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Gives a good overview of why not enough HDTV is on cable and satellite.


Notes that the smaller station groups are holding out for money while the larger ones, like Viacom and Disney, have made deals. But not necessarily an exchange of cash but more bundling deals. For instance, Viacom may have gotten agreements for wider carriage of MTV2 for instance while Disney may have secured more money for ESPN2 carriage.


Cable operators are insistent that they should not have to pay for carriage -- they currently do not pay for carriage of analog signals. On the other hand, some small station owners are militant about not giving away their assets.


The article also points out that HDTV carriage is becoming a bigger issue, citing a Yankee Group study which forecasts there will be 10 million HDTV displays in the installed base sometime this year. The station owners recognize that HDTV is becoming a battleground between cable and satellite and they are consciously trying to exploit this competition.


Lobbyists for the cable industry and the NAB are both petitioning the FCC. The cable industry says there is digital retransmission deals for only 300 of the nation's 1129 digital stations. The cable industry lobbyist notes that not all of those involve HDTV signals while the NAB spokesman says the "vast majority" of those deals involve HDTV transmissions.


If at least the cable industry is willing and able to carry HDTV channels, why would the FCC not issue a "must carry" order for HDTV? Wasn't it the cable industry who contested must carry for analog while the stations wanted it? Seems like a reversal of positions with the obvious reason being the stations wanting to extort money from cable and satellite.
 

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Originally posted by wco81
If at least the cable industry is willing and able to carry HDTV channels, why would the FCC not issue a "must carry" order for HDTV?
The FCC can't force must carry of HDTV signals on cablecos when they do not require broadcast stations to transmit HDTV signals.
 

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Keep in mind that "must carry", means the cable operation has to carry the signal, but the broadcaster cannot charge for it. While local analog channels are already entitled to must carry, most of the big 4 network affiliates "waive" must carry, electing instead to negotiate a retransmission consent deal, for which they can receive compensation (not always in cash, usually in agreements for mutual purchase of advertising). For HDTV signals, most cable operators would welcome "must carry". It would completely undermine the broadcasters who are holding out for money.


The cable position has not necessarily been that they shouldn't pay for digital signals because they get the analog for free (for independent stations yes, but not for the networks), but they shouldn't pay for the digital signal since they already pay for that same content in analog. Just because it's in a different format doesn't mean it's not the same programming.
 

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but they shouldn't pay for the digital signal since they already pay for that same content in analog
Greg it is kind of funny that your company feels that it is something you shouldn't pay for twice, yet forces your customers to have digital to be able to receive something that by your own words is something they already pay for......... maybe if Cable companies passed on the "free" channels free then more people would have HD. Requiring Digital cable to receive any HD is a hidden fee forcing people to pay for something they are already paying for.........
 

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HD must carry appears to be irrelevant at NYC's Time Warner Cable. An official has indicated they're out of bandwidth for new HD channels. Supposedly TWC is working to remedy the problem later this year. A few standard channels, reportedly, have been dropped.


TWC here, like other systems, requires a big chunk, ~600 MHz of its 860-MHz here, for legacy analog channels. (So far, no indication TWC will adopt Pace or similar hardware to bypass analog bandwidth hogging.) The remaining space is occupied by hundreds of MPEG-2 digital channels, apparently about 8 per 6-MHz slot (non-H/DTV). Both analog and digital are instantly tunable. But video on demand, via streaming video from TWC's disk servers, must require lots of spectrum, too, especially during peak VOD periods. Wonder if there's also a 'switched' HD video delivery technique, akin to VOD, that only pipes HDTV to local cable nodes when it's requested? -- John
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by foxeng
The FCC can't force must carry of HDTV signals on cablecos when they do not require broadcast stations to transmit HDTV signals.
Yes, but Congress can.
 

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Originally posted by dandrewk
Yes, but Congress can.
How can the FCC force cablecos to carry "HD", ie 720p, 1080i, when the broadcasters are not required. Just upconvert 480i/p all the time? Now that make NO sense.
 
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