[opendtv] Re: OTA and MVPD competition

At 8:58 AM -0500 2/11/08, John Shutt wrote:
----- Original Message ----- From: "Craig Birkmaier" <craig@xxxxxxxxx>

They could not use part. It would take almost the entire channel (at least 12-15 Mbps to equal the HD quality delivered by ESPN. For this they would potentially grow ratings by the 15% that ESPN lost when MNF moved to cable.

First, using 720p, I doubt that any cable system is devoting 15 Mbps to ESPN-HD. Second, there is no reason why the *free to air* version of ESPN couldn't be widescreen 480p, which would be easy to create from the 720p version, and would compress nicely and take up even less space than NTSC derived 480i, and telling their viewers if they wan HD then they PAY for it through cable or DBS.

John

Your idea is interesting, however, I can think of several reasons why this would not work.

Cable is giving ESPN-HD about 12 Mbps, possibly more. perhaps someone with the right tools could verify this.

Most cable subscribers will still be watching the downconverted 4:3 NTSC version via extended basic, not the HD feed . Over time this will change, however, until cable drops the analog tiers this will continue to be the case.

Cable will not agree to the current and future demands of ABC/ESPN for subscriber fees if they do not have exclusivity. They would not be happy if most of their viewers were watching a 4:3 NTSC version while ABC affiliates offered either widescreen 480P or 720P. I sincerely doubt that Disney could make more money by offering a reduced resolution version via OTA stations.

If OTA stations could use H.264 the prospects would be better. The ONLY think I can see happening is a low bit rate H.264 feed for mobile viewers using the new MPH standard, and I can virtually guarantee that this would be a PAID subscription service.

In other words, broadcasters are NOT going to kill the retransmission consent golden goose by direct competition with cable to deliver programming to fixed receivers, but they may well attempt to develop a subscription package for the NEW MPH service.

I'll even go so far as to predict that most bits will be allocated to the MPH service within five years of the date when MPH broadcasts begin; stations will use only 2-4 Mbps of the total to maintain one program stream in the free and clear. This is probably the only way that TV broadcasters can survive.

Regards
Craig






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