Mark Cuban's note to the FCC re HDTV - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 75 Old 05-22-2004, 08:38 AM - Thread Starter
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From Mark's weblog, his ideas about accelerating the transition from analog to digital TV:

My note to the FCC re HDTV (May 21, 2004)

-McD-
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post #2 of 75 Old 05-22-2004, 09:35 AM
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good thought...but it won't work for the masses. 1) no internal speakers that people are accustomed to and 2) many cases would require a vga to component converter which are not cheap. 3) 17 inch and below HD just doesn't blow you away...like HD should

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post #3 of 75 Old 05-22-2004, 09:41 AM
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...thinking about this a little more. If he thinks he can get the cost of a STB down to $100, and the cost of a monitor that can handle HD is roughly $200 bucks these days...the manufactureds should be able to build a HD TV with built in tuner for less than $400 bucks. But why would they want to do this when the $1,000 HD ready sets are flying of the shelves (with no tuner?)

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post #4 of 75 Old 05-22-2004, 10:09 AM
 
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If you already have a PC monitor, then you already have a PC...
You don't need an STB... You just need an ATSC/QAM tuner card
for your PC which can be had for under $200.
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post #5 of 75 Old 05-22-2004, 10:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by HDHTPC
If you already have a PC monitor, then you already have a PC...
You don't need an STB... You just need an ATSC/QAM tuner card
for your PC which can be had for under $200.
Ya beat me to it :D

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post #6 of 75 Old 05-22-2004, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by HDHTPC
If you already have a PC monitor, then you already have a PC...
You don't need an STB... You just need an ATSC/QAM tuner card
for your PC which can be had for under $200.
Yes, but from his vantage point, you can't get HDnet and HDNet Movies OTA or open cable on QAM! ;)

All opinions expressed (unless otherwise noted) are the posters and NOT the posters employers. The poster in NO WAY is/will speak for his employers. "Arguing with an engineer is like mud wrestling with a pig. After a couple of hours, you realize the pig likes it"
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post #7 of 75 Old 05-22-2004, 10:26 AM
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the masses do not want to have to turn their computer on to watch tv, and change channels with a mouse. He's trying to speed the transition up. That would bring it to a screeching hault

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post #8 of 75 Old 05-22-2004, 10:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by barhoram
the masses do not want to have to turn their computer on to watch tv, and change channels with a mouse. He's trying to speed the transition up. That would bring it to a screeching hault
Amen to that. I could never understand people who watch their DVDs on their PCs. Now some are watching HDTV on their PCs. That's not how to enjoy these things and is quite frankly very sad IMO.
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post #9 of 75 Old 05-22-2004, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by barhoram
the masses do not want to have to turn their computer on to watch tv, and change channels with a mouse. He's trying to speed the transition up. That would bring it to a screeching hault
Well, how about all those home theater computers? Just computers playing like TVs and people pay BIG bucks for those computers.

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post #10 of 75 Old 05-22-2004, 10:53 AM
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I think the point is, if you can build and sell computer monitors so cheaply, then you could slap a couple of speakers on it (many vga monitors already have built in speakers), add a digital tuner and you would have a digital set that could compete with the analog sets that line the walls at the big box stores. If the transition depends on people buying big screen plasma or RP/FP sets, then it will take forever.
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post #11 of 75 Old 05-22-2004, 11:48 AM
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Our technology would make it possible to watch movies on your microwave while waiting for breakfast to be zapped but who would want to? ON an episode of STNG hostiles took over the ship and operated all the ship functions from the bar cash-register computer. I suppose all things are possible but what is the logic behind it? Mark Cuban has too much time on his hands.

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post #12 of 75 Old 05-22-2004, 11:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by amelie
Amen to that. I could never understand people who watch their DVDs on their PCs. Now some are watching HDTV on their PCs. That's not how to enjoy these things and is quite frankly very sad IMO.
To each his own. I like being able to grab one of my 300GB hard disk trays, pop it in and enjoy hours and hours of previously recorded HDTV displaying as 1080p to a 1920x1200 LCD widescreen computer monitor. I can pause, fast forward, rewind, and all those fun things.

Thanks to Dish 5000, then 169time, I can record pretty much anything I want.

I started my HD journey with a DTC100 attached to a Viewsonic P815 computer monitor. Great OTA, and D* HDTV, but then I got a HiPix, and later Fusion HDTV tuner card, and now feel sorry for those who don't have the ability to record to their PCs.

I also scoff at the image quality of most RPTVs. Those ones that were costing $2K+ that use a bunch of overdriven B&W CRTs bent through a light maze onto a screen with low brightness, narrow viewing angle, and generally blurry image that doesn't do HDTV justice. Plasma can look pretty good, but it is very expensive, tends to "burn in", and most are only 720p resolution.

Mark is right that cheap PC monitors can make decent HDTV displays for a lone viewer. Just like the carpool lanes are often empty compared to the "loner" lanes, a lot of large screen home theaters are likely overkill for much of the viewing that just had one member in the audience.

Here are a few reasons why PC monitors are not totally friendly to the
average consumer for HDTV use:

#1: They often have one input cable, so going between PC and HDTV source involves moving cables, or getting a high quality external switch box.
#2: Most of them are 4x3, not 16x9
#3: They generally do not have remote control for turning them off and on.
#4: They don't offer any built in stretch modes or gray bars.
#5: Some of them sacrifice brightness in the name of higher resolution.
#6: They usually don't have speakers, or have low quality speakers.

So - the "PC monitor friendly" STB should include these features:
#1: Power outlet switchable from the remote to control the monitor.
#2: Ability to input OTA (ATSC), as well as cable (QAM), and perhaps Sat feeds.
#3: Ability to support a CAM so that premium channels could be received.
#4: Built in stretch modes and gray bars.
#5: RGB outputs.
#6: PC RGB input with a switcher so you could select PC or HDTV mode from the remote.

The old RCA DTC-100 (Basically the first HDTV tuner) was a lot like this with the exception of no PC passthrough, or way to power the RGB monitor on/off from the remote.

More and more PC monitors are coming with DVI-D inputs, so RGB may start to fade away from PC monitors. It is already disappearing from STBs.
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post #13 of 75 Old 05-22-2004, 11:52 AM
 
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Quote from his blog:
"I do have a solution for the FCC for the transition to HD and getting back the TV broadcast spectrum that is cheaper, far simpler, and would accelerate the give back faster then anything so far proposed, and I’m sure no one has thought of it."

I am sure that plenty of people have "though of it", but going from idea
to funding to product to marketing to sales is a long road paticularly in a market that is not fully established, and is not proven.
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post #14 of 75 Old 05-22-2004, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by djdickerson
Our technology would make it possible to watch movies on your microwave while waiting for breakfast to be zapped but who would want to? ON an episode of STNG hostiles took over the ship and operated all the ship functions from the bar cash-register computer. I suppose all things are possible but what is the logic behind it? Mark Cuban has too much time on his hands.
The logic is that the vast majority of the TV sets in use today are more like a computer monitor than a large screen plasma. Also, the vast majority of viewers don't care about HD, they just want to watch TV. There is an understandable bias on this forum toward HD, but that doesn't translate to the population at large. Mark Cuban understands that.
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post #15 of 75 Old 05-22-2004, 02:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by barhoram
2) many cases would require a vga to component converter which are not cheap.
Many cases might, but my box (Samsung T351) has a VGA output on it. It doesn't do NTSC tuning, though, which brings up the short-term issue of being able to watch TV outside of DT operating hours. Stations aren't required to simulcast 100% of their schedule until next April. As a result, most stations in my area only do DT from 5 a.m. to 11:35p.m. or midnight -- no Conan or Kimmel in DT.

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post #16 of 75 Old 05-22-2004, 03:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by amelie
Amen to that. I could never understand people who watch their DVDs on their PCs. Now some are watching HDTV on their PCs. That's not how to enjoy these things and is quite frankly very sad IMO.
Well, I guess it depends on your perspective.

Generally, TV is watched by a group of people (or at least it can) at some distance from the screen.

Computer monitors, on the other hand, are usually observed up close.

As long as the relative size of the screen (field of view) is the same, what difference does it make what size the screen is? If the screen fills 60 degrees of your field of view, who cares what the absolute size is.

None of this deals with the fact that computer monitors handle color differently than televisions, but that's a discussion for a different day.

And no consumer television set has the resolution of today's most advanced computer monitors, so you're actually getting *more* detail on that computer monitor.
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post #17 of 75 Old 05-22-2004, 03:13 PM
 
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BTW: I bought one of these 30" Monivision 16x9 monitors:

https://www.dcpuraty.com/store/Produ...tCode=DM6552SW

It has an RGB/VGA input, can display 1360x768p computer desktop images,
but uses SMTPE phosphors tuned for live video display... Works great with
a HiPix card driving it. Has OK built in speakers too.
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post #18 of 75 Old 05-22-2004, 03:14 PM
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> the manufactureds should be able to build a HD TV with built in tuner for less than $400 bucks.

They are moving ever closer to achieving this. I was at Best Buy last week and noticed the new 26" widescreen Samsung with built in digital tuner for $699. By this time next year, that set will probably be under $500.
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post #19 of 75 Old 05-22-2004, 06:17 PM
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http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....5&type=product

An HD ready TV for about $450. 2 years from now I expect that HDTVs with built in tuners will be around this price.

also a 17" widescreen LCD can be had at Costco for $550.

With all these options for HDTV under $1000, I get sick of every person without one saying " I dont have the thousands of dollars to buy an HDTV." :rolleyes:

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post #20 of 75 Old 05-22-2004, 07:40 PM
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Well until these companies come out with HDTV sets with various built-in tuners. It doesn't cost that much more to add a DirecTV or Dish Network HD tuner for a set that has a built-in OTA tuner so with that said I'm waiting for when these sets will have various models with one having a DirecTV HD tuner and the other having a Dish Network HD tuner and one for Voom as well. All would also support OTA HD as well. So when you go to shop for you HD set the guy asks you if you have cable, DirecTV, Dish Network or Voom because all people should have a clue of what provider they have. If one says Dish Network the guy grabs the model that supports Dish Network. Now IMO I think it will be better if the TV set had a tuner in it for all providers and each provider would send a signal via their satellites to tell the TV set what service it is. So each TV would have a tuner for Dish Network, DirecTV, Voom and OTA but the tuner would actually be one tuner. Maybe that one tuner can only support one provider at a time but you could tell it what provider you are using and it would use that providers guide. I know I'm going on but I think this could be done. So still you would have one tuner the whole time but the TV sets software would tell the tuner how to function with each provider. I think the only difference is firmware and the guide. Just like I can change an input I could select what provider I'm using which would tell the TV to access this firmware version and this guide system. Maybe I'm wrong but to do this can't be that expensive or hard and maybe we should have a standard for this. This is one change that would benefit every group. This eventually would reduce companies having to develop their own boxes and confusion among them. They would only develop firmware and software for the guide. This would speed up the transition because if this was done every customer would know this TV would work with every provider out of the box without additional cost to them but it would only work with one provider at anytime but if you switch providers you don't have a box to buy and you have a TV ready to go.

Maybe I'm nuts but this is what should be done and would benefit everyone but this stuff is never done and thats what they pay these people to think of but only we think of these things.
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post #21 of 75 Old 05-22-2004, 07:50 PM
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Also this system would allow customers to buy their set which has the tuner or software features they want. So I would buy a TV set from a brand that supports my ability to record via firewire via a DVHS deck or another device. One maker could make a hard drive enclosure that they could provide for not much extra cost from the basice hard drive that would allow me to plug this into my set. So if my TV set say had a firewire input maybe Tivo could make an add-on PVR that would allow me to record my HDTV shows since the Tivo PVR won't need a tuner but will only use the tuner thats in the set. So maybe the TV sets can allow the Tivo software to replace the DirecTV guide while allowing the Tivo software to use the DirecTVs guide. Kinda like a merge of sorts. So Tivo could have a fairly cheap device that could intergrate with these TVs and use the providers guide info for theirs and this could allow Tivo to stop charging their 12.95/month charges while offering deals to customers who buy these sets to trade in their existing Tivo boxes and avoid the charge. They would eventually move away from their failing business model and go to a software company mostly. Maybe Tivo could sell their software to other companies but that software would only be active if a firewire hard drive is present which a customer would buy from a third party or from Tivo maybe. I see this as creating innovation and getting cheaper prices while having everything work with everything.
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post #22 of 75 Old 05-22-2004, 08:12 PM
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I never, until this point, thought I would ever have the opposite opinion of Mark on the subject of HD.
However, as someone who deals with the masses everyday in regards to electronics, I can tell you that his idea of getting the signal to those not wanting to rid themselves of old analog tv's via s-video thru a vcr just won't be feasable. The people wanting to cling to these tv's won't be able to understand converting or anything other than connecting their ota or cable to the back of thier tv set. other boxes and "special" cables will only confuse the "masses". Bottom line is that the "masses" are dumb (see home theatre in a box) and you have to make things overly simple to get them to adapt at a rate faster than they want to. This would not make things simple enough to advance the changeover any at all in my opinion.

Decent idea from Longhorn but I am sure there are way too many holes in that theory just because it involves providers.
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post #23 of 75 Old 05-22-2004, 08:24 PM
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Excellent idea. To make it work, people must believe in it. That is truly the difficult part.

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post #24 of 75 Old 05-22-2004, 09:08 PM
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The system will have holes but my question is how is that any different than right now. People don't have a clue to what they need to get HDTV from cable and DBS providers or they think they have everything they need because they have digital cable. Right now those darn DVI ports aren't even working for most customers but they will work once those kinks are worked out the same way that HDTV sets with built-in tuners from all providers would be worked out. I think with the TV idea having all the providers built-in would just be by a menu system. Under the option called pick your cable or satellite provider you will find a list of providers. Now these sets will have cable card connections so they will work period with your cable company as long as they support it which most will when this becomes an issue. The only remaining factor is DBS. So under the pick your provider menu if you select cable it will bright up whatever is required for cablecard systems. If you pick satellite under this menu it will list DirecTV, Dish Network and Voom and you select which one you want. Now once you select your provider that will load up its firmware and software.

So this can work at least for DBS will very few holes in it if say Samsung, Sony and others make it because they make thier own firmware for their set-tops which work very good right now.

I think the problem would be getting all three sat providers to give the required information so TV makers can put this stuff in but I don't see why they wouldn't want to do this. As far as I'm concerened is that just because I have all three options doesn't mean that I will change who I get service with. So if you have DirecTV now you won't be going with Dish just because your TV set now supports it. But if this set works with all providers than a company who isn't doing right for their customers can go to another provider with very little or no cost at all for hardware at least for HD hardware. I just see this as being good. I think hardware is good and cheap enough to allow firmware and software choosing by the TV.
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post #25 of 75 Old 05-23-2004, 11:19 AM
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had nothing to do with HD. The question was "what will it take for broadcasters to give back the spectrum they now control for their analog OTA broadcasts"

The basics of the trigger are that 85 pct of households have the ability to receive a digital signal.

It doesnt ask, will they be happy with the signal. It doesnt ask which, or what percentages of TVs in a home will be capable of receiving a digital signal.

It merely asks when 85 pct of homes will be able to receive a digital signal.

The first step is having a monitor capable of receiving a digital signal. My point was that a PC monitor is an HD Ready TV. Period end of story. We are approaching 85 pct of homes with PC monitors. Attach an inexpensive tuner , and the trigger is reached.

thats it in a nutshell. Nothing else is discussed. There is not reference or allusion to the best way to get HDTV adopted. None.

I will talk about that in a future blog entry
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post #26 of 75 Old 05-23-2004, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by foxeng
all those home theater computers
I think that VOOM's 10,000 subscribers looks like a billion chinamen compared to the # of people with properly configured HTPC's...

And then...
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post #27 of 75 Old 05-23-2004, 11:42 AM
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Mark- The PC idea is fine but the real thrust will only be realized when the Consumer TV set mfgr's start adding digital tuners to ALL TVsets. And make available very low cost digital tuners for existing NTSC TV's. If the FCC can't figure this out, they need new leadership.
In addition, the CEA is not as honest as it could be about this either. Shapiro needs to begin a real hard push to have ALL TV mfgr's take it upon themselves to simply start adding those Digital tuners, NOW. Instead, the mfgr's are willing to wait until it is law before getting started. FCC, CEA, Broadcasters are all responsible for the slow roll out and the move to achieve the 85%.

I don't think adding digital tuners to computers is the answer. Adding digital SD tuners to all TV's on sale now is the answer. Low cost <$100 SD tuner converters off the shelf with cable digital capability is also an excellent solution. Then, many will want to have at least one TV in their home that is HDTV capable. They will buy the HDTV set and it will have the HDTV level of digital tuner.

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post #28 of 75 Old 05-23-2004, 11:49 AM
 
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Tuner cards for PCs, and pre-built home theater PCs have been around for a while, but they have yet to catch on with the mainstream.

Aside from my "home theater nut" friends, all the other people I know with PCs just got a standard CPU + 17"/19" 4x3 display + DVD + CD-writer and didn't bother getting a tuner card, or even using the software DVD players that may have come bundled with their PCs. They still all bought standalone DVD players to hook to their TV.

The typical consumer does not view their PC as a "TV watching device".
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post #29 of 75 Old 05-23-2004, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Don Landis
Shapiro needs to begin a real hard push to have ALL TV mfgr's take it upon themselves to simply start adding those Digital tuners, NOW.
Well I think I just saw a crack in the flood gates today.

As I was cruising my local WalMart hoping to find that somebody had "accidently" put out the LOTR:ROTK DVDs (not btw), what did my eyes spy but a shiney brand-new Sanyo WS 30" direct-view HDTV with analog and digital tuners built-in, HDMI x 1, Component x 2. Price you ask? 0.75 x (the MAP of an HDTivo.)

Also, there were a HDRdy WS 30" Panny, assorted HDRdy-RPTV and a few Aquos type ED LCDs ....

Resistance is futile! ;) :D

HDC
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post #30 of 75 Old 05-23-2004, 01:21 PM
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I'm still asking what the price is, "0.75 x (the MAP of an HDTivo.)" doesn't mean a thing to me.
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