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post #1 of 40 Old 11-24-2004, 10:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Broadcasters to Fund USDTV
By Linda Moss Multichannel.com
U.S. Digital Television Inc., a low-cost “best-of-television†wireless service, is completing a deal to get a round of funding from several major broadcasters.
“These leading broadcast groups are going to own and control the business of USDTV,†CEO Steve Lindsley said. “This has been my primary objective from day one.â€
USDTV’s strategy -- which entails leasing spectrum from local TV stations in order to offer a limited digital lineup of cable networks and broadcasters -- was recently cited by the Federal Communications Commission in its report panning a la carte.
Lindsley was buoyed by that report, which noted that “more choices in program selection,†like the $19.95-per-month offering from USDTV, are appearing through marketplace forces, and not regulation.
Since launching earlier this year, USDTV has tallied 10,000 subscribers in Salt Lake City, Las Vegas and Albuquerque, N.M. The company is providing an over-the-air package of 20-30 channels, including one-dozen popular cable networks like ESPN and HDTV signals, for $19.95.
USDTV’s game plan is to lure cable and direct-broadcast satellite subscribers, as well as cable-nevers who don’t want to pay $50 or more per month for a huge battery of cable networks.
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post #2 of 40 Old 11-24-2004, 12:13 PM
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I'm sure I sound like a broken record, but how is this a viable business model? The only numbers I have ever seen have been 10,000 subscribers, are they increasing there base? Are these people switching from cable, satellite, what?

Alex
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post #3 of 40 Old 11-24-2004, 12:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by RaggedEdge
I'm sure I sound like a broken record, but how is this a viable business model? The only numbers I have ever seen have been 10,000 subscribers, are they increasing there base? Are these people switching from cable, satellite, what?
For the same amount of subs verses the cost to bring the same number of channels, it is much cheaper than cable or satellite. So someone thinks it works.

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post #4 of 40 Old 11-24-2004, 12:43 PM
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My brother has USDTV, and he switched from cable. Overall, he's very happy with it, although he wishes they carried Comedy Central. Personally, I've been rather underwhelmed by it. I like the selection on satellite, plus USD's equipment seems really cheap to me. Plus, no integrated TiVo unit is a deal-breaker for me.

I'll stay where I'm at, but to each his own.

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post #5 of 40 Old 11-24-2004, 01:39 PM
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Hooray for USDTV!

Suck up all that DTV subchannel bandwidth so D*/E*/Cable never have to worry about subchannel must-carry.

Don't you wish there were a knob on the TV to turn up the intelligence? There's one marked "Brightness," but it don't work.
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post #6 of 40 Old 11-24-2004, 02:39 PM
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As long as they stick to channels that don't carry HD content. I'd be really p.o.'ed if I had to miss out on HD content from ABC or someone like that because the local affiliate was carrying USDTV instead!

Bob Simandl ... somewhere near St. Louis
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post #7 of 40 Old 11-24-2004, 02:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by foxeng
For the same amount of subs verses the cost to bring the same number of channels, it is much cheaper than cable or satellite. So someone thinks it works.
Cheaper how? Let's say D* or E* decides to match this? They already have the satellites. USDTV can only go so low and only offer so many channels. Just look at Voom.

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post #8 of 40 Old 11-24-2004, 03:57 PM
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I was just about to bring up voom. they only have 15,000 more subs than usdtv and they are still in buisness. think of thier costs!
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post #9 of 40 Old 11-24-2004, 04:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by RaggedEdge
Cheaper how? Let's say D* or E* decides to match this? They already have the satellites. USDTV can only go so low and only offer so many channels. Just look at Voom.
The sats monthly costs are much more than USDTV. Just the cost of the uplink centers for D*, E* and V* cost more than what USDTV is paying for everything in both markets they are in. Remember, all USDTV has to do is install downlink receivers and route them into the station's transmitters into their encoders and right back out. You can buy MANY encoders for the price of ONE sat uplink transmitter and sat antenna and sat control system.

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post #10 of 40 Old 11-24-2004, 04:58 PM
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Is there a solid way to find out if the local broadcasters in a particular area are planning to attempt this? Some time ago the CBS affiliate in our area made mention of them looking into this. I would like to find out far ahead of time if it's being planned in Portland so I can start an aggressive anti-USDTV public relations push to try to thwart it. I enjoy HD and I really do not want to see it degraded via any further bandwidth reduction.

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post #11 of 40 Old 11-24-2004, 05:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by R11
Is there a solid way to find out if the local broadcasters in a particular area are planning to attempt this? Some time ago the CBS affiliate in our area made mention of them looking into this. I would like to find out far ahead of time if it's being planned in Portland so I can start an aggressive anti-USDTV public relations push to try to thwart it. I enjoy HD and I really do not want to see it degraded via any further bandwidth reduction.

ron
That is the type of thing you will not know it is happening until it happens.

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post #12 of 40 Old 11-24-2004, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
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R11:
You could always call your local stations and ask if they plan to roll out USDTV (and that you are not in favor of it -- or you are in favor, as the case may be).
In the internet age the telephone does seem primitive -- but it still works.
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post #13 of 40 Old 11-24-2004, 05:34 PM
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Couldnt the networks but an end to this DISEASE by simply demanding a minimum bitrate from the affiliates for transmission of their HD content in the affiliate contracts? Please networks put an end to this bologna.
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post #14 of 40 Old 11-24-2004, 05:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by vurbano
Couldnt the networks but an end to this DISEASE by simply demanding a minimum bitrate from the affiliates for transmission of their HD content in the affiliate contracts? Please networks put an end to this bologna.
Isn't that a little naive since two of the four big networks are behind offering services to stations to be used in the 19.3 bandwidth in the first place? (ABC News Now and NBC Weather Plus)

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post #15 of 40 Old 11-24-2004, 06:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by foxeng
Isn't that a little naive since two of the four big networks are behind offering services to stations to be used in the 19.3 bandwidth in the first place? (ABC News Now and NBC Weather Plus)
Yup, looks like a job for the FCC to define what HD actually is. You must define a bitrate with the mpeg compression scheme or defining lines of resolution means nothing. HD is high definition not blurry, pixelating definition. But I dont think one subchannel is a problem actually. Its the duplicate SD channel, the weather radar, the podunk local weather channel, the local PBS with 4 subchannels, etc. SO I guess the real answer is no its not naive, the networks would have to enforce it if it was an FCC regulation of say 16-17 mbps minimum.
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post #16 of 40 Old 11-24-2004, 07:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by vurbano
Yup, looks like a job for the FCC to define what HD actually is. You must define a bitrate with the mpeg compression scheme or defining lines of resolution means nothing. HD is high definition not blurry, pixelating definition. But I dont think one subchannel is a problem actually. Its the duplicate SD channel, the weather radar, the podunk local weather channel, the local PBS with 4 subchannels, etc. SO I guess the real answer is no its not naive, the networks would have to enforce it if it was an FCC regulation of say 16-17 mbps minimum.
I guess that is one Christmas wish that will not be filled since Santa (eh, the FCC) has said they will not do that since HD is not a requirement and there is no impedance by Congress or the FCC to mandate anything further on bandwidth or resolution issues. The main thrust is to get analog shut down. The FCC also realized that MPEG2 will not always be THE standard (as is being seen now). If they mandate bitrate, they effectively close off other codecs which could actually give a better than 1080i picture in the same bandwidth.

I personally think that within 10 to 15 years (maybe sooner) the FCC will revoke the requirement that MPEG2 is required for at least one free stream. MPEG2 will be so decrepit by then, they will be forced to remove it because there will be better codecs to use.

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post #17 of 40 Old 11-25-2004, 05:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by foxeng

If they mandate bitrate, they effectively close off other codecs which could actually give a better than 1080i picture in the same bandwidth.
I dont see how mandating a bitrate under one codec mpeg2 effectively kills mpeg4. They issue temporary licenses all the time and could do so with mpeg4 until an equivalent bitrate is determined. When it materializes as is rumored they could rule on that too. But of course this is the typical narrow minded thought process of a broadcast engineer hell bent on multicasting and pimping their bandwidth to USDTV and delaying the transition date.

All of it is an attempt to destroy what early adopters know HD can look like before large amounts of viewers "see" it. The NAB knows that they are at this time the "strongest" force the FCC will listen too but a large amount of public opinion in favor of better PQ apparently is something they really do fear as evidenced by their persistence to delay the analog shutoff. Delaying the shutdown does two things, slows down the sale of HDTV's and allows more time to develop SD subchannels effectively destroying the HD PQ. Who knows if they delay the process long enough they may mak the HD PQ something that wont even help to sell HDTV's. Theres something they'd love santa to deliver! If it continues the way it is going the poor SOB's that buy HD sets wont know what HD can look like anyway. They wont realize that a year ago you could see the pores of the players skin, and scratches in detail on close up shots of MNF. They will be happy with what the broadcasters want to shove down our throats... 16x9 Digital TV no matter the resolution. and they wont have to listen to the affiliates whine about how they have to multicast to make more money a statement as ridiculous as latrell spreewells statement that his 9 million a year cant feed his family and he "has to eat".

One can only wonder what is the biggest threat to HDTV? TIt is the NAB and the multicast happy networks with their engineers disguised as HD enthusiasts! Funny how those destroying the HD are the same ones claiming how they love it.

Happy thanksgiving......
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post #18 of 40 Old 11-25-2004, 05:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by vurbano
But of course this is the typical narrow minded thought process of a broadcast engineer hell bent on multicasting and pimping their bandwidth to USDTV and delaying the transition date.
And calling me names advances your cause...... how? When you do things like this, it takes away any validity you might make. In the end, what comes out is a person who appears to be desperate to make their point and has a closed mind. Truly sad.

And besides, that is what the FCC has said. I am just repeating what they have said. It has nothing to with being narrow minded.

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post #19 of 40 Old 11-25-2004, 05:49 AM
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Originally posted by foxeng
And calling me names advances your cause...... how? Truly sad.
You have mistaken name calling for describing ones actions. Everyone is defined by their actions. What terrible name have I called you? Those are all of the things you and your affialiates support arent they? If you find those things so offensive then their is a simple solution. DONT DO IT.
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post #20 of 40 Old 11-25-2004, 06:00 AM
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vurbano,

Here is the truth. You will not like it, but I can't change it either just like you can't.

The FCC is ON RECORD that they want the marketplace to decide on resolutions, bit rates and codecs and not be legislated and tying us to a standard that may not stand the test of time. They are also on record that the only requirement for a station is to provide ONE stream in at least 480i resolution that has the same picture quality as 480i analog in MPEG2 available free for the picking out of the air. What a station does or doesn't do with any remainder of their bandwidth is a marketplace decision.

Congress is ON RECORD that they WOULD LIKE (meaning NON BINDING resolution) stations to provide HD resolution (they haven't even specified what resolution they consider HD other than greater than or equal to 720p or what codec) to help push the digital transition, but they WILL NOT mandate resolution or bit rate. They defer that to the marketplace as well.

That is NOT narrow mindedness, just facts.

As I have stated on MANY occasions, I would have preferred the FCC to have created a comprehensive digital transition plan, including all the industry and not just broadcasters and had actually come up with some standards. That didn't happen and that isn't going to happen. I have gotten over it, and maybe you should too.

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post #21 of 40 Old 11-25-2004, 06:46 AM
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One can only wonder what is the biggest threat to HDTV? TIt is the NAB and the multicast happy networks with their engineers disguised as HD enthusiasts!
Ouch!

Vurbano -

I think we all know that engineers (either software or TV) don't really get to set that kind of policy. It's an economics thing that happens at a much higher level, though sometimes misguided by a lack of technical understanding.

There is no doubt in my own mind that some multi-casting is going to happen. The main thing stopping it so far is the lack of both viewers and compelling content. So putting together a good multi-channel package has not really been a priority yet and we see experiments like NBC weather-or-not, ABC New Snow, and maybe USDTV in a few cities.

And the main uncertainty right now that we should be heading off is a multi-channel infomercial package that manages to just sell must carry cable rights to the highest bidder. If the NAB gets multiple must-carry on cable then they won't have to worry about any content as they can sell the sub-channels as cable space with guaranteed carriage and ad insertion privileges. So this should be avoided unless we truly enjoy infomercials and televangelists.

With something like USDTV the broadcasters would also be selling channel space but at least then they would be selling them to a business that needs those channels to be desirable (and OTA receivable) in order to survive. And USDTV does seem to be able to negotiate for some of the needed sub-channel content.

One scenario that repeatedly comes to my own mind is a compromise where OTA prime channels are slightly too low resolution and bandwidth (yeah, I know ;) ) but the same prime channel content (mostly HD network feeds) is offered to cable and sat at full quality, but with local ads, under retransmission consent. That is probably not what we are hoping for with OTA TV but it would at least get the transition going somewhere faster and provide an option for those of us that really care about HD.

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post #22 of 40 Old 11-25-2004, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by foxeng
They are also on record that the only requirement for a station is to provide ONE stream in at least 480i resolution that has the same picture quality as 480i analog in MPEG2 available free for the picking out of the air.
I've seen ALL a digital station's program services(including HD) be of lesser picture quality during bandwidth demanding portions of programming than was the case on the OTA analog station.

Here's an example: During the Superbowl pregame show+Aerosmith's performance, You could not even recognize Stephen Tyler(dancing around on stage, camera moving, lots of other "fast action" in the scene happening as well) on one of my CBS DTV/HD affiliates. His face was just a blur of little blocks on both their HD service(probably at about 14~15mb/s max from their Flexicoder to 1080i HD), and SD service. It looked MUCH better from the analog station. And yes, I get well over 30db of SNR from this station, the problem isn't on my end. Everybody who watches this station saw it. HD from My other CBS affiliate however during this section of programming looked just fine+much better than the analog version.

Sooo, while I realize interpetation of the FCC rule on this matter is in the "fuzzy" realm -- Nevertheless, It's pretty easy to look at the screen+get a good rough "estimation" at any given time if the analog PQ(assuming good reception of course) looks better than HD or SD digital. So, I have to wonder if FCC is ever going to address this issue in any given case, or how they will address any complaints relating to analog PQ being better than HD or SD digital due to MPEG2 compression artifacts+issues such as not enough bitrate being allocated to any particular service given the encoder/encoder configuration in use, etc/etc ....

Jeff
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post #23 of 40 Old 11-25-2004, 08:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by foxeng
I personally think that within 10 to 15 years (maybe sooner) the FCC will revoke the requirement that MPEG2 is required for at least one free stream. MPEG2 will be so decrepit by then, they will be forced to remove it because there will be better codecs to use.
Foxeng, you are fooling yourself if you think that will ever happen. The whole point of OTA broadcasting is to send out a reliable signal that can be used for local news and emergencies. Changing ATSC's video codec would obsolete every ATSC tuner made and the FCC would never allow that. The FCC will continue to require a MPEG-2 stream in ATSC transmissions for at least 40 years (if OTA broadcasting lasts that long). People buy and use TVs for decades and the FCC will have no desire to change the broadcasting standard every 10 years. There will always be better video codecs and much like NTSC we will continue to use MPEG-2 long after it becomes "decrepit".

OTA broadcasting is a public service which is why broadcasters pays a small usage fee instead of having to buy the spectrum in a public auction. The spectrum the broadcasters use is technically given to them to benefit the public good. This is the reason that broadcasters doesn't have to buy there spectrum and it is also the reason the FCC can determine the decency standards in broadcasting. A public service needs to be reliable so there is no chance of the MPEG-2 requirement ever being removed from the ATSC standard. Reliability outweighs efficiency especially since OTA broadcasting provides emergency warnings. Not every one can afford a TV as often as you may think and those are the people that most rely on OTA broadcasting. Just to end analog broadcasting will probably require a billion dollars or more in subsidies for tens of millions of ATSC STB tuners. Do you really think that the FCC would want that repeated every 10 years?
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post #24 of 40 Old 11-26-2004, 05:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Richard Paul
Foxeng, you are fooling yourself if you think that will ever happen.
I guess the FCC was fooling themselves since it was their idea in the first place and why the rules are written like they are. They said they didn't want to get locked into one standard like had happened with NTSC.

But only time will tell if that happens or not.

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post #25 of 40 Old 11-27-2004, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Richard Paul
Foxeng, you are fooling yourself if you think that will ever happen. The whole point of OTA broadcasting is to send out a reliable signal that can be used for local news and emergencies. Changing ATSC's video codec would obsolete every ATSC tuner made and the FCC would never allow that.
Yeah it gave me a big chuckle too. Every tuner would have to be replaced. LMAO All of this effort to get an mpeg2 OTA tuner into the sets now and the consumer to accept the price increase then your going to turn around and tell everyone thier STB or built in tuner is obsolete? NOT. Mpeg2 is what the broadcasters are stuck with. And I dont think they are going to send out mpeg2 and mpeg4 during some transition phase. No bandwidth to do that. Or are they going to just cut off all of their viewers who dont have mpeg4 tuners after analog is gone? NOT, they would be cutting off all of their veiwers. We cant even get them to turn off analog!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I suppose it would have been a good idea to mandate both mpeg2 and mpeg4 tuners a year ago. But its too late. Just shows you what happens when the inmates(the NAB) run the asylum (the FCC). The only thing on their minds is cutting up that bandwidth for their greedy purposes. No thought was given to the future.

And as far as reliability goes, could they have chosen a worse meduim? Digital OTA seems to be the most difficult unreliable signal Ive ever experienced. The wind blows or the temperature changes or the leaves fall or grow and the signal craps out ! Yet the broadcasters are granted this grade B ********? keeping those with reception problems from getting distant network feeds. Im sorry but the strenght and reliability of these digital signals is CRAP and its a farce to enforce grade B bologna with what we have now.
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post #26 of 40 Old 11-27-2004, 09:49 AM
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Yeah it gave me a big chuckle too. Every tuner would have to be replaced. LMAO All of this effort to get an mpeg2 OTA tuner into the sets now and the consumer to accept the price increase then your going to turn around and tell everyone thier STB or built in tuner is obsolete? NOT. Mpeg2 is what the broadcasters are stuck with. And I dont think they are going to send out mpeg2 and mpeg4 during some transition phase. No bandwidth to do that. Or are they going to just cut off all of their viewers who dont have mpeg4 tuners after analog is gone? NOT, they would be cutting off all of their veiwers. We cant even get them to turn off analog!!!!!!!!!!!
LMAO2, but looking over my shoulder as I do it. ;)

Except for maybe network contracts it would not be at all illegal under current law for a network affiliated broadcaster to say their prime channel is a 1mbps SD MPEG-2 televangelist channel and yet also send the network HDTV feed in WMV9, receivable only via USDTV or some other premium service.

They meanwhile would still probably get voluntary cable carriage of the network HD channel (with local ads) if they offered it in MPEG2 to most cable companies and also could likely claim must carry for the silly 'primary' channel.

And a service like USDTV could upgrade from MPEG-2 to WM9 or AVC without recalling any boxes. They are local and are still in early roll-out phase so they could just use newer boxes in each new city wiithout any problems.

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post #27 of 40 Old 11-27-2004, 10:30 AM
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Originally posted by vurbano
Digital OTA seems to be the most difficult unreliable signal Ive ever experienced. The wind blows or the temperature changes or the leaves fall or grow and the signal craps out !
Sounds like one good possibility is that you're probably not getting high enough SNR(for whatever reason), so when "conditions"(multipath, interference/etc) change, you drop below ~16db of S/N and experience "dropouts". Remember, ANYTHING (including uncorrectable multipath) except the "good" part of the 8VSB signal itself is just seen as noise to the receiver. I think the "signal meters" on our receivers sometimes give folks the wrong idea, as they think if they are showing relatively high readings at any give time it means a "stong" signal. It doesn't, necessarily.

FWIW, I've been watching OTA DTV/HD for 3 years now and I haven't experienced reception problems from my local stations(12~39 miles distant) using the same, outdoor antenna setup I've been using for good~excellent analog reception for over 12 years. For the most part, with most digital stations in the area I can add about 30db of additional atteunation in the feedline before the signal quality readings on my receiver even START to go down. I did have 2 dropouts back in Spring 2002 on a VHF DTV station due to VERY nearby lightning strikes, that's been pretty much it. So, as long as the stations are on the air+sending a proper signal, it's been pretty close to 100% reliable, here. Much better than analog. No snow/ghosts or "static" from impulse noise/etc, but of course, even the analog OTA looks generally looks better than anything SD wise I've seen via Cable or sat ....

In any event, lets hope that in the future, along with broadcasters improving their facilities, we continue to see improvements in receivers and reception solutions such as the much touted 5th generation Zenith chip and the "Smart Antenna Interface", so that it will become even easier to get "reliable reception" than is the case presently.

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Originally posted by trbarry
Except for maybe network contracts it would not be at all illegal under current law for a network affiliated broadcaster to say their prime channel is a 1mbps SD MPEG-2 televangelist channel and yet also send the network HDTV feed in WMV9, receivable only via USDTV or some other premium service.
I'm not so sure a 1 Mb/s SD MPEG2 service would meet the FCC requirement to have a single SD MPEG2 service of at least the SAME QUALITY of the analog broadcast, unless I suppose they make efforts to purposely degrade the analog signal. For the most part, I've seen it done via MPEG2 SD with as little as about 2.5~3mb/s, however.

Update: In any event, I could see where a well-planned "transistion" to better compression technology could work, but, IMO, in order to work, it's going to have to be long term, well-thought out+carefully phased in. The potential benefits are too great concerning add'l Free to air(or "ancillary) services to just say "stick with MPEG2 for 40 years" because that's the current "standard". I'd have to do some digging about the "specifics", but I believe ATSC is working on a "update" to the standard to address this issue ....

Jeff
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post #28 of 40 Old 11-27-2004, 10:44 AM
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Originally posted by Nitewatchman
Sounds like one good possibility is that you're probably not getting high enough SNR(for whatever reason), so when "conditions"(multipath, interference/etc) change, you drop below ~16db of S/N and experience "dropouts". Remember, ANYTHING (including uncorrectable multipath) except the "good" part of the 8VSB signal itself is just seen as noise to the receiver. I think These "signal meters" on our receivers sometimes give folks the wrong idea, as they think if they are showing high readings at any give time it means a "stong" signal. It doesn't, necessarily.
Well I currently dont have any reception issues. But I feel the steps required to eliminate them are absurd. In my area I am at 19-20 miles off all of the towers, 2 of them with all of the networks sharing the towers at I believe only 4-5 degrees difference. One should be able to pick this stuff up with a coat hanger. after weeks of returning indoor antennas and clip ons I moved to a 75 mile UHF only Yagi in the attic that worked fine last fall until the leaves came out. Then it went to the roof. Then a rotator was added as the one or two signals of the bunch seemed to require 10-15 degrees rotation from the others. Then an amp was added, not for the one low power station, but for one that was at high power. My point is that TREES exist everywhere. Yet we have this bogus grade B contour designated that assumes there are no trees on this planet? And this digital OTA changes with the freakin weather. It is far from reliable. Wouldnt it be a good idea to make sure the technology works reliably BEFORE you mandate it?
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post #29 of 40 Old 11-27-2004, 10:47 AM
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Originally posted by trbarry
LMAO2, but looking over my shoulder as I do it. ;)

Except for maybe network contracts it would not be at all illegal under current law for a network affiliated broadcaster to say their prime channel is a 1mbps SD MPEG-2 televangelist channel and yet also send the network HDTV feed in WMV9, receivable only via USDTV or some other premium service.

They meanwhile would still probably get voluntary cable carriage of the network HD channel (with local ads) if they offered it in MPEG2 to most cable companies and also could likely claim must carry for the silly 'primary' channel.

And a service like USDTV could upgrade from MPEG-2 to WM9 or AVC without recalling any boxes. They are local and are still in early roll-out phase so they could just use newer boxes in each new city wiithout any problems.

- Tom
It may not be illegal, but I am sure the Network would yank their affiliate license in about two seconds flat if they did that. It is much more likely that they will continue with a 3MB MPEG2 SD channel and lease the rest out to USDTV.

The more I think about this, the more ridiculous this business model seems. There is just not enough bandwidth available to make this model viable, even with new codecs.

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post #30 of 40 Old 11-27-2004, 11:22 AM
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Originally posted by vurbano
I suppose it would have been a good idea to mandate both mpeg2 and mpeg4 tuners a year ago. But its too late. Just shows you what happens when the inmates(the NAB) run the asylum (the FCC). The only thing on their minds is cutting up that bandwidth for their greedy purposes. No thought was given to the future.
Oh boy! NAB, nor ANY broadcast organization, runs or controls the FCC. It is a COMPLETELY POLITICAL ANIMAL moving in the direction the Congress PERCEIVES it should move. (from the movie 'The Right Stuff,' "Son, you know what makes this bird go up? Funding makes this bird go up" and the FCC ISN'T ANY DIFFERENT than the DOD, NASA, TSA or IRS.) The FCC is so fractious right now between Republican's and Democrat's, it is crap shoot on how ANY rules will fall out these days. The Commissioner's have more back room politics going on these days between their parties members of Congress than a old Southern political boiler room. That is why you have the Congress saying one thing on DTV (with the FCC parroting them) and then the next time, Congress says something else, the FCC reacts to that. Two other examples that come to mind is the ownership cap mess the FCC got into last year and the indecency stuff you are now seeing. You want to catch ideas on how the FCC might react on an issue, look to Congress and see how they are reacting. If you believe anything else, I have some land to sell you when the tide goes out. That is the truth.

As far as the tuner issue on upgrading software, in 10 years that is a real possibility due to OBSOLESCENCE. By then all the receivers will be DSP's and all it will take is a software upgrade. That is why we are all called Early Adapters since all our gear is expendable anyway. Believe what you want, but the talk in the industry is to move to DSP as quickly as the FCC grants the authorizations, which they just released one last week for a software based radio. They ARE coming.

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