The analog television system was designed more than 50 years ago. Since then, there have been significant developments in technology, which are highly relevant to the television industries. For example, advances in the very large scale integration (VLSI) technology and signal processing theories make it feasible to incorporate frame-store memory and sophisticated signal processing capabilities in a television receiver at a reasonable cost. To exploit this new technology in developing more advanced television systems, the RLE Advanced Telecommunications and Signal Processing (ATSP) group focused on a number of issues related to digital television design. As a result of these efforts, significant advances were made and these advances were included in the current U.S. digital television standard. Specifically, the RLE ATSP group represented MIT in MIT’s participation in the Grand Alliance, which consisted of MIT, AT&T, Zenith Electronics Corporation, General Instrument Corporation, David Sarnoff Research Center, Philips Laboratories, and Thomson Consumer Electronics. The Grand Alliance digital television system served as the basis for the US Digital Television (DTV) standard, which was formally adopted by the US Federal Communications Commission in December 1996. The standard imposes substantial constraints on the way the digital television signal is transmitted and received. The standard also leaves considerable room for further improvements through technological advances. Current research focuses on making these improvements. Another focus is on the development of technologies that may be useful for future television standards such as a 3DTV standard. In addition to research on issues related to the design of digital television systems, the research program also includes research on signal processing for telecommunications applications.

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