At 1:29 PM -0800 1/24/08, Dale Kelly wrote:
Craig, This is an academic argument that you circulate with regularity. Surely you aren't seriously suggesting that we scrap the billions of dollars invested in the current DTV transmission system. Would the potential recipients of this freed up spectrum be willing to fund the enormous amount of construction required to implement such a change?
If you are inferring it is an academic argument, BECAUSE broadcasters are not interested in changing their ways I agree completely. You are a prime example.
It should be obvious that the potential recipients of the current OTA DTV system do not have the resources or the desire to fund such a change. Frankly they are the bottom feeders, illegal aliens, and a handful of folks like Bert who simply refuse to pay for a subscription service. Do you think Bert would be willing to pay to help build the infrastructure for a service that could deliver 40 or more different programs to him in the free and clear?
The cost of building a new infrastructure would by necessity be paid by the revenues that can be generated. And the only way to generate those revenues would be to get people to STOP paying for a subscriptions service and START watching OTA television again - i.e. the broadcasters would need to spend some of their advertising revenues to build the infrastructure. With 22 billion in revenues last year and a 10% increase forecast for this year, I think they could manage it, especially if it meant that the ad revenues and revenues from new services would increase revenues to the industry substantially. Please note that this new service can deliver both free and paid programming. Delivering HD movies to millions of DVRs could be a very attractive business...
Also, you should learn more about the FCC allocation process. Many UHF channels can not be utilized within a market simply because they are
"Taboos"...I am well aware of the FCC allocation process, taboo channels et al. One of the biggest failures of the whole DTV process is that the FCC was ill equipped to handle the allocation process and flatly rejected any change in the infrastructure, as they had no way to deal with such a change.
If you doubt this, look at the role that the FCC has played in the build out of the cellular and wireless telco infrastructure. The industry deals with these issues - they do not rely on a bunch of bureaucrats.
It is absurd to compare the issues with the current high power infrastructure with the issues that would be involved in building SFNs in congested areas (and repeaters in rural areas). We are talking about much lower power levels, lower towers, and the use of directional masks to control emissions at the boundaries of markets. I TOTALLY reject Bert's assertions that this is not feasible. NO country has built the kind of infrastructure I am talking about for TV. MANY countries have built comparable infrastructures for wireless telecommunications.
I'm not alone in my ramblings. I'm simply trying to paddle upstream against a very strong current of "tradition."
As for scrapping the billions in infrastructure costs already invested in DTV, that would not be necessary.
First, I am not advocating using SFNs everywhere, just where they make good sense in terms of "congestion" (i.e. markets in close proximity that serve very large segments of the population). As I have explained before, the correct approach would be to pool all transmission resources, use what makes sense and re-deploy assets to other areas as it makes sense. The big sticks will still be an important component of the infrastructure in geographically "isolated" areas. Many other sticks may simply be trimmed down to a lower height and lower power levels. And many of the new transmission sites can be accommodated on existing buildings. The problem is not anywhere near as difficult or expensive as you and Bert like to portray.
The total investment by broadcasters in the new DTV infrastructure is split into two areas;
Transmission Physical plantThe physical plant investments are not generally affected by this discussion, although the ability to deliver 40 or more channels in a market would require some additional expense.
And the transmission investment to date is probably less than $10 billion. This is a fraction of what competitors have spent to deliver your bits.
I am not saying that what i am suggesting is going to happen any time soon. There is absolutely no appetite for change by those who now run the industry. What there IS an appetite for is to get every viewer who subscribes to a multi-channel system to pay for Free TV. Those transmitters are just the protection payments that must be made to keep this cash cow alive...
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