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It's about time someone slapped Powell on the wrist and told him to quit being such a limp noodle. (a slap in the face might be more effective)


This is indeed encouraging. Thanks to the gentleman from South Carolina!
 

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Yesss!! About time.
 

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Yes, good for Senator Hollings. Although, isn't this the same senator who is involved with another bill regarding copy protection that has elements which are in conflict with the best interests of HDTV viewers?

Who Stands to Gain?
  • BTW, as has been noted elswhere, Paxson Communications would be a major beneficiary and stands to receive as much as a $1B windfall, if this is allowed to happen.
  • Another fact of no small consequence: NBC owns 32.5% of Paxson.

It seriously pains me to think that those who either do not support or only grudgingly support HDTV might benefit from this ill-considered plan.
 

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If FCC thinks this handout will make digital transition sooner, they are kidding themselves. The broadcasters will be tempted to go digital sooner because of this paid ransom, but there is still no motivation for consumers to upgrade, especially since by the sellout, you can guarantee the end of OTA HDTV. What will consumers get what they don't already have? Most of them get good reception through cable and DBS, and hundreds of channels with nothing on already.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by jacmyoung
If FCC thinks this handout will make digital transition sooner, they are kidding themselves. The broadcasters will be tempted to go digital sooner because of this paid ransom, but there is still no motivation for consumers to upgrade, especially since by the sellout, you can guarantee the end of OTA HDTV. What will consumers get what they don't already have? Most of them get good reception through cable and DBS, and hundreds of channels with nothing on already.
I don't think that the "handout" has anything to do with the transition to DTV, except that, as I understand it, it's an attempt to give 21 local broadcasters an incentive to give up the second channel they were given for digital transmissions very early. The FCC had promised a big chunk of bandwidth to the wireless industry and they're trying to find a way to give them some of it now. They're allowing these 21 local broadcasters to negotiate fees with the wireless for giving up their digital spectrum allocation long before the deadline and giving those broadcasters a dispensation to continue broadcasting in their old spectrum in analog until 2005 or 70% of the homes in their markets have DTV receivers, whichever comes first (2005, for sure).


So you see, this is really a lot more about wireless than it is about DTV. The FCC has a hell of a lot more to worry about than television.


Of course, if DTV makes any significant inroads with consumers during the next four years, the broadcasters will lose advertising dollars by losing some viewers who will be loath to watch their non-digital programming. But the most optimistic industry estimates that I've read have only about 8 million new sets being sold in that time, leaving DTV market penetration still at less than 10%. Those 70% and 85% numbers aren't talking about HDTVs or EDTVs--they're talking primarily about NTSC televisions retrofitted to receive and display ATSC with some sort of STB. The people who eventually do this are only going to do it because and when they have to and it won't make any difference to them whether they're watching an ATSC or NTSC signal--it'll all look pretty much the same on their sets (except that downconverted HD ATSC will probably be presented in letterboxing, which many, many people find to be irksome).


-- Mike Scott
 

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The FCC has to mandate that all TVs will have ATSC as well as NTSC tuners, just like they did with closed captioning. The manufactures were able to include it for one dollar per set. The outboard CC boxes were selling for $200 dollars! Also, why can't these above channel60 stations be switched to a lower channel- like their DTV assigned channel?
 

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I believe the fcc thinks that allowing this other revenue stream to stations makeing the transition to dtv will speed up stations from asking for delay after delay.


Though the fcc fails to realize that a system that takes away hdtv will slow down the transition of the public to dtv ever more. Thereby delaying the delivery of the specturm they promised in teh first place as it will still be used for anolog tv.


The public beleives that the new tv system will someday give them better much better Pq then what they have. If the system in modified so that sdtv is the PQ that is deleivered, people will be even less inclined to buy dtv eqiupment.


At best this seems like a pro business scheme and not a consumer friendly idea.


a short sighted and bad idea. hopefully it will be stopped.


-tony
 

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Mike, you were right, I should have read before making any comments. As I researched some more, it becomes clear to me Paxson and folks have no intention to bear the costs and transition to digital TV, at least in the current form. They therefore are taking a measured risk for a short term gain.


On the other hand, speeding the transition and allow wireless or any other new developments, is a legit objective of FCC. I think a fair offer would be to tax the "private sale" of the spectrum so that the public, who is the owner of the spectrum, gets its fair share.


Although in the hindsight, Congress should have mandated the digital transition with more teeth, such as digital tuner in every new TV sold, digital transmission on cable, etc. But in the current political environment, it is not likely to happen.


In fact if the Paxson's deal were to go through, the Congress would have all but conceited the failure of its grand digital TV plan.


The need for additional revenue will be so great that Congress may just take a significant step to make or break the digital transition.
 
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