Originally posted by raidbuck
Sinclair wishes to be paid for its digital signal and I think its analog signal for Fox and UPN are covered by "must carry" rules, so I don't know if Comcast can tie the HD and analog carriage together like that.
Must carry rules currently allow a station to elect either the analog or the digital signal as must carry, but not both. Most network affiliates, however, do not use must carry at all. Instead, they decline to elect "must carry" status and negotiate retransmission contracts.
So I doubt that Sinclair uses "must carry" for its Fox and WB stations in your area. Instead, it probably has a contract with Comcast which contains some exchange of consideration between Sinclair and Comcast-- likely some type of advertising is involved. So Comcast doesn't pay money for the analog signal, but perhaps buys some advertising on the Sinclair analog channel. (Do you ever see any Comcast ads on your Fox or WB analog channels?)
In all probability, Sinclair will not elect "must carry" for these analog signals when the current contract expires. And if "must carry" is not part of the equation, then negotiation for the digital/HD signals as part of a retransmission contract is fair game.
So, if Comcast is going to compensate-- in one way or another-- Sinclair for the analog signals of your Fox and WB stations after the current analog contract expires, I am convinced that Comast will not agree to any further analog retransmission while not also getting digital retransmission rights.
That is why I suggest you try to find out when the analog contract(s) expire. It will give you a very good idea of when Sinclair and Comcast will be forced to come to terms over the digital signals-- otherwise, it will turn into one of those ugly public disputes where the analog signals disappear from Comcast's lineup and Sinclair's advertising revenue takes a dramatic drop. (What, if anything, will advertisers pay when Sinclair's stations suddenly have no cable viewers?)
And there are Avsforum members who have the contacts or connections to privately find out this information for you, as you well know.