[opendtv] Re: Broadcasters Cut Out of Convergence

  • From: Tom Barry <trbarry@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2006 20:23:24 -0500


- Tom

Mark Aitken wrote:
> I have a googleplex of words to say in response, but there is NOT a pip=
> big enough to accept either the total amount (...nor the peak rate) of =

> verbiage and expletives without clipping the response to a meaningless =

> dribble of words. So...seeing that anything less than everything would =

> allow a loss of  meaning for many, I will remain silent in my response.=
> Besides, I think most of what remains unsaid by me at this time HAS bee=
> said here before!
> Mark
> Junior Warrior in this (as of now apparently lost) battle...
> Craig Birkmaier wrote:
>>Perhaps the ball is starting to move.
>>At least we are now seeing a major Broadcast publication tell it like i=
t is.
>>Broadcasters are "forcing" the content conglomerates to bypass them;=20
>>as a result they are finally beginning to understand why they are=20
>>watching from the sidelines...
>>Broadcasters Cut Out of Convergence
>>January 19, 2006 12:00am
>>Source: Broadcasting and Cable
>>As the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and MacWorld Expo wound down=20
>>earlier this month, the takeaway was that the long-hyped=20
>>"convergence" between the broadcasting, consumer-electronics and=20
>>computer industries had finally become a reality.
>>Hardware manufacturers at CES demonstrated a range of non-traditional=20
>>devices for viewing television, from cellphones to portable video=20
>>players to computers with digital-video- recording (DVR) capability.=20
>>Internet companies, not setmakers, grabbed headlines with deals,=20
>>including Google's plan to sell CBS programming through its new Video=20
>>Over at MacWorld Expo, Apple chief Steve Jobs announced that iTunes=20
>>had sold 8 million music videos and TV shows since mid October and=20
>>that NBC will sell clips from Saturday Night Live  on the online=20
>>What is unclear is the role broadcast stations will play in this new=20
>>era, particularly in regard to mobile viewing. The mobile devices=20
>>touted at CES all have a common thread: They don't rely on broadcast=20
>>spectrum. Most of the broadcast networks' new video services aimed at=20
>>computers or handheld devices are delivered via the Internet, usually=20
>>through a cable company or telco, or over cellphone networks. And=20
>>most don't offer stations a cut of the revenue pie.
>>"I was at CES, looking at these things, and it gives one pause,"=20
>>admits Clear Channel Television Chief Technology Officer Mike DeClue.=20
>>"The broadcasters are definitely getting squeezed."
>>NBC and ABC aren't offering affiliates anything from their iTunes=20
>>deals, but CBS has taken a different tack, sharing some of the 70%=20
>>cut it gets from Google Video Store with the network's affiliates,=20
>>according to a person with knowledge of the deal. Google gets the=20
>>remaining 30% of revenues from sales of CBS shows at $1.99 each. (CBS=20
>>is also sharing revenue with owned-and-operated stations in markets=20
>>where it is offering video-on-demand programming through Comcast.)
>>Lynn Claudy, senior VP of science and technology for the National=20
>>Association of Broadcasters, says broadcasters "should be=20
>>uncomfortable" with the new focus on small screens and Internet=20
>>video. While some stations are providing short news and sports clips=20
>>through mobile-phone providers, and companies like Modeo and Qualcomm=20
>>are developing systems that deliver live video to cellphones, Claudy=20
>>thinks stations need to reach consumers directly. That may require=20
>>broadcasting to mobile devices.
>>"For a broadcaster, the best deal is never going to be giving your=20
>>product to someone else to distribute to their customer," says=20
>>Claudy. "You want to use your own infrastructure. The future of=20
>>broadcasting is more tied to the control of getting that signal to=20
>>consumers than getting it to a headend or central office and getting=20
>>a check."
>>That will be a challenge. The U.S.' Advanced Television Systems=20
>>Committee (ATSC) digital-television standard was not originally=20
>>designed to support mobile reception, which was one of the criticisms=20
>>station groups like Sinclair Broadcasting leveled in the late '90s=20
>>when they pushed for a switch to the European DVB digital television=20
>>standard. The industry is still working to tweak the U.S.' VSB=20
>>(Vestigial Sideband) transmission scheme to enable mobile reception,=20
>>and a solution is several years away.
>>"In terms of reaching mobile devices with ATSC digital-television=20
>>[DTV] signals, the short answer is, we are not there yet," says ATSC=20
>>President Mark Richer. "The challenge is that we have to develop the=20
>>solution with a certain level of backwards-compatibility so existing=20
>>viewers can still get high-definition TV and other services."
>>In 2004, ATSC approved a standard called Enhanced-VSB that is=20
>>supposed to allow digital reception under weaker signal conditions.=20
>>The system allows stations to lower their data rate in exchange for=20
>>making the DTV signal easier to receive. But Enhanced-VSB has yet to=20
>>be commercially deployed, and ATSC is pushing for further=20
>>In addition to improvements in receiver technology and video=20
>>compression, U.S. broadcasters might need a different transmission=20
>>architecture to support mobile DTV applications. Richer says some=20
>>markets may have to adopt the European approach of using multiple=20
>>small transmitters, all broadcasting on a single frequency, to ensure=20
>>handheld reception.
>>Stations have already tried to make a business of transmitting=20
>>content to computers through their digital television spectrum. In=20
>>the late '90s, various station groups joined forces behind DTV=20
>>"datacasting" concerns like Geocast that promised to deliver content=20
>>to PCs, but those efforts disbanded as DTV receiver chips were slow=20
>>to make it into PCs.
>>Capitol Broadcasting is still testing a DTV datacasting service in=20
>>Raleigh, N.C., but has shifted its focus to providing content through=20
>>cellphones with its News Over Wireless service (see B&C  Special=20
>>Report, 1/2 issue). "For us, it's not an issue of 'Does digital TV=20
>>data broadcasting work?'" says Sam Matheny, general manager of News=20
>>Over Wireless. "It absolutely works. It's a matter of getting a=20
>>critical mass of devices out there to receive content."
>>ABC isn't currently involved with any efforts to support datacasting=20
>>or other ancillary services through the digital spectrum, says Albert=20
>>Cheng, executive VP of digital media for the Disney/ABC Television=20
>>Group. Instead, the network is delivering content to the broadband=20
>>and mobile-phone platforms. Part of that is technical expediency,=20
>>because there is already a large number of PCs and cellphones ready=20
>>to receive content. The other reason is the challenge of reaching a=20
>>datacasting agreement with more than 200 broadcast affiliates, which=20
>>Cheng says is "like running Congress: Everyone has a different agenda.
>>"We want to do something national," he adds. "[But] we only own 10=20
>>stations, so it's quite an effort to corral the different parts of=20
>>One encouraging thing to come out of CES for broadcasters was the=20
>>introduction of thumb-size DTV receivers that fit into the USB port=20
>>of a laptop or PC. Such devices could help promote the delivery of=20
>>DTV content to PCs. And as the downloading of Internet video becomes=20
>>more popular, DeClue thinks it may overload existing broadband=20
>>networks and force content distributors to look for new delivery=20
>>channels. Who better to distribute a download of Desperate Housewives=20
>>to 500,000 PCs in a market, DeClue asks, than broadcasters?
>>"There is already an overlaying mechanism that can distribute content=20
>>really seamlessly, in an encrypted fashion, in a local market," he=20
>>says. "That is DTV."
>><<Broadcasting and Cable -- 01/19/06>>
>><< Copyright =A92006 Reed Business Information. All Rights Reserved. >>=

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