Video Pioneer Sam Runco Receives Emmy Award
The “Godfather of Home Theater” Sam Runco, founder of Runco International, has received an Emmy Award for Pioneering Development and Deployment of Aspect Ratio Control Technologies and Systems For Letterbox Images within Consumer Devices. Runco was awarded the Emmy during the 64th Annual Technology and Engineering Emmy awards held Jan. 10 at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas during International CES.
On hand to congratulate Runco on this honor were his family, including wife Lori and children, Sam Jr, Nick and Sarah, and dozens of friends and business associates.
Sam Runco’s Emmy awarded device that he developed, the Arc IV, allowed for the home viewer to manipulate the image on their television screen to display not only the standard square box of television, but also the HDTV image as well as the two most popular movie sizes.
"When Laserdisc emerged we were able to see movies in the aspect ratio (the shape) intended by the director but there was no way to manipulate it for the home television. For the first time consumers could see all of the movie, not one that was altered to fit an almost square old TV shape, but somehow we all felt cheated because there was so much unused screen on the TV and the picture looked "bandaid shaped,'" Runco said.
"I saw possibilities with projection television that could not be achieved on a box TV. I started by playing around with a screen cut with a razor blade to the shape of the widest movie shape, CinemaScope. From there I played around with a video switcher that had 4 modes, each having the ability for setting height and width controls. I then modified those controls to all 4 aspect ratios (the shapes) that are used today, around the world. Three were guesses, educated maybe, good guesses, certainly, but still guesses. My techs and engineers then cleaned up my shoddy work to make it salable and the rest is history. All HDTVs sold today worldwide incorporate this technology."
With Runco’s enormous success in technology, does he have anything he would have done differently?
"It would have been very valuable to me in business to have gone for a law degree, not to practice, but to have that background for use in my business ventures.If I had studied law, I probably would have known to patent the technology that I developed, which is now used by almost all television manufacturers and would have created an income stream of billions of dollars. The law education would have also been useful in many other areas of my business dealings."
What does such a prestigious honor mean to Runco?
"Of course, it is a pleasure to have received the Emmy. Any time that a person is recognized by their peers for an accomplishment that is worthy of singling out is gratifying and this award is one of the most important that I have received. What is even more interesting to me is how much fun and enjoyment my wife and children are having with the Emmy award. That is a real pleasure to watch.
"One thing that I really enjoy is that this can be an example to my children and other children that even if they do not have a college education, that they can achieve success as long as they go after a goal and work for it. Having said that it is so much easier if they have an education to base their work on," he said.
It has been an outstanding couple of years of recognition for Sam Runco. Runco’s wife Lori agreed and added, "I love my husband Sam. What an excellent role model for our kids! Work hard, play fair and always acknowledge others’ success. Our family could not be more proud of him as we acknowledge this huge honor. Lifetime Achievement Awards, CEA Hall of Fame, Key to the City, and now the Emmy; by the way, we still make him take out the trash!"
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