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""It should speed a transition to a digital world," said FCC Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy."


Wimps who don't have the guts to make HDTV work for all Americans.
 

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This is an absolute disaster. This move by the FCC will kill HDTV and the digital transition. When no one can receive these reduced signals, how the blazes do they think this will motivate consumers to purchase sets?


If NBC affiliates turn off the juice at 11 pm, how are viewers to watch Leno in HD? If CBS affiliates don't turn on their transmitters until primetime, how can anyone view CBS' daytime soap Y&R?


The evil-doers appear to have done their worst. Now when the networks want blanket waivers for satellite to at least allow some of us to watch the network offerings, will the affiliates continue to block those waivers as well?


Sounds like it is time for a new model for television delivery.


How has this been allowed to happen?


Edited to add that my ABC affiliate has been off the air since Sunday due to problems with their microwave transmitter. Had this been their analog signal this problem would have long been resolved. They were off the air for over 24 hours not too long ago as "someone hadn't bothered to check the transmitter and reboot the system". (this is a quote from the engineer I spoke with on the telephone)
 

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So I guess by reducing my exercise, I'll speed my transition to a super-model. God, I've been going about this all wrong the whole time! Oy, what a bunch of BS. Lets face it, we are the vast majority of people on this planet who know our butts from a hole the in the ground when it comes to the benefits of video quality in the home entertainment experience, and evidentally the only one's who want to be able to make this distinction.


If this whole things ends up going belly up, I can't comprehend when we will ever get another chance at it. If it ever happened after that, it would end up being in the HD-DVD (or related) area. In a way, it might have made sense to go that route anyway, i.e. sell it to the people who care about it first and work your way down. Eventually, almost everyone has the sets required and there is an instance market for higher quality broadcast material. But, that's spilt milk under the bridge that this point.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
"City of license coverage"


Well,that leaves all us Grade B viewers in this town of 10,000 out in the cold.I've had DT stations in Indy and Cincy,both 55mi.from here,that have ran on temporary low power and there are nothing but an unreliable,pixellated mess.


Notwithstanding the receivers inability to sort out DT stations from co-channel Analogs! An analog station with a little DT snow is still watchable,but a DT station with the slightest interference from an analog station is in total confusion.Believe me,I know!


I've even had DT stations in opposite directions, unequal distance,with the furthest one enhanced by a normal Tropo lift and guess what happens? They kill each other!


This is going to get fun when 800 more stations hit the airwaves.


Interesting reading on this subject here.

www.biroengineering.com
 

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For everyone's convenience, here's the article:

Quote:
FCC OKs stations cutting back DTV ops to prime time only: In a victory for broadcasters, the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday announced a change in rules permitting stations to slash digital TV power and hours of operation.


Under the FCC's original regulations, broadcasters were supposed to air DTV signals whenever their analog channels were in operation. They were also supposed to be broadcasting with enough DTV power to cover their analog service areas by the end of 2004. But the National Association of Broadcasters argued that the regulations were a waste of electricity because so few households are equipped to receive DTV.


Under the rule changes, the FCC authorized broadcasters to cut DTV operations back to prime time only, at least until April 2003. The FCC also said that for the foreseeable future, broadcasters would only have to use enough DTV power to cover their communities of license.


FCC officials also said broadcasters might be allowed to operate at the reduced power levels until the DTV transition is complete, defined as when 85 percent of TV households are able to receive the DTV signals of broadcasters in a market.


On a related note, the FCC said it would be open to granting waivers to commercial broadcasters who plead that financial hardships have prevented them from meeting a longtime agency deadline to launch DTV operations by May 1 next year.


Under the FCC's original DTV game plan, the 2002 deadline was set to expedite the DTV transition-and broadcasters who couldn't meet the cut were supposed to return their digital TV channels to the government.


But now the FCC is expecting so many broadcasters to miss the target date that the agency said it is designing a special new "short form" for waiver applications.


The FCC also announced that it was putting on indefinite hold a deadline that was supposed to require stations authorized to beef up their DTV operations to operate at full power by May 1. Also put on hold was a requirement that broadcasters decide whether they want to use their existing analog channels for DTV operations by the end of 2003.


These FCC deadlines were also originally adopted to encourage DTV's rollout. But in an unusual twist, FCC officials said Thursday they now believe that postponing the deadlines might better serve the interests of the DTV transition by reducing initial DTV operational costs for broadcasters.


"It should speed a transition to a digital world," said FCC Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy.


In a press release, the FCC also said the changes would allow broadcasters to "elect a more graduated approach" to DTV. "Broadcasters would be permitted initially to build lower-powered and therefore less expensive DTV facilities and retain the right to expand their coverage area as the digital transition continues to progress," the FCC said.


I wouldn't dismiss their logic out of hand as to how this will speed the transition. The article says almost nothing about their logic. It would be nice if someone could report on this in greater depth.
 

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The FCC says it is okaying the reduced power of digital transmission power during non primetime hours. Until 80% of the viewing market is able to receive the digital signal.

Hmm!. Let's consider that your local affiliate (ie PBS)

cuts back their signal strength by 50%. Now those early adaptors who were already receiving the HD signal, suddenly find themselves having constant drop outs or even worse, no picture at all.

How is it that the FCC expects those who would be interested in purchasing a HD set later on, along with a receiver to suddenly be able to receive the signal. Remember if the early adaptors have trouble due to 50% reduced power, surely Joe Sixpack will not be able to receive a signal.


The truth is, this is just another step to kill HDTV, because as the broadcaster have been saying all along, HD will generate no more additional revenue then analog.

It's all about the bottom line people. Not about the consumer or the viewers.


Welcome to Capitalism.
 

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What horse$hi+!


If this doesn't relegate DTV to second class status (or even worse) I don't know what else will. (Oh yeah, they made it easier to file for a get-out-of-missed-deadline-jail-free pass too!)


What's next? An "optional" DTV transition? What's the Department of Commerce going to think about this? Looks like that 6 MHz loan just turned into a gift. (Not that I believed that the budget would be balanced by auctions, either.)


Don't misunderstand me -- I'm pro-broadcaster AND pro-HDTV -- but the FCC is acting like a very bad parent by spoiling stations. They give them a "chore" and an "allowance" without requiring any responsibility to get the job done.


Hey Michael Powell -- manage that spectrum! Don't let the kids trash the house that you are responsible for!
 

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This is absolutely ludricrous. So this means that stations are now allowed to take away what people have been receiving for several years? I live in the Grade B area of Philadelphia, and while I get CBSHD from Dish, I pick up ABC and Fox from Philadelphia via my OTA antenna. These stations have been broadcasting DTV since 1999. And now they are going to take that away? This is just bad business. Period. I don't care if it's "free" or not.


Who's for filing a class action suit against the FCC for financial hardship or something for all of us who bought equipment specifically to pick up these stations? There's got to be something unconstitutional about this. We fools trusted the government to live up to their stated responsibilities. Apparently that was our first mistake.
 

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For those stations that have spent the money to be on the air already, what benefit would it be to them to cut hours of operations and reduce power? None. This is for those stations not on the air yet. Now they can drag their feet some more.


I just don't understand the disconnect here. CBS and ABC have both made huge investments in HD, yet the FCC still wants to do everything it can to derail its deployment. I'm sure the networks aren't happy about this.


Alex
 

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It is my understanding that the electric bill is significant.


I've got to admit, it seems to me this is a DTV killer. Where I work, the president said we must look at any way to save money, even one cent. When these stations get the chance to save several dollars per day, they'll do it. Many of them care absolutely nothing about DTV.


How will 80% ever be able to receive the signal if they reduce the signal so that less people can receive it?


Perhaps the good news is that it is technically quite tricky to switch power output levels. In Atlanta our FOX affiliate had technical problems that cut their power. We contacted the station and wanted to synchronize them up'ing the power with a number of us testing the difference from our homes. We got a reply back from the techician that this was no simple "switch flip", that he had to iterate adjustments over the course of several hours.


Can anyone confirm that it is technically unrealistic for these power output changes to be performed twice a day?
 

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Can we, the consumers make a complain about this ?

Someone has to listen to us. I made a big investment on my system and will not like it to be sitting in my family room without a use...
 

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Um.., while this is infuriating at first glance, is there a possible silver lining?


The average consumer is not really all that smart and the average (or even above average) sales drone at CC, BB, etc doesn't really know much about what they're selling or what's offered over the air*


Though I believe this will have a negative impact on immediate acceptance, might it not also force mfr's and retailers to bring the pricing of digital sets down to earth to encourage sales therefore speeding up the timeline to the 80% ownership factor? I would assume that like many other technology shifts, there is a pipeline full of digital sets and manufacturing lines are already being shifted in this direction.


??


Aslan...


BTW, as was mentioned above, I would think that there is a possible basis for a CAS against the FCC and/or broadcasters by people who purchased digital/HD sets based on rules established by the FCC that have now been relaxed.



*The 'video manager' at my local CC told me last night that while there is no HD available in the Twin Cities yet, I should buy a digital set to 'be ready'. He actually argued with me as I tried to inform him that we have 6 stations broadcasting digital with nearly 50 hours per week of HD available OTA and that this doesn't include what's available via sat such as HDNet, etc..
 

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Does anyone at the FCC actually KNOW what he or she is doing? If this decision results in the eventual demise of HDTV, I hope ALL of the responsible parties get sued.
 

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Fine.

I wont object to this ruling if the FCC then allows Dish/DirecTV to carry all HDTV/DTV channels such as ABC, NBC, Fox.


Lets see how the local stations enjoy losing a portion of their most desirable audience.


Isnt there some consumer advocacy group we can appeal to? Or write directly to Powell. Does anyone have his email or snail mail address?
 

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Commissioner Powell can be reached at...


EMAIL:

[email protected]


SNAIL MAIL:


Federal Communications Commission

445 12th St. S.W.

Washington DC 20554
 

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CB, You asked for some explanation of the logic behind their (ill)-considered decision. Here is the text of the statement by Commissioner Michael J. Copps :

Quote:
SEPARATE STATEMENT

OF COMMISSIONER MICHAEL J. COPPS

In the Matter of: Review of the Commission's Rules and Policies

Affecting the Conversion to Digital Television



The Commission's decision today strikes a balance between moving the digital transition along on schedule and providing a measure of flexibility to stations as they build and upgrade their digital facilities within that time frame.


Pursuant to a Congressional directive, the FCC several years ago implemented an ambitious schedule for the transition to digital television. Many of the nation's television broadcasters have done a commendable job of getting their DTV stations up and running in accordance with that schedule. The NAB has reported that as many as two thirds of the nation's commercial television stations will be on the air with a digital signal by May of 2002.


Nevertheless, it appears that certain stations - particularly stations in smaller television markets - are facing costs that make it difficult if not impossible for them to meet the May deadline. Some of those costs may be related to the need for maximization of their digital signals and replication of their analog signal areas by upcoming deadlines. In order to minimize the immediate impact of those costs, we will defer the maximization and replication deadlines, and will set new deadlines that in no case will be later than the deadline for digital conversion prescribed by Congress. I am pleased that this Order so strongly reaffirms this deadline.


For those stations facing unexpected financial obstacles, not relieved by the deferral of the maximization and replication deadlines, and despite their good faith attempts to meet the May 2002 construction deadline, we will consider waiver applications. We will permit individual stations to apply on a case-by-case basis for six- month waivers of the May deadline due to lack of financial resources. I do not expect that stations will apply for these waivers absent genuine hardship, nor that the Bureau will grant them without such showing.


Finally, I am pleased that the Commission did not travel down the path of issuing a general waiver. That would have been unfair to those who are moving toward full performance and it would have been too lenient on those less far along.
 

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I will believe this when I see it..



The NAB has reported that as many as two thirds of the nation's commercial television stations will be on the air with a digital signal by May of 2002.
 

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Well, it was a fun ride while it lasted.


What station would choose not to reduce power and save $$ at this point?

This is a complete disaster for DTV viewers, the lowered power requirement quite possibly being the death of OTA HDTV. I think we'll see lots of STBs on Ebay very soon. I knew Powell was a sell-out but how could he do this with Tauzin and Markey watching?:(
 
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