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Zenith's Digital Scheme For Cable Tv

Developments to Watch


Digital technology promises to spark a revolution in the video world. The Federal Communications Commission is expected to choose a new technical standard next year that will lead to the supercrisp pictures and CD-quality sound of digital high-definition television. But even before HDTV arrives, cable operators are seeking ways to boost capacity on cable channels. Zenith Electronics Corp. has a scheme to increase cable capacity sharply, using a new transmission method for digitally compressed standard TV and HDTV.

Zenith's new modulation method will send 16 streams of digital data along a single cable channel. Depending on the degree of signal compression, cable operators will be able to cram in up to 23 movie channels, 9 live video channels, or 2 HDTV channels--vs. 1 show per channel today. Wayne C. Luplow, Zenith vice-president for research and development, says the company is talking to cable operators and equipment makers to gauge their interest. He figures the system will be ready for commercial rollout in about two years.EDITED BY WILLIAM D. MARBACH

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