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

  • From: Albert Manfredi <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 8 Feb 2014 19:16:09 -0500

Craig Birkmaier wrote:

>> 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?
> So why do you need OTT TV?

Not because of inadequate reception. I use OTT, for prime time, because it 
provides VOD without my having to use the PVR (i.e. laziness), and because it 
prevents any schedule conflicts which even a PVR has to deal with.

> Yup. They had the legal authority, but did not use it.  Good thing
> for you, because if they had tried to impose a standard on cable
> and DBS, the whole thing would have been tied up in courts for
> years.

Probably so. Because the legality of meddling inside private walled gardens is 
not clear cut, as it is for use of the publically-owned spectrum. Point is 
still, it's the MVPDs that created obstacles, and your solution would have been 
to force everyone to use MVPDs. That's the bottom line.

> More than 85% of U.S. Homes had moved on and had no reason to use
> an antenna again.

So you claim. How odd. Now that OTA can give them more competition, and is (in 
conjunction with OTT sites), you seem to prefer taking the OTA choice away, by 
making the FCC totally derelict in defining adequately the OTA DTV standard. 
That was your advice to them.

>> Instead, NBC yanked Universal Sports away from their OTA
>> subchannels. Too bad, then, NBC. Now you'll compete against some
>> unaffiliated content owner instead.
> They make more money keeping these channels in the MVPD bundles.

Nonsense. As long as ESPN remains in walled gardens, sports addicts won't give 
up MVPDs anyway. Universal Sports was already available over cable. All they 
did was lose the OTA audience, and audience unlikely to buy cable just to get 
that subchannel. Same stupid move Aljazeera made. It's called, "being too 
greedy for your own good."

> Bert. The equipment manufacturers were hell bent on delivering that
> "TV App." They would have built exactly the same TVs whether the FCC
> authorized the entire standard or only the modulation and transport
> layers.

Perhaps, or perhaps not. Cable companies and DBS companies find it amazingly 
easy to use totally incompatible standards. Since the FCC is charged with the 
RF public spectrum, having an FCC mandate for the TV app is very logical. It 
prevents the possibility of CE manufacturers colluding with broadcasters or 
congloms, to create OTA walled gardens. And we have seen how CE manufacturers 
are prone to such collusion.

> Stop with the history lessons Bert. They only describe how rapidly
> evolving technology can flourish when a medium is not constrained
> to what works at a given point in time.

> The ATSC standard could deliver more than 19 Mbps from day one.

Stop the vague generalities arm-waving, Craig. The history you don't seem to 
know says it all. The biggest issue with digital broadcast is that compared 
with the two-way Internet medium, it is very limited in usefulness. So that's 
what keeps it from taking over other roles, now that the Internet exists. And 
when you make silly unsubstantiated statements like the one about 19 Mb/s, I 
can't tell if you're hopelessly uninformed or just intellectually lazy. Explain 
the tradeoffs of "more than 19 Mb/s." Spend some quality time informing 
yourself first, before blurting out vague comments like that. (And btw, the 
ATSC standard also supports 38 Mb/s, in the same 6 MHz channel.)

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