Craig Birkmaier wrote: > The Ferree plan appeared to be heading down the > path of RETAINING the analog tiers as a quick fix > for the DTV transition. The downside of this plan > was the reality that the cable systems might > choose to carry a station's DTV signals as > downconverted analog signals, thus maintaining > compatibility with 141 million TVs. That's why I have been suggesting that broadcasters *only* insist on cable carriage of their digital program stream. And perhaps only their primary digital program stream. The Ferree plan clearly depends on cable and DBS to provide that 85 percent coverage, and at this point in time they do. It is certainly in the cable systems' own self-interest to keep supplying the analog users with the broadcasters' signals, one way or another. We saw more than once what happens when a cable system decides to drop one of the broadcaster channels. Rioting in the streets. It is also in the cable systems' own self-interest to carry the additional broadcaster DTT subchannels *if* these are interesting enough that subscribers start demanding them. Word does get around. So broadcasters ought to carefully choose their battles, and ought to trust in the demand their content generates. *And* ought to encourage the rapid availability of good DTT STBs, so that consumers can bypass cable systems that won't relay the stuff they want to see. In other words, trust that market forces can work. > A rapid transition to ALL DIGITAL CABLE just > shifts the problem from provisioning ATSC STBs > for 85% of the market versus digital cable STBs. Obviously, but the cable companies have a choice. They have already provisioned digital tiers along with their analog tier, so they can fine tune their digital and analog lineup to make room. The letter to the FCC made it sound like their only option was to go all-digital and hand out a bunch of free STBs to analog users. But in fact, *if* it's true they don't have room for the digital DTT channels, they can (for example) reduce the number of analog channels they carry to only those that have larger audiences. Offer the ones scarcely watched as digital channels only. Then offer SD D/A STBs at some reasonable monthly rate, which will soon pay for these STBs and then some. And yes, third parties offering their own STBs will help cable transition to all-digital more quickly, which ultimately will make any spectrum issue go away. But even you have said many times that people are happy to have their real expenses hidden as small monthly fees for one thing or another, rather than a visible one-time expense. So assuming people are really that gullible and financially irresponsible, cable companies should have a field day with this. Slowly migrate everyone to the digital tier. So the letter was quite disingenuous. Its purpose was simply to avoid having the FCC mandate carriage of the entire DTT multiplex. To resolve this impasse, all it takes is for the broadcasters to stop demanding carriage of the entire DTT multiplex, ask for carriage of the main DTT stream only, and trust that cable subscribers will insist that broadcasters' programs be made available from the cable system, or will look for a different TV source. (If most markets out there have no more than six local OTA stations, wouldn't carriage of the entire DTT multiplex only constitute a total of 3 6-MHz cable channels (256-QAM)? It is difficult to believe that there isn't room.) Merry Christmas all OpenDTVers! 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.