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Bernard Lechner, HDTV Expert, Dies At 82

Princeton, N.J. — Bernard J. Lechner, 82, one of the world’s leading experts on television and electronic displays, passed away Friday, April 11.

Lechner contributed to the development of flat-screen displays and HDTV standards that continue to influence the direction and standards of televisions and other electronic displays, according to family statement.

He began his career at RCA, where he worked for 30 years before retiring as the staff VP, advanced video systems, RCA Laboratories. Lechner was recognized numerous times for his significant contributions to the world of technology. Of particular note, in 2000 he was honored by the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) as the first recipient of the ATSC Outstanding Contributor Award, now an annual award named in his honor.

Gary Shapiro, president/CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), said in a statement, “Bernie Lechner is a legend in the television industry. He proved himself as one of the most respected engineering minds during critical eras of television evolution, including the transition to DTV and development of HDTV standards.”

He added, “Throughout his outstanding service as an advisor to CEA, Bernie gave so much of himself and always steered us in a positive direction. Bernie’s remarkable contributions to the CE industry will live on, but we will miss him greatly.”

Lechner worked closely with CEA on The DTV Academy, a group of advisors addressing strategic implementation of the digital television (DTV) transition; and the DTV Definitions Technology working group, which helped establish terms and standards for DTV and HDTV. He chaired his first CEA standards group in 1980, and later guided the industry on the performance of analog cable-ready TVs and helped usher in the HDTV system in use today.

Most recently, in August 2011, the IEEE presented Lechner with the Jun-ichi Nishizawa Medal, to honor his early work on LCD technology for television pictures.

He was life fellow of the IEEE, the Society for Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), and the Society for Information Display (SID), of which he was a founding member.

Lechner was a member of the Army Signal Corps during the Korean War. Following his service, he earned his BSEE degree from Columbia University.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Joan M. Lechner of Newtown, Pa., and his sister, Patricia A. Nahas of Austin, Texas, and their families.

A service in celebration of his life will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church in Princeton on May 3, 2014, at 12 p.m.. In lieu of flowers, the family requests a memorial donation to the mourners’ charity of choice.