[opendtv] Re: Digital Trends: ESPN may pull its finger out of the Internet-TV dam, unleash a flood of change

  • From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 8 Feb 2014 00:47:10 +0000

Craig Birkmaier wrote:

> It's all about power levels Bert. VHF is more problematic, as it can
> skip over water, further restricting where that channel can be reused.

We've been over this many times. In practical fact, a single intervening market 
is used, in congested parts of the country, to protect against co-channel 
interence between the two adjacent markets. And even then, low power stations 
CAN use that interfering frequency channel in the intervening market. How many 
times do I have to repeat this? I'm afraid you were sold a bill of goods years 
ago, by some marketing type, and haven't been able to move beyond the BS 
generalities ever since.


Richmond VA uses Ch 48 LP, Wash DC uses Ch 48 full power.
Richmond uses Ch 39 full power, Wash uses Ch 39 LP.
Richmond uses Ch 26 full power, Wash uses Ch 26 LP.
Richmond uses Ch 44 full power, Wash uses Ch 44 LP.
Richmond uses Ch 42 160 KW, Annapolis uses Ch 42 516 KW.

And so on. Richmond and DC are basically 100 miles apart, Craig, not 
"hundreds." With plenty of intervening communities that are intended to be 
covered by Richmond and DC OTA stations. Annapolis is only some 30 miles NE of 
DC, and yet full power stations use Ch 42 in Richmond and Annapolis. So as you 
can see, vague generalities don't explain reality. Reality is, those guard 
channels are necessary to prevent co-channel interference between VERY 
geographically large markets, and even there, they **are used** at appropriate 
power levels, *in* adjacent markets. There is no conspiracy to keep competition 
down, or at least, certainly not by the FCC!

> And you saw what that did in terms of competition; just another
> expensive MVPD.

Getting tethered to one of these MVPD infrastructures is a relatively elaborate 
process, and the content available to you depends fully on that physical 
infrastructure. With OTT sites, as long as the ISPs remain neutral as they have 
been, it's an entirely different matter. You can opt out of one an onto another 
without the hassle of changing the physical infrastructure you use. That forces 
the OTT sites to self-regulate their shenanigans, in a way MVPDs have never had 
to do in the past. So I think your prediction is off base. 

> These receivers only work with DTV broadcasts, and not very well at that.

First, they work just fine. Did I tell you we just got ANOTHER subchannel, just 
days ago? That makes 41 local stations, plus 10 from Baltimore. Total 51 
stations. Not bad, for an antenna in the fireplace with no LOS to any tower, eh?

The point is that the FCC wanted these receivers to also tune to digital cable 
channels, but couldn't legally force that to happen. It is the MVPDs, *not* the 
FCC, that were the obstacle to competition. The "waste to taxpayers" was caused 
by the MVPDs, Craig, who are amazingly still renting their STBs to their 
customers. Your solution would have been to hand it all to the MVPDs on a 
silver platter! Astonishing.

> Broadcasters got the ability to multicast, but this actually allowed
> for consolidation, as many UHF channels that carried the second tier
> networks lost them to channels that carry the big four broadcast
> networks. The Broadcast Networks continue to lose viewers to
> alternatives, despite the ability to deliver HDTV and multicasts.

That's called competition, Craig. And if the congloms wanted to put the OTA 
subchannels to good use, for their own content, all they have to do is propose 
this to their affilated broadcast stations. Instead, NBC yanked Universal 
Sports away from their OTA subchannels. Too bad, then, NBC. Now you'll compete 
against some unaffiliated content owner instead.

> Yup! And yet the marketplace resolved ALL of these issues WITHOUT
> the government stepping in to mandate standards....

Wow, you still don't get it, Craig.

The government only mandated **the TV app**. That had to be standardized, 
because TV service already existed with analog. DTV had to land on its feet 
running, Craig. It couldn't take 20 years of crappy sporadic service to 
converge on a solution. So they imposed standards for that app alone. The FCC 
**did not limit** new services the broadcasters could provide, over this DTV 

Focus now. Compare this with something simple like Internet e-mail.

The Internet began in 1981. Shortly after that, the IETF developed the original 
SMTP, RFC 876, published 1983, as **a complete end-to-end standard**, to carry 
the **most basic** of 7-bit ASCII text e-mail (which leveraged off the already 
existing ASCII standard, Craig). "The market" did NOT decide. The IETF process 
had to. This is completely analogous to the ATSC process.

Now people wanted to send documents or other files on this medium. Never mind 
the format of those documents, that took at least another 15 years to settle 
down. To allow e-mail to carry arbitrary binary files in an easy, interoperable 
way, it took the development of MIME, RFC 1341, initially published 1992. So, 
*just* to get this "just carry bits" Internet medium to be able to e-mail 
arbitrary binary files, it took 11 years. Before that, you were on your own, 
with a bunch of incompatible techniques like bin2hex, uuencode, and several 
others, which you had to manually operate. Never mind that the actual file 
types were still all over the map.

Get it now? If a service is brand new, it can affor to evolve slowly. If you're 
replacing an existing service with "a better way," such as DTV was doing, you 
can't afford decades of growing pains. FORTUNATELY, the FCC did the right thing 
wrt TV.

You claim OTT TV service "proves" your point? Far from it.

The first protocol to support Internet carriage of streaming media was RFC 
1889, published January 1996, 15 years after "just carry bits" Internet 
existed. Then came years of different streaming media players, different 
compression algorithms, and yes, also improving bandwidth. When I started using 
OTT sites, ca. early 2000s, things were still very poor. Video quality was 
poor, some sites wouldn't allow full screen mode, and you needed all manner of 
different players to decode what was available. Hardly an "average 
consumer-ready quality solution," Craig!

So it took this "just carry bits" medium perhaps 25 years to get to where 
competing solutions started to converge into a useful TV distribution medium.

Get real, Craig. Painting everything with too broad a brush, "just carry bits," 
doesn't support any credible argument.


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