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AVS Official Topic - The FCC & Broadcast Spectrum - Page 90

post #2671 of 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by joblo View Post

If you know of some other provision which "effectively statutorily fixes" the TV band, please cite.

Are you a communications lawyer?

There is a reason I used the word "effectively."

The law authorizes one and only one auction. The NAB fought for the "one auction" rule because they wanted to establish a stable business enviroment. There is a big difference between the theoritical authority of the FCC and the real power of the FCC. If that hadn't been the case they would have just cleared 120 MHz (or the whole UHF band for that matter) and been done with it. Instead they went to Congress to get incentive auction authority. Don't expect the FCC to suddenly start failing to renew broadcast licenses and doing involuntary repacks after their auction authority expires. The political reality is that after the post spectrum auction repack the TV band will be "effectively" fixed until and unless Congress passes another law (which of course they can always do).
post #2672 of 2861
If a broadcaster can have their programming still be on both satellite carriers, local cable, and be available off air as a subchannel on someone else’s transmitter why would quite a few not take the deal? You have to remember that commercial TV stations are in business to make money and in the end that is what the owners care about. It costs a lot of money to own and operate a full power UHF TV transmitter. Taking that deal would save them money every month from then on and they would be getting immediate cash to do it as well. They would have to weight any continuing revenue loss due to lower viewership against the lower operating cost. This equation would come out differently for every station with the least profitable ones being the most likely to go for it. Also there is nothing saying that a given TV station is actually making any money at all at present. If the owners can simply turn it off and get paid to do it that may make the most sense to them. Finally, the political pressure to give more spectrum to other users is not going to go away. It will only increase with time.
post #2673 of 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rory Boyce View Post

If a broadcaster can have their programming still be on both satellite carriers, local cable, and be available off air as a subchannel on someone else's transmitter why would quite a few not take the deal? You have to remember that commercial TV stations are in business to make money and in the end that is what the owners care about. It costs a lot of money to own and operate a full power UHF TV transmitter. Taking that deal would save them money every month from then on and they would be getting immediate cash to do it as well. They would have to weight any continuing revenue loss due to lower viewership against the lower operating cost. This equation would come out differently for every station with the least profitable ones being the most likely to go for it. Also there is nothing saying that a given TV station is actually making any money at all at present. If the owners can simply turn it off and get paid to do it that may make the most sense to them. Finally, the political pressure to give more spectrum to other users is not going to go away. It will only increase with time.

Where do you think the satellite companies (and many cable companies) get their local signals from? While cable companies that have a trunk line run past a broadcast studio often get the signal that way (with an antenna as back up) the satellite companies (in general), and other cable companies, get the signal OTA. TV stations get the legal right to be carried by cable and satellite, and to be carried in HD from their OTA signal. Add to that, that a station in a medium sized market can add $1 million a year to their revenue stream by adding a single sub-channel (much more in a major market). Outside of poor planning there isn't any financial motivation for a station to participate in the incentive auction. In fact, the opposite is true, and most of the major broadcast groups are looking for stations to buy, not for spectrum to sell. Plus, 2012 is looking to be a record year for political spending in local markets (can you say Super PAC), and News Corp (FOX) is looking for affiliates for their new MundoFOX hispanic network!!!

I'm in the camp of people who believe that conventional multichannel video service is living on borrowed time, and that by 2022 there will be very few people under the age of 60 who still have it.
post #2674 of 2861
Here the stations all feed the three local cable companies (Comcast, Sure West, and AT&T) via fiber provided by the cable companies and some feed satellite carriers via fiber as well. The cost to feed the satellite companies will be on the added cost side of the ledger. This could end up leaving cable companies in outlying areas out in the cold. I do not know if the FCC has thought about that. In this market there are some small cable companies that it certainly would not pencil out for the stations to pay to feed and the cable companies obviously do not have the money either.

Don't get me wrong I watch the locals OTA here and hope they continue to provide OTA HDTV. But I also recognize economic reality and I know at least some stations here are not in good financial shape. The election will help but what about next year?
post #2675 of 2861
The stations that are in poor shape financially tend to either be very minor stations in major markets, or else they're small market stations.

The minor stations in major markets may well find it worth their while economically to just take the auction money and go away. But the thing is...that's not a lot of stations, so I don't see how this ends up freeing even the 80 MHz that McDowell was talking about. I don't see any of the stations owned by large groups or affiliated with commercially significant networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, The CW, Univision, Telemundo) being inclined to take the money. The one exception to this might be where you have commonly owned paired stations in a market where the auction money looks to be particularly lucrative -- for example, a commonly owned Univision and Telefutura affiliate might pair up onto a single transmitter if there's enough money in doing so. But even then, they may hesitate since they don't know what sort of future broadcast revenue they could be giving up.

In the small markets, the problem is different. A MNTV or CW affiliate in the 150th largest market might well be inclined to take money to go away -- chances are that they're not profitable, or barely profitable at best. But unless they're adjacent to a much larger market, chances are that the demand for spectrum in such markets just isn't going to result in much (if anything) being offered for them to give up their channel.
post #2676 of 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Desmond View Post

The one exception to this might be where you have commonly owned paired stations in a market where the auction money looks to be particularly lucrative -- for example, a commonly owned Univision and Telefutura affiliate might pair up onto a single transmitter if there's enough money in doing so. But even then, they may hesitate since they don't know what sort of future broadcast revenue they could be giving up.

As long as both channels remain on the air, even with one as a subchannel of the other, how would they be giving up broadcast revenue?  Especially if the one that gives up its physical frequency keeps its virtual channel number, so that they remain x.1 and y.1 (rather than x.1's becoming y.2 or y.1's becoming x.2), there should be no loss of viewership, you'd think.
post #2677 of 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkreichen1968 View Post

I'm in the camp of people who believe that conventional multichannel video service is living on borrowed time, and that by 2022 there will be very few people under the age of 60 who still have it.

Yeah, well, if your camp leader starts passing around KoolAid, don't drink it. That stuff's bad for ya...

But seriously...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Desmond View Post

I don't see how this ends up freeing even the 80 MHz that McDowell was talking about. ...
But unless they're adjacent to a much larger market, ...

But that's how. There are, for instance, a lot of minor stations on the periphery of the BosWash corridor, in places like Poughkeepsie, Bridgeport, Atlantic City, Allentown, Reading, Hagerstown, etc., that could free a lot of spectrum if they were willing to give up their channel or even just share a channel. In some cases, it might even be easier to clear spectrum if these stations were given significantly higher power shared allocations in the central cities that would include their old coverage area plus much more, just because that would allow better utilization of adjacent channels.

And if the FCC cannot create a new table of allotments that frees up at least channels 38-51 - which would be 78 or 84 MHz depending how you view the current status of channel 51 - for reallocation, with channel 37 doubling as a guard band and a hole for radio astronomy reception, then my guess is the reallocation advocates will go back to Congress for additional authority to impose involuntary channel sharing and so on before proceeding with the repack.

Quote:


I don't see any of the stations owned by large groups or affiliated with commercially significant networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, The CW, Univision, Telemundo) being inclined to take the money.

Tribune, owner of the CW affiliates in NY, LA, DC, and other major markets, was in bankruptcy not too long ago. I haven't been following the case. Are they out now?
post #2678 of 2861
The FOX station here is a Tribune station and the bankruptcy is still ongoning see link.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fit...ing-2011-12-07
post #2679 of 2861
I recall a year or so ago, one of the major networks was complaining that their revenue was dropping, and that they would have to re-examine their options - perhaps going all cable/satellite to correct the problem. There may be more bail out stations than expected.

Donald1800
post #2680 of 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by dattier View Post

As long as both channels remain on the air, even with one as a subchannel of the other, how would they be giving up broadcast revenue?* Especially if the one that gives up its physical frequency keeps its virtual channel number, so that they remain x.1 and y.1 (rather than x.1's becoming y.2 or y.1's becoming x.2), there should be no loss of viewership, you'd think.

But only one of the combined stations would have enough bandwidth to be high-def. The one that ends up on an SD subchannel might lose viewership. I suppose they could degrade both channels equally, but then both might lose viewership because of loss of picture quality.

If the FCC is really crazy enough to make current reception equipment obsolete (again), they might as well transition to MPEG-4 encoding. I don't want to go through another transition, but it would leave us with greatly reduced bandwidth requirements without destroying total channel capacity or picture quality. It would not, of course, satisfy those interest groups whose actual goal is to kill off free broadcast television. It probably makes more sense to force those demanding more spectrum to use what they're given efficiently.

And I still say that perpetual "ownership" of electromagnetic spectrum by private parties is an outrageous idea. If the government wants to raise a bit of money, they should auction off leases of spectrum space, which would be regulated and required to be used in the public interest, just like when adults were in charge of Congress.
post #2681 of 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by L David Matheny View Post

But only one of the combined stations would have enough bandwidth to be high-def. ... I suppose they could degrade both channels equally, but then both might lose viewership because of loss of picture quality.

Lose viewership over lack of HD quality?  Only a tiny fraction of viewers are like us AVS Forum members.

But that is the only part of your post with which I disagree.
post #2682 of 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by L David Matheny View Post

But only one of the combined stations would have enough bandwidth to be high-def. The one that ends up on an SD subchannel might lose viewership. I suppose they could degrade both channels equally, but then both might lose viewership because of loss of picture quality.

If the FCC is really crazy enough to make current reception equipment obsolete (again), they might as well transition to MPEG-4 encoding. I don't want to go through another transition, but it would leave us with greatly reduced bandwidth requirements without destroying total channel capacity or picture quality. It would not, of course, satisfy those interest groups whose actual goal is to kill off free broadcast television. It probably makes more sense to force those demanding more spectrum to use what they're given efficiently.

And I still say that perpetual "ownership" of electromagnetic spectrum by private parties is an outrageous idea. If the government wants to raise a bit of money, they should auction off leases of spectrum space, which would be regulated and required to be used in the public interest, just like when adults were in charge of Congress.


There are TV stations already "piggybacking", and no special issue is made of it. Of course, OTA TV is not much of an issue with most of the public. 4 stations can share a tV channel, with better picture and sound than analog. That might be a good outcome considering the possibilities. I cannot believe the FCC will not, in time, get a big, contiguous chunk out of TV broadcasters. And, even if there is no admission now, a lot of broadcasters would not be unwilling to share a transmitter, and send their Grade A signal down an umbilical cord. Those brats in Congress who have no concept of Public Service, other than what they say it is, will probably end OTA TV unless broadcasters come up with a way to appease them. I think the NAB has the ball, and it needs to make a play.
post #2683 of 2861
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Desmond View Post

The stations that are in poor shape financially tend to either be very minor stations in major markets, or else they're small market stations.

The minor stations in major markets may well find it worth their while economically to just take the auction money and go away. But the thing is...that's not a lot of stations, so I don't see how this ends up freeing even the 80 MHz that McDowell was talking about.

Well maybe not is the largest markets but in markets like say Nashville you could free up spectrum without ANYONE volunteering using repacking. For example there are no channels above 44 in Nashville so you could free up 42 MHz in Nashville just by taking back channels 45-51 and you don't even need to re-pack. In fact Nashville has just 1 channel above 39. So just moving one channel you can free up 72 MHz.

Pretty much same in Memphis. You can clear everything above 39 and move just 2 stations.
post #2684 of 2861
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by difuse View Post

There are TV stations already "piggybacking", and no special issue is made of it. Of course, OTA TV is not much of an issue with most of the public.

Except those that have cable companies that get in the locals via antenna. If I was customer and paying for HD and then the locals are in SD I'd be pissed.

People dismiss OTA, however if OTA was a cable company they'd be the 3rd largest behind Comcast and a close 3rd to Time Warner cable. About as many people get their TV via OTA as people who get it from TW Cable or DishNetwork, yet OTA is dismissed as irrelevant.
post #2685 of 2861
If OTA HD went away then cable/telco/DBS providers would get fiber feeds. Just because some are too cheap to do it now when there is a free alternative doesn't mean they wouldn't do it if/when that free alternative goes away. Besides, larger providers are now starting to supply equipment to the broadcasters to enable insertion of different commercials for the OTA broadcast vs. what goes out over cable, and of course getting their custom feed via fiber. If stations really did start dropping OTA HD and merging together, then this becomes even more valuable since they can start running a "get this station in crystal-clear HD from Comcast/Cox/TWC/whoever" ad campaign that only non-cable viewers would see.
post #2686 of 2861
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by coyoteaz View Post

If OTA HD went away then cable/telco/DBS providers would get fiber feeds. Just because some are too cheap to do it now when there is a free alternative doesn't mean they wouldn't do it if/when that free alternative goes away. Besides, larger providers are now starting to supply equipment to the broadcasters to enable insertion of different commercials for the OTA broadcast vs. what goes out over cable, and of course getting their custom feed via fiber. If stations really did start dropping OTA HD and merging together, then this becomes even more valuable since they can start running a "get this station in crystal-clear HD from Comcast/Cox/TWC/whoever" ad campaign that only non-cable viewers would see.

you're deluding yourself if you think small cable companies are going to start running fiber as far as 75 miles away if OTA went away.

In Camden where I live we are lucky to have Charter. If you live right outside city limits you have to get cable/cable internet via the local company Benton County Cable. Now go to their website http://www.bentoncountycable.net/ and tell me if this is a company that currently is or will ever run fiber to get locals which are 50-75 miles away.
post #2687 of 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by BCF68 View Post

you're deluding yourself if you think small cable companies are going to start running fiber as far as 75 miles away if OTA went away.

In Camden where I live we are lucky to have Charter. If you live right outside city limits you have to get cable/cable internet via the local company Benton County Cable. Now go to their website http://www.bentoncountycable.net/ and tell me if this is a company that currently is or will ever run fiber to get locals which are 50-75 miles away.

There would be no good reason for BCC to need a separate fiber link. Signals can be had from Charter. If and when OTA is corrupted to the point that would be needed, the FCC will make such provisions for cable providers as needed. The Federal government might even 4th or 5th handedly allow the use of one of their optic lines.
post #2688 of 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rory Boyce View Post

The FOX station here is a Tribune station and the bankruptcy is still ongoning see link.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fit...ing-2011-12-07

So the company that owns KTXL has been in bankruptcy for some years. Do you know if KTXL itself is profitable?

Chuck
post #2689 of 2861
A free-to-air satellite distribution system for locals is sounding better every day . And, it could free up ALL the OTA bandwidth.
post #2690 of 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenglish View Post

A free-to-air satellite distribution system for locals is sounding better every day . And, it could free up ALL the OTA bandwidth.

Sounds SO European ... I know it works there, but how well? Where are our members from that side of the pond? What are the "gotchas"?
post #2691 of 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by L David Matheny View Post

But only one of the combined stations would have enough bandwidth to be high-def. The one that ends up on an SD subchannel might lose viewership. I suppose they could degrade both channels equally, but then both might lose viewership because of loss of picture quality.

As I wrote here:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...4#post21691544

KSBW is running 2 HD channels with decent results. I don't know exactly how they're doing it and I can't find any technical articles on it. It could be that the main loss if stations double up would be viewers losing access to secondary networks like This, METV, Antenna TV, etc.

Here in the Sacramento market CBS & CW and NBC & MNTV are owned by two companies. I could see them doubling up. No agreements between companies would be necessary.

Chuck
post #2692 of 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenglish View Post

A free-to-air satellite distribution system for locals is sounding better every day . And, it could free up ALL the OTA bandwidth.

I'll bet there would still be encryption that prevented you from seeing any stations that were not in your market. Those of us who can receive stations OTA now from other markets would lose those. Maybe the only win with FTA would be that people who cannot receive stations OTA now would at least get their locals for only the cost of the equipment.

Chuck
post #2693 of 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenglish View Post

A free-to-air satellite distribution system for locals is sounding better every day . And, it could free up ALL the OTA bandwidth.

Yes. Satellite spectrum is also a limited resource, and some of it should be allocated to satellite broadcasters who operate just like terrestrial broadcasters have always operated: They should provide ad-supported free feeds, licensed by the Federal government to operate in the public interest. This avoids the infrastructure maintenance overhead that provides so much busywork for cable companies.

We do, however, need a new ad model, something similar to the way Google does it. For example, as a bachelor I don't need to see ads for makeup and maxi-pads, but I might like to see ads for cars and electronics. Since this wouldn't be search-driven like it is for Google, maybe users could specify their interests by answering a questionnaire. The rule would be that your free satellite feed is going to contain a certain number of ads in the programming, but you can insure that they're for products in which you have some interest. Advertisers should like that because it would mean that you might actually pay attention to the ads. It works for Google.
post #2694 of 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calaveras View Post

I'll bet there would still be encryption that prevented you from seeing any stations that were not in your market. Those of us who can receive stations OTA now from other markets would lose those.



That's one of my attractions to OTA, I do not care to be told by a program director what I may see.





Maybe the only win with FTA would be that people who cannot receive stations OTA now would at least get their locals for only the cost of the equipment.

Chuck

The bruise on that apple is that someone, other than the viewer, will decide who belongs to what station.
post #2695 of 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by BCF68 View Post

you're deluding yourself if you think small cable companies are going to start running fiber as far as 75 miles away if OTA went away.

In Camden where I live we are lucky to have Charter. If you live right outside city limits you have to get cable/cable internet via the local company Benton County Cable. Now go to their website http://www.bentoncountycable.net/ and tell me if this is a company that currently is or will ever run fiber to get locals which are 50-75 miles away.

You're deluding yourself if you think they would actually have to run fiber to do it. They probably already have a fiber connection to a nearby POP to connect their cable modem users to the rest of the world, so it wouldn't be any big trick to add another 100Mbit/s inbound for the local channels.
post #2696 of 2861
Many of the smaller Cable companies in Utah are now part of a consortium that receives all the SLC-area stations at KUED (University of Utah), and sends their transport streams out via fiber to the headends.
post #2697 of 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calaveras View Post

I'll bet there would still be encryption that prevented you from seeing any stations that were not in your market. Those of us who can receive stations OTA now from other markets would lose those. Maybe the only win with FTA would be that people who cannot receive stations OTA now would at least get their locals for only the cost of the equipment.

Chuck

There's a new thing called "White Spaces", that is going to eliminate your ability to pick up many out-of-market stations, anyway. They will simply look up the locals in a table, and assign everything else to laptops and phones.

God, I'm gonna miss DX'ing .
post #2698 of 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenglish View Post

There's a new thing called "White Spaces", that is going to eliminate your ability to pick up many out-of-market stations, anyway. They will simply look up the locals in a table, and assign everything else to laptops and phones.

God, I'm gonna miss DX'ing .

Are white space devices allowed on high VHF? Recently I've noticed a signal popping up on RF 13 (KCBA) around 210.6 MHz and a couple of signals on RF 7 (KGO). They come and go. All are very weak and don't affect these out-of-market stations, especially on RF 7 since the signals are in a completely different direction. They appear to be narrowband signals, maybe just RF leaking from who-knows-what. I haven't seen anything on UHF yet.

If UHF TV gets repacked, won't white spaces be a thing of the past? Or maybe I should say something that never happened?

Chuck
post #2699 of 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calaveras View Post


If UHF TV gets repacked, won't white spaces be a thing of the past? Or maybe I should say something that never happened?

Chuck

The repack, if and when it happens, will most likely happen together with the introduction of a new DTV standard (and set-top boxes). Let's hope market by market. The new DTV standard may require adjacent channels aggregation for maximum spectral efficiency and deliverable payload. If that happens, then white space devices will disappear. Without channel aggregation (with protection bands), white space devices will continue in markets other than the major ones on the two coasts.
post #2700 of 2861
FCC-10-174A1 stipulated that TVBD (TV Band Devices aka WSD) can operate on Ch2, 5-6 and 7-13 in the VHF Band.
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