|Originally posted by tombarry:
I am glad to read about energy being saved for the 'must carry' fight. So many of the posts here are about antennas and reception. If the cable companies had to carry DTV then the consumer market for the hardware would take off, which would prompt the broadcasters to provide more (hopefully) HDTV programming. It is frustrating to talk to friends about DTV and learn that they think their AT&T digital cable is HDTV.
I follow the international DTV transition and one thing that is different in the US is must carry. If you go to the newsgroup aus.tv.digital you do not see the post about antennas and reception. True they do not have that many users yet (we don't either) but it was even remarked on several aus post recently that there wasn't any activity regarding reception problems because, well, they decided, that their system wasn't having many problems. Broadcasters in Australia had to carefully pick their over the air modulation system because they depend on it to deliver the goods. This is true in 50 countries that also went the way of Australia.
Here in the US having an over the air system that works undermines the very idea of must carry. In every Congressional Hearing, (one last summer and two so far this year) all broadcast representative witnesses had the same mantra.
"Over the air broadcasting doesn't work, people will not put up rooftop antennas for reception and the system requires them to do so, therefore we need must carry on cable". No mention of changing modulation systems to one that works.
The broadcasters have been weaned from their towers over the last 25 years. They have lost 85% of viewers to cable and satellite. Their minds are not thinking over the air broadcasting, they are thinking only one thing, staying in business this week. That means cable must carry and keeping the 12 MHz of spectrum out of anyones hands who might know how to use it and compete with them.
When you look at the recent vote of the Taiwanese Broadcasters who voted unanimously to overturn the government mandated modulation and the near riot that Korean broadcasters had when their government denied their request to switch (recently allowed testing taking the heat off) you have to wonder what US broadcasters were thinking when they voted 27 to 3 in the opposite direction.
There is not a single country in the world that is voluntarily and enthusiastically following our lead.
So why did the US broadcasters vote the way they did? The only thing they know is must carry. Congress was, at the behest of special interest, threatening not only must carry but also their very spectrum.
In one word they were/are terrified.
I think they made the wrong decision. Since to get must carry they so strongly argued that over the air broadcasting doesn't work that now Congress and the FCC are openly asking the ultimate question, "If people won't put up rooftop antennas and only 15% of viewers rely on broadcast over the air for TV why do broadcasters need any spectrum?" As Chairman Powell says, "What are we protecting"