Posted on July 3, 2013 in ATSC News
Chair, ATSC TG3-S32 and Vice Chair, TG3
Many longtime ATSC members may not recognize Luke Fay. The talented software systems engineer is a busy man, juggling a young family alongside his international responsibilities for Sony.
And he’s leading the charge to establish ATSC 3.0 physical layer capabilities.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at University of Arizona, Fay’s first stop in the industry began at Motorola where in 1995 he began working on the digital demodulator design of cable modems.
“My supervisor at the time was Frank Eory whom some might remember from his ATSC work during the late ‘90s,” says Fay. “This work in digital demodulation was extensive and quickly showed me that I needed to learn much more. So I went to night school to get my master’s in electrical engineering. The design work was fun, but the company had a change in direction, and design work became part time.”
After completing his advanced degree, he joined Sony as a Field Application Engineer working with GPS products – a demodulation of a completely different kind of system. This new job involved a lot of travel, customer communication, and the need for Fay to problem solve quickly and efficiently. “It also showed me that I needed to learn Japanese,” says Fay.
An opportunity arose to be an expatriate in Tokyo, working in design of digital demodulation again. The R&D work was intense and gave Fay a great appreciation of the Japanese engineer. “Designs were never too far from television-related products and I always kept tabs on the latest ATSC efforts. Upon completion of the expatriate assignment, I found myself in San Diego with the opportunity to play a major role with ATSC,” he says. “I’ve come full circle in a way, starting with TV receivers and coming back to defining the future of TV.
Fay notes that Sony is involved in many areas of the ATSC, including a presence on the board of directors by Mark Eyer, who also is a major participant in ATSC 2.0 activities. Other Sony members have significantly contributed to ATSC through the years on a variety of subjects.
Next Generation TV
“Personally, I was engaged with ATSC during the final phases of ATSC Mobile DTV standardization in TG1 S4 group. From there, I started with the former ‘Planning Team 2,’ which was looking at next-generation broadcast television. The conclusions reached by the planning team resulted in a new Technology Group, called TG3, working on the next generation broadcast television standard for ATSC, now known as ATSC 3.0. This work covers all layers of the system and doesn’t have to be backwards compatible, so people are free to dream of a new system from top to bottom that can support the needs of broadcasters and viewers well into the future.”
Fay is the vice-chair of TG3, and also the Chair of TG3-S32, the specialist group focusing on the ATSC 3.0 physical layer.
“The physical layer of a system is interesting to me because it is where the ‘rubber meets the road’ in terms of delivering broadcaster content to the public. The world of RF has many unknowns like channel conditions, signal strength and many variables like antenna gain and directionality, and the physical layer must overcome all these unknowns. It is a bit magical,” Fay says with a grin.
The Membership Advantage
When asked about the most beneficial part of ATSC membership, Fay gets contemplative. “Meeting the top minds of the industry and trying to reach agreements in technology direction among these different minds. Everyone brings something special to the table, but when an industry decides to standardize a particular technology, more people can enjoy the benefits of that technology. ATSC provides the venue for that industry direction. The ATSC is open to new ideas and is willing to study that idea and bring it to broadcast television.”
He talks about the importance of being an active ATSC member: “Technology is always advancing at a strikingly fast pace, and staying involved in ATSC’s standardization activities allows members to keep tabs on where television is heading. The ATSC is developing standards for a variety of features, like Non-Real-Time file delivery, 3D content delivery, and support of mobile and fixed devices with a single RF transmission. Lately, even a ‘hybrid’ use-case of broadcast and broadband delivery of content is being undertaken for ATSC 3.0. Staying involved with the ATSC allows organizations to bring their dreams to fruition, and be a part of the one constant for the future: change.
Fay finds the collaborative process of ATSC projects both exciting and surprising. “These groups have to come to an agreement on how to state an idea in a way which most people can understand, and that’s always amazing. I’m surprised at either the ability to do this, or more likely, the time it takes for the group to find that one right word to accurately describe part of the system. Eureka moments do occur from time to time.”
Outside of the office, Fay spends most of his time with his two-year old-daughter and infant son.
“I also have a great interest in photography and travel. – My wife and I love exploring and seeing new things.” Fay says nowadays, rather than exotic locales, his kids are typically his best photography subjects. “Our children take up much of our current time, but we really enjoy watching them grow.”
If you’re interested in participating in TG3, please contact Jerry Whitaker at email@example.com or request to join the group on the ATSC Member’s site, members.atsc.org
Posted in ATSC News
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