[opendtv] Re: Are ATSC Stations Going Off The Air?

  • From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 13 Oct 2013 23:04:11 +0000

Craig Birkmaier wrote:

> No Bert. You questioned why the Telcos would allow the broadcasters to
> set up an LTE Broadcast overlay network. I answered the question from
> two perspectives:
> 1. Why it may not be in their business interest to do it themselves;

Which is precisely what I have been saying for a long time now. The cellcos 
would do it themselves, should they think it's a good idea.

> 2. Why they cannot stop broadcasters from building an LTE Broadcast
> overlay network.

Which the cellcos WILL NOT permit the phones on their networks to use. So, 
what's the point?

We have been over this in painful detail, Craig. A broadcaster's LTE overlay 
network would entail (a) lower spectral efficiency than ATSC or DVB-T2, and (b) 
a comparatively huge number of towers, just to keep their b/s/Hz halfway 
reasonable. So if broadcasters can somehow get the cellcos to use their RF 
distribution services, and I'm not sure how, that might be worthwhile. If not, 
and this is where I think we are now, then what's the point? If broadcasters 
need their OTA structure to be low cost and efficient, and won't have access to 
cellco phones anyway, they won't go with a scheme that requires 800 towers in a 
market like DC. I did the numbers for you in the past, using credible sources 
of information, so now you can google it up yourself.

I think broadcasters might be better off outplaying Aereo at that online game, 
although possibly there's some potential agreement, which I can't imagine right 
now, with the cellcos.

> IT is completely material. Without the rights to the most desirable
> content there is no benefit to building the overlay network.

Already discussed. First, the rights can be had by the cellcos, as Verizon 
proved already (even if customers were not so thrilled). Second, the owners of 
content have absolutely no reason to withhold those rights, *if* there's a 
middleman that they see as instrumental. Why would, say, Viacom, deliberately 
shut off the mobile market? That would be silly. If it's another credible 
revenue stream for them, they'll jump.

> By the way, Verizon shut down Vcast because they could not sell
> customers on ANOTHER subscription TV package:

Yes, I had suspected as much. So, what does that tell you about the 
desirability, from the cellco point of view, of sending TV to phones, in a way 
that can make the cellcos any money?

> Again this is completely material. The telcos are getting out of the
> cell tower business, choosing instead to lease space from companies
> that own and operate the cell tower sites. Broadcasters are just another
> potential customer for these companies; they can lease space on existing
> towers for a Broadcast LTE overlay network,

First point: what makes you think that "leasing space" on this third party cell 
network is as cheap for OTA broadcasters as it is to have their big stick 
(which is very often also shared with other broadcasters)? Secondly, why would 
a broadcaster care to go LTE to begin with, UNLESS he has some sort of 
assurances that cellcos will allow their phones to tune into the broadcaster 
frequencies? It's just a way of losing some more control, as far as the cellcos 
are concerned.

> 1. Technical - multiple modulation standards and frequency bands -
> most existing phones cannot work across these multiple standards
> and frequencies.

Sorry, Craig, but that's overstated and legacy. All 3G phones went to W-CDMA, 
and certainly could have been built to use the different frequency bands. Same 
goes with LTE. The TECHNICAL limitations are self-inflicted by the cellcos, not 
by the cell phone makers.

> 2. Subscriptions and Sim cards. The U.S. model is designed to lock
> customers into a carrier via two year contracts;

Again, you're not telling me anything I don't know, nor are you explaining 
anything that contradicts my point. Cellcos set it up this way on purpose, and 
I'm asking you, what would make them change their business model?


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