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VOOM Opening Day - Press Release, Press Conference Link, Sears, etc. - Page 8  

post #211 of 281
Arun, nice work on the links, thanks. I would definitely not consider this all bad news....but heh, maybe I'm just an optimist.
post #212 of 281
AMC, Independent Film Channel and WE?? who cares? How do us Knicks and Rangers fans get word to Mr Dolan that we want to see our teams in HD and would be willing to help him with his cash problem if MSG HD and FOX SPORTS NY HD were available on the Xoom service. If the Dolans were smart they would also offer those HD channels to competitor Time Warner Cable in NY. I'm sure there are many fans who would be willing to pay for them. Unfortunately I can't pick up the phone and order Cablevision in a TWC neighborhood.
post #213 of 281
I keep thinking about the early days of color TV.Inst the idea here to eventually get all programming to the HD level so its no longer an issue and is available to all.This Voom thing with a pricey tag for channels that sound like demos of the joys of HD is just going to get in the way.All our favorite channels and networks including everything from ads to news to sitcoms to films should be broadcast in hd as part of a regular cable or satellite broadcast without having to pay extra for it.No one paid extra for color television broadcasts after the color set was bought.
post #214 of 281
Without pioneers, there would be no progress.

All pioneers have arrows on their back.

Most pioneering efforts fail. Even in doing so, they benefit the society at large. But very few actually benefit the pioneer.

I cheer all pioneers. As an HD enthusiast, I certainly cheer all HD pioneers. Mark Cuban pioneered much of the early HD content. I hope Charles Dolan takes it to the next level - making HD pervasive.

Even if he fails, I believe that he will succeed in forcing most content providers to go HD.

Go Dolan! Go Rainbow! Go VOOM!
post #215 of 281
Those guys who are complaining that there is not ESPN on Voom that we know of might be interested to know that ESPN charge $2.00 per customer to cable and sat companies. See Wall Street Journal - will try to get link later.

I could not care less about ESPN but I know some of you do.


Well said gupta:

"Without pioneers, there would be no progress."

I totally agree and can't wait for November 4th in the a.m. for my install.

Cheers,
Geoffrey
post #216 of 281
ESPN to Blast Critics
Of Program Costs

By JOE FLINT
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL


ESPN is going on the offensive in its battle with cable and satellite operators over the sports channel's high price tag. In a speech to be delivered Thursday in Washington, ESPN President George Bodenheimer blasts the channel's most vocal critics and unveils research he says shows that programming costs are reasonable.

ESPN's push comes amid a growing debate about the rising costs of sports programming on cable and satellite television. These program distributors are peeved at paying more than $2 per subscriber, per month, to carry ESPN, a hefty fee among cable channels. Many have said ESPN and other sports channels should be sold individually, or packaged with similar services, rather than being part of basic cable service.

This is called a la carte pricing, and the reasoning is that it's unfair for 100% of viewers to pay for what a smaller percentage of sports fans actually are watching. Programmers counter that a la carte pricing wouldn't lower costs because cable networks would end up charging more to those who wanted the channel to make up for the lost revenue, or would cut back on programming.

The usually private acrimony between program suppliers and cable operators over pricing has gone public in the last few months. Cox Communications Inc., the nation's fourth-largest operator, has been especially noisy about ESPN's cost.

In his remarks, Mr. Bodenheimer fires back. "Cox subscribers are paying more in their monthly bills for Cox's overhead and capital investments than they are for the net cost of the basic programming they watch." Programmers argue that cable operators really want to divert customers' money into paying for telephony, Internet and other new services.
post #217 of 281
For the most part I'm not a sports fan anyway. So I'd really prefer not to pay $2 / month for something like ESPN I don't use. I personally prefer various forms of a la carte price or special interest packaging that I can choose. ESPN can rant all they want but it is just not worth it to some of us.

Quote:
"Without pioneers, there would be no progress."

I totally agree and can't wait for November 4th in the a.m. for my install.
I also agree and can't wait for November 4th for the reports of your install. ;)


- Tom
post #218 of 281
I visited our local Sears tonight. They have already remodeled their home electronics area to feature HDTVs. There is a big Dish satellite display, but no sign of any ZOOM.

I wonder if they won't display because we are outside the ZOOM satellite footprint way up here in the northwest corner of CONUS.
post #219 of 281
Maybe you should have been looking for a VOOM display.....

:D
post #220 of 281
Quote:
Originally posted by Innova
Maybe you should have been looking for a VOOM display.....

:D
I guess I was pretty tired when I typed that last night. Thanks for setting me straight.

I did not see any VOOM display either.
post #221 of 281
Another Sears story: I went in the Sears in Hanes Mall in Winston-Salem. They had Voom on one monitor; everything else was showing Dish. The Voom receiver was gray and I wouldn't have been embarrassed to have it in my house. I picked up the remote control and changed the channel. At that point, the salesman came over and we found that we couldn't get anything. At my suggestion, we turned the receiver off and let it reboot. We were then able to get several channels but they all looked equally bad. I confirmed that there was a component cable hooked up to the receiver. I then hit the input button on the Mitsubishi monitor and it revealed that the input was component but was displaying 480. I clicked through the options and 1080 was not one (presumably meaning that it was receiving a 480 signal). The other component input was showing Dish in 1080. I went into the Voom menu and checked the settings, but there was no option to switch from 480 to 1080. I assume Voom wasn't sending out a 480 signal. Any idea how to fix this?

Unless this was a temporary glitch, this Sears has been showing this service for the first week and a half in SD. The difference between Voom and the Dish pictures all around it was obvious. To his credit, the salesman did know a little about Voom, tried to be helpful, and was happy to have me tinker with the setup. Even so, I doubt they were making many sales.
post #222 of 281
Assuming Sears can receive anything at all, Voom seriously needs to dedicate a channel to an instructional video telling them how to set up and use the box properly. It's not like they are short on channel capacity yet. And most Sears stores probably have at least one person on some shift that would like to watch it and fix things.

Heck, I'd go in and do it for free if they'd let me. A lot of us probably would.

- Tom

edit: Hey, I just noticed I went over 5000 posts. I probably spend too much time here. ;)
post #223 of 281
Quote:
Originally posted by compson
Another Sears story: I went in the Sears in Hanes Mall in Winston-Salem. They had Voom on one monitor; everything else was showing Dish. The Voom receiver was gray and I wouldn't have been embarrassed to have it in my house. I picked up the remote control and changed the channel. At that point, the salesman came over and we found that we couldn't get anything. At my suggestion, we turned the receiver off and let it reboot. We were then able to get several channels but they all looked equally bad. I confirmed that there was a component cable hooked up to the receiver. I then hit the input button on the Mitsubishi monitor and it revealed that the input was component but was displaying 480. I clicked through the options and 1080 was not one (presumably meaning that it was receiving a 480 signal). The other component input was showing Dish in 1080. I went into the Voom menu and checked the settings, but there was no option to switch from 480 to 1080. I assume Voom wasn't sending out a 480 signal. Any idea how to fix this?

Unless this was a temporary glitch, this Sears has been showing this service for the first week and a half in SD. The difference between Voom and the Dish pictures all around it was obvious. To his credit, the salesman did know a little about Voom, tried to be helpful, and was happy to have me tinker with the setup. Even so, I doubt they were making many sales.
At the last Sears store I went to, the 2 shoppers that stopped and watched VOOM (setup correctly) felt the PQ was better on VOOM than the DISH setups all around. My only guess is that not knowing the set it was hooked up to at your Sears, perhaps it was on a 480p component NON HD input. Some sets do or did have component inputs that were NOT HD. Maybe this was one of them. It also seems to me I did see a 1080i setting in the VOOM menu. Did you get into the setup menu?
post #224 of 281
post #225 of 281
I was in Sears (Clovis, CA) this afternoon helping a friend pick out a new fridge and spent some time looking at Voom.

They had the box connected to one of the new Sony LCD based rptvs, all the other HD sets were connected to Dish. The Voom box was tuned to their proprietary sports channel running a Soccer game originating in Spain, so must have been an upconvert. For an upconvert it was excellent, much better than ESPNHD's upconverts--no stretch and overall nice pq with only minimal artifacting. The only other channel I could get was the demo channel, and it looked very good.

I was able to bring up the guide for the 10 movie channels, but not tune any of them. The movies were a decent variety of films from the last 5 or 10 years, none as new as what you'd typically find on HBO of course, about comparable to what one finds scheduled on HDNet Movies but there were 10 to choose from at one time. Oddly one of them was an old classic from the 40s, a bw 4/3 movie. I couldn't tune it so don't know what they did regarding OAR.

I only played with the guide a bit and changed channels a coupel of times--could only get the sports upconvert and the demo loop as they probably want to make sure nothing beyond TV-G gets into a sear store. The box didn't lock up, channel changes were a bit slow but not outrageuosly so and may have been slowed down by the diversion from the channel selected to the demo loop. didn't try for any local digital stations.

Voom was there, pq was good, box didn't blow up. The box and remote were not as "Fisher Price" in appearance as I expected, certainly no more so than the Phillips Tivo boxes and remotes with the funny bug on them.

Might be interesting to go back in a couple of weeks (I understand they're planning a software update early next week) and play with it some more.
post #226 of 281
Quote:
Originally posted by Steve S
The box and remote were not as "Fisher Price" in appearance as I expected, certainly no more so than the Phillips Tivo boxes and remotes with the funny bug on them.
HEY! If you're going to start making snide remarks about the TiVo guy, then it's gonna get ugly.


;)
post #227 of 281
Quote:
Originally posted by Darin
HEY! If you're going to start making snide remarks about the TiVo guy, then it's gonna get ugly.


;)
Yeah, what Darin said. :p :p :p
post #228 of 281
That wasn't meant to be a snide remark, guys. The Tivo guy has my respect and admiration. I just wanted to try and make an analogy between him and the Voom cosmetics.

I am strongly of the belief that the colorful Voom logo on the box and Voom button on the remote are in fact inspired by the magnificence that is the Tivo guy, a tribute of sorts.
post #229 of 281
"With the official launch of Cablevision Systems Corp.'s Voom high-definition satellite-television service two weeks ago, the company's chairman, Charles Dolan, predicted that the new offering would "jump-start the era of HDTV."

Since then, investors have been jumping away from Cablevision. The company's stock dropped 9% Friday after Cablevision announced a new plan for spinning off Voom -- a tacit acknowledgment that the venture will cost more than Mr. Dolan's earlier $1 billion estimate.

Cablevision also suffered a public-relations setback on the news that investment firm Quadrangle Capital Partners LP would exercise an option to sell its stake in the company, apparently because of concern about the satellite venture. The departure was particularly painful because Wall Street read Quadrangle's acquisition of the stake earlier this year as a sign that Cablevision was on the path to financial health.

Wall Street's negative reaction last week amounted to a further vote of no confidence in the satellite dreams of Mr. Dolan, Cablevision's 77-year-old founder, who has been the leading proponent of the venture. A developer of programming as well as cable systems, he has believed for years that satellite provides the best way for him to sell his channels to the tens of millions of households that aren't Cablevision subscribers.

Cablevision is a "wholesaler" when it sells its programs through other cable and satellite companies, Mr. Dolan explained in an interview last week. "With our satellite, we're able to sell retail to 100% of the market."

One of the cable industry's pioneers, Mr. Dolan has a history of delivering on bold visions. But many investors wonder whether Mr. Dolan now is hurting his cable empire -- the nation's sixth largest -- by making one last big bet. "Is this a rich guy willing to act recklessly and burn the assets entrusted to him?" asks Mario Gabelli, chief executive of Gabelli Asset Management, whose funds took advantage of Friday's plunge to buy more shares in Cablevision. "I don't know."

The answer will emerge over the next year as Cablevision moves forward with plans to spin off the satellite business and continues rolling out Voom , which beginning in February will be sold for $39.90 a month. Mr. Gabelli and other investors note that much could change between now and then. For example, Cablevision could attract a partner for the venture, reducing the capital contribution needed from the company. Some analysts also think the spinoff will benefit Cablevision in the long run by turning it into more of a pure cable company that would be an attractive takeover candidate for Time Warner Inc.'s cable division.

The skepticism over Voom stems partly from its late entry into the satellite-TV business. The leading satellite services, EchoStar Communications Corp.'s Dish Network and Hughes Electronics Co.'s DirecTV, already have about 20 million subscribers. "They've picked most of the low-hanging fruit," says Thomas Egan, an analyst with Oppenheimer & Co.


Cablevision's answer has been to offer more high-definition television channels, which have much clearer pictures than regular television but can be appreciated only with special HDTV sets. Voom , which is being sold on the Web and at Sears, Roebuck & Co. outlets, has 39 HDTV channels, including 21 new ones developed by Cablevision. Most other cable and satellite systems have at most seven HDTV channels, and some cable systems don't have any. "There's no other product like it," Mr. Dolan says.

But many believe that this strategy is flawed. They note that Voom offers only 88 standard channels, fewer than other cable and satellite companies. Meanwhile, other cable and satellite systems are adding more HDTV channels. Competition in the pay-TV business is expected to intensify next year if News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch succeeds in his plans to buy control of DirecTV.

Wall Street also is worried about Voom's impact on Cablevision's financial health, which in the summer of 2002 was so precarious some analysts were warning of a liquidity crisis. Since then Cablevision has rebounded solidly by selling assets, cutting costs and improving the performance of its cable systems. Its stock has more than tripled since falling below $5 in the summer of 2002.

These improvements attracted Quadrangle's $75 million investment. But, like many Cablevision investors, the firm has been concerned about the high risk of the satellite business. Quadrangle structured its investment so it would be able to sell its stake back to the company in less than six months, an unusual feature that enabled it to cash out quickly if the satellite venture became too expensive.

Earlier this year, Cablevision appeared to appease the concerns of Quadrangle and others by announcing plans to spin off the satellite business and limit Cablevision's additional cash contributions. At that time, company executives predicted that a total of $1 billion in investment would be enough to bring the venture to the break-even point.

But last week, the company changed the spinoff plan in recognition that much more capital was needed, partly to fund the additional HDTV channels. Rather than contributing cash and a movie chain, Cablevision said it would contribute three of its top cable networks: AMC, the Independent Film Channel and WE: Women's Entertainment. This will provide a steady flow of cash for Voom because the spinoff company will be able to borrow against the networks' cash flows. But many investors are unhappy because the networks' cash flow now will go into the risky satellite venture, not to Cablevision's bottom line.

Steven Rattner, a Quadrangle managing principal, declined to comment except to say the firm was "very happy" with its investment in Cablevision and "very impressed with its management team."

Mr. Dolan last week declined to say how much investment would be needed to establish the business. "We don't as yet have experience with the market," he said. "We don't want to be dependent on other financing or equity or debt. The way we've organized this, we can go on as long as we need and grow with the market."

Mr. Dolan pointed out, though, that Cablevision spent $5 billion to $6 billion in recent years to upgrade its cable systems that serve about three million subscribers in the New York City region. Thus, he said, it surprises him when he hears concern about how much the company is spending on satellite TV. "We're delivering picture now to anyone who wants it from one side of the country to the other," Mr. Dolan said. "There's never been an opportunity to deliver product to the market as broad as this and spend less per homes passed."

Write to Peter Grant at peter.grant@wsj.com
post #230 of 281
Nice job by Shark73 and Peter Grant. Very interesting to get the corporate intrigue and scuttlebutt.

I raised my PC resolution to 1600 x 1200 so I could read this article in high definition.
post #231 of 281
Quote:
I raised my PC resolution to 1600 x 1200 so I could read this article in high definition.
HA! Funny!

Robert
post #232 of 281
Do any internet sites have some VOOM program listings online yet? I specifically would like to see what the schedule for the "Worldsport" channel is before I decide when to go to Sears to take another look.

Thanks.
post #233 of 281
[quote]Originally posted by compson
[b]Another Sears story: I went in the Sears in Hanes Mall in Winston-Salem. They had Voom on one monitor; everything else was showing Dish. The Voom receiver was gray and I wouldn't have been embarrassed to have it in my house. I picked up the remote control and changed the channel. At that point, the salesman came over and we found that we couldn't get anything. At my suggestion, we turned the receiver off and let it reboot. We were then able to get several channels but they all looked equally bad. I confirmed that there was a component cable hooked up to the receiver. I then hit the input button on the Mitsubishi monitor and it revealed that the input was component but was displaying 480. I clicked through the options and 1080 was not one (presumably meaning that it was receiving a 480 signal). The other component input was showing Dish in 1080. I went into the Voom menu and checked the settings, but there was no option to switch from 480 to 1080. I assume Voom wasn't sending out a 480 signal. Any idea how to fix this?

I had the same problem but I called VOOM from the store and the red botton on the right side of the receiver changes resolutions when I hit it twice it got better. It probably has 480i, 480p, 1080i maybe even 720p I don't know.
post #234 of 281
[quote]Originally posted by mariojesman
[b]
Quote:
Originally posted by compson
I had the same problem but I called VOOM from the store and the red botton on the right side of the receiver changes resolutions when I hit it twice it got better. It probably has 480i, 480p, 1080i maybe even 720p I don't know.
I saw a setup today that was the same issue. I thought this was the worst looking picture I had seen by far, but my prior experiences told me that something must be wrong in the setup since all prior demos I'd seen were excellent. When I cycled through the Mitsubishi's input, the input was showing 480p for VOOM. I thought that maybe it was just a 480p ONLY input on the Mits but didn't think about a button on the receiver that controlled rez. I went into the setup menu on VOOM but couldn't find a rez switch. It is amazing what a disservice Sears is doing to VOOM, but I guess VOOM can be blamed too for allowing this to happen.

BTW, if you're on Long Island, try the Sears in Hicksville or Smithtown. Garden City has a DVD demo (gee, that's useful) and Masapequa has a 480p demo (but I didn't try pushig the red button on the receiver).
post #235 of 281
Quote:
BTW, if you're on Long Island, try the Sears in Hicksville or Smithtown. Garden City has a DVD demo (gee, that's useful) and Masapequa has a 480p demo (but I didn't try pushig the red button on the receiver).
At least the Sears Dweebs here in Winchester VA were using the Samsung HD931 DVD via DVI output to upconvert the DVD demo!!!

Robert:(
post #236 of 281
I think Voom will make it if they offer a DIY package for the receiver(s) and dish and people already with OTA antennas. For those that have done installs with dish or directv it would be a snap and use existing cables. If I can buy a receiver for 399 and new dish for 100 and install myself then I would buy it.
I also think that voom needs to also sell straight to customers without having to go through sears (by this I mean the equipment).
I think most people that are on the fringe of buying already have satellite service but don't want to shell out 800 for equipment for one tv and install that can easily be done by themselves.
post #237 of 281
Quote:
Originally posted by Paul_Seng
I also think that voom needs to also sell straight to customers without having to go through sears (by this I mean the equipment).
I think most people that are on the fringe of buying already have satellite service but don't want to shell out 800 for equipment for one tv and install that can easily be done by themselves.
Well, although not what you're hoping for, you can bypass Sears on the typical install by going directly to VOOM. This is obviously not the self install you're hoping for, but you never really have to go to Sears.
post #238 of 281
I didn't go to Sears either. Install is set for Thursday, 11/6 through VOOM website. We'll see what happens.
post #239 of 281
Quote:
I think Voom will make it if they offer a DIY package for the receiver(s) and dish and people already with OTA antennas. For those that have done installs with dish or directv it would be a snap and use existing cables. If I can buy a receiver for 399 and new dish for 100 and install myself then I would buy it.
They are selling secondary receivers for $499/ea at time of install, so I doubt they'd sell you one for $399/mo. Hopefully, at some point they'll offer an increased receiver subsidy to those that commit to a year of programming.

Quote:
I also think that voom needs to also sell straight to customers without having to go through sears (by this I mean the equipment).
Customers don't need to go through Sears. Sears doesn't even sell the equipment. All Sears sells is a piece of paper for $49. The actual equipment is brought by the installer, regardless of whether you order it from Sears or VOOM.
post #240 of 281
Am I the only one that gets tired of reading these posts that go something like...
" I spent 4 hours looking at the Voom feed at the local Sears. I talked to two different shifts of employees who were total idiots because they didn't have the engineering schematics of the STB memorized, nor did they know the Voom satellite serial number and date of manufacture. God, those guys are complete and utter morons because they don't spend all night reading avs.com"

Come on guys, these guys sell everything from underwear to dishwashers. Don't expect too much.
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