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Do you think they will downconvert the HD signal or do you think they will launce more spot beam sats and send the HD feed?
 

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Just because its digital doesn't mean its HD. Much of the programming out there may be 480i digital with only primetime type shows in HD.
 

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If they turn off the analog stations in Houston?


Nothing will happen. I'll still get Houston CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, Fox, WB, and UPN from DirecTV.


Only 15% of this country would notice if the analog stations were switched off.
 

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Quote:
Only 15% of this country would notice if the analog stations were switched off.
Oh, please, not this tired statistic again. Folks, the 15% figure is in ragards to households that have no cable or sat connection. However, many of the 85% who do also use OTA and therefore WOULD notice the shutdown. In other words, the number who would notice is far greater than 15%. The last stats I heard was somewhere between 30%-50% that have some OTA in their households.


To answer the question of the original post, I think as analog broadcasts go away the DBS companies are going to fall behind and eventually not be able to survive. They can't continue to carry their low-resolution lower-than-SDTV stuff as more and more video on local stations migrates to HDTV since they don't have the bandwidth for it. Even with the merger, although that would help. Cable does. Overall, I am pessimistic about the future of DBS. It will be a long time, though, before this begins to hurt them I think.
 

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To say that satellite will be negatively affected AT ALL by OTA digital channels, or that digital local channels will cause a mass exodus to cable shows a great ignorance of why people choose satellite over cable, and the difference between analog and digital.


The reason people switch from cable to satellite is the improved picture quality, more channels, and lower prices.


And the reason people clamor for local channels from their satellite companies is because OTA analog looks like crap and reception is a joke at any reasonable distance.



HDTV OTA channels is not going to steer anyone who has or is considering satellite to cable. Sorry, ain't gonna happen.



The only thing high-power OTA digital broadcasts will do to satellite is make spot beams unnecessary, as DirecTV/Dish can come out with boxes that receive ATSC and completely integrate the crisp, perfect reception digital local channels into your EPGs.


Ideally, 10 years from now, in big markets like Houston, DirecTV could switch off their spot beams pointed here and point them somewhere else, and update the boxes to pick up and handle local digital OTA broadcasts and seamlessly integrate them into the DirecTV EPG. Some day, I'll be able to go into someone's house and not know whether the local channels are from DirecTV or OTA digital.
 

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All the more reason for Cable tv to get going on passing through the digital channels. Since we'll never get to the 85% of households with at least one tv capable of receiving local digital channels (which is what is needed for analog shutdown) without cable carriage to begin with, cable tv will have a ton of tv sets that people even in existing cable homes that will have to be wired with cable tv once the analog shutdown occurs because all those extra sets not currently hooked to the cable will be useless otherwise.


For that matter, DBS will have to start carrying the local digital channels too (albeit downconverted) not so much because the analog channels wont be around, but because again, we'll never get to the 85% of homes with a tv receiving the channels unless DBS is carrying them too.


I say "never", well maybe not that long, but if we have to wait around until all the households otherwise get around to purchasing a set on their own that happens to have a built in digital tuner it'll just seem like never because nobody is in any hurry to start incorporating those tuners into the millions of run of the mill tv sets that continue to be sold in this country.
 

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Originally posted by feldon23


HDTV OTA channels is not going to steer anyone who has or is considering satellite to cable. Sorry, ain't gonna happen.
You're kidding right? I have 2 U.S. DBS providers right now and I'd drop both of them tomorrow if I could get all the Networks in HD and Showtime HD and HBO HD, HD PPV and Discovery HD via cable instead. And I'm a guy that hasnt used cable tv in 12 years (C-band and DBS). I also know that I'm not alone. The masses arent going to ever dick around with antennas and such and worry about dropouts due to airplanes flying over, transmitters in different directions, local topography, seasonal changes in reception etc. Locals must come from the providers themselves not have to come from OTA regardless of whether they're analog or digital.


Crisp, perfect reception local digital channels huh? Wow, which STB are you using?
 

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I guess I don't need to say that now ;). The cable companies will definitely have the upper hand unless/until the technology changes enough to allow DBS to offer the locals in HD. They should be playing that trump card right now and laying the foundation by making their entire lineup digital instead of just the pay per view and premium channels, and adding all the independant HD channels they can get. Then lay on the HD locals as soon as possible. It could drive satellite back to the out-of-cable-range, rural-users-only category if they did it right.


ron
 

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You're kidding right? I have 2 U.S. DBS providers right now and I'd drop both of them tomorrow if I could get all the Networks in HD and Showtime HD and HBO HD, HD PPV and Discovery HD via cable instead.
You will not see any serious cable co carraige of HDNet, HD PPV, or Discovery HD for 5 years. HBO/Showtime/Locals in HD are available to approx 1% of the country right now and cable cos are fighting must-carry. It's entirely voluntary.


I hate my cable company and I hate their damn cable boxes that barely change channels right.


I guess it would help if I mentioned that I have a DirecTiVo and would NEVER go back to cable no matter what they offer, as their boxes, tech support, and downtimes SUCK!


I'll be even more committed to DirecTV when there is a DirecTV with TiVo that can record HD content. Then I will be able to record ABC, CBS, PBS, NBC, UPN, HBO, Showtime, and HDNet 1-4 all in HDTV quality. Time shifting and no commercials. Hell yes. Cable doesn't have anything on that.


If you think DirecTV is slacking as far as HD, you have not seriously considered or investigated the cable HD situation in this country!!


Quote:
The cable companies will definitely have the upper hand unless/until the technology changes enough to allow DBS to offer the locals in HD.
R11, DBS will NEVER HAVE LOCALS IN HD. It is simply physically IMPOSSIBLE. An HDTV channel requires 6 MHz of bandwidth. The Ku band is a grand total of 2,100 MHz. Only 500 MHz in this country are dedicated/allowed/licensed to Dish Network and DirecTV COMBINED.


To have CBS, ABC, NBC, PBS, and UPN in HD for 41 markets would be 1,200 MHz. (here comes the MPEG-4 misconceptions, I can feel em). We won't see encoding hardware and cable boxes that can deal with MPEG-4 for ~6 years.



And there is no reason why DBS should have to have locals, let alone in HD anyway!! It's only because digital broadcast of locals was not widespread.


If high-power digital broadcast of locals was available, covering a 15 mile radius of the top 41 markets, DirecTV probably wouldn't have launched a spot beam satellite for a bazillion dollars. Instead, they would have replaced all the boxes out there with smarter ones with an ATSC tuner, and all the firmware necessary to integrate the digital local OTA channels into the EPG seamlessly. You wouldn't even be able to tell you're watching a local channel OTA instead of from the satellite. (Actually you would cause the picture and sound would be a hell of a lot better!)
 

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Well wait a second feldon. You gave reasons why *you* wont ever go back. And thats fine, but thats a far cry from saying nobody else will either. No, people that dont give a darn about HDTV to begin with wont go back, why would they?


Now you're saying cable wont do this and cable wont do that. Maybe they will maybe they wont, but your point was being made on even if they do carry the channels that people wouldnt go that route.


Obviously the people that do care about H/DTV channels but havent bought in yet certainly dont like the solution of HD movie channels and what not from satellite while having integrated OTA H/DTV channels in the same box through use of an off air antenna.


If they did the satellite co's would have sold millions of HD STB's by now to all the people in the biggest markets that have had full power digital channels for some time. Instead of the paltry 300K.


And for the record, I've hammered cable co's big time for dragging their feet in this revolution because rest assured if they dont get onboard this aint gonna fly. Certainly not if left up to the DBS companies (much less mere OTA). Hell, it took DirecTv 2 years just to dedicate a 3rd transponder out of their 46 to another HD channel. Yeah, thats more than 95% of cable co's are doing today but in a couple years cable co's will have passed DBS like they were standing still in that regard. But the good news for DBS is they'll always have a core of subs that wont give a hoot about HDTV anyway.
 

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The $500 price point is the reason why DirecTV/OTA boxes are moving so slowly, that and ignorance. People don't realize how much TV is available in HDTV quality.


If DirecTV had a way to go and replace all the DirecTV boxes out there with HDTV/ATSC-capable boxes rather than put up a Spot Beam satellite, we'd all be sitting pretty right now cause DirecTV/OTA boxes would cost $200. They'd have made so many for their SD customers that the price point would be very low for everyone.
 

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R11, DBS will NEVER HAVE LOCALS IN HD. It is simply physically IMPOSSIBLE.
Uhhh, while I won't go so far as to say it will never happen and is impossible, this is more or less what I was getting at. Cable has the decided advantage. Feldon, the mast majority of people don't want an antenna and don't like to mess around with stuff, plain and simple. They want plug and play. When cable offers a complete digital lineup along with HD locals they will become pretty attractive again even to me who doesn't mind the antenna and fiddling around. BTW, my ATSC incorporated D* receiver works very well and seamlessly already. Mine has an APG though....


ron
 

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If you'll put up an elliptical dish with 3 heads and a lowpass filter to get HDTV, you'll put up a small antenna to get HDTV.


Anyone who says otherwise needs a doctor, STAT!


Actually, my DirecTiVo has APG too, which is why it reboots periodically. Gee thanks, DirecTV.
 

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The question is not right now but in 2006 (or 2010) when the analog goes away and all OTA stations are HD, what will DBS do for locals? Right now HD channels take 6 times the current SD channels. However, with the new bit encoding and MPEG4, HD channels would take only 1 1/2 the current SD channels. DBS could accomodate this with a few more spot beams.


MPEG4 is not 6 years away, it is available now. STB could be available in 18 months, sooner if they are already started. However, the problem with MPEG4 is the royalty fees. They priced MPEG4 out of the market.


Rick R
 

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Originally posted by feldon23
If you'll put up an elliptical dish with 3 heads and a lowpass filter to get HDTV, you'll put up a small antenna to get HDTV.

Yeah, as everyone on this forum has done or tried to do if they have local digital available. But theres 60 million others that wont ever do either one.


And also, if you think a "small antenna to get HDTV" means easy and glitch free reception for everybody that simply chooses to do it, I'd say you been staring at those still shots too long and not sitting down for any length of time to watch any full broadcasts. ;) Not to say some folks dont get away with doing that, but for every one of those theres another with "issues" even in areas where on paper there shouldnt be.


And Rick, I still just think they'll take the digital feed and downconvert it on their end before ever even sending it out. Then to all the subs that dont care about HD to begin with it's just another local channel. They've already gone on record as saying even with the merger and all this extra bandwidth that they'd offer a whopping 12 HD channels. I think that falls a channel or 2 short of local HD retransmission.
 

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Local stations have to be forced to broadcast at full power digitally.


Cable companies have to be forced to carry digital locals.


Which do you think will happen first? Even if they happen at the same time, cable has not gained an advantage here, sorry.
 

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DP1 I am one of the lucky ones who receive solid digital reception on all locals. As you said it did not come easy as hooking up a loop on the back of my Mits SR-HD5.


I think both cable and DSS will provide more HD content as more bandwidth is available via improved compression and increased assets are put into place for both Cable and DSS. I have read where in the last 7-10 years satellite bandwidth has increased 30 fold when you factor in improved compression and the number of transponders. With fiber optics in place in major cable systems they probably have done the same.


Still I would expect that cable companies do not have the resources to spend the money it will take to develop and install the required hardware for an effective delivery of large scale HD programming for 25 channels.


Paul Allen is looking at purchasing the Adelphia cable resources in LA at $3,300 for each of 1.2 million subscribers at about 4 Billion dollars. I don't know what the average cable bill is in LA but it probably is around $50. That would give them revenue of $720,000,000 dollars. I doubt they clear 20% of that which leaves 144,000,000 to service debt, investors which would take at least half of that. So for 72 million a year you can provide upgrades worth $60 per subscriber in the greater LA area.


Total subscribers for DirecTV 4Q 2001 were 10.7 million nationwide and last years revenues were 8.1 Billion dollars or revenue of $63.08 per month for each subscriber. If you use the same logic as above with cable you end up with DirecTV having $75.70 available for each subscriber. With that they have the customer buy advanced hardware while providing free installation and basic receivers for a commitment to programming. And they are still spending a lot to get each new customer. The merger is mainly to get rid of the Churn between Dish and DirecTV. That is the real moneymaker for them.



I would bet that cable companies don’t want to spend the money on new HD equipment because they just don’t have it. I would bet that until the cost of HD cable hardware comes down they would not be providing it without a major rental fee. So that puts cable in the same boat as DSS with HD costing the consumer a larger premium.


In time I would expect that Cable would overcome DSS in the suburban market for just the reasons you state. But it will probably take a decade before they start gaining momentum.



Of course Both DSS and Cable will have to Deal with Northpoint and MVDDS. Friend or Foe?

http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Wireless/.../nrwl0207.html
 

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I think this is an interesting discussion. A lot of good points have been raised.


I believe in a few years there will be considerable HDTV content from both local productions and nationwide sources. All the big networks and many cable stations will have at least some HDTV content included in their broadcasts. Cable TV has the bandwidth to present this content in its native resolution if they choose to. DBS doesn't. Will cable choose to keep the content in high resolution? Will it be too expensive if they do? Will people care? I don't know the answers to those questions, but I do know this is a potential huge advantage cable has over DBS.


What it boils down to for me is that I believe cable companies will have the bandwidth to present high resolution content in a higher resolution than DBS companies. I see that as a life-and-death situation for DBS companies and a big threat to their long-term survival. I believe that is part of their motivation for wanting to merge.
 

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Since I now have a HD cable box (for free), I'm not even considering upgrading my DirecTV for HD (which I put off for cost and complexity), and may even drop it.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Rich Peterson



What it boils down to for me is that I believe cable companies will have the bandwidth to present high resolution content in a higher resolution than DBS companies. I see that as a life-and-death situation for DBS companies and a big threat to their long-term survival. I believe that is part of their motivation for wanting to merge.
I fully agree.
 
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