The Grand Alliance HDTV system established the viability of digital television and catalyzed the transition of the entire consumer electronics industry from analog to digital technology. Even as Grand Alliance was underway, technical "spinoffs" from its predecessor systems were underway to commercialize digital standard definition systems.
Thomson, Sarnoff and Hughes began work on the DirecTV satellite broadcasting system, which began service in June 1994
Fun Fact: DirecTV launched with a transport data packet system that was derived from the AD-HDTV system.
Thomson, Philips and other companies began work on the DVD disc system, which was launched in Japan in 1995 and in the US in 1997
General Instrument began commercialization of digital products for the cable industry. Digital cable standards (SCTE 07) used the MPEG-2 compression and transport of the Grand Alliance / ATSC system, but replaced its VSB (Vestigial Sideband) transmission system with QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation).
The Grand Alliance commitment to use MPEG-2 (while its development was still underway) established its legitimacy as a foundational standard for digital TV systems and products. GA members were influential participants in MPEG, and the MPEG-2 compression and transport standards have many aspects that were innovations of Grand Alliance members. Additionally, the Grand Alliance use of Dolby AC-3 set the stage for its inclusion in the ATSC standard and its subsequent widespread deployment.
adcasters are joining the digital revolution."
The wave of digital media transformation also impacted the film world, which developed digital cinema technology and standards based on the JPEG-2000 image compression
Virtually all of today's video capabilities in computers, smart phones, smart TVs can trace their technology roots to the Grand Alliance and the resulting ATSC standard, which was the world's first digital television standard. Following the momentum of first-generation digital video systems and products, subsequent improvements in video and audio compression (notably the Advanced Video Coding MPEG-4 / H.264 standard completed in 2003) were widely adopted and remain in ubiquitous use today, along with first-generation MPEG-2 systems.
Much of today's broadband internet can also trace its technology roots to the Grand Alliance. The deployment of digital television by the cable industry provided the foundation for high-speed digital data delivery on cable. The development first generation of "cable modems" (CableLabs DOCSIS specification) was a direct consequence of the digital transmission and packetized data technologies that were pioneered by the Grand Alliance. Today, cable systems and DOCSIS modems provide a large portion of the broadband internet access infrastructure throughout the world.
Retrospectives from Grand Alliance Reunions
Over the years, Grand Alliance reunions have include some state-of-the-industry and retrospective presentation, some of which are included as links below. They provide some perspective on the progression and impact of HDTV adoption as Grand Alliance members viewed it at the time.