BTSC Performance Measurement In The Lab And Field (1987)

By Clyde Robbins, Sr. Project Engineer, Joseph Vittorio, Product Manager, Jerrold Subscriber Systems Division, General Instrument Corporation

The U.S. television viewing public has recently been turned onto the phenomenon of stereo TV thanks to the development of the BTSC multi-channel sound system. The BTSC system offers the ease of inband tuning, backward compatibility with monaural receiving equipment and true high fidelity stereo performance. Cable television viewers are in a favorable position to enjoy stereo TV even more because of the wealth of high fidelity stereo programming available on many of the basic and premium services {19 cable channels are in stereo already).

The great potential that BTSC stereo over cable offers will not be realized if cable operators provide anything less than true, high quality BTSC stereo. There is a crying need for reasonably priced test equipment that a cable operator can utilize in obtaining a quantitative measure of the signal quality he is delivering. There is also an immediate need for the development of training programs to bring system engineers and technicians up to working speed with this new audio signal processing area.

All too often, BTSC encoding equipment is installed in the easiest manner rather than ~y a method which will yield the highest quality the system IS capable of and which subscribers deserve. This paper will describe the recommended test equipment and techniques which encoder manufacturers and cable system operators may use to ensure that the best possible signal is being provided to the subscriber, •within the confines of a typical cable system environment. A discussion of signal quality concerns from the source through the satellite link, FML, AKL, head end distribution, and subscriber equipment will be included.

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