[opendtv] Re: Delay

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2006 22:47:21 -0500

At 12:35 PM -0500 12/14/06, Manfredi, Albert E wrote:
Maybe I misunderstood this previous comment of yours, then:

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

Sounded like you were advocating that everyone go to cable, because
somehow or other they would "win."

Yes Bert you misunderstood the comment above.

This was not advocacy on my part, it was a simple statement of FACT.

I can, however, understand how you might have misinterpreted the "everybody wins" comment. The "everyone" I was referring to are the broadcasters, cable, DBS, and now the Telcos that are getting into the TV distribution business. The multi-channel distributors take care of infrastructure, customer service and billing, including the collection of billions in subscriber fees for advertiser supported programming. They extend the reach of the broadcaster, eliminate the need for antennas, AND they pay the broadcaster for programming that is free to folks like you.

As far as viewers are concerned, EVERYBODY LOSES. The >85% (including myself) who subscribe to a multichannel service wind up paying billions in subscriber fees for the broadcast networks and networks that are not available OTA - virtually all of this content is crammed full of ads.

The <15% (including Bert) who refuse to pay, lose because they are being denied access to the networks that now account for more than 50% of prime time viewing and an even higher percentage the rest of the day. Many of these networks would be available free to air if broadcasters would use the spectrum to compete with the multichannel services. This is exactly what has happened in Great Britain, Germany and in other countries. In Great Britain broadcasters are PAYING for the privilege of giving their content away via Freeview. Somehow they manage to turn a profit without double dipping.

As I have stated many times, if the spectrum were used properly, EVERY market would have enough spectrum to deliver 50-60 channels, without even taking advantage of off hour delivery of content to PVRs. But this will not happen in the U.S., because it is far more profitable to keep the spectrum out of the hands of companies that WOULD use it to deliver a Freeview like service. The multichannel services win, the broadcasters get richer, and the viewers and the content they watch get poorer.

In any event, you have already seen where, when push comes to shove,
countries not now using 64-QAM COFDM are trying to crank their spectral
efficiency up to that level. "Efficient" use of spectrum requires that.
So, we're already there, Craig, at 3.3 b/s/Hz. That's the first step.

Bits per hertz is not the issue Bert. Spectral reuse is the issue. Half the spectrum is unused in the U.S. to protect the high powered transmissions that interfere with adjacent markets.

I do agree with you, though, that what is keeping OTA TV from doing well
here is something structural. You can't expect broadcasters to want to
build a competitive OTA system if the rules they are living by
discourage such a thing. I agree with that general concept.

They wrote the rules. And they created a Rube Goldberg DTV system to protect their cash cow.


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