8/25/2008

Primetime Emmy Engineering Award on August 23rd






I was invited to the ceremony for Primetime Emmy Engineering Award on August 23rd at the Renaissance Hotel in Los Angeles.

It was a one-night stay and three-day business trip from Tokyo to L.A.

(I confirmed with a cabin attendant; this is exactly same as their working schedule.)

I left Yokohama 23rd afternoon and got the hotel noon on the same day, and left L.A. next day, August 24th noon for Tokyo.

The 2008 Primetime Emmy Engineering Award, presented by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS), recognizes nine contributing companies to the JVT: Broadcom, Docomo, Dolby Laboratories, Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute, Microsoft, Motorola, Panasonic, Sony, and Thomson, as well as ISO, IEC, and ITU for the Development of the High Profile for H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC. Here the JVT stands for Joint Video Team Standards Committee. H.264 is now being used with Blu-ray Disc for high definition content delivery, and also for mobile multimedia content distribution over 3G network in Japan.


I represented Docomo at the winning ceremony. I know an “Emmy” is not only for actors and actress but also for engineers, while Emmys, in general, have been being considered the television equivalent to the Oscars[1][2] . In 1996, JPEG, MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 were awarded Emmy for their technical contribution to the television,

I recall that I started my MPEG career in 1993 for MPEG-4 standardization, and completed my participation in 1997. After moving to Docomo from Panasonic, I was facing the emergence of H.26L (i.e., tentative project name of H.264 at that time). It was 2001, and to be honest with my friends, I was against that standardization activity, since Docomo just had started mobile multimedia applications with MPEG-4 simple profile over its 3rd generation mobile network. That was a simple timing issue, for which I thought the new standard was too early to be born. From the viewpoint of a technical person who had been trained to write patents in Panasonic, however, I decided to enter “the game.” My ex-colleague T. K. Tan joined my team, and Frank Bossen also started his contribution in docomo USA Labs (NOTE: I moved from Yokosuka Labs to USA Labs in late 2002). Behind them, several colleagues were working so hard to improve the compression quality. In 2001-2003, I really enjoyed that endeavor with them. Sorry, let me keep them anonymous. The game was so exciting!

Although we were not able to publish papers so often, nor able to show off our contribution due to the IPR issues, we are luck enough to be recognized as one of nine major JVT contributors to H.264 high profile.

Lessons from that event:

  1. Given the excellent people, and given the clear and crisp technical target, a project goes successful. Those are the conditions.
  2. “Do the right thing” will be rewarded in the long run.
  3. The stars at the stage are the tips of the iceberg of anonymous but diligent engineers; we have to imagine how they achieved!


2 comments:

shanl said...

Hi, i came across your blog (really random!) and found this essay very interesting... from a video/mpeg/jvt... person myself :)

shanl said...

Hi - i came across your blog (really random!) and found this essay very interesting... from a video/mpeg/jvt... person myself :)