[opendtv] Re: Delay

  • From: "Bob Miller" <robmxa@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2006 11:51:37 -0500

I agree with Craig except for the statement that it is not the modulation today.

If we had a working modulation today, that is worked mobile and fixed
like the better COFDM based modulations, we would also have today that
30 channel OTA offering and more. We would have a number of new
innovative OTA services like the IP based datacasting service we
proposed in early 1998.

We and others would be delivering non real time content to storage
devices in your TV set, your cell phone and probably your Ipod. We
would be delivering HD, ED and SD with ED becoming a bigger part of
the mix by now. Real time would be limited to sports and news shows in
prime time or whenever they happened.

Much of the content would be free. Much of it would be PPV and some of
it would be by subscription though the difference between PPV and
subscription would be little.

Can you imagine the stampede by manufacturers to get into this market
if a COFDM modulation was OKed?

Even back in 1999 we were wined and dined by every manufacturer we
approached who thought there was the possibility of the US switching.
They all thought it was inevitable but all were afraid to speak up.
Exceptions being that Nokia sent a letter to the House Subcommittee on
Telecommunications during the hearings and Pace had a witness who was
very polite.

They all told me that they thought it was inevitable that the US would
change and that they could only get in trouble by speaking up.

The US would have more OTA receivers than households today if DVB-T
had been allowed in 2000. There would be 150 manufacturers of such
receivers and 1000 or more different models or devices that could
receive it.

OTA would be interesting and would include HD which it would have
helped promote far more than the present disaster.

Bob Miller

On 12/12/06, Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
At 10:20 AM -0500 12/7/06, Manfredi, Albert E wrote:
>Bob Miller wrote:
>>  My point is absent anyone using the OTA spectrum why not
>>  sell it off? That is what Congress is going to be thinking
>>  after the analog turnoff and all the media attention is
>>  focused on the pathetic numbers that will be very public
>>  then about who is using OTA DTV.
>As an actual user of OTA and HDTV, the idea that you distort the
>usership numbers downward and that the real issues with OTA TV are
>hidden behind this nonsensical modulation "debate" is really getting
>We have a perfect example of what ails OTA TV in the Gainesville market.
>Craig says 93 percent cable penetration. Gee, what a surpise. They don't
>even provide the major networks OTA. Is it really that hard to figure
>out why Gainesville TV customers don't care much about their ATSC tuner?

Gainesville is a small television market, adjacent (but not close
enough) to three major television markets (Jacksonville, Orlando and
Tampa). There are good reasons that we do not have local affiliates
for all of the major networks. The main reason is that the major
network affiliates in adjacent markets were able to expand their
markets by cutting deals with Cox cable to import them.  We only got
CBS when Channel 4 in Jacksonville dropped their affiliation
agreement with CBS, and WESH in Orlando (NBC) has a deal that
prevents NBC from signing up an affiliate here - they have microwave
links to get their signals to Ocala and Gainesville from Orlando.

Actually, our situation is not that different than yours, but for a
few miles difference.  You have the unique benefit of being close to
two Major TV markets, so you get multiple versions of the major
networks. The reality, however is that most of the programming you
get is duplicated, so while you can claim access to many more
channels, in reality the only major difference is that you get NBC
OTA and we can't. You may get a few additional independents as well,
but frankly, I don't watch most of the network crap when it is first
run, much less watching 24/7 re-runs.

Bob is right on the mark in terms of his analysis of the U.S. OTA
market- you are a buggy whip Bert, not the average U.S. TV consumer.
Bert is correct that the core issue here is not "modulation." people
have abandoned NTSC in droves, and it basically works. Broadcasters
do not need to be competitive with cable and DBS because they rely on
cable and DBS to reach their viewers, and get paid extra for reaching
their viewers in this manner.

Everyone winds, except for Bert (and the rest of the laggards), who
choose not to pay extra for TV.

Perhaps there is a better way to explain this...

Bert claims to be satisfied with the programming choices he has - no
need for additional specialty channels. So I have a great "test" for
Bert. Let's change the business model for the U.S. OTA service,
providing real competition for cable and DBS - at least 30 unique
channels with most of the popular cable networks. Then we can give
Bert several special receivers that are hard wired so that he can
only get the OTA channels he can receive today.

Do you think that Bert will complain that he cannot access the new
channels that virtually everyone else watches (the 85% factor)? After
all, he doesn't know what he is missing...

Maybe what we need to do is chip in together and give Bert a free
three month trial of cable.  This might help bring him into the 21st
century, and gain an appreciation (and perhaps desire) for a broader
spectrum of content.

Now to the crux of the matter. If we did as I suggest, "modulation"
WOULD become a significant issue. Why?

Because people might actually use the new service - as they are doing
in droves in the UK.

When people start using the OTA service they will expect it to work.
The broadcasters will want it to work, and they will want to use the
spectrum more efficiently (i.e. SFN's), so that they can offer even
more choice to improve their competitive position relative to cable
and DBS.

So Bert, you are correct that modulation is not the problem today. It
is the problem that must be solved if OTA is to survive as a
competitive service.


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