At 3:57 PM -0400 7/30/08, Manfredi, Albert E wrote:
And to make matters worse, the 800 Mhz spectrum was taken away from broadcasters to assign to cell phones, and the 700 MHz spectrum is now being taken away, to assign similarly to cell services. Considering how much The People appreciate lots of choice, this reassigning of TV frequencies can only make it more difficult for FOTA TV to remain viable.
Rubbish.Broadcasters still control a HUGE swatch of beach front spectrum that they use VERY INEFFICIENTLY.
The reality is that with just the core UHF spectrum (channels 14-51), and single frequency networks, broadcasters could offer a minimum of 50 high quality channels in every TV market. But this ain't gonna happen because they can make more money using the DTV spectrum as the Trojan horse to demand compensation from the multi-channel services. Why compete when you can get others to deliver your bits and pay you to boot!
Broadcasters are becoming inviable for many reasons that we discuss here regularly. The major reason is that the media conglomerates don;t need than anymore.
Question: is anyone interested in retaining FOTA radio and TV, or not? The conglomerates would have NO PROBLEM selling just to the MVPDs, if that's what we prefer. But if FOTA service is important to anyone, then the FOTA broadcasters have to be allowed to sell what The People want. To the extent they still can.
I strongly suspect that people DO want broadcasting to survive. They still make watches, although i have not worn one in several years. Broadcasters have allowed their services to move to the bottom of the entertainment food chain, and that is where they will likely remain.
So what do The People want? The few available OTA channels dedicated to public affairs programming? Is that why they all went to MVPDs?
Now Bert is getting warm. The notion that broadcasters should provide local content as a public service is an artifact of regulation. I worked at a TV station that agreed to a huge public service commitment as part of a deal to move from a UHF channel into the VHF spectrum (Cliff worked there too). We did something like 20 hours a week of public affairs programming.
Nobody watched this stuff, but it did not matter. It was simply the price of admission to make it possible for people to see the stuff they did want to watch. The politicians screwed up. They should have tied the value of the spectrum to a percentage of profits, which is the fundamental basis of broadcast TV - i.e. provide content that attracts the LARGEST audience for which you can charge the highest commercial rates.
Broadcasters seem willing to give FOTA M/H service a shot, while not seriously degrading their other DTT. I say, they should give that a try. Or soon, they'll be gone, and we'll all be beholden to the MVPDs 100 percent.
I strongly support the use of the broadcast spectrum for un-tethered devices. Perhaps the M/H service will be the salvation of FOTA broadcasting. Time will tell.
But it is difficult to manage just 6 MHz of spectrum in a manner that will maximize its utility. I suspect we will see more M/H bits during the day parts and weekends when people are not sitting in their family rooms. Unfortunately, it is not practical to offer an HD stream, several SD sub channels and and M/H simultaneoulsy. At best, we may see broadcasters move the sub-channels into the M/H service to maximize the potential audience.
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