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

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 7 Feb 2014 20:51:58 -0500

> On Feb 7, 2014, at 7:47 PM, "Manfredi, Albert E" 
> <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> We've been over this many times. In practical fact, a single intervening 
> market is used, in congested parts of the country...

> There is no conspiracy to keep competition down, or at least, certainly not 
> by the FCC!

Yes Bert, we understand how full and low power stations can coexist. This was 
true way back in the '50s when TV broadcasting really got started. But the FCC 
did not make this spectrum available for LPTV until 1982. The number of voices 
was severely limited until the '80s; during those 30 years the three commercial 
TV networks grew into a powerful force with tremendous political clout.

>> 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 
> medium.
> 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.
> Bert
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