WiFi HiFi is saddened to announce the passing of Dr. Joseph Anthony Flaherty, Jr., senior vice president for technology at CBS, and inventor and co-inventor of many influential technologies, most notably, HDTV. Flaherty passed away on Tuesday, August 7 at the age of 87.
Dr. Flaherty was chairman of the planning subcommittee of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's (FCC's) Advisory Committee on Advanced Television Service, which is credited with developing the ATSC HDTV standard. Additionally, he was inventor and co-inventor of technologies like the miniature colour camera, and offline videotape editing.
The son of a television engineer, he earned a degree in physics from Rockhurst College in Kansas City, and carried on his father's legacy, holding jobs like working as technical director and design engineer for the U.S Army's first television station. He joined CBS in 1957 as a design engineer, and quickly moved up the ranks, being named vice president of technology in 1977.
Among his many accolades over the past four decades, he has received several Emmys, including for the development of Electronic News Gathering in 1975; electronic editing systems for programs produced on film (1986); and for the first Digital Computer Automation System for television (1989).
Dr. Flaherty was also a two-time panelist at CES, and 2009 inductee into the Consumer Technology Hall of Fame.
"Joe Flaherty was a visionary who believed the American HDTV standard should be the highest-possible quality," says Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). "Throughout his decades as a CBS executive, he advocated for better national and global standards for all broadcasters. Joe often called me and urged me to take a strong position in favour of broadcast quality, and I never failed to heed his advice. Today, people around the world enjoy a richer TV viewing experience than ever, in no small part because of Joe's focus on excellence. We have lost a true industry legend."
Without Dr. Flaherty, we might very well still be stuck in the age of standard definition. Today, we've not only moved beyond just high-definition, but into the realm of 4K, UHD, and HDR; with 8K on the horizon. The consumer technology industry has much for which to thank this industry visionary.
He is survived by his wife Jan, sons Patrick, Daniel, Michael, and Timothy, daughter Margaret, and eight grandchildren.
A funeral mass for friends and relatives will take place at St. Agnes Church in Greenport, NY on Tuesday, August 14 at 10 a.m., preceded by a gathering at the Horton-Mathie Funeral Home in Greenport on Monday, August 13 from 2-6 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Community Fund of Peconic Landing, 1500 Brecknock Rd., Greenport, NY, 11944, to St. Agnes Church, 523 Front St., Greenport, NY, 11944; or his family asks for donations to be made to a favourite soup kitchen or homeless shelter in his honour.