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thanks for the link.


But it is not a suprise to me that the new fcc is interested in business more then the public.


-tony



BTW. Is Powell related to the Sec. of State? If so it is amazing two people from the same family could independently rise to such powerful positions in our government. ;)
 

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Why are you so surprised by the FCC's position? It fits right in with the current administration's attitude toward favoring big business interests.


I have no respect for the current FCC Chairman, and I sincerely hope he's replaced soon with someone more interested in what's best for the consumer and complying with Congressional mandates than accomodating business who are only interested in their bottom line while trying to weasel out of their government-mandated responsibilities.


The current spectrum allocations should be used for what they were intended. After the transition, isn't there going to be spectrum available from the old analog broadcasts? Wouldn't that be incentive for these businesses to speed up the DTV transition so they can get their hands on that spectrum? I haven't read the entire plan, so forgive me if I'm making assumptions. While it seems logical, logic doesn't typcially apply to government ;)
 

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I don't get this thread. It is not the government's business to mandate or dictate business policy. These businesses are in business to make money, not to provide us with digital television. I was against the mandated date from the beginning. The federal government should worry about defending our country and running the post office, and leave everything else alone. Free market is why our country is the best in the world, and as long as the feds stick their nose into every aspect of our lives, that will go down the tubes. Competition in the end will make everyone upgrade and provide digital content anyways, without some stupid mandated date. What, the mandated low-flush toilets wasn't enough?


Maybe you guys should lobby the feds to mandate Dodge to sell everyone Vipers for $10,000 a piece. Now that would be a great deal wouldn't it? :)


Quote:
Originally posted by Randy Boecker
Why are you so surprised by the FCC's position? It fits right in with the current administration's attitude toward favoring big business interests.


I have no respect for the current FCC Chairman, and I sincerely hope he's replaced soon with someone more interested in what's best for the consumer and complying with Congressional mandates than accomodating business who are only interested in their bottom line while trying to weasel out of their government-mandated responsibilities.


The current spectrum allocations should be used for what they were intended. After the transition, isn't there going to be spectrum available from the old analog broadcasts? Wouldn't that be incentive for these businesses to speed up the DTV transition so they can get their hands on that spectrum? I haven't read the entire plan, so forgive me if I'm making assumptions. While it seems logical, logic doesn't typcially apply to government ;)
 

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Quote:
It is not the government's business to mandate or dictate business policy.
All patriotic ferver aside, I would tend to agree with you. However, in this case, the government controls the allocation of the spectrum. The government issued mandates on when stations must be converted to digital. It's been years. The stations have no choice. I can't decide just not to pay my income taxes without some kind of penalty. While there will undoubtedly be some valid exceptions and a handful (HANDFUL) of stations should get an extension, they should be few and far between.
 

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Thats a good point Randy. The spectrum is a scarce and valuable resource that these companies have been given for free. In effect, the government has given those companies a huge subsidy, and now they have to deliver the goods...


-maynard
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Pericles
I don't get this thread. It is not the government's business to mandate or dictate business policy. These businesses are in business to make money, not to provide us with digital television. ...


The problem is those businesses are sitting on the valuable spectrum our government handed out to them. By further delaying the DTV transition, valuable public spectrum will not be returned sooner, and not auctioned out for their rightful use, and not provide revenue in the hundreds of billions that the government badly needs in the years to come.


If the broadcasters are true to business principles as you wish them to be, and not letting government dictate the course, they should give back the spectrum handed out to them and compete fairly with other communication ventures, because most other businesses had to pay for the spectrum in order to use them.


That is if you are true to a market-driven principle.
 

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Lift the requirements for waivers, and I'm all for it.(competition) I agree we don't need the government mandate. Maybe HDTV is too expensive for the affiliates and we can just get it from the Networks.
 

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I agree with you. Did these guys ask for the spectrum? I believe a good way to handle this situation would be like this: You don't upgrade by such and such date, then you lose what is allocated to you, so that it can be used by someone else, that way nothing is actually required, and the choice is left to the stations. Or even better, give out frequencies on a first-come-first-serve basis. When they run out, they run out...slow to upgrade broadcasters will simply be out of luck. I guarantee you that everyone will be upgraded in that case.


Another problem that you guys fail to even consider, is the fact that small stations simply don't have the money to upgrade. Our stations here in Dayton, Ohio, with the exception of CBS are barely making it from day to day. A mandated upgrade would hurt them financially big time. This is not a "snap your fingers" type situation where everything gets done without conseqences.

Quote:
Originally posted by jacmyoung



The problem is those businesses are sitting on the valuable spectrum our government handed out to them. By further delaying the DTV transition, valuable public spectrum will not be returned sooner, and not auctioned out for their rightful use, and not provide revenue in the hundreds of billions that the government badly needs in the years to come.


If the broadcasters are true to business principles as you wish them to be, and not letting government dictate the course, they should give back the spectrum handed out to them and compete fairly with other communication ventures, because most other businesses had to pay for the spectrum in order to use them.


That is if you are true to a market-driven principle.
 

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If what Gary Merson said in his newsletter is correct the broadcasters will very much want to be in DTV by 2006 or they'll be out of the game. If, as Gary reported, DVD is driving the sales of widescreen HD sets then we have a "trojan horse" situation where consumers will start complaining about the black or grey bars on the side of their screen when they watch NTSC (unless they are watching "ER", "Enterprise" and few of the other shows that are letterboxing where they can zoom up to even lower res).


I know as I got DVD I watched less and less broadcast TV, even more so since I have Dish HD (I just don't like step backward of not being able to time shift or being stuck with East Coast showtimes). I suspect this year the broadcasters will find they have lost a lot of audience to DVD where the picture is better than theirs!


One must be careful when giving over the airwaves to big business. All they are interesting in is more subservient wage slaves anyway.


- Brian
 

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Yes, exactly my point. Competition is the key. For example, I no longer watch ABC and NBC. I pretty much watch the HD CBS feed from Dish...mostly because it is in high definition. Until just recently, I never watched anything on CBS like CSI, The Agency and JAG, but now they are my three favorite shows. No offense to CBS, i am now their customer because of their HD feed, NOT necessarily because of their programming, but that's what consumers demand.

Quote:
Originally posted by Brian Conrad
If what Gary Merson said in his newsletter is correct the broadcasters will very much want to be in DTV by 2006 or they'll be out of the game. If, as Gary reported, DVD is driving the sales of widescreen HD sets then we have a "trojan horse" situation where consumers will start complaining about the black or grey bars on the side of their screen when they watch NTSC (unless they are watching "ER", "Enterprise" and few of the other shows that are letterboxing where they can zoom up to even lower res).


I know as I got DVD I watched less and less broadcast TV, even more so since I have Dish HD (I just don't like step backward of not being able to time shift or being stuck with East Coast showtimes). I suspect this year the broadcasters will find they have lost a lot of audience to DVD where the picture is better than theirs!


One must be careful when giving over the airwaves to big business. All they are interesting in is more subservient wage slaves anyway.


- Brian
 

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It is quite simple why the government can mandate this transition. It is the price that comes with the spectrum Television Stations are being given now and were before.


As far as competition vs. mandate is concerned; do you really think if the government had not started this new dtv roll out it would have even happen as fast as it has, or maybe even in the next ten years. It is clear that stations are content to keep using the anolog spectrum as long possible becuase it makes them money. Therefore if it was not for the government's plan, there would not be any digital stations to force the transition to dtv thur compettion.


The Powell thing really does look bad to me, I will for now give him the benifit of the doubt, that he is seriously quilified to be the head of the FFC. Anyone know his back ground?


-tony
 

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Quote:
Another problem that you guys fail to even consider, is the fact that small stations simply don't have the money to upgrade.
I hear this all the time and it is getting tiring. Sure, the conversion will cost money. Sure, it will be hard for some stations. Some who didn't plan and budget properly may even need to sell out.


I work for a small company. We struggle all the time, but we plan for the future and budget accordingly. Small stations have known about this upgrade requirement for several years and those who have planned properly have spread out the costs and are meeting the target dates. There is overhead associated with any business and following FCC regulations is one cost broadcasters are faced with in return for use of our spectrum.


I feel for those broadcasters who have sacrificed and invested in the transition, while their competitors have not and are getting away with it. The delays caused by those who are not meeting the target dates hurt those that have met them even more.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Pericles
I agree with you. Did these guys ask for the spectrum? I believe a good way to handle this situation would be like this: You don't upgrade by such and such date, then you lose what is allocated to you, ...

This is exactly what the current FCC not doing. It is also true that the smaller stations will not be able to survive this transition.


I become convinced that networks DTV signals should be allowed on DBS and BUD right now, requires no waivers to subscribers in the areas DTV is not available. The rates charged by DBS must be reasonable, and the hardware DBS sells for such purpose must be able to receive OTA DTV signals as a standard feature, in the event the signal becomes available in a given market. Talk about market force driving the transition.


But you know the chance of this to happen is next to none because this idea has Charlie's name all over, with DirecTV boxes of course :).
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by PPOITEV
Lift the requirements for waivers, and I'm all for it.(competition) I agree we don't need the government mandate. Maybe HDTV is too expensive for the affiliates and we can just get it from the Networks.
Ahh, but not everybody can. Some of these small stations have denied waivers to their customers to get CBS-HD from Dish Network. That's not acceptable either.


I like Echostar's pitch to the FCC. Any station either failing to make the DTV conversion OR making the transition and failing to provide network HDTV pass-through get's a blanket waiver from the FCC for their market customers to get network HDTV from satellite.


You can't have it both ways, if you don't want to invest ion future technologies, that could be a free market business decision choice (although under current FCC laws, it's not). But you cna't then force your customers to be restricted to your obsolete system. Will you go out of business, probably. But that's businewss as they say.


The thing that gets me about these broadcasters stalling is that they want to be treated as a public or private business when it suits them, but want full government protection when it doesn't.
 

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You are absolutely right, Glimmie. It's a case of wanting their cake and eat it, too. This digital transition is akin to a man dragging an anvil around his neck (in this case, an archaic 50 year-old delivery system), while trying to sprint to the finish line. It defies logic.


Until someone has the courage to say we must make appropriate, forward-thinking changes, painful though they may be for some, we cannot easily bring current and future video-based technology into the homes of American viewers within any sort of reasonable timetable. As we stand now, technology will continually outpace implementation.


Personally, I believe satellite will be the delivery choice of the future. Both OTA and cable, take way too long to affect changes that must be replicated all over the country. Constantly laying in new cable is a logistical nightmare, not to mention all the NIMBY examples for transmission towers delays(think Denver).
 

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Linda, I agree with you on satellite being the distribution standard of the future. Although, I'd like to see a change to the inhome system. Personally, I'd like one box connected to the dish(es) with distribution cables out to the various rooms of the house. Having only one box to upgrade/replace is much better than many boxes to upgrade/replace.
 

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Linda,


I think there are serious limitations to satellite. (I have a Dish 6000 and support Charlie's DirecTV buyout, but hear me out.) The local cable or telephone company has right of way to deploy fiber to the home. Likewise, many urban customers will not be able to get satellite (think Manhattan).


Physics suggests that a land-based telecom provider has the ultimate advantage. DBS only has so much spectrum and has to provide much more intense error correction, thereby reducing effective data payload. Plus a geosynchronous satellite orbit = 46,000 mile round trip for your data = really ugly latency.


256QAM already allows cable to squeeze twice as many HDTV channels in a given amount of bandwidth as satellite or terrestrial OTA can provide. The move to fiber and wave division multiplexing means a theoretically infinite amount of bandwidth for your landline broadband and video provider. Now, I don't think the evil local cable monopoly will see the advantages of dark fiber any time soon, but the landline companies have a lot more room for growth than the satellite companies. In the long run, 15 years from now (+-5 years) satellite will be relegated to a secondary position only for remote/rural locations.


Before that all happens, today's DBS providers definitely seem to give a damn about HDTV considerably more than most cable companies. TWC and CommieCast are pretty cool, but most of the other cable companies suck. OTA broadcasters in the top 30 markets and a few other forward-looking markets are cool, but most mid and small market television stations suck. The FCC really needs to hold television stations to the May 2002 deadline. "If you want to be a broadcaster in the digital age, broadcast DTV. Otherwise, shut up and color!"


Jim


P.S. Man, I can't believe we need to get a waiver from some of these jokers.
 

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I have some questions...

Quote:
The spectrum is a scarce and valuable resource that these companies have been given for free. In effect, the government has given those companies a huge subsidy, and now they have to deliver the goods...
What new spectrum was created for broadcasters? Back in the "old" days, when UHF channels were all but ignored, broadcasters had 470 MHz to 920 MHz (remember those old "click" style tuners that went to channel 88). Of course now everything above 806 MHz (channel 69) is used for cellular and SMR communications. The FCC has definite but delayed plans to take the spectrum allocated from channels 60 through 69 this decade. Channels 50 through 59 are also scheduled to go after NTSC signals are abandoned. That is to say, broadcasters are using less spectrum today - for NTSC and DTV - than they were originally allocated 50 years ago. None of the current UHF spectrum that has been allocated for the DTV transition can be used for other purposes because it would interfere with existing NTSC operations.

Quote:
The problem is those businesses are sitting on the valuable spectrum our government handed out to them. By further delaying the DTV transition, valuable public spectrum will not be returned sooner, and not auctioned out for their rightful use, and not provide revenue in the hundreds of billions that the government badly needs in the years to come.
Please define"rightful use."


If you take a look at those spectrum auctions, you will find that many of the companies that won a bid either defaulted on the auction fees or went bankrupt because their business plan for that spectrum was faulted or market conditions had changed. The spectrum argument can be traced back to the Communications Act of 1934. The precedent is that the limited amount of spectrum is the resource of all of the country's citizens. How does auctioning spectrum off to private companies - who turn around and charge the citizens of the country for the use thereof - benefit the general citizenry? Broadcast television - whether it is analog or digital - makes news and information programming FREE to everyone. All that is required is the appropriate receiver.


Who did the American public turn to for coverage of the September 11th terrorist attacks? The answer is they overwhelmingly turned to broadcast stations. The networks and broadcasters suspended regular programming and commercials for the better part of a week to cover that situation. They fulfilled their public obligation in doing so even though it meant the loss of sorely needed revenues in what was already a tough year. The difference is that the OTA broadcast system was able to deliver to all those people who can't afford cable/DBS or live on mobile platforms (boats and trailers/RV's). That is the value the American public derives from broadcaster's use of the spectrum.

Quote:
You don't upgrade by such and such date, then you lose what is allocated to you, so that it can be used by someone else, that way nothing is actually required, and the choice is left to the stations. Or even better, give out frequencies on a first-come-first-serve basis. When they run out, they run out...slow to upgrade broadcasters will simply be out of luck. I guarantee you that everyone will be upgraded in that case.
The television broadcast business is not a good place to be right now. It is a mature business (read: hard to grow profits), with competitors (cable and DBS) who benefit from subscriber and advertiser revenues. At the same time, broadcasters are expected to turn high profit margins by the Wall Street investors.


I've asked this before: If the broadcasters don't upgrade, who do you think is going to put up millions of dollar$ to build out a DTV plant (without any revenue from an existing NTSC operation) so that they can broadcast to a population where less than 1% of the total population can receive the signal? Then - given the huge DTV viewing public in Anymarket, USA - who is going to buy advertising on that station so that you can relax in the comfort of your living room and watch high quality H/DTV programming for free?


The timetable for the DTV rollout was a political decision made in 1996 (when the economy was flying high) by bureaucrats in government agency. It was a political plan, not a business plan. It made certain assumptions about revenue from spectrum auctions and the health and welfare of the broadcasting industry in the (then) future. The assumptions were wrong and the plan has to be modified if the basic tenants of it - free, OTA DTV (not necessarily HDTV) for the public - are to succeed. These delays are part of reforecasting an old plan to the reality of the day.


- Peter Dennant
 
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