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World Information Society Award 2007 Laureates
Photo of Professor Dr Mark I. KrivocheevRemarks by Professor Dr Mark I. Krivocheev,
Chief Scientist of the Radio Research Institute (NIIR) in Moscow, Russian Federation

Laureate 2007 - For his lifetime achievements in the technical development of television services and systems;

Dr Hamadoun Touré,
Your Excellency,
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 TV.

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 techniques.

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 television broadcasting.

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 (Düsseldorf, 1990).

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 multimedia applications.

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 imminent.

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 GIS-ICT component.

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 broadcasting standards.

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 information society.

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 whole life.

Thank you very much, and my best wishes to all of you.


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