Dr Mark I. Krivocheev,
Chief Scientist of the Radio Research Institute (NIIR) in Moscow, Russian
Laureate 2007 - For his lifetime
achievements in the technical development of television services and systems;
Dr Hamadoun Touré,
Dear friends and colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I confess to being overcome at this moment, and am deeply grateful for the
honour that has been bestowed on me. However, my immediate and heartfelt
reaction is that I absolutely have to share this recognition with the dear
colleagues and scholars that I have been privileged to work with, in Russia and
in many other countries, over all these years. I am deeply, cordially grateful
to them all.
The thing that fills me with the greatest joy is to view this award as an
acknowledgement of our long-standing wish and, indeed, lifelong objective: that
the results of the considerable work that has been done on the standardization
of digital television should serve as an impulse for the creation and
development of the global information society (GIS).
It was at UNESCO in 1979-1980 that proposals for the broad utilization of
ubiquitous multipurpose digital television broadcasting in connection with the
creation of the GIS were first discussed at the global level, in the
International Commission for the Study of Communication Problems, chaired by
Sean MacBride, recipient of the Nobel and Lenin prizes. Subsequently, they were
examined at the meeting of the joint technical committee of the broadcasting
unions in Tunis in May 1996 and during the preparations for the World Summit on
the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva, 2003, and Tunis, 2005.
I should like to say a few words about the creation of the family of
worldwide digital television standards and the foundation for its implementation
and development. This work began in CCIR Study Group 11 in the early 1970s.
At the outset, there was a need to find ways of making it possible to achieve
worldwide coordination and consolidate the efforts of the participants to avoid
the wild proliferation of standards that made the introduction of colour
television needlessly complicated and expensive. To this end, scientists for the
first time undertook a global approach to developing and standardizing
television broadcasting systems. This approach was fundamentally new, in that it
took into account the need to harmonize and coordinate the technological
characteristics of the main portions of the television transmission channel with
the corresponding frequency management process. A new methodology was thus
proposed for developing worldwide television standards.
The first documents for digital TV and HDTV were developed 35 years ago, at a
meeting of Study Group 11 in July 1972.
For HDTV, there was a contribution from Japan on digital TV, along with
contributions from the United Kingdom and France. The first study programme on
the digital compression of television signals was adopted, making digital TV
history as it marked the start of the international consolidation and
coordination of efforts towards efficient TV signal coding, played a decisive
role in the creation of digital broadcasting systems, cable TV, IPTV and other
systems, and continues to play an important role in the development of digital
Study Group 11 created a single basic recommendation on signal coding for
digital TV studios, which formed the basis for the digital revolution in
television. For a quarter of a century it has been enabling us to gradually
displace the mutually incompatible analogue colour TV systems: NTSC, PAL and
SECAM. Thanks to this, practically all studios could be fitted with digital
systems in time for the recently commenced transition to digital broadcasting.
In recognition of this, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in
the United States of America presented CCIR with an Emmy award.
The main obstacle to further progress now became the bandwidth available for
digital TV signals. The Chairman of Study Group 11 thereupon proposed that
digital TV broadcasting be implemented using the existing channels (with signal
compression of several orders of magnitude), thanks to more efficient modulation
New designs were proposed for the transmission of digital TV signals via the
6, 7 and 8 MHz terrestrial TV broadcasting channels (the "6-7-8" concept). At
the time this looked like science fiction, and few believed it could be done.
But the results were not long in coming. Studies worldwide were coordinated and
became clearly focused. This marked the starting point for the preparatory work
for the ITU regional radiocommunication conference, RRC-04 and RRC 06.
Recommendation ITU-R BT.1306 was elaborated for digital terrestrial
An important objective for RRC-04 and RRC-06, which were held in Geneva, was
bridging the digital divide. The ITU-R recommendations played an important role
in the RRC preparatory work, for which they provided the technical bases.
The first draft of Recommendation ITU-R BT.709 on HDTV standards was examined
in Atlanta, and adopted during the seventeenth CCIR Plenary Assembly
In 1999, ITU-R Study Group 11 adopted a new digital version of the
recommendation, namely Recommendation ITU-R BT.709-3, which became the single
global standard for HDTV systems.
For digital multiprogramme television systems for satellite broadcasting, a
single ITU-R Recommendation, BO.1516, was developed and is now in use in many
countries, having also been used in developing the plan adopted at the world
radiocommunication conference held in Istanbul in 2000.
The creation of multipurpose interactive information systems for
bidirectional subscriber services and communication was anticipated in the early
1970s (see M.I. Krivosheev, Perspektivy razvitiya televideniya [Future
developments of television], 1972).
The proposal to proceed to the international standardization of interactive
broadcasting and audience polling (mediametrics) was first made by the Chairman
of Study Group 11 (Auckland, 3-5 October 1993)
On the basis of the family of ITU Recommendations, core proposals were
elaborated for a series of concepts, including implementation of digital TV and
sound broadcasting, satellite and mobile communications, cable TV and multimedia
systems. To date, however, these systems remain largely separate and
unharmonized, with the key role of interactivity having not been adequately
recognized. For this reason, it has been proposed to merge broadcasting for
fixed and mobile reception, telecommunications, computer and multimedia
technologies, and to introduce new large-scale and universal Internet services,
by consolidating efforts in a new direction: a single, universal platform for
information and communication technologies (ICTs) that can serve to integrate
development strategy for the global information society in the new century.
An important element of this universal platform could be ubiquitous digital
multipurpose interactive broadcasting encompassing a broad range of services and
technical systems designed to provide users with information services and other
On the basis of interactivity between the information platform and
multipurpose interactive user terminals, the aim is to revolutionize the
strategic approach to the creation and development of information and
communication systems, based on an enhanced definition of the GIS.
An overview and analysis of future prospects is provided in the author’s book
"The international standardization of digital TV broadcasting" (NIIR, Moscow,
2006, pp. 928), which may be found on the Web at
The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) (Geneva, 2003) formulated
the important and concrete objective of transforming the digital divide into
digital opportunities. However, even the boldest proposals of that time could
not fully reflect the level of progress that has since been achieved or is
Building on the achievements made in signal compression and processing for
digital interactive TV broadcasting and multimedia and in the areas of mobile TV
and Internet, as well as on recent successes in, among other things,
microelectronics and imaging systems, the industry and operators have been able
to take the standards developed for digital TV and move towards new frontiers in
terms of the information society. Thus, the concept of digital opportunities has
now become a reality that can be put into effect so as to ensure that users'
information needs are fully and comprehensively satisfied. At the same time,
much work has yet to be done in order to bring greater precision and coherence
to numerous provisions and strategies for the future development of the crucial
Never before has ITU faced such an ambitious and responsible task, the
tackling of which, presumably within the framework of the 2008-2011 plan
(Antalya, 2006), should command our full attention.
It is reassuring to see that the work that the Secretary-General of ITU, Dr
Hamadoun Touré, and his immediate staff have done in their first half-year in
office confirms the effectiveness of their new approach to consolidating and
harmonizing the efforts of ITU to realize its leadership role in GIS
development. There is no doubt that even the most complex of the tasks now
emerging will be dealt with successfully and in good time, thereby laying a
sound foundation for their subsequent implementation in the coming period.
I should like to conclude by expressing my sincere gratitude and recognition
to Dr Hamadoun Touré, who, as Director of BDT, already showed great foresight
and creativity in promoting advanced digital technologies, and continues now to
make high demands for the development of international sound and television
I am also profoundly grateful for the considerable assistance and support
provided by Dr Valery Timofeev, who, before being unanimously elected Director
of BR, was for many years the Deputy to the Russian Minister of Communications,
was responsible for broadcasting, the spectrum and other associated services,
and provided exceptionally competent and effective assistance in connection with
the activities of ITU.
It is my pleasure to recognize the great contribution to overcoming the
digital divide that has been made by the Chairman of ITU-R Study Group 6, Mr A.
Magenta (Italy), by the study group's Vice-Chairman, Mr G. Rossi (Vatican), who
actively participated in the development of Study Group 6 proposals on the
subject, by Mr N. Kisrawi, an expert from Syria of wide renown in ITU, and by Mr
P. Kanchev (Bulgaria), who worked in this area within ITU-D for many years.
I am also very pleased to express my deep gratitude to Dr Leonid Reiman,
Minister for Information Technologies and Communications of the Russian
Federation, and Dr Yury Grin, former Chief of the Department for International
Cooperation within the Ministry, for their unfailing support and assistance in
working towards the achievements I have described, and in particular for their
great contribution to the international emergence and development of the global
I should like to thank all those who have supported this lofty campaign, and
all those who have gathered here today. The most memorable event I can call to
mind from my past was when I observed, on a screen smaller in size than a
matchbox, an image consisting of 30 lines and produced by means of a Nipkow disk
receiver that a group of radio amateurs, of which I was a member, had assembled
in Poltava in 1932-1933. That was the start of my lifelong fascination with
television, which in 1945 turned to electronic television. I should like to
conclude by assuring you that I will continue to put all the energy that the
good Lord may yet see fit to give me into the cause to which I have devoted my
Thank you very much, and my best wishes to all of you.