by Robert P. Seidel
The Technology and Engineering Award was created in 1948 with the intent of honoring an individual, company, scientific or technical organization for developments and standardization involved in engineering technologies “that either represent so extensive an improvement on existing methods or are so innovative in nature that they materially have affected television”.
The committee is made up of highly qualified television engineers, including many Chief Technology Officers, who volunteer their time and energy to investigate technical developments and determine if they are Emmy® worthy.
There are usually three meetings in the award cycle. Individuals, companies, and organizations can submit technology categories on-line at http://emmyonline.com/tech or committee members can submit technology categories at the first and second meeting.
During the category nomination process, the committee does not accept nominations for specific products, companies, individuals or organizations, but rather a general technology category. As an example, a nominated category might be “The Pioneering Development of Electronic TV Mousetrap Technologies” versus a specific product such as, the Acme Mousetrap as developed by John Doe. During the second meeting, the committee votes on the categories to be investigated. If a category is selected, then a subcommittee is formed to research ALL individuals, products, companies, and organizations that have contributed technology in the category.
The subcommittee sends out inquiry forms to all known companies and organizations that may have technology that could be included in the category. The research includes, but is not limited to, investigating patents, patent applications, news articles, first public demonstrations, and technical journals. At the third meeting, the sub-committees present their findings to the entire committee, which usually results in a rigorous and sometimes very passionate debate on the merits of the possible winners and findings of the sub-committee. The sub-committee may recommend a single or multiple awardees or “No Award”. After all the sub-committees report their findings, the full committee votes on the merits of the recommendation, requiring an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the group to award a Technical Emmy®.
Because the vetting process is so rigorous and the judges are experts in multiple areas of the television industry including, equipment manufacturing, Standards Development Organizations (SDO), program production, post-production, Broadcasting, Cable, Over-the-Top (OTT) television, the final selection is truly Emmy® worthy. To illustrate the point, in 2011 Shuji Nakamura was selected to receive a National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Technical Emmy® for “Pioneering Development of Large-Venue, Large-Screen Direct View Color Video Displays” which were made possible by his work on the blue Light Emitting Diodes (LED). Three years later, the Nobel Prize committee awarded Shuji Nakamura a Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the same technology.
The Technical and Engineering Emmy® Awards are presented at an award ceremony in Las Vegas, NV.
-Robert P. Seidel is the CBS VP of Engineering & Advanced Technology Chairman of the NATAS Technology and Engineering Achievement Award Committee