Originally Posted by Thomas Desmond
The only legal way, to draw a distinction. And it's an important one, because the existence of torrents and other means for people to illegally obtain programming is a constraint on the ability of the content providers to do whatever they want regardless of their customers' desires.
Exhibit A in this is the broad availability of non-DRM protected music downloads through legal sources such as Amazon and iTunes. Does anyone think that the record labels would ever have allowed the sale of unrestricted downloads if it weren't for Napster and other sources of illegal MP3s?
By the same token, the movie studios may try to lock everything down, but they're unlikely to succeed.
I-Tunes did have what was called Fairplay DRM prior to 2009 - and and tracks sold like hotcakes despite the competition being free. It wasn't until 2008 that Amazon offered non-DRM MP3s to undercut Apple and Apple responded with a premium non-DRM service. At that point, it was over for DRM music as the following year, Apple dropped DRM completely. That was long after Kazaa was pretty well decimated and Napster had gone legit.
The market - not piracy - decided that one. The new market is deciding streaming music is the future.
The problem with TV and music is, nobody thinks there should be any money in it. No one wants to pay for it and they don't want ads. So they go for services that eliminate the money and the ads. There are a lot of people that must think magic elves make this stuff.
TV doesn't want to go the path of the music industry and wither away for pennies a stream. They're going to hang onto the old model until the barn burns down - then eat any cows still in it.
They can do it far longer, too. MP3's are tiny. You can download them with dial-up. You need broadband to download and good broadband to stream. That's still a small part of the population. They still have plenty of time to figure out a way to make money in a new way.
Originally Posted by Thomas Desmond
I'd say that the evidence contradicts both of these statements -- during the DTV transition, there were plenty of stations (even in markets with very low OTA usage) that opted to maximize their digital transmission facilities. Those stations could choose to file a CP request to cut their transmission power any time they want to -- and I haven't seen anyone file such an application. Similarly, how many DTV stations have switched from VHF to UHF, despite higher power bills on the UHF band? Apparently, being able to offer a receivable signal does continue to matter. For whatever reasons, TV stations do continue to care about their OTA coverage.
As for whether the networks need their affiliates -- those affiliates provide a local prescence and a clear difference between top broadcast networks and their cable counterparts. Move ABC from broadcast affiliates to a national cable network, and it becomes no different than TNT or USA. Considering that ABC's audience is several times that of either of those (high rated) cable networks, that's probably not a compelling change.
That was then, this is now.
The government has since offered to buy back spectrum and auction it off to the telcos. Before that, it was a straight swap nd the stations were already paying a ton to convert to digital. Now all that equipment as been amortized for about a decade and streaming has taken off. Stations are more concerned about their facebook status than with their OTA signal.
I see future where more stations bite on selling off their spectrum. I'll bet most are simply waiting until the price gets high enough to make it worth it - and the longer they wait, the higher it will be as the telcos get more hungry.
Originally Posted by 8traxrule
Why are cable companies even bothering to send out standard-def versions of HD broadcast stations anyways? That makes no sense when the standard-def analog stations have been gone for almost 4 years. Why not just send them out in HD over cable and include a standard-def compatible output on the cable box for older TVs, the same way the "converter boxes" work?
Because there are a ton of places where you have a lot of customers like my parents: they still have an analog TV with a standalone analog TiVo, which doesn't play well with a box. They live in a heavy OTA market and could definitely pop the old antenna back up - cable is just easier. In that area, if analog cable went away and people had to get a box, all those 10's of thousands of customers would drop them and use a digital OTA box if they had to use a box at all.
The cable company in that area has a hard enough time competing with free there.
They also are losing out more and more to satellite ever since the locals got added to both services not too many years ago. People who once opted for the cable box now want the D* or E* box because the cable box blows.
There seems to be a "suck it up" mentality among the HD elite that makes them believe it's OK for them to tell others to just deal with a box and the increased monthly price that goes along with it. Those boxes are only offered free if the cable company actually shuts of analog service - and some markets have too many of those to do so.Edited by NetworkTV - 1/5/13 at 5:23pm