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Blog Category: Broadcast AV

Posted by: Steve Lampen on October 15, 2013

I was talking yesterday to the outgoing CEO of a large stock fund. He wanted to know how Belden fit in to the rapid change of technology. I gave him my usual schpeal about how we're looking to the future, how networking with revolutionize the way TV stations are built and operated, how this will empower the "little guy" so we will see tens of thousands, even millions, of streaming video stations on the internet, with the same quality as what we're already used to.

Even my friends at Miranda offer a TV station-in-a-box. And couple this with the rise of 4K video and 8K coming after that, and we have a landscape as alien as any world outside our own. I also mentioned that the only thing that really mattered was "compelling content". You've got that and you have everything!

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Tags: Media, Audio, Network

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Blog Category: Broadcast AV

Posted by: Steve Lampen on October 08, 2013

I remember at Belden when we started to work on a new data cable around 1993-94. Its secret "in-house" name was DATA-X. This was during the four years in lived in Richmond, Indiana, the location of Belden's biggest factory. (Our corporate offices have since moved to St. Louis.)

When I saw the test data for "DATA-X" I got very excited. Clearly this was a breakthrough cable. So much so that I realized it had potential to carry lots of other signals besides just 10BaseT or 100BaseT Ethernet. So I begged our marketing folks NOT to use the word "data" in the name of the product. (The previous product was DataTwist 350.) If it was called DataTwist all people would use it for was data.

Instead, I came up with the name MediaTwist. (One other Belden sales guy, Mike Masucci, will argue with me on this. He says HE came up with the name.)

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Tags: Data

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Blog Category: Broadcast AV

Posted by: Steve Lampen on October 01, 2013

As you know, I talk a lot. My wife is unimpressed. I can come home and tell Debra, I just gave a presentation to two thousand people! "That's nice," she says. "Now take out the garbage." It puts me in my place. But sometimes I am amazed at the effect and influence I have. It is very humbling. But no time was more amazing - and more humbling - than the time I talked in India.

Now I have been to India many times, and spoken many times. But this particular presentation was about fifteen years ago, one of the first times. It was at a University in New Delhi. We went to the gentleman who was arranging it the day before. He showed me the engraved invitations they had sent out for my talk. Wow! Except it said I would be talking about "Building the Digital Studio". I told him I had no presentation with this title. Mine was titled "Return Loss Headroom". (I have since changed the title to "Maximizing HD and 3G Cable Performance" which sounds a little more enticing!). He said 'no problem' and that cable was a key part of "building the digital studio", so I didn't think much more about it.

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Blog Category: Broadcast AV

Posted by: Steve Lampen on September 24, 2013

It wasn't that long ago that the ultimate of anything was "handmade". Whether it's a Rolls-Royce or a piece of furniture, the best was "handmade".

But then came our high-tech world with surface-mount components or large-scale integration. Clearly, these cannot be made by hand. Just removing and replacing a surface-mount chip is at the very limit of human agility. Making the chip itself?

Forget it. Only machines can make the chip. Only machines can place it on the board in exactly the right place, especially if we say 'place one every second'. The idea of John Henry beating the rail-laying machine was heroic and romantic. Let's see him assemble a cellphone. In some ways accepting this is pretty sad.

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Blog Category: Broadcast AV

Posted by: Steve Lampen on September 19, 2013

On Monday, April 28, 1969, I walked into the Hilton Hotel in downtown Los Angeles on Figueroa Street. The hotel is still there, but now part of another chain. I was a very excited 18-year old. I could barely contain myself because I was about to enter my very first convention of the Audio Engineering Society. Was this my first convention ever?

No, I had been attending tradeshows and conventions for a few years. The key one was Wescon, they were way ahead of their time and gave each attendee a "credit card" embossed with your name and address. I took it to every booth I could and, at age 14, the mail started pouring in. My parents were mystified. I actually filled up a three drawer file cabinet with all that literature, arranged in alphabetical order. (Some of you have suspected, now confirmed, that I was seriously OCD back then. I haven't improved much.)

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Blog Category: Broadcast AV

Posted by: Steve Lampen on September 12, 2013

United Airlines loves me. I think I know almost every trick about how to get from Point A to Point B. I am also the king of "Plan B", otherwise known as what to do when things go wrong.

I am pretty lucky, really. For instance, you know about Asiana 214 that crashed in San Francisco? I was on the NEXT PLANE preparing to land. Whew! And, as I approach my 2 millionth mile with United, that is not my first brush with mortality. If you see me in person, ask about the time I drove off a cliff (in my company car) and walked away without a scratch. I must be charmed.

But does this stop me? No! This is my dream job. The only real problem is that I am not at home as much as Debra, my wife, would like. If you ever meet her, you can comfort and commiserate with her. But eventually, I will be home ALL THE TIME, and she's not too excited about that either. In the meanwhile, I travel. Hello from Sao Paulo, Brazil, where I write this. Did you know Brazil was named after a tree? It made a beautiful red dye so it was almost cut down to extinction. I saw one today.They are now protected, of course.

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Tags: Trade Shows

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Blog Category: Broadcast AV

Posted by: Steve Lampen on September 05, 2013

I'm a huge fan of a British TV series from the 1960's called "The Prisoner". It starred Patrick McGoohan (reprising his 'Secret Agent' role) who is captured and sent to this strange land where they try and break him. It was only 13 episodes long and was seen as a summer replacement series in the USA.

The location footage for that show was filmed at a resort on the northern Welsh coast called "Portmeirion". I have visited there many times. Once I went by train from London to Portmeirion, which was one of the strangest trips I have ever taken. The train stops in the middle of Wales at a train station literally in the middle of nowhere. I was told it is the only train station NOT accessible by car in the entire British Isles. The reason for it is that the Welsh railroad uses a different rail gage, so the British trains cannot go there. You get off one train and on to another, just because the gage changes.

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Tags: Audio, Video, SMPTE

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Blog Category: Broadcast AV

Posted by: Steve Lampen on August 29, 2013

We've spent a whole month taking about the "digital cliff", about measuring bandwidth, wavelength and critical distance. And we've talked about our "safe distance" table based on the formulas in the HD standard (SMPTE 292M). Use those safe numbers and you don't have to think about anything, you don't have to measure anything. Just put on some connectors and plug it in. If you get failures at these short distance, you have something very wrong, a lot more wrong than a cable a bit too long. Is everything intended for HD? Tested by each manufacturer to AT LEAST 2.25 GHz? (Last time I mentioned how one project was stymied by using analog 75 ohm terminators!)

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