Posted on October 3, 2013 in ATSC News
Dolby Laboratories’ Oren Williams ‘Adventures in Television’
After stretching his rock and roll legs for a short summer after college, Dolby’s Oren Williams decided to put his engineering degree to work by kicking off his career with Tektronix, where he would explore the transition to new digital platforms used for digital audio and video signals. His experience at Tektronix prepared him well for his next career move when Dolby went looking for young engineers with audio backgrounds.
Then, after joining the Dolby Laboratories team in 1999 as a Digital Broadcast Licensing Engineer, Williams took the lead in a major revision of the DTV consumer profit test kit as well as developing test methods for DVB-C, MMDS and a proprietary video over DSL format.
The Membership Advantage
As Dolby’s leading force with the ATSC standards work, Williams and his team pay special attention when the topics and needs of the ATSC shift to audio and video technology. Dolby’s research and engineering teams are hard at work addressing a wide variety of issues including chairing groups on 3D video and ATSC 2.0 Interactive Services. Dolby has also contributed to ATSC by supporting executives elected to the ATSC Board of Directors.
“The most beneficial part of ATSC membership is the collaboration with so many partners in the TV industry. Not only do you get a say in how TV technology is developed, but you get a lot of insight into how other companies think about TV and technology,” says Williams.
“The most surprising thing I’ve learned while representing Dolby at the ATSC is that TV engineers and technologists can be so fun. Because of their diverse backgrounds and interests, I find my work with the ATSC very engaging and enjoyable.”
Outside the ATSC
Oren and his family live in the San Francisco area where his wife and two-year-old son Gibson watch dad rock the drums in his San Fransisco-based rock and roll band named “Pirate Radio.” The band recently put out a fourth album, while Williams has also spent time playing alongside big names such as 12-year-old guitar wunderkind Jaden Carlson and onstage at The Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco.
DOLBY LEGACY CONTINUES AT ATSC; RAY DOLBY REMEMBERED
The ATSC joined others in the television industry saying goodbye to audio inventor Ray Dolby on Sept. 12. Dr. Dolby had been living with Alzheimer’s Disease and had been diagnosed with acute leukemia this past July.
Dr. Dolby was born in Portland, Oregon in 1933. From 1949 to 1957, he worked on various audio and instrumentation projects at Ampex Corporation. In 1957, he earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University. Upon being awarded a Marshall Scholarship and a National Science Foundation graduate fellowship, Dolby left Ampex for further study at Cambridge University in England. In 1960, he became the first American to be named a Fellow at Pembroke College. He received a PhD degree in physics from Cambridge in 1961.
He founded Dolby Laboratories in 1965 and created an environment where scientists and engineers continue to advance the science of sight and sound to make entertainment and communications more engaging. Dr. Dolby’s pioneering work in noise reduction and surround sound led to the development of many state-of-the-art technologies, for which he holds more than 50 U.S. patents.
“To be an inventor, you have to be willing to live with a sense of uncertainty, to work in this darkness and grope towards an answer, to put up with anxiety about whether there is an answer,” Dolby once said.
Dr. Dolby’s company has been a key contributor to the ATSC and its standards over the years, most notably the digital audio system used in the A/53 Digital Television Standard. That pioneering work reflected Dr. Dolby’s his insatiable curiosity, and he attributed his success to a quest for education fostered by supportive parents.
Today, Dolby Laboratories’ technologies are an essential part of the creative process for recording artists and filmmakers, who continue to use Dolby tools to bring their visions to life. While Dolby was very focused on quality, he was also pragmatic regarding the engineering trade-offs between quality and reliability. An example was digital sound for film, where Dolby’s system outlasted those of competitors because the Dolby Digital soundtrack was on the film, and the bit size was large enough to always play reliably.
Company CTO and long-time ATSC Board Member Craig Todd remembered Dolby’s management style. “If he had an idea for you, he wouldn’t just say, ‘Do it this way,’ he would sort of drop a little nugget of wisdom on you that would get you thinking, and, like, three days later, you’d realize, Oh! That would really help, if I did it this way.”
Posted in ATSC News
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The Advanced Television Systems Committee, Inc., is an international, non-profit organization developing voluntary standards and recommended practices for digital terrestrial broadcasting. ATSC member organizations represent the broadcast, broadcast equipment, motion picture, consumer electronics, computer, cable, satellite, and semiconductor industries. ATSC also develops digital terrestrial broadcasting implementation strategies and supports educational activities on ATSC standards.