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Preface

Preface

This book was conceived while I was participating in various ATSC specialist groups. I was so captivated by the topic that I found myself digging deeper and wider than I ever imagined possible. The final form of this book is the result of an inner struggle between my in-depth presentation style and the pragmatics of writing. To fully implement my vision for this book, I would have described many of the issues and implementation details one naturally encounters when trying to make it all fit together; that would have made this book thousands of pages longer. Instead, I settled the presentation of issues accompanied by a few pointers that allow readers to answer their questions.

Interactive TV is intriguing to me personally for the following reason: Convergence of the TV and Internet has been on our radar screen for almost a decade now. Whereas the TV industry dates back to the late 1930s, the DTV is about two decades old, and Internet industry is only about one decade old. Interestingly, whereas in the U.S. the Internet has picked up momentum stronger than in Europe, Interactive TV (iTV), that is the merging of DTV and the Internet, has picked up momentum in Europe much stronger than in the U.S.

This book was made possible by Lee Chen, Ph.D., of Sharp Laboratories of America, Inc., who introduced me to the field and sent me out to seek knowledge. My first assignment was to investigate what these weird bunch of ATSC guys are up to. As it turns out, they were up to do good, trying to establish a common language among parties who often seem to forget what they were fighting about. The process of discovery, engagement, and subsequent contribution was revealing. At times matters were hectic: At one point in time I was simultaneously editing ATSC A93, and authoring A95 and DVS 161 (now ANSI/SCTE 80). Years later, the documents resulting from these activities have become approved standards. Looking back, although stressful, these activities were immensely rewarding.

Many thanks to Regis Crinon, Yang Te-Chung (Isaac), Tien Yini Kou, Art Allison, Taylor Kidd, and Gomer Thomas who provided helpful comments on this manuscript. I would also like to thank Moshe Lichtman and many others who granted permission to include screenshots and other materials in this book. Special thanks to Regis Crinon and Yang Te-Chung for taking the time to read most or all of it word by word. You have corrected many errors and significantly improved the quality of the final product. Special thanks to Bernard Goodwin, the editor in chief, whose focus on quality and flexibility further allowed me to improve.

Finally, thank you Tammy (Wifey) for supporting me while spending countless hours writing in isolation. What started with a few hours here and there has taken over our lives: It grew to consume all my time and energy. It appeared as if we were re-living my Ph.D. dissertation writing days. Lilac, Joey, and Noah, although you are too young to understand now, I hope that one day I'll be able to tell you the story of this journey.

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