[opendtv] Re: A Clue as to number of OTA DTV users

  • From: "Bob Miller" <robmxa@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 13 Dec 2006 22:59:01 -0500

On 12/13/06, Albert Manfredi <bert22306@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Bob Miller wrote:


>The common wisdom here says that OTA DTV users are using
>OTA for something else? What would they be using it for? I
>never heard anyone suggest they would be using if for
>anything else.

The "common wisdom" here might be a misnomer. I'm talking about the
pathologically pessimistic ideas that you, Craig, and John Shutt keep
pushing, that anything ATSC is irrelevant.

Yes anything ATSC is irrelevant.

When you see that 19 percent of HDTV viewing is done from ATSC sources, and
that HDTVs are selling about 2:3 compared with old TVs, and the upcoming
analog shutoff, suddenly (again) the persistent pessimism is debunked.

19% of 9.8 million but that 19% is due to drop precipitously as more
people buy HDTV sets and hook them up to cable or satellite because
NOW that is where the most HD content is.

That is of those who want HD most will choose cable and satellite now
and in the future. That 19% is an abberation from the past when cable
and satellite didn't offer that much HD content. I suggest that it
will fall to 2% and that only after a small bounce because of the
analog shutdown.

>Nor is it worth if for 81% to buy a $2 antenna to try to receive
>OTA HDTV after NINE years.You find that a positive number??

I do, Mr. Pessimism, for many reasons. The price point of HDTVs has only
recently reached what the masses will buy. (And not to forget how
incomprehensibly pessimistic you were about that too, just last year.
Remember? "Oh wow, look at how sales of DTVs are increasing somehwat less
rapidly. I'll bet before long everyone is going back to NTSC 19 sets."
Remember that?)

I don't remember saying anything like that. I have always thought that
HD would do very well with cable and satellite and am amazed at the
numbers of people that have an HD now but no HD service. It amazes me
that the education on the digital transition and HD itself is so bad
that 60% of HDTV buyers don't have HD content.

My only argument was that HD would have done much better, especially
at first when there was a lot of content OTA, if OTA had worked well.

Now people are buying ED/HDTVs in numbers that will reduce that 81 percent

Maybe. It would seem like it should. After all the HDTV set they are
buying already has a receiver in it. But I won't be surprised if it
doesn't happen.

Even for all HD content sources the reality is that with more people
buying HDTV sets even less of them are buying an HD service to go with
it. Things are going the other way.

Someday we all will have HDTV's and HD content but in the mean time a
lot of funny stuff is happening due to a lack of educating and a bad

If the modulation was good I think there would be far more educating
going on about how easy it is to get free HDTV for instance. As in
other countries retailers would be showing OTA content and touting it.
In the US I beleive retailers may be going way out of their way to
keep the customer in the dark as to OTA since it can only backfire on
them with returns of 100 pound HDTV sets because of problems with OTA

If I was a retailer that is what I would be doing. Staying as far away
from OTA as possible. If someone asked me about OTA I would tell them
that the proper way to get HD content was with cable and satellite.
That OTA was a crapshoot and to not expect to get good reception. And
I would have few STBs in my store. I would not sell antennas. All my
signs would read that you need cable or satellite for real HD.

And that seems to be what most retailers are doing.

Also, receivers have been getting a lot better, even though dark forces,
perhaps encouraged by persistent pessimists, continue to block the
manufacture of lots and lots of up to date ATSC appliances. Maybe consumers
will shame these people into action.

Consumers are not going to shame anyone. Consumers will listen to word
of mouth and buy an HDTV set because it looks good in the room,
because DVDs look better on them, becaause they are bigger than their
old analog set, because they have to keep up with the neighbors. They
will put off buying the HD content because it cost more and they can
do that later.

They will not bother with the OTA receivers because no one told them
about it and even if they did they don't want to put an antenna on the

>The article says that a lot of that 19% represented early adopters

Yeah, right. There must have been a tremendous number of early adopters if
19 percent of ATSC users are only the residue, eh? I quoted the meaningful
quote: people don't automatically get suckered into additional fees for HD,
even if they have been suckered into pay TV.

Don't understand what you are saying about residue. But you do claim
that HDTV content is now a sucker play? Here I thought that HD content
was the Holy Grail. The reason for buying an HDTV set.

There are 10 million HDTV sets in homes with HD content in a country
of 110 million homes.  Some part of that 10 million represents early
adoptors of HD which is what we are talking about. A high proportion
of the earliest of these 10 million were both early adopters and in
their desperation for HD content went with OTA. They bought 2,
3,5,....12 receivers in their desperation to get decent reception.

Most of them will not/did not stay with OTA as their primary source of
HD content when cable and satellite began offering more HD content. I
have six 8-VSB receivers in my apartment. I have not used one in the
last year for anything. I have cable for HD. I will switch to FIOS in
the coming months. In the next few years I expect OTA wireless point
to point broadband to deliver all the HD I want. I expect to use OTA
broadcast DTV on channels above 51 for mobile and portable DTV.

I can't imagine using OTA DTV for anything unless Time Warner Cable
goes down at which time if I am not too lazy I will bring out one of
those 8-VSB relics as backup.

Or maybe I will just read a book.

>No if you read the article it is not excellent news.

You know, it's amazing how much of your hype and your pessimism is
continuously debunked, and yet you soldier on unperturbed.

I have not seen any of it debunked. Could you point out an  instance?

Bob Miller


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