FCC 07-71: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-07-71A1.pdf shows that the FCC is proposing exactly what I figured they should allow. There is no substitute for common sense. The manifestation of common sense in this instance is that to serve their existing analog cable customers, cable companies should be allowed to either provide a non-degraded digital signal to the customer premises, and perform D/A conversion there, or they can also perform that D/A conversion at the head end and transmit these signals over an analog tier over through their network. Note how, in the FCC's collective mind, "material degradation" has no impact at all on the cable companies' options in how they deliver their content to ensure "viewability." I didn't see any evidence of obsession on this issue. From the intro paragraphs: "3. First, we remind industry of our 2001 decision regarding material degradation: A broadcast signal delivered in HDTV [high-definition television] to a cable system must be carried by that system in HDTV.5 In addition, we seek comment on exactly what constitutes material degradation. "4. Furthermore, we address the statutory requirement that cable operators must make the signal transmitted by a broadcaster electing mandatory carriage viewable by all of their subscribers, and seek comment on how cable operators can implement this requirement after the end of analog broadcasting on February 17, 2009. Specifically, we propose that cable operators must comply with this 'viewability' provision and ensure that cable subscribers with analog television sets are able to continue to view all must-carry stations after the end of the DTV transition by either: (1) carrying the digital signal in analog format, or (2) carrying the signal only in digital format, provided that all subscribers have the necessary equipment to view the broadcast content. In the absence of such a requirement, analog cable subscribers (currently about 50% of all cable subscribers, or approximately 32 million house holds) would no longer be able to view commercial must-carry stations or non-commercial stations after February 17, 2009. We believe such an outcome would adversely impact the DTV transition and would unduly burden millions of consumers. "5. In interpreting both of these statutory provisions, we are mindful of the need to minimize the burden imposed upon consumers by the end of analog broadcasting in order to facilitate the successful and timely conclusion of the DTV transition. The prohibition against material degradation ensures that cable subscribers who invest in a HDTV are not denied the ability to view broadcast signals transmitted in this improved format. The requirement that cable operators make must-carry stations viewable by all cable subscribers ensures that analog cable subscribers, who today are able to view all of their broadcast stations, do not lose access to those stations as a result of the switch to digital-only broadcasting." On the subject of "material degradation," the FCC is seeking comment on how to measure this. Because just going on bit rate wouldn't take into account use of "null bits" by a broadcaster (e.g. if sending the stream as CBR rather than VBR), or compression algorithm being used. Bert ---------------------------------------------------------------------- You can UNSUBSCRIBE from the OpenDTV list in two ways: - Using the UNSUBSCRIBE command in your user configuration settings at FreeLists.org - By sending a message to: opendtv-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word unsubscribe in the subject line.