[opendtv] Re: 20041220 Mark's Monday Memo

  • From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "OpenDTV (E-mail)" <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 21 Dec 2004 10:57:16 -0500

>     - The $28 billion cost to cable for implementing
> the NAB plan -
> National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA)
> president Robert Sachs explained in a letter to FCC
> chair Michael Powell that it was because an estimated
> 141 million analog TV sets currently connected to cable
> without a box would need one costing between $50 and
> $200 each:
> <http://www.ncta.com/pdf_files/DTVexparte12.15.04.pdf>

This is IMO a very logical argument on the NCTA's part.
But it would be equally logical to assume that an NCTA
so concerned about the cost of providing STBs to households
would have actively gone after some sort of "plug and
play" agreement with CE manufacturers on their own,
without being prodded on by the FCC. Isn't the same cost
consideration valid for their own deployment of digital
cable channels?

The compromise position the FCC should take should be to
stick with their requirement of mandating only for the
"main program" DTT stream to be carried over cable. That
way, cable systems would have a real choice:

1. Send only a digital version to households, and provide
a D/A STB for analog households.

2. Send an analog version of the "main program stream" to
subscribers and the digital version of the same stream.
The digital version would never require more than 3 MHz
channel width equivalent over cable, if they use 256-QAM,
and may even require less than that, if SD quality is
transmitted. So this compromise costs little in extra
bandwidth, and doesn't require new STBs for analog users.

If broadcasters requested *only* the DTV main program be
carried over cable systems, instead of insisting on
everything, the rest would take care of itself.
Especially so for broadcasters that transmit content
people really want to see. Analog cable subscribers will
not do without their CSI fix every week. One way or
another, the cable companies would provide these programs.

Asking for too much might instead backfire.

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