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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I ask this because I work with a retailer who approached a local affiliate about working together to promote HD - particularly one huge sporting event that will sell a LOT of HD sets. The affiliate wasn't interested in any cross-promotion, making excuses like "we can't guarantee that we'll be able to carry the HD signal...there might be a national emergency".


This was baffling to us. The only reason I can think why the affiliate wouldn't be interested in promoting this event is that, somehow it isn't in what they perceive as their best interest. And the only way that seems reasonable is if they think that people watching the HD broadcast don't show up in the ratings.


Has anyone else run into this? This sporting event (I'm being coy because I don't want to get the retailer in trouble with the broadcaster) could be the watershed event to break HD into the mainstream. But if the affiliates don't want people watching their broadcasts, is there any hope for HD? I mean, we have to get this out of our little group of enthusiasts.
 

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Since digital/HD stations aren't counted for ratings purposes the affiliates make no money from them. They are doing it solely because the FCC forces them to it seems. So they probably see no benefit for the stations, only for the retailer.
 

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It's not just HD, but DTV in general that presents a problem for broadcasters. Until the problems with the way digital viewers are counted (or not counted) in the ratings are fixed, digital viewers will continue to count against a stations overall ratings. Most station managers see any promotion of their digital channels as counter productive.
 

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Most TV stations in this country are totally opposed to HDTV. It requires them to buy all new equipment. At least multicasting standard def signals would let them keep using their studio cameras, tape machines, routers, and servers. I've been inside some stations recently and found that most have absolutely no HDTV equipment. Having a digital signal on the air is no guarantee that a station can do HDTV. Just passing through the network signal is a huge burden on them. The stations are dragging their feet getting into HDTV because they really just hope it goes away. Oh they still want to multicast or add data services, but they don't want to improve the state of television pictures. The FCC needs to mandate HDTV, not DTV, as we have many standard def channels already available to us, and we have computers and PDAs available for data. However we can only get network shows in HDTV from a TV station, so it's imperative that the station use it's full bandwidth for HDTV, and not divide it up. The "value added" signal that Fox wants to keep broadcasting is not much better than the TV your grandfather watched. True 1080i is far better and will hopefully become more of a standard. It's time for the TV stations to bite the bullet and retool. I'm still waiting for a station in Los Angeles to originate their news and other local programming in HiDef. The few stations that do originate HDTV programmine have my utmost respect. I also think that Mark Cuban is a true visonary that see's that improving the state of the art is a noble quest. Anyway, FCC get off your butts and demand HDTV.
 

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I think that some of the stations that are passing the hd feeds are still a little tentative about blowing their horns, this is new technology to these guys and they are a bit green yet. I know that at WQAD they plan to have a guy there all day on superbowl sunday for fear that something will go wrong, keep in mind that these guys have been doing analog forever and getting that signal out is like falling of a log, but mention digital and HD and you will get a bit of resistance from the engineering staff when you talk about absolutely being on and in HD. The last thing they would want at this stage in the game is to do a big promotion and then screw up the Superbowl Broadcast, maybe next year they will have enough experience to be confident enough to shout HD from the hilltops.
 

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I think they are looking for quartly profits and most affiliates lack "the vision" that HD is the glue for eyeballs that with time and investment is there "future".


Most the affilates CEO's are technophobic that just don't like the word digital. They just don't want to think out of the box and use the free spectrum for something innovative. Digital spectrum is a liability not a asset to these people.
 

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Also consider the stations are sitting on a huge amount of spectrum, a valueable commodity. Since there is value in controlling 2 channels instead of one they might like to hold on to it as long as possible. And as Paxton found out there is a possibility they may eventually be incentivized to release it "early" if this goes on long enough.


- Tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
OK, another question. Can this retailer tie a promotion to this huge sporting event? What are the rules about this? If the station had any interest in promoting the event and was interested in working with the retailer, they would have some protection. But without the station's cooperation, they would probably be on thin ice legally to run an ad informing people about the impending broadcast of this sporting event...and what a perfect opportunity this would be to buy an HD set, or a tuner and antenna for their existing set. I know the official name of the sporting event is trademarked, but at some point the law must recognize that people have to refer to it. Lots of people have parties organized around the event...surely not all of them have permission from the ruling body of the sport.
 

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Every january the paper, radio and tv run ads for the event.... this is not a legal issue.


Super Bowl Drives Great Deals On TVs

http://www.beststuff.com/article.php3?story_id=2762


“The Super Bowl really drives people to consider upgrading the television in their home, making January as important as the holiday season for television sales,†said Lisa Carlson, Best Buy’s senior buyer for complex televisions. “The new technology of today’s televisions, whether it be flat screen, flat panel or digital TV, offers consumers outstanding quality at a range of prices that can fit just about any budget.â€
 

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Just to play a bit of "devils advocate," the station may indeed have a legitimate concern that your local retailer may also want to keep in mind before doing any promotion based on this upcoming sporting event.


This technology is so new and this is one of this network's first attempts in the last couple of years at presenting one of these events in HD. They don't have HDNet to help them out the way NBC did with the winter olympics. There is just too much chance of something going wrong at the last minute to risk disapointing lots folks who just laid out several thousand dollars in the expectation of being able to watch this major sporting event in HD. How many of us have taken weeks or months to get a decent ota digital signal, what with dealing with antennas for the first time in maybe 20 years of having cable service?


There's every chance that a high percentage of folks lured into HD in hopes of seeing this event will not be able to get a decent signal in time for the event. Many of these people have never even seen a television antenna, a good percentage of them have never had to deal with the various connections and tuner setup chicken dances that we all have had to learn, and don't have any knowledge of places like AVS where this information is to be found.


A retailer has no idea if the person buying a new set and stb is actually going to be able to get the ota signal; whether they can get a good line of sight signal to their antennas. If they can verify that the customer already has an antenna for reception and can get a decent analog signal already there's a high likelihood they can get the digital signal, but a very high percentage of customers will be starting from scratch with ota reception.
 

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To be fair to the affiliates, some of them are doing a good job and their engineering staff are very enthusiastic about HDTV. One of our Portland locals is a regular on this forum.


And when retailers talk about HDTV sales projections, they're talking about HDTV-ready sets. They barely keep any tuners in stock, and couldn't support a major promotion of them. Probably a lot of people aren't willing to pay $400 to get a few channels at better quality for a few hours a day.


BB
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by dynamohum1
I think that some of the stations that are passing the hd feeds are still a little tentative about blowing their horns, this is new technology to these guys and they are a bit green yet. I know that at WQAD they plan to have a guy there all day on superbowl sunday for fear that something will go wrong, keep in mind that these guys have been doing analog forever and getting that signal out is like falling of a log, but mention digital and HD and you will get a bit of resistance from the engineering staff when you talk about absolutely being on and in HD. The last thing they would want at this stage in the game is to do a big promotion and then screw up the Superbowl Broadcast, maybe next year they will have enough experience to be confident enough to shout HD from the hilltops.
The extra guy is there to protect the analog broadcast. I know this because I have been that extra guy every time my station has the Super Bowl. Yes, we do analog all the time and have very few failures. The difference is, while those failures are undesirable at any time, they are survivable most of the time. During the Super Bowl, you only get one shot at getting that commercial on the air and if you fail, the loss is huge.


If the digital transmitter goes off the air, you suffer a momentary loss of prestige among a very few viewers. Yes we care if the digital transmitter goes off the air, but it's not fatal and it actually causes an increase in revenue due to the lower power bill.


You can speculate all you want about the stations motives for not wanting to promote digital, but if you want to know the real reason, go back and read my earlier post.
 

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So is the fool that can't do/guarantee an hd broadcast because of the possible national emergency saying that they would still do the sd feed -- instead of covering a national emergency, please.. what a lack of imagination, I could do better then that as far as excuses go... I hope someone seriously laughed in their face..


the total lack of dtv promotion on a local level is likely not coincidental
 

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""It requires them to buy all new equipment. At least multicasting standard def signals would let them keep using their studio cameras, tape machines, routers, and servers. I've been inside some stations recently and found that most have absolutely no HDTV equipment. Having a digital signal on the air is no guarantee that a station can do HDTV.""


you are over looking the fact that most all the stations that do hd aren't promoting hd either. also they are free to do hd and sd digitally of course so no need to dump all the equipment.


swpace hit the nail on the head, the more viewers on teh digital side the more of a possibility of the ratings being affected... till we are counted we are meaningless.... and dtv teh step child of of tv..
 

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Maybe when the government decided to transition to DTV they should've devised financial incentives (in the form of tax breaks, perhaps?) for the TV broadcasters and their affiliates, with those stations adopting the highest (and costliest) form of DTV (HD) getting the most in the way of incentives. Special allowances should've been made to facilitate and expedite the construction of the necessary transmission towers in all TV markets, and cable carriage of DTV network programming (in 8VSB format) should've been made mandatory from the very start. And free (and mandatory) training should've been made available nationwide to the engineering staff and the marketing staff at the TV stations prior to the start of the transition process. I realize this may all come across as wishful thinking, but I cannot fathom how the government expected the transition to happen at all without the proper groundwork being laid. It's like somebody just waved his arms and said, "Make it so!", then sat back and waited for miracles to happen.


At most of the local digital stations that I've contacted, the chief engineer was just about the only person in that department who had a clue about what PSIP was. One assistant at the Miami ABC affiliate was even shocked to learn that anyone actually noticed that their signal was off the air for several days a few months ago. And at another station one engineer adamantly refused to believe me when I called to inform them that they had reverted to the SD feed of a movie they had been broadcasting in high def just before they went to a commercial break....he insisted that the picture looked "the same" on his monitor and that nothing had changed!


The incredible lack of vision prevalent among most of the parties involved in this whole transition business is depressing. That the richest, most technologically advanced nation on this planet can't make something like this work is quite upsetting. And the fact that the so-called lack of a "business model" for HDTV is essentially keeping the technology a "niche product" is truly appalling. If the Wright brothers had felt that way, we would still be flying only in our dreams.


Mediocrity has, I'm afraid, become readily acceptable in American business. Why even attempt to do better when what we've done for decades works okay? Just the other day in traffic I sat behind a pool cleaning company's truck. In bright red letters was their proud motto, "We show up!".
 

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One of the biggest problems I have at this point is that HDTV is not really new. CBS has been broadcasting shows in HD for over 3 years now. The stations want to present it as new because they have been dragging their feet upgrading. I'm sure many people on this forum have been watching HD for a long time now. The HDTV rollout has been remarkably hindered by local TV stations.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by fire407
The HDTV rollout has been remarkably hindered by local TV stations.
The local stations have each spent millions of dollars to build digital stations. For the most part they pass through whatever their network provides in the way of HD. They are not making any money off of this yet, in fact the cash flow is still negative due to increased power bills and maintenance costs. The only thing these stations haven't done is spend their valuable promotion budgets to promote something that will have a further negative impact on their viewership.


What has hindered the DTV rollout is the high price tags attached to sets and STB's coupled with consumer apathy.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Rudy1
The incredible lack of vision prevalent among most of the parties involved in this whole transition business is depressing. That the richest, most technologically advanced nation on this planet can't make something like this work is quite upsetting. And the fact that the so-called lack of a "business model" for HDTV is essentially keeping the technology a "niche product" is truly appalling. If the Wright brothers had felt that way, we would still be flying only in our dreams.


Mediocrity has, I'm afraid, become readily acceptable in American business. Why even attempt to do better when what we've done for decades works okay? Just the other day in traffic I sat behind a pool cleaning company's truck. In bright red letters was their proud motto, "We show up!".
Well, just to play devil's advocate for a moment, the ability to build flying machines changed the world both militarily and practically and had a great business model right from the start. The only thing HD brings to the table is an ability to see better television pictures, which, if one is to be honest, is purely a luxury that doesn't have any implications for the betterment of society, other than in non-entertainment settings such as medical use. It has no real use for the average consumer other than the ability to see clearer pictures on bigger screens, which in itself relegates it to luxury status. It's not life changing and it doesn't bring anything to the table in the way of new capabilities other than image quality.


Now, don't get me wrong. It's quite nice and desirable, and in the long term will become inexpensive enough due to the "normal" progression of electronic technology. But its general failure to ignite the marketplace should not be surprising nor apalling, particularly when its introduction has taken place during the longest economic downturn since the Great Depression.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
In this particular market, the affiliate has been passing the network's HD signal, and switching to their local SD material very reliably for several months. Also, the primary cable TV provider installed a fiber link to the affiliate, and have been carrying their HD signal for nearly as long. So there is a redundant path, at the very least. The fear that one HD viewer with a Nielson diary might watch the HD broadcast instead of the SD one seems to be the most likely reason for their lack of enthusiasm.

Quote:
Headtalk: Every january the paper, radio and tv run ads for the event.... this is not a legal issue.
I'm wanting to urge the retailer to advertise the idea of buying an HD system for Christmas and be ready for the Superbowl. But "Superbowl" is a registered trademark of the NFL. There's a difference between a spokesperson talking about the event, and using a registered trademark in an ad.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by mmost
The only thing HD brings to the table is an ability to see better television pictures, which, if one is to be honest, is purely a luxury that doesn't have any implications for the betterment of society, other than in non-entertainment settings such as medical use.
I think it goes far beyond a luxury. I look at it as a way of preserving a visual history. I will admit that most programming on television is pure fluff, but whether it's a sitcom or a documentary, people in the future will be able to look back on the way life was here and now. I would love to have video or film images of the ancient Egyptians or other civilizations in the past, and if such a thing were possible, then I would want those images with to have an incredible amount of detail. Images of our generation will be preserved in some sort of digital format. I hope we keep pushing the state of the art, and not think that standard def is good enough.
 
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