[opendtv] Delay

  • From: "Bob Miller" <robmxa@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2006 19:23:14 -0500

The whole argument over 8-VSB/COFDM back in 199/2000 revolved around
the word "delay". Even talking about the problems of 8-VSB was termed
a "delaying tactic". The horror of missing the numbers for one quarter
for the CEA crowd crowded out any possibility of honest discourse.

Congressman Dingel told the DoD to but out, stop talking about
homeland security issues and COFDM because selling HDTV sets is the
most important thing and we can broach no "DELAY". Sinclair was tarred
with the same term. Sinclair would delay the sale of high margin HDTV

OTA DTV and 8-VSB with no delay was going to drive the sale of HDTV
sets and make billions for CEA companies.

Well six or seven years later we can look back and see that OTA DTV
with 8-VSB did not drive sales of HDTV sets. If 50 to 60% of those who
have purchased an HDTV set have NO HD service of any kind including
OTA then why did they buy their HDTV?

If we know that 88% of households (J.D. Powers) have cable and
satellite, that 2% have no TV at all and that another 3% steals cable
or satellite, we have around 7% who still depend on OTA for TV.

And we know....

"While high-def sets are in nearly 25 million U.S. homes, industry
officials estimate that less than 10 million actually have the tuners
necessary to watch high-def signals."


That's 40% of HD households that have actual HD when all they
supposedly have to do is buy an STB and antenna or maybe just the
antenna to get HD. Obviously something other than OTA DTV drove at
least 60% of sales. Obviously at least 60% of HD buyers don't even
know of OTA HDTV or don't want it for some reason.

Of the 40% who have HD service I would expect, they being the most
affluent part of our society, that most have cable or satellite.

Who then is getting their HD fix from OTA? How many of those 10 million or 40%?

How many of the seven percent who still depend on OTA are getting HDTV OTA?

How many are going to stick with OTA HD of those who have it now?
How many cable or satellite subscribers will switch to or add OTA?
How many satellite subscribers now use OTA because they have to?
How many of the seven percent who depend on OTA analog will switch to
OTA digital at analog shut down?
How many of those seven percent OTA dependent will be wooed away by
cable and satellite around analog shut down?

I suggest that OTA HDTV represents from 1 to 2 percent now and will
climb to 3 to 4 percent after analog shut down max.

Not many IMO. Not enough to justify maintaining free OTA broadcasting
on all that spectrum.

What if we had talked about doing a multicast DTV like the UK but with
HD interspersed with the SD unlike OZ where multicast was outlawed?
What if we had a modulation that worked well mobile and fixed?

I would bet that OTA would have driven HD far more than it has. That
there would be more OTA receivers in the US today than households, and
that all thing OTA including HD would be in the ascendant instead of
the gutter.

As it is HD is still being driven by DVDs. More HD sets will be sold
this Christmas than HD services. And I mean that for every 100 HDTV
sets sold less than 40 new HD services will be sold. So the percentage
of HD owners who have some kind of HD service, 40%, is going down.

In the end virtually all of us will have HDTV sets, we will all have
HD service, I take that as a given.

But will any of us have free OTA HD and does it matter? I don't know.

One thing I do know, 8-VSB has DELAYED HDTV sales.

Bob Miller

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