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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
From Broadcasting and Cable :

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More than 45% of U.S. TV households subscribe to digital-TV services, according to a new survey commissioned by satellite-TV company DirecTV Inc. and performed by the Chicago-based Angell Research Group.


The survey also found that 37% of people said they could go only one or two days without watching TV, 36% of people turn on their TV within 15 minutes of getting home and 68% of people watch TV with others.


One-quarter of viewers said they most frequently watch news shows, while 7% admit they watch TV for 11 hours at a time or longer and 1% said they watch TV while undressed.


It was unclear how many viewers would admit to watching 11 hours of news in a row while naked.


Angell surveyed 1,000 adults over 21 in June to learn about their TV-viewing habits and compiled that information into a new report, entitled "How We Watch TV."
Some people may disagree about what constitutes DTV penetration towards the 85% analog shutoff threshold, but I say these numbers are very encouraging.
 

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Hmmm, although I don't know, I would ASSUME that the 85% would mean that 85% of the households would have to be capable of receiving digital OTA transmissions. Since this survey has the word "subscribe" in it, I would think that it would have nothing to do with the 85% number as it relates to the analog cut-off date, as it would obviously pertain to DBS or digital cable.
 

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1,000 people..I love that. So really about 450 people are DTV ready and 10 people watch TV undressed.......


1,000 out of 200+ million is far too small of a sample to be really encouraging IMO.


What they really need to do is go back to the makers and get sales figures for HDTV ready sets or expand the sampling pool to 5,000 or 10,000 ask specifics regarding HDTV and so forth. And yes, I'm aware of the logistics of that large of a sampling pool..
 

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quote: "More than 45% of U.S. TV households subscribe to digital-TV services"


That's DIGITAL-TV subscription, not HDTV. They must be counting the total DirecTV plus Dishnetwork plus digital cable subscriptions to get that 45% figure. It's arguable if you can even call that "digital-TV".


Total HDTV sets are about 10% of total. Only 10 to 20% of those actually bought the HD receiver. Actual HDTV viewers are much less than 2% of total.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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Originally posted by Darin
I would ASSUME that the 85% would mean that 85% of the households would have to be capable of receiving digital OTA transmissions. Since this survey has the word "subscribe" in it, I would think that it would have nothing to do with the 85% number as it relates to the analog cut-off date, as it would obviously pertain to DBS or digital cable.
Nope, DBS and cable are specifically included in Congress' instructions of how the 85% is to be achieved, as specified in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. It doesn't state that they need to be received OTA, but in a combination of OTA and multichannel providers that carry the digital signals in any form.

Quote:
Originally posted by HDTV888
That's DIGITAL-TV subscription, not HDTV. They must be counting the total DirecTV plus Dishnetwork plus digital cable subscriptions to get that 45% figure. It's arguable if you can even call that "digital-TV"
The transition is not predicated on HDTV, but on DTV capability. To that end, if you receive your 4 major local networks via DBS or cable, it counts towards the 85%.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by vruiz
The transition is not predicated on HDTV, but on DTV capability. To that end, if you receive your 4 major local networks via DBS or cable, it counts toward the 85%.
Right, but digital cable is not categorized as DTV, right?


I suppose the info can indicate with digital cable, a cable system is technically capable of delivering a DTV signal, so in that respect it's still a good sign.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Digital cable and DBS are capable of carrying the retransmitted digital OTA signals (they don't have to be in HDTV form) so they meet the requirements put forth by Congress in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by vruiz
Nope, DBS and cable are specifically included in Congress' instructions of how the 85% is to be achieved, as specified in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997.
Hmmm, I see. But I still think that 45% number may not necessarily be a big deal in terms of what that may mean for the analog cut-off. It's quite possible that the number was 40% in 1997. In fact, if 45% means that's how many telivision households receive TV via digital OTA, or via cable/satellite, I find that number to be surprisingly low. Does that mean that 55% STILL get TV via analog OTA? I really would have expected cable/satellite combined to have much better penetration than that, even if NO ONE was receiving digital OTA. Of course, I'm sure there are a lot of people who can't/won't spend money on cable or satellite, and instead are content with their rabbit ears or outdoor antenna. But that same group will be even less likely to invest in a new TV with a digital tuner, or an STB, at least until their current set dies and ALL new TVs available have digital tuners.


That being the case, I find the numbers kind of discouraging. I don't see 2006 happening.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
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Originally posted by Darin
Does that mean that 55% STILL get TV via analog OTA?
No, it means 55% still get TV via analog OTA and analog cable.


In fact, even analog cable could be counted towards the 85% since it can carry the digital signals in downconverted form.
 

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Ah, time for the every 6 month discussion on this again, huh? As Vic is trying to point out, it's not necessarily all that complicated..at least on paper.


Lets say market "X" has all four of the Big 4 Networks up and running in full power digital. If the cable co's in that market began sourcing their local channels from the digital side and the DBS co's started re-transmitting the local channels from the digital side, you'd have basically met the 85% of the household threshold because all that is required here is that people still have a means to view their local channels. Obviously if they use a multi-channel provider thats provides those channels one way or the other, that would be good enough to shut down the analog side. Give or take all the backlash from people with secondary sets in the home that are OTA only ..nevermind the small percentage of households that dont use any multichannel provider at all.


Point being though, the 85% number has nothing to do with that percentage of homes actually owning some sort of digital OTA tuning device of their own. Just that no more than 15% would be "in the dark" as to local channels (regardless of format or resolution) if the analog channels were turned off.


And that 85% number isnt all that much really overall (especially in the top 100 markets) when you figure that between cable and DBS, they already have that sort of penetration. Albeit they have a lot of wood to chop collectively before they're using the digital channels instead of the analog ones for re-transmission.
 

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It has been said that when 85% people in a given TV Market have HDTV Recievers then the Analog signals will be shut down by year 2006.


Those tv markets with less then 85% the analog signals will stay till 85% people have hdtv recievers.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by DP1
If the cable co's in that market began sourcing their local channels from the digital side and the DBS co's started re-transmitting the local channels from the digital side, you'd have basically met the 85% of the household threshold because all that is required here is that people still have a means to view their local channels. ... And that 85% number isnt all that much really overall (especially in the top 100 markets) when you figure that between cable and DBS, they already have that sort of penetration. Albeit they have a lot of wood to chop collectively before they're using the digital channels instead of the analog ones for re-transmission.
I obviously haven't been paying close attention, but this brings up a couple of questions. Do the cable & DBS providers not have any reception requirements? If cable and DBS collectively already have 85% penetration (which I wouldn't find totally surprising), then it seems like this whole 85% thing is kind of bogus. You may as well just ask them "do you want digital or analog?", since they would basically have control over the outcome anyway. Not doubting it, it's just not what I would have first expected.


I don't know about cable, but I'm pretty sure DirecTV (and probably dish) already receive local signals that mostly are not only digital, but not even OTA. I believe with DirecTV, the majority of their LIL uplinks are either over fiber or copper wire, straight from the local affiliates (at least for the major networks).
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by openhouse
It has been said that when 85% people in a given TV Market have HDTV Recievers then the Analog signals will be shut down by year 2006.


Those tv markets with less then 85% the analog signals will stay till 85% people have hdtv recievers.
Wrong. HDTV has nothing to do with it, and DTV receivers are only a small part of the story.
 

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Well if we figure that cable is in about 70 million homes give or take, and DBS is in another 20 million, that accounts for 90 million out of 105 million total tv households. Minus those that have might have both.


That said, even for the kazillion people that couldnt care less about digital vs analog when it comes to simply watching their local news, does it really matter which one it's originating in by the time it gets to thier set top box? And thats kind of the point here.


Again though, that sounds fine on paper. But it doesnt account for all the OTA only (or no set top box) secondary tv's even in cable/DBS homes or the percentage of homes that are currently OTA only. Even if the latter is only 5 or 10% we're talking millions of homes nationwide. And in the former 10's of millions of tv's. Hard to believe we're anywhere near allowing those to go dark, yet the " At least 1 tv capable of viewing the local digital channels in a home via OTA *or* from a multiple channel provider...in 85% of homes overall in a market" verbage, tends to make it sound like it could at least theoretically (if not politically) happen.
 

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1,000 people is more than enough for an accurate sample in a survey of this kind.
 

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It has really nothing to do with H(dtv) anything or A(nalog) anything. It has to do with ACCESSABLITY of your local OTA broadcaster.


When you as a viewer have access to all of your local OTA broadcasters in ANY OTHER WAY THAN picking up an ANALOG OTA signal, (fibered to local cable and then sent to you home via whatever method), local into local DBS, DTV OTA, as long as it is NOT picked up off an analog air signal, you then qualify in that 85% number.


The FCC is right now taking the afore mentioned Balanced Budget Act of 1997 rules and clarifying and strengthening reception methods to be included in the Congressionally required once every two year DTV review (which we are in right now) rules realignment.


Just because a person has digital signals available to them does not automatically put them in the 85% rule. If their cableco receives the local OTA broadcasters off air via an analog broadcast transmitter, and offer ESPN-HD on a digital tier, they DO NOT qualify in the 85% number. It is now being assumed (and soon to be confirmed) that a household with DBS and gets their local OTAs via DBS, then DO qualify in the 85% number. The trick is, in a lot of Dish local markets and now DirecTV is starting to do this, they are putting up local receive antenna sites and pull the locals off ANALOG AIR. it is assumed and soon to be confirmed that those markets with a central analog OTA receive site for DBS WILL NOT COUNT in the 85% number. Those markets who have direct fiber feeds to the DBS WILL COUNT toward the 85% number. There are SO many nuances here, that the FCC is doing this clarification.


It isn't as clear cut as it seems.
 

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Foxeng,


OK, the DBS services are currently pulling analog OTA signals. Is it really a big deal for them to switch to pulling digital OTA? I would think this is not a big problem.


I think Dan is right in pointing out that the political problem (how many people can be cut off) is much more important than the arithmetic of getting to 85%. I think that Congress will not really allow 15% of people to have their TV signals die. Maybe it depends on who controls Congress in 2006, because I guess most of the 15% of the population who are analog OTA users are likely Democrats.
 

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If memory serves me right, that 85% criteria applies on a market by market basis, not national penetration.


That means that, theoretically, some heavily cabled markets could hit the analog shut-off years before the less cabled markets. Also, it is a mistake to assume that folks subscribing to DBS satellite don't also watch analog OTA -- if you're in a good reception area, the OTA picture quality can be significantly better than what you'll see via satellite, and that does matter to some viewers.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by obrien1988
Foxeng,


OK, the DBS services are currently pulling analog OTA signals. Is it really a big deal for them to switch to pulling digital OTA? I would think this is not a big problem.
I know for a fact that DirecTV gets most of their stations via direct connection fiber optic. That is how my station gets to DirecTV but I know they are talking about changing us to analog off air to save fiber costs.


I know for a fact that Dish gets most of their stations from central receive sites in the markets and they use the analog signals.


You are correct, it is not a big deal, but there is no law that says the DBS's CAN'T get local signals this way and as long as the analogs are there, they can take them and until they are forced either by law or lack of signal, they will stay that way. Of course the FCC can change that rule anytime they want.

Quote:
I think Dan is right in pointing out that the political problem (how many people can be cut off) is much more important than the arithmetic of getting to 85%. I think that Congress will not really allow 15% of people to have their TV signals die. Maybe it depends on who controls Congress in 2006, because I guess most of the 15% of the population who are analog OTA users are likely Democrats.
Well you are wrong there. Broadcasters have been using that disenfranchised argument for years, but in the last two years Congress on BOTH sides of the aisle have been getting very serious about leaving that 15% behind because there is money to be made for the government by auctioning off the unused analog TV channels.
 
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