D* Future HD Plans With New Satellites - Page 4 - AVS Forum
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post #91 of 1196 Old 09-09-2004, 07:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by HDTVFAN0001
What about the 2 sats in early 2005?

Those will allow complete migration of all locals to one of the new sats, and open up more HD bandwidth immediately (just like the new 7S sat did a few months ago). With the public announcement that programming access for customers would begin next summer, that would mean they could do a quantum leap in HD as early as 9 months from now.
The two I assume you are talking about (DirecTV-8 and DirecTV-9s) won't help in the same way 7s did. 7s helped because local markets that were taking up conus slots were moved to spots, freeing up conus bandwidth. There are no more locals on conus slots (well, besides NY/LA majors, which have to stay conus for white areas, and also I think one small market that remained conus for some reason... maybe in VA?). The new spot beam satellite (9s) will be a back-up for 4s and 7s, and could also be used in conjunction with the existing spot satellites for more LIL markets (and possibly also moving the markets that will be at 72.5 back to DirecTV's slots).

DirecTV-8 is kind of a wild card... I've seen ONE news story that mentioned that it was a hybrid ka/ku satellite. If that is in fact true, then it would certainly add conus Ka capacity which could be used to make room for more HD nationals. But this recent announcement about the Spaceway satellites and DirecTV-10/11 makes me question whether or not DirecTV-8 really does have Ka capabilities... it would seem that they would have mentioned that in the same press release if it did, or at LEAST would have mentioned it if it had Ka capacity AND it was going to be used for HD (the ONE news story that said it was Ka said the Ka was going to be used for local markets, but didn't mention HD).

Regardless, they DO still have a decent amount of Ku left that 7s made available... they could add quite a few HD channels if that's what they want to spend that bandwidth on.

And FWIW, I agree with everyone else that this belongs in the programming forum. This has nothing to do with consumer hardware, and everything to do with speculation about what it will do for programming. While you can take the hard line approach that it is a story about a piece of hardware, the fact remains that that's not what it's about from the perspective of the forum users, and as has been pointed out, moving it to hardware is just going to cause more duplicate threads to be created in the programming forum, and/or the subject getting missed by those who may be interested. People go to the hardware forum to learn about hardware they would use (STB's, etc.), or to troubleshoot their set-ups. This has little relevance here.

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post #92 of 1196 Old 09-09-2004, 07:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Already 2 more threads in the Programing section
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post #93 of 1196 Old 09-09-2004, 07:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by madpoet
To do what exactly? We voomers are certainly enjoying our HD right now, and of course there's the new lease space in November. ;)
The fact remains that this is a major threat to Voom. If DirecTV has the ability to offer everything Voom does, AND has the ability to offer locals, VOD, interactive channels, a broader SD range, better accessibility (satellite location), Sunday Ticket, the comfort of a more established company, better hardware, etc., etc., etc., who's going to choose Voom? Sure, Voom has the advantage in HD programming RIGHT NOW, but right now they don't have any where NEAR the number of customers they need to be a profitable entity. And what investor would want to sink money in to Voom if by the time they could, under the best circumstances, gain enough customers to be profitable, they'd be squashed by the abilities of DirecTV?

The more competition there is, the better. But frankly, Voom is too little too late to be a major influence. Personally, I think Voom and Dish need to merge NOW. If DirecTV doesn't have decent competition, they will both die, and we will be stuck with one provider. None of us want that. Dish SHOULD be able to do better than DirecTV today... they have more capacity from the perspective of Ku licenses, and they have HD hardware that can use 8psk. They also have more local markets in SD (though I'm not sure how they compare when you consider market size). But sadly, they just don't seem to execute their assets properly. IF they merged, and IF they straightened up their act, they could get a jump start on DirecTV, and give them a good run for their money.

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post #94 of 1196 Old 09-09-2004, 07:57 AM
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Directv is looking to give the KO punch to DISH and VOOM...... especially DISH because they promised a while back the Superdish and 40 hd channels and so far nada.....

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post #95 of 1196 Old 09-09-2004, 08:03 AM
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I think Voom knew it had a limited amount of time to get their foot in the door - now that timeframe is more defined. They are in serious trouble in 2007, and their niche will shrink somewhat by the end of 2005 in the markets where D* offers HD LIL's with customers who cannot receive their OTA HD channels reliably.
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post #96 of 1196 Old 09-09-2004, 08:14 AM
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A lot of folks indicate this won't require new hardware, just new LNBs.. does anyone know (or have enough knowledge to speculate) if they are going to stack the frequencies like they do with teh SAT C LNB today?

I'm worried that my multi-switch and or wiring won't be adequate for the future.. if thats the case I'd like to at least "plan" for the obsolecence now.. :)

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post #97 of 1196 Old 09-09-2004, 08:15 AM
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Oh, and let me just say once more, how glad I am that the Dish/DirecTV merger wasn't approved. Then we'd have one (major) satellite provider, AND it would probably not offer anywhere near what DirecTV will be offering. I just can't imagine an Ergan controlled company providing all this, and executing it properly.

And let me say once more, how much I think this should be in the programming forum. :D

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post #98 of 1196 Old 09-09-2004, 08:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by fray
does anyone know (or have enough knowledge to speculate) if they are going to stack the frequencies like they do with teh SAT C LNB today?

I'm worried that my multi-switch and or wiring won't be adequate for the future..
New LNBs will most certainly be needed. Existing multiswitches will most certainly not work. They can only address two satellite locations. The only reason they are able to get three is because of the combining of 110 and 119 signals into one, and the only reason they can do that is because they don't have that many transponders on either one. Their Ka licenses are full slots.

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post #99 of 1196 Old 09-09-2004, 08:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by Darin
Oh, and let me just say once more, how glad I am that the Dish/DirecTV merger wasn't approved. Then we'd have one (major) satellite provider, AND it would probably not offer anywhere near what DirecTV will be offering. I just can't imagine an Ergan controlled company providing all this, and executing it properly.

And let me say once more, how much I think this should be in the programming forum. :D
I agree with everything you said and I also think that all the naysayers of Ruppert controlling D* would be a bad thing needs to eat some crow which I will have during the game tonight. This is just unbelievable what they are going to do and to think where we were just a year ago never mind 2 years ago or even 3 when I first got my HDTV and was able to watch about 1 program a week if that.
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post #100 of 1196 Old 09-09-2004, 08:33 AM
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Mark, thanks for clarifying that for me. That is terrific news! I really enjoy my HD Tivo so I am glad it will work with that!

Quote:
Originally posted by rogo
The new satellites are Ka... They will >>not<< require new receivers. Nothing about using Ka (or Ku -- the current standard, or Ku-FSS -- which Voom will use some of) changes the receiver technology, just the LNB (and possibly the switch, but that's because of slotting).

Mark
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post #101 of 1196 Old 09-09-2004, 08:37 AM
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It is a long, long 3 years until the 150 national HD channels can be added, so what of the meantime? I suspect we will not see much more than a handful of HDTV adds over the next year, but it would not surprise me to see something clever start to happen once the Spaceway birds are aloft and functioning to create some more slots sooner.

That's easy. The new Ku sats will free up space for more national HD. Directv is only missing about 9-10 national feeds that are available today, if that many. You get the locals up and running, offer 24 channels (plus 6 for ppv and sports) until 2007. First SAT up in 2007 offers the national HD channels, the remaining support LiL.

One thing's for certain, DirecTV just trumped Cox cable in San Diego. Their budget calls for 3 HD channel additions (1-256 QAM Muxer) per year until 2008, 6 per year till 2010 then 9 per year beyond that. They wasted a butt load of money the last 5 years on 64QAM equipment. Assuming the statmux allows 3 channels on a single 256 QAM feed. I've seen what 3 channels on 256 looks like and it's not so good.

Comcast (in my area) already has, and has had for quite some time, FULL BANDWIDTH HDTV not the light weight HDTV from DirecTV. They also have ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, FOX, HBO, Showtime, Starz!, Cinemax, Discovery, INHD1, INHD2, and ESPN in HD. Did I mention that these are FULL BANDWIDTH?

I seriously doubt the full bandwidth part. Most cable co's are stuffing 3 channels into the 256QAM channel, meaning compression to 15 MBPs.

Just a hunch. Is it possible that some of the sat space generated in 2005 woudl be conus. I mean 500 LiL HD channels is about 70 markets. 1,000 more in 2007? Are there than many HD LiL needs? One last thing. In 2008 we'll all be bitching because they don't have enough bandwidth to support full 1080p. :-)

More HD please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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post #102 of 1196 Old 09-09-2004, 08:51 AM
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I agree 100%. I was actually for the Merger back when I was a DN sub but after seeing what Charlie's attitude was with HD I bailed and so glad I did! I think a merger would of been disastrous. No choice whatsoever for rural consumers.

Quote:
Originally posted by Darin
Oh, and let me just say once more, how glad I am that the Dish/DirecTV merger wasn't approved. Then we'd have one (major) satellite provider, AND it would probably not offer anywhere near what DirecTV will be offering. I just can't imagine an Ergan controlled company providing all this, and executing it properly.

And let me say once more, how much I think this should be in the programming forum. :D
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post #103 of 1196 Old 09-09-2004, 08:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by rogo
" The announcement today is primarily to address the rumor mills out there and keep people from defecting to Voom and cable in the meantime."

I just caught this... Let me note a couple of things:

(1) No one is defecting to Voom. People are defecting from Voom almost as quickly as they are signing on. The total number of DirecTV customers that have defected to voom can be estimated with near certainty at <10,000 and with something resembling certainty at <5,000 or <0.05% of the customer base at DirecTv.
I'm well aware of Voom's churn rate. But D* needed to do something about the "curiousity" factor since as of now, Voom has had the best HD story in town in terms of variery of content (they have other issues like bird placement, lack of PVRs, etc). You can still lose a lot of customers in 9 months. Preannoucing this strategy will help keep current customers as paying customers rather than switching. Cable also has a better story than D* in many markets (I use cable for HD and D* for SD) so I imagine that this announcement was also meant for that too.

Quote:

(2) DirecTV is going to actually do this. I'm drawing a contrast now to Dish Network, whose SuperDish solution was going to do all sorts of things for HDTV that are, well, apparently not happening. DirecTV announces what they are going to do when they know it will happen and doesn't bother with speculative nonsense very often.

This is DirecTV's HDTV strategy.

Agreed.

Quote:

It is a long, long 3 years until the 150 national HD channels can be added, so what of the meantime? I suspect we will not see much more than a handful of HDTV adds over the next year, but it would not surprise me to see something clever start to happen once the Spaceway birds are aloft and functioning to create some more slots sooner.

In fact, the DirecTV 8 bird, a Ku/Ka hybrid, is slated for launch sometime sooner than 10 and 11, and perhaps it's also part of the equation?

DirecTV has no intention of allowing HDTV to cost it customer. Instead, with this announced strategy, they will have capacity to offer every HD channel in existence 3 years from now. By then, there will be about 1 HDTV set sold -- to date -- for every 3 homes in the U.S. and approximately 1/4 of households will have at least one of those....

In the meantime, there exists a small window of vulnerability where cable has better channels, but that is mitigated by the large amount of cable systems that still offer no HD PVR or a woeful one.

It's hard not to be bullish on DirecTV's future.
Again, I agree that it will take a while for there to be a lot of national HD stations to carry. Converting to HD is not a cheap proposition. While I would love to see things like Cartoon Network-HD, AMC-HD, TCM-HD, Food Network HD, TLC-HD, MTV-HD, HD news networks, all HD movie channels and every Discovery channel in HD, it's going to take significant time, effort and money for this to happen. I'm sure some of these networks have HD plans in the works, many of them will take to at least 2007 before it ever happens and by that time, D* will be ready for them. In the meantime, they should have enough bandwidth to add the ones they don't have now and add the few that come along in the next 24 months on existing birds.

I sincerely hope that D* will address the overall PQ problem of their service in general by making HD as full bandwidth as possible as new birds go up. And HDtivos need to get cheaper. 'Nuff said.

Rick
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post #104 of 1196 Old 09-09-2004, 09:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Darin
The two I assume you are talking about (DirecTV-8 and DirecTV-9s) won't help in the same way 7s did. 7s helped because local markets that were taking up conus slots were moved to spots, freeing up conus bandwidth.
It was my understanding that 8 & 9 are replacement units.

I was referring to the other 2 new sats in 2005 - the ones they were going to originally use for broadband - Spaceway???

They stated in the announcement that some of the services from those 2 new sats would be available for customer reception in summer 2005.
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post #105 of 1196 Old 09-09-2004, 09:26 AM
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Another thing to consider is the pricepoint on HD receivers in 2007. By then, they could stop offering SD tuners and offer only an HD tuner and allow the tuner to downconvert the HD feeds to SD for those subs that don't have an HDTV. This would allow D to convert spot beams and conus beams used for LiL to national programming conus beams freeing up even more bandwidth for HD or less compression of SD. HDTV TiVo units would probably be the price that standard TiVo units are today, or close enough that they could push them out the door for $199. By offering a trade in program, they could rapidly deploy new HD receivers and eliminate the need for LiL SD feeds on the Ku sats. Most likely teh first to go would be those channels located on the 101 sat in full conus. These are the larger markets where HD penetration and cable competition is greater. Which is probably a better solution short term.

Another option is a hub/network type of setup. 4-6 Tuners in one box with a massive hard drive connected to a network for sharing. Or a 4-6 tuner hub with hubbed tuners in other rooms with an optional TiVo unit available. This would bring down the pricepoint even further. Say... $599 for the hub, $99 for a spoke, 199 for a TiVo spoke.

All I know it I'm in a top 50 market which means I will have one provider of service by next summer and that's nothing to complain about.

More HD please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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post #106 of 1196 Old 09-09-2004, 09:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Snoopy4
[i]
Comcast (in my area) already has, and has had for quite some time, FULL BANDWIDTH HDTV not the light weight HDTV from DirecTV. They also have ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, FOX, HBO, Showtime, Starz!, Cinemax, Discovery, INHD1, INHD2, and ESPN in HD. Did I mention that these are FULL BANDWIDTH?

I seriously doubt the full bandwidth part. Most cable co's are stuffing 3 channels into the 256QAM channel, meaning compression to 15 MBPs.

You may be right - the only way I could test it was by recording a football game OTA and from Comcast and then comparing the file sizes. In my unscientific test after 2 hours the files sizes were nearly identical between Comcast and OTA.

I can see the difference when I switch between HBO on DirecTV and HBO on Comcast but I don't know of a way to get the real numbers. There is no question the PQ on Comcast in Salt Lake is better than on DirecTV.

If there is 45MBPs per 256QAM couldn't they be doing two 19.2 HD channels and then filling in the rest with SD channels? I don't know how it works but is it possible?
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post #107 of 1196 Old 09-09-2004, 09:39 AM
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Cable sux. They jam so much into ours which I use with my QAM tuner for the locals because I can't use an antenna. It makes me sick.

One more thing to add: The Killer App

A hub type system with a stacked tuner. Networkable TiVo storage units at the hub location. Boxes in each room with a Built in DVD-R and internet access.

Yummie.

If there is 45MBPs per 256QAM couldn't they be doing two 19.2 HD channels and then filling in the rest with SD channels? I don't know how it works but is it possible?

Our cable co is on a budget (cox), so they can't get addiitional equipment. The 720p feeds (Fox, ABC and PBS) are stuffed on one 256 QAM, the two 1080i feeds (CBS and NBC) are on another stuffed with 2 PPV previews. They all look like the worst reception you get on a Directv HD feed. Directv generally crushes them in quality. The rest are encrypted, but I understand they have the two INHD channels on another, ESPN, Discovery and local sports on another and HBO and Showtime on another muxed with the west coast feeds of the SD channel. I was told they can't just put two channels up and that they have to use stuffing to fill the frame.

More HD please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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post #108 of 1196 Old 09-09-2004, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by brewer4
I've had HD for 3 years now. Usually dont post much because of nasty comments in this forum. Your first mistake is underestimating someone's opinion. HD was not created for the enthusiast or HD snob. Its for the masses and will be used by the masses. Quality degredation may occur but going from SD to watered down HD as you call it looks pretty damn good and will fly with most folks.
Brewer4,

I'm glad to hear that you have had HD for three years. That is precisely why I said '"may" be new to the game' in my post because there was the chance you just found this forum or whatever. For the record, I do not underestimate your opinion. I just don't agree with it. I have no idea what that has to do with being labeled an "HD snob" though. If desiring quality video performance from my provider means I'm a snob then I eagerly accept the mantle without reservation :D. Even though you have been enjoying HD for some time now, your last sentence only reinforces my whole point. I really hope D* proves me wrong and uses the opportunity to improve the video quality of their HD channels instead of merely giving us more of the same. But I will believe it only when I see it because I feel they are counting on opinions just like yours to justify a less than optimum product. We'll see...

Two last things:

1) I for one am very happy to eat crow about the complete turn around in mindset at D* (Murdock) regarding HD. Who knew that would happen? I guess he finally figured out that HD was not going away and that it actually created a business opportunity for him, so that's a happy outcome for all of us here.

2) I also fully agree this thread should be in the HDTV programming forum.

ron
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post #109 of 1196 Old 09-09-2004, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Darin
DirecTV-8 is kind of a wild card... I've seen ONE news story that mentioned that it was a hybrid ka/ku satellite. If that is in fact true, then it would certainly add conus Ka capacity which could be used to make room for more HD nationals. But this recent announcement about the Spaceway satellites and DirecTV-10/11 makes me question whether or not DirecTV-8 really does have Ka capabilities... it would seem that they would have mentioned that in the same press release if it did, or at LEAST would have mentioned it if it had Ka capacity AND it was going to be used for HD (the ONE news story that said it was Ka said the Ka was going to be used for local markets, but didn't mention HD).
Maybe D* didn't want to let the cat out of the bag regarding DirecTv-8. I believe the intent of the press release was to secure their current customers and ease/secure their investors, which I think they've suceeded. I think you're right about DirecTv-8 being a wild card and I think D* has strict plans for it, though they're not telling. While Voom and Charlie think they have until mid-2005 and 2007 to come up with something, it could be a lot sooner than that.

We're only talking about 10 national HD channels, which D-8 might be able to do with existing HD customers merely changing LNBs and switches. That would be a heck of an announcement in January, "Look for an additional 10 HD channels the week after the Superbowl."

Anyone know when D-8 launches?

Currently testing 3D with Sammy DLP, shutter glasses, and HTPC
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post #110 of 1196 Old 09-09-2004, 10:02 AM
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Anyone know when D-8 launches?

It's to be delivered in the first quater of 2005. Probably a launch in April/May. Next June/July is going to be an insanly exciting time for DirecTV HD subs.

More HD please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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post #111 of 1196 Old 09-09-2004, 10:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sevenfeet
I'm well aware of Voom's churn rate. But D* needed to do something about the "curiousity" factor since as of now, Voom has had the best HD story in town in terms of variery of content (they have other issues like bird placement, lack of PVRs, etc). You can still lose a lot of customers in 9 months.
I still don't think Voom is a major concern for DirecTV from the perspective of customer numbers. Even in 9 months, it's a drop in the bucket considering the kind of numbers DirecTV has. But you are right about Voom's HD story. As silly as it may sound, I'd bet that the biggest concern for DirecTV now is that they can't boast that they offer the most HD. Voom is a bigger liability to DirecTV's marketing department than they are to subscriptions. They want to be viewed as the leader in cutting edge television services... Voom is holding that back.

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post #112 of 1196 Old 09-09-2004, 10:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by HDTVFAN0001
It was my understanding that 8 & 9 are replacement units.

I was referring to the other 2 new sats in 2005 - the ones they were going to originally use for broadband - Spaceway???
Oh, ok. I just went back & re-read your post with the context that you're talking about Spaceway. But for the most part, my response still stands... you don't gain much by moving locals to Spaceway, because for the most part, all locals are already on spots. Now, technically, you could do that, and turn on some conus Ku transponders to add a little bit of conus capacity with the frequencies freed up by turning off the Ku spots (and therefore, making most of the money spent on 4s and 7s a waste). But I can't imagine that they'd do that... probablly over 95% of their customers don't have HD, and therefore can continue getting along just fine with their current equipment. Move all the locals over to Ka, and all those customers are going to need a new dish. Just not worth it for the small amount of bandwidth they'd gain.

But, when news first came out about Spaceway, it was known that it had the raw aggragate capacity to do 500 HD channels per satellite. It was never really known (by us) if it had that much capacity when configured for video spots, but the fact remains that they are now saying 500 local channels between the two. That's a big difference, so it's quite possible (and likely, IMO), that not all of the Spaceway capacity is going to be used for locals. The Spaceway satellites are highly configurable, so they could easy use some of it as conus, and some as spots. The get the most bang/buck using it as spots, but there may be some value in using some conus short term, then maybe moving those conus channels over to 10/11 when they come online.

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post #113 of 1196 Old 09-09-2004, 10:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Snoopy4
Another thing to consider is the pricepoint on HD receivers in 2007. By then, they could stop offering SD tuners and offer only an HD tuner and allow the tuner to downconvert the HD feeds to SD for those subs that don't have an HDTV.
While that's certainly true (they could probably build a downconverting SD box for almost the same price as the current SD boxes - the satellit tuners wouldn't really be more expensive, and the down-converting circuits wouldn't be either, and they wouldn't need the expesnive HD analog circuits), it wouldn't really save them anything any time soon. They'd have to replace practically ALL the current receivers if they shut off the SD broadcasts. Whatever they do, be it shutting off redundant SD streams, switching over to MPEG4, or whatever, it's going to take a while to realize the benefits. If they did it, they'd probably start producing boxes with the ability, but not take advantage of that for a long time, until many of their customers already have the boxes with this capability. A complete swap-out would be very expensive and time consuming. I expect their broadcasting techniques will change at SOME point, making current boxes unable to receive them, but it will be a gradual change that will take some time.

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post #114 of 1196 Old 09-09-2004, 10:27 AM
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Originally posted by mike greer

If there is 45MBPs per 256QAM couldn't they be doing two 19.2 HD channels and then filling in the rest with SD channels? I don't know how it works but is it possible?
Comcast does not compress the signal. Whatever they get from the provider is what is sent to your STB.

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post #115 of 1196 Old 09-09-2004, 10:28 AM
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Let me actually add a hardware question to this tread. Having just read every post in this thread, it appears the consensus is that existing D* HD receivers will work, we just need a new dish/lnb/multi-switch. Does that imply that D* will be sticking with their current encoding scheme (mpg 2?) ? I can understand their not wanting to have to re-compress the local HD content, one less step to get the signal up.

I was going to buy a HR10-250 this week, but would hate to have a $1000.0 useless box by next summer. How sure are we these boxes will work?
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post #116 of 1196 Old 09-09-2004, 10:36 AM
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I don't see them obsoleting boxes that are being sold today for at least several more years (unless they offered free upgrades). Boxes that are being sold today may not be able to take advantage of newer services (or maybe even channels) that may be coming down the line, but they would still work. Switching from MPEG2 to MPEG4 would mean current boxes would not work.

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post #117 of 1196 Old 09-09-2004, 10:48 AM
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Darin I expected you to be optimistic since you already have an HD Tivo. :D BTW thanks for your email reply to my ATSC tuner question.
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post #118 of 1196 Old 09-09-2004, 10:55 AM
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You have to keep in mind that they are not in the business to sell hardware. They want to sell their service. They aren't going to do something that's going to make you unable to receive their service unless they are going to give you the hardware to do it. It would be quite foolish for them to do otherwise, as we could just switch to cable cheaper than staying with them. Now, they may roll out new services, like interactive channels, that our current hardware can't take advantage of, and make us WANT to upgrade, but I doubt they'd do anything any time soon that would make boxes we recently bought cease to provide the function we bought them for.

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post #119 of 1196 Old 09-09-2004, 11:02 AM
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Here's a report on yesterday's DirecTV announcement (with a few new pieces of information) from The Hollywood Reporter:

DirecTV channels $1 bil HD plan

By Paul Bond, The Hollywood Reporter
In an early move to corner the high-definition television market in the United States, DirecTV said Wednesday that it will spend more than $1 billion to launch four satellites with the capacity to eventually offer every home in America more than 1,500 local and 150 national HD channels.

Construction of the first two satellites -- dubbed Spaceway 1 and Spaceway 2 -- has been under way for a few years. They will be launched early next year, with programming being offered to consumers by midyear. The two Boeing-built satellites can carry 500 local HD channels and cost DirecTV about $250 million apiece to build, launch and insure. A third Spaceway satellite also will be built as a ground spare.

The construction of two additional Boeing satellites costing about $300 million apiece also is under way, with launch scheduled for early 2007. Those satellites, called DirecTV10 and DirecTV11, have the capacity for more than 1,000 additional local HD channels as well as the national channels. A ground spare also will be built.

DirecTV currently offers just nine national HD channels, and local HD is nearly nonexistent.

"These will be the most sophisticated and advanced satellites for video services ever launched," DirecTV vp communications Bob Marsocci said.

The satellites, Marsocci said, also will take interactivity up a notch whereby shopping and playing games via TV screens will be the norm, as is the case for many British Sky Broadcasting customers in Europe. BSkyB, like DirecTV, is controlled by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

Digital video recording also will be improved by way of the new satellites, Marsocci said. Initiatives in that realm include having video sports, weather and news highlights, customized for each consumer, delivered each morning to subscribers.

"Anytime we increase our capacity, it gives us the ability to offer new services," Marsocci said. "So it's logical we'll offer new services for DVR customers."

Although DirecTV's HD initiative is so far much bolder than satellite competitor EchoStar, analysts speculated Wednesday that it's still primarily the cable customers that DirecTV is targeting.

"The most threatened are the tier-two cable operators that are surviving on their local presence," said Sean Badding, senior analyst at the Carmel Group. "There's always been speculation that satellite wouldn't be able to compete with cable on HD. This puts satellite back in the limelight."

Badding said the cost of deploying the new satellites, while substantial, is the right move.

"They don't have any choice. Consumer interest in HD will continue to grow as price comes down, and eventually it will be the standard offering," he said. "Since Rupert Murdoch has taken control, he's proven there's a new sheriff in town."

Said DirecTV Group president and CEO Chase Carey: "Only DirecTV, not cable or other competitors, will have the capability to bring hundreds of high-definition channels and other enhancements to consumers across the entire country with the consistency, reliability and quality that they demand and deserve.
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post #120 of 1196 Old 09-09-2004, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by R11
Brewer4,

I'm glad to hear that you have had HD for three years. That is precisely why I said '"may" be new to the game' in my post because there was the chance you just found this forum or whatever. For the record, I do not underestimate your opinion. I just don't agree with it. I have no idea what that has to do with being labeled an "HD snob" though. If desiring quality video performance from my provider means I'm a snob then I eagerly accept the mantle without reservation :D. Even though you have been enjoying HD for some time now, your last sentence only reinforces my whole point. I really hope D* proves me wrong and uses the opportunity to improve the video quality of their HD channels instead of merely giving us more of the same. But I will believe it only when I see it because I feel they are counting on opinions just like yours to justify a less than optimum product. We'll see...

Two last things:

1) I for one am very happy to eat crow about the complete turn around in mindset at D* (Murdock) regarding HD. Who knew that would happen? I guess he finally figured out that HD was not going away and that it actually created a business opportunity for him, so that's a happy outcome for all of us here.

2) I also fully agree this thread should be in the HDTV programming forum.

ron
Thanks for the clarification R11. From most of the posts, it just sounds like I am seeing something that others are like quality degrading. I think it looks fine even though it may have degraded. I see your point now. Sorry for any misunderstanding. I just think the general populace will take the other side that a non-True HD picture will be good enough. Wont make the true enthusiast happy, but most folks will. Only my opinion but you only have to look at folks that are still watching analog cable and analog over an antenna. Those are in the millions and still the majority.

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