertical refresh rate shown for interlaced scans is twice the whole frame rate (two interlaced fields make up one whole frame). This assumes that interlace is only ever 2:1 (theoretically it can be greater but never is for broadcast purposes). So 1920 x 1080 50I has 25 whole frames per second.

2) Digital standards are usually quoted for the active lines and pixels only - so no blanking space is included


Digital SDTV in Europe - 720 x 576/50I
(analog equivalent is 625/50I that includes 49 lines of blanking)

An HD standard in USA - 1920 x 1080/30P

Brief format
Lines per frame/vertical refresh rate, progressive or interlaced e.g.: 1080/30P

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