[opendtv] Re: Freeview realities

  • From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 17 Nov 2006 16:22:08 -0500

Craig Birkmaier wrote:

>> CE vendors would have absolutely no problem developing STBs for
>> the US market right alongside their DVB-T STBs, or even inside
>> the same box. Integrated, global DTT chip sets already exist.
> Correct. It is the result of the fact that U.S. broadcasters
> have no interest in promoting DTV, or in pressuring content
> provider to let them operate a FTA multi-channel service. The
> modulation issue is just an annoying artifact of the
> techno-political war going on here in the U.S.

I tend to agree with you on this one. The difference is only in the ways
we would go about changing that status quo.

To you, it's dismantling OTA TV and changing it to something possibly
completely unrelated. Even making yet another local utility (monopoly)
out of it. And to let the existing local TV distribution monopolies have
it all for TV distribution.

To me, the solution is instead to get rid of the national cap, and let
parties interested in OTA TV, even if they are NOT themselves content
creators, put together systems with broad appeal. And operate them as
efficiently as THEY see fit. Unencumbered by the current regs on
affiliation etc.

And yes, if they decide to change their network to a subsription-only
network, it will probably fail. Simply because people all over the world
seem to expect more choice from subsription-only networks than OTA
networks can provide, especially given the shirnking TV spetcrum. But
the beauty of OTA networks is that multiple nets can coexist happily in
any given market. So if someone thinks he can make an OTA subscription
service float, go for it.

> BUT. If the broadcasters in the U.S. DID want to compete, they
> would drop ATSC like a hot potato.

I don't agree with this, mostly because I do not, and never have, seen
any major differences between ATSC and DVB-T. I have never bought your
notion that "ATSC is not extensible," for example, and I think history
has proved that ATSC is every bit as "extensible" as any other digital
network. And as A-VSB proves, that extensibility *includes* at the
physical layer.

>> The "very small percentage" you talk about is upwards of 30
>> percent who actually use OTA TV. The 15 percent figure only
>> represents households that depend *solely* on OTA.
> This is speculation on your part. Yes there are studies that
> say that upwards of 30% of homes still use the OTA service.
> And there are studies that say it is only 15%.

Actually, all the studies that say 15 percent that I am aware of are
VERY specific in stating that this applies to households which depend
*ONLY* on OTA TV. The upwards of 30 percent, actually closer to 40
percent, applies instead to total usage of OTA. Including portable sets
for ball games or back yards, including OTA to supplement DBS, including
kitchen sets, and so on.

> The actual percentage is irrelevant - what matters is that
> this is a dying service that is causing at least 70% of U.S.
> viewers to pay more for other services due to the lack of
> spectrum to support them.

That's why something called "compromise" exists, Craig.

"Compromise" means that we don't buckle under to all the greedy land
developers, as you seem to advocate, but instead we allow for a mix of
usage. With the DTT transition, TV will be giving up a healthy chuck of
spectrum as it is. And nothing prevents those frequencies which will be
vacated, but still "belong" to TV, like the lower VHF spectrum, from
being used by other services on a case by case basis.

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