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The Practical Use and Distribution of Digital Audio Recording Technology in Television

The arrival of digital audio recording for video recorders coincided in the UK with the introduction of digital stereo NICAM transmissions. This paper analyses the compelling reasons why Thames Television pioneered both these services in the London area, and why the AES/EBU digital audio interface became such an essential part of the equation. Some of the lessons learnt in the first year of operation were to be expected from the fact that widely spaced people from completely different technical backgrounds were interpreting the Standards and Recommendation documents in slightly different ways. Other basic lessons had to learned on the spot, in the absence of any recommendations or previous experience. The solutions adopted here will be described in detail, because they are to some extent limited to the Audio-with-Video field, and are unlikely to occur elsewhere in digital audio applications. Although some of the reasons why digital audio recording was adopted were historical in nature, no system such as they can be economic without firm future advantages. The final part of this paper covers these advantages and the expansion of the system to meet these.

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