Connie Book takes the
confusion out of DTV


Connie Book was in the third grade when she gathered with her family around the television set to watch President Nixon's resignation. But Book was most interested in the newscasters, not the gravity of the moment.

"I recognized the power of television in that moment," recalls Book, assistant professor of communications. "These men were filtering it for us, putting it in perspective so we understood."

Book went on to become a producer and reporter at the CBS affiliate in Baton Rouge, La., and to host a talk show on higher education at WCOX-TV in Macon, Ga.

Like many of the faculty in Elon's School of Communications, she decided to bring her newsroom experience into the classroom so she could mentor others.

"When I'm in the classroom, I'm able to give my students real-world examples of what we're talking about," says Book, who came to Elon in 1999. "When you hear a faculty member worked in a newsroom, there is automatic credibility there, but you have to stay engaged in the industry to keep it relevant to students."

Book has distinguished herself as a scholar of digital TV. She has written Digital Television: DTV and the Consumer, the first book to focus on consumer responses to the government-mandated transition from analog television to digital. She also examines emerging digital TV technologies, explaining how each technology works and laying out the factors that consumers should consider in purchasing a new TV.

Digital technology has spawned high-definition television, which is the highest level of video quality that can be transmitted in digital format. But the switch to digital has less to do with picture quality than freeing up airspace, according to Book. In 2006, after a switch that will be 10 years in the making, the government expects to raise $60 billion by auctioning off newly available airspace to communications companies, she says.

Book has studied the transition to digital television for eight years and received four grants from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to study consumers' digital TV habits.

Her passion for the subject was fueled by her work with Capitol Broadcasting in Raleigh, N.C., which pioneered the development of high definition technology. She was part of the team that tested the first HDTV sets ever produced, and studied the reactions of viewers who experienced high definition television in their homes.

She also worked with Elon students during field studies that showed that retail sales representatives frequently receive little training and usually know little about the new technologies in their stores.

Book's passion for learning is infectious. Her teaching and research inspired Jessica Rivelli '02 to document the analog-to-digital transformation of WFMY, Greensboro's CBS affiliate. "What is so amazing about Dr. Book is that she has such a command of the subject," says Rivelli, currently a producer with ABC affiliate WFTS in Tampa, Fla. "She is really at the top of her game when it comes to knowing digital TV."

Senior Brandi Little is equally impressed with Book. She credits the research she did with Book with helping her land an internship with Factiva, a Dow Jones & Reuters joint venture, based in London.

"With the use of real-life scenarios, utilization of industry publications and the ability to make students think analytically, Dr. Book truly brings students into the world of media," Little says.

Involving students in her research is paramount to Book, who marvels at the technological changes that have taken place in the media since she was in school.

"I've had tremendous feedback from students who have gone into the workplace knowing more about digital TV than many of the people at the stations," Book says.



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Last Modified:  5/13/05
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