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COULDíVE BEEN A CONTENDER

 

MAC

 

Are you something to do with computers?

Nope, MAC stands for Multiplexed Analogue Component, and Iím a television transmission system, developed in the 1970s by a consortium of European broadcasters and consumer electronics companies

 

Not another TV system, havenít we got enough already?

I was conceived as the format of the future, and to get around the problem of broadcasting from satellites

 

How so?

Well, satellite TV signals are really puny -- thatís why you need a dish -- normal PAL, NTSC and SECAM signals are badly affected by water vapour in the atmosphere, they can be wiped out altogether in a heavy rain storm

 

So whatís different about MAC?

The vision signal is broken up into components, with the colour and brightness information, plus digital sound sent separately, in chunks, and then re-assembled in the TV. The quality is really good

 

Is that it?

You must be kidding. MAC was the great white hope. Eventually it would provide an upgrade path for widescreen and high-definition TV in Europe, so we wouldnít have to adopt rival American or Japanese systems, that were being developed during the 1970s and 80s

 

Okay, what went wrong?

Itís the same old story. Digital TV put the mockers on MAC. Several European satellite stations still broadcast MAC signals, using variants such as D2 MAC etc., but the future looks bleak and itís doubtful whether those stations stick with the system much longer

 

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” R. Maybury 1998 2301

 

 

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