[opendtv] Re: CableLabs Proposes Specifications for OTA Reception in Cable Boxes

  • From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2007 16:22:09 -0500

Dale Kelly wrote:

> It occurs to me that this maybe to position Cable companies
> to take a tougher stance in retransmission consent
> negotiations. Any thoughts?

My thought: it is SO COOL to see market forces really at work. It makes
as much sense for cable companies to encourage OTA reception as it does
for DBS companies to do so. This makes life easier for *them*, and at
the same time their appeal to consumers is not reduced at all. If
anything, the stabilizing effect this should have on subscription fees
should be a good thing for consumers.

What is the "equal and opposite reaction" to this?

Ironically, my take would be that broadcasters will reduce their demands
for compensation, to prevent cable companies from making liberal use of
this technique. Broadcasters will lose some of the subscription fee
revenues they get for HDTV over cable. The next question is what effect
this will have to encouraged or discourage OTA broadcasters from
optimizing their OTA plants. That could be argued both ways. I suppose
if cable companies are very successful at this, OTA broadcasters would
then be encouraged to optimize their facilities. Conversely, if cable
customers object strongly, or if cable companies are totally inept at
making this work, broadcasters might prefer to keep their OTA plants
less than ideal.

What strange webs we weave.

This is directed only at digital OTA streams as of now. I guess that
means they don't have any legal issues to worry about, until after
analog shutoff. After analog shutoff, cable companies can probably get
away with transmitting only an SD version of the "main channel" of the
OTA broadcasts anyway, to meet their requirement. Not sure about this.

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