Posted on June 1, 2020 in ATSC News
Most people in the industry would consider it a major achievement to be involved in the creation of television standards once. Glenn Reitmeier, now in an industry consulting role, has been involved not once, but twice.
Reitmeier’s career started when he joined RCA Sarnoff Labs in 1977 and spent the next 25 years there doing digital video R&D for broadcast and consumer electronics products. As part of those efforts, in the early 1980s, Reitmeier was involved in setting the first SMPTE standards for digital video, which led to the ubiquitous SDI and HD-SDI interfaces. In the late 1980s he started the digital HDTV research project at Sarnoff. He said he was fortunate to have fantastic mentors such as Bernie Lechner and to have been involved in “revolutionary ideas” as digital technology progressed.
After joining NBC Universal, in 2002 Reitmeier helped plan and implement the launch of the first HD cable channel (Bravo-HD) as well as the first national ATSC multicast channel (NBC Weather+). He was SVP Technology Standards & Policy at NBCU until his recent retirement at the end of 2019.
Reitmeier is quick to give credit to his mentors and colleagues for his success in the industry.
“I got to where I am today by learning insights and perspectives from each and every one of my mentors and colleagues,” he said via email. “I hope that I can be a similar resource for my younger colleagues who are earlier in their career paths.”
Looking back, Reitmeier said his career progression has enlightened him with the perspectives of technical, business, and legal colleagues in a myriad of fields, including technology development inintegrated circuit design and consumer electronics, as well as legal insights in intellectual property, contract and regulatory matters..
As one of the leaders in the HDTV Grand Alliance that created the ATSC standard in 1995, Reitmeier has long been immersed within ATSC. Reitmeier said he become convinced in the mid-2000s that newer technologies would eventually obsolete the original ATSC standard.
After circulating a white paper envisioning a next-generation standard to the ATSC Board in 2006, the ATSC Board eventually created TG3 in late 2011.
“It can take quite a while to build consensus that radical change is needed,” Reitmeier said, “whether that’s replacing the analog NTSC standard with digital HDTV, or replacing ATSC 1.0 with ATSC 3.0.”
Out of everything, he cites his being a “‘two-timer’ in the creation of television standards” as being the biggest surprise of his career.
Since ATSC 3.0’s inception, Reitmeier has participated in all groups, including serving as Chairman of the Board most recently from 2013-15. Currently, Reitmeier is leading PT4 and its efforts to inform the Board on Future Video Technologies and industry evolution.
“No matter how you look at it, ATSC 3.0 is the future of broadcasting,” Reitmeier said. “At a minimum, it will keep broadcasting viable in the face of shrinking spectrum resources and the inevitable technological obsolescence of ATSC 1.0.”
Yet, Reitmeier’s goals are higher than that.
“My hope is that ATSC 3.0 will enable a renaissance of new and better services for consumers and new business opportunities for broadcasters,” he said. “Consumers want to access content experiences on all of their devices and ATSC 3.0 will enable broadcasters to continue the key role that they play in the television ecosystem.”
Outside the office
Beyond the professional world, Reitmeier maintains numerous interests.
An avid traveler, he recently completed a cruise around South America and Cape Horn. Future travel plans include trips to southern France and the Panama canal. He also noted that New Zealand, Australia, Machu Picchu, and Tibet are all on his bucket list.
Fittingly enough for a traveler, Reitmeier has cultivated a love for photography since high school, when he said he saw how good 35mm photos could be.
“Despite all of my career work on video and moving imagery,” he said, “what fascinates me about photography is its ability to capture the mood and sense of a unique and precise moment in time. How many of those moments live in our memories?”
Aside from travel and photography, Reitmeier said he enjoys playing guitar. He has performed regularly with the ATSC Multicasters and the SMPTE Jam Band, as well as his church praise Band. He said his interest was originally sparked upon seeing the Beatles’ “Ed Sullivan Show” debut in America in 1964.
In 2010, he was able to see Paul McCartney and his band set up and rehearse for a “Saturday Night Live” performance, which he said was “a special and memorable thrill.”
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.
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