Twenty-five years ago European public service broadcasters realised that would have a major impact on the future of the media and society. The first ever demonstrations in Europe, given to the EBU General Assembly on 25-28 June 1982 in Killarney, Ireland, were a major milestone in the development of HDTV. They raised European awareness of the potential of HDTV to provide a significantly improved viewing experience, writes Fergal Ringrose.
The demonstrations were arranged by the Director General of the EBU’s Irish Member RTE, George T Waters. They were seen in Killarney by several hundred programme makers and engineers from across Europe and beyond.
Jean Reveillon, Secretary General of the EBU, said, “My forbears in the EBU understood what was going to change the world and thanks to our Members we have remained at the forefront of innovation throughout the years. We are proud to have hosted the first HDTV demonstrations in Europe.”
The development of HDTV began in the 1970s with the pioneers at the Japanese Broadcasting Corporation NHK, an Associate Member of the EBU, and the inventors of HDTV. Many individuals and organisations made the first demonstrations of HDTV possible in 1982. There was great help from NHK and CBS, Associate Members of the EBU, together with Sony, Ikegami, Panasonic, and Hitachi, who made equipment available. Delegates in Killarney saw HDTV on a 100″ projection screen with stereo sound, a new feature at that time also. Hitachi and Panasonic provided a 65″ projection display and 24″ and 28″ monitors. Ikegami provided an HDTV camera, and NHK an HDTV digital video tape recorder.
“Today there are a variety of HDTV services on air in Europe, and many more are planned. In this new age, the EBU is actively encouraging HDTV programme services.” stated Reveillon.