Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Fort Smith AR / Fayetteville AR
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COX is not required to carry any local television stations. That change in the law is what started all of this. This whole mess is called "Must Carry". Each local station can require the cable company to carry them, in which case they (the TV station) gets no revenue from the cable company and the cable company has no choice except to carry them, or they can elect to negotiate with the cable company for compensation. If they do that and the cable company doesn't want to play that game then the cable company can refuse to pay and the the TV station can forbid them to carry their signal until they do. They can't substitute a non local of the same network either.
Also at issue with Must Carry is at this time must carry only applies to the main channel, or 40-1 or 29-1. Part of the disagreement we are having is that we want it in writing that if we decide to add sub channels, that they will be carried also. Currently they do that in our area but there are COX area's where they don't. As a lawyer once told me, if it's not written in the contract, it doesn't exist.
The change in the law was done by congress because by their reasoning, in the past the cable company was a monopoly and if you couldn't get OTA you had to subscribe to them. They now consider them to have competition, satellite and in some areas microwave. AT&T is getting ready to launch their own system in NW Arkansas (you have been seeing their commercials already where the guy sees his pants being stolen on live tv and runs out and tackles the thief). The marketplace, you, decides what each of these should carry by your subscription.
So, to be clear and answer your question, if COX doesn't sign and my corporate bean counters don't give in, COX will not be allowed to carry our HD signal in any way and your only choice would be over the air or a satellite provider. No satellite provider currently carries our HD signal but they are saying they will by the end of they year.
Also hinted at in the press release is that if that occurs Hearst-Argyle may pull analog as well. They were also quick to point out that Hearst-Argyle also owns a major part of Lifetime, History, Biography, and ESPN. I can't quite remember all the cable only channels. One could speculate that it may come down to COX being without much to offer it's customers if the bean counters decide to push it that far.
PLEASE. This is just me talking, not official Policy, nor do I have any say so in this matter. It is taking place at a corporate level and I just go along for the ride. In fact, I didn't even know about the COX thing until it was brought up here and I started getting email. Generally, engineers are the last to know.
While I am at it, I hear COX is saying the problem with the HD program guide is our doing. Not True. We are doing nothing different than what we have been doing since 2002 when we put it on the air.
4029engineering consists of several engineers who are HDTV viewers just like you. Anything said in this forum is their own opinion and not necessairly official KHBS/KHOG policy.