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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There has been a major shift with the position of the National Association of Broadcasters to cable "must carry" of DTV signals. Check out this article http://www.emonline.com/topstorys/102901nab.html at Electronic Media to read how the NAB will no longer fight with the NCTA on "dual carriage" of analog and digital signals over cable systems.


Of real interest is the response from the "cable industry source". If the broadcasters are dragging their feet, the cable industry are not even moving theirs.


- Peter Dennant
 

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HDTV advocates better watch this very carefully. Essentially, the NAB is saying it is more important that all of their member's stations' multicasts are eventually carried on cable than it is for them to get dual analog/digital carriage of only their primary (HDTV) signal during the transition. The article says:


"The new total-carriage proposal would require operators to carry everything offered on the DTV signal, whether that consists of a single high-definition TV signal, several compressed standard TV signals or an electronic sandwich of TV signals and data."


Of real interest is the NAB's continuing fight to get cable carriage of non-HDTV channels, data services, and whatever else they feel like broadcasting.
 

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So what else is new?


If the FCC does not require cable to carry broadcasters' primary DTV channel, that leaves Charlie as the only HD player in America.


Again, we get down to Business 101. Until the local broadcasters and cable systems have a business model (including appropriate tech) where they can make money in the analog to digital transition, HDTV will continue to whither on the vine.
 

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I think the shift on the NAB's stance is a response to a different proposal floating around the FCC to cap the "dual carry" bandwidth to 6MHz for analog and 3MHz for digital. (returning the analog spectrum once the transfer is complete) If this were adopted, I can't see how cable could carry any HDTV at all.

The NAB proposal seems better because it at least requires the full 6MHz digital spectrum to be carried, allowing HDTV on cable.
 

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Quote:
I think the shift on the NAB's stance is a response to a different proposal floating around the FCC to cap the "dual carry" bandwidth to 6MHz for analog and 3MHz for digital. (returning the analog spectrum once the transfer is complete) If this were adopted, I can't see how cable could carry any HDTV at all.

The NAB proposal seems better because it at least requires the full 6MHz digital spectrum to be carried, allowing HDTV on cable.
If cable uses QAM, they can double the usable payload over ATSC, so 3MHz is fine for HDTV on cable in that configuration.
 

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I'm not into all the technical specs, so forgive me if this is an obvious question. But do cable's analog and digital channels travel down the same wire? In other words, are they sharing space in the pipe to begin with, or do they have their own pipes?


I always wondered why cable companies couldn't just start carrying the digital broadcast channels and handle any conversion at the box. If the end user has a digital system capable of receiving the full digital signal, they output through component jacks. If not, they go out through an S-video or some other type of jack downconverted to analog. I'm probably really oversimplifying this. I just look at my Dish 6000 receiver and with it, I can watch digital signals through an analog output to my tv, or I can switch to the pure digital signal. Why can't cable boxes be made to do the same thing? No dual-carry problems, every set is serviced in its native format.


What's wrong with my assumptions?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The only ignorance is not knowing when to ask the question.


Digital and analog signals are usually modulated down the same fiber optic "pipe". The problem is that the cable companies don't want to give up any more of their fiber optic "spectrum" than they have to to television purposes...they can make more money, MHz-to-dollar, using it for other purposes.


- Peter Dennant
 

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What a crock of s***. Sounds to me like broadcasters are trying to get a slice of the cable modem pie... If they use their bandwidth to datacast and the cable co is required to carry their signal, the broadcasters have a free fat wire going into every cable subscribers home. Its cable television, and thats what the cable companies should carry, television.
 

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19mbs is not a fat pipe.

Plus there is no backchannel for return data.


Believe me broadcasters do not want to become

Internet Service Providers.


But,

They may want to "Enhance" a program.

To do this they need the cable company to carry the entire 6mhz.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Quote:
Its cable television, and thats what the cable companies should carry, television.
The cable companies, through their NCTA organization, have made it perfectly clear that when it comes to DTV they feel they are only responsible for passing the primary programming. So, if during certain dayparts of the broadcast day, a broadcaster chooses to transmit three program streams of SDTV, the cable companies would only be responsible for conveying one...the primary.


As someone else said, "This is just Business 101". Cable companies have a finite amount of spectrum on a fiber optic cable. All they want to do is get the maximum bucks for the bang. By allocating a minimal amount of bandwidth to broadcast and traditional cable purposes, they can maximize the rest for telephone and high speed internet services which are much more lucrative.
 

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This probably wouldn't be so much of an issue if cable companies didn't hold monopolies for the most part in the areas that they serve. If customers complain that they want new programming, what is the incentive if there's only one game in town?


I see this situation as another reason for the DirecTV/Echostar merger to be approved. DBS is the only real competition in town for cable, and if Charlie Ergen can make good on his word to provide digital programming that the cable industry is resisting, it may be enough to force them to rethink their position in lieu of losing subscribers to DBS.
 

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I agree. Cable will not act unless they begin to lose substantial subscribers to DBS.


Once all the networks/cable channels offer HD and SD programming on DBS, who will stick with cable when the price is similar?


Ergen realizes that he will make his money off of premium and PPV programming and Internet access. He will be able to afford to give away basic for a song.
 

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The broadcasters have already been given 6mhz of the public airwaves, then another 6mhz for HDTV, AND before that they where given 6mhz of space from all privately financed cable systems. Somehow the broadcasters feel they should get an additional 6mhz of space EACH from the cable industry?


This was pie in the sky dreaming on NAB members part.

Quote:
Originally posted by pdennant
There has been a major shift with the position of the National Association of Broadcasters to cable "must carry" of DTV signals. Check out this article http://www.emonline.com/topstorys/102901nab.html at Electronic Media to read how the NAB will no longer fight with the NCTA on "dual carriage" of analog and digital signals over cable systems.


Of real interest is the response from the "cable industry source". If the broadcasters are dragging their feet, the cable industry are not even moving theirs.


- Peter Dennant
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
David:


What about all the public right-aways the cable companies were given to provide the public with clear OTA television channels. I seem to remember that that is the reason cable companies came into existance. I don't read much about that in your posting!
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Rich Peterson



If cable uses QAM, they can double the usable payload over ATSC, so 3MHz is fine for HDTV on cable in that configuration.
It's not a QAM thing. The ATSC also developed 16VSB modulation, just for cable. Cable is a less "hostile" medium TV signals. Cable transmission doesn't need as much error correction/protection, so 16VSB allows two 19 Mb/s to fit in 6 MHz, just like cable. It's really a case of cable picking a different standard than the broadcasters (imagine that!)


My take on the NAB action is that, by not pushing for DTV carriage on cable, they are delaying the transition so that broadcasters can hang on to the extra 6 MHz they were LOANED for the transition.


Why not just carry the entire 19 Mb/s in the digital tier (either QAM, 8- or 16-VSB, or whatever) and be done with it? The bit about carrying "multiple programs taking up more space" is a cable smokescreen. Just send out the 19 Mb/s stream and let the customers decode it with their STB.


And, oh yeah... 19 Mb/s is NOT a fat pipe??? It's the fattest pipe coming into my house. Sure beats T1 (and how many people have T1 service, with honest T1 performance, at home?) woowoo is right -- broadcasters don't want to be ISPs. As for "back channel," I'll use the internet. The only "interaction" I want with my TV is on/off, anyway.
 

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1/2 the people yell at cable companies for requiring a box.


1/2 the people yell at cable companies because they have a box and some of the channels are analog (To deal with the first 1/2)


Until everyone gets a box, and realizes why a box is necessary, we will have some analog and some digital channels. And the analog channels are indeed very wasteful. The digital channels are MPEG-2 (or 1.5) compressed, eating up about 1.5 MHz. Analog channels take up the full 6 MHz.


So believe me, the cable companies would go all digital-no analog if they could get all the consumers on board (oh, and um, if the boxes were free to the cable cos it would help too :D ).
 

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Sorry, but nobody gave the cable company anything. They pay an additional percentage to the localities to be in the right of way. Just like Metricom did, just like anyone in a city can for whatever reason the city want's to Okay.


BTW, if there isn't a public right of way the cable companies will get a private right of way if they can from the land owner.


The reason you don't read about it is because the right of way is paid for. Anyone else who wants to be in the public right of ways only has to negotiate a price with the local government. This is exactly what many other companies that use the right of way do. Metricom, the wireless internet company was one such company.


And besides, what does that have to do with every broadcaster getting 24mhz of bandwidth from public and private sources with absolutely no payments for taking this space?

Quote:
Originally posted by pdennant
David:


What about all the public right-aways the cable companies were given to provide the public with clear OTA television channels. I seem to remember that that is the reason cable companies came into existance. I don't read much about that in your posting!
 
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