[opendtv] Re: Fw: Re: Post on alt.tv.tech.hdtv of interest today

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 9 Apr 2005 08:25:06 -0400

Gentlemen (John and Doug)

I have been watching your sparring for several days. While my 
sympathies tend to lie with John, I think that you are both missing 
the point.

A simple switch to COFDM, with or without an upgrade to Advanced 
Video Coding, would have NO IMPACT on the US Broadcast DTV transition.

As I keep saying, the FIRST ORDER problem has nothing to do with 
technology; it has everything to do with the broadcast business model 
and the perceived need to maintain regulatory advantage over the 
competitors who are delivering broadcast content to 85% of the U.S. 
television audience.

Doug's inquiries about antennas is a prime example of this. For some 
reason he thinks that the ability to receive signals from distant 
markets is important to television viewers. It is NOT.

What is important is the ability to receiver the handful of channels 
that they are interested in, most of which are NOT available OTA. The 
next most important thing is that the source of this content be dirt 
simple to install and reliable. The masses are not going to put up 
fancy antenna configurations to pull duplicative signals from 
multiple markets, or simply to receive all of the stations in their 
market. Forget multipath, the entire idea of rotors and ugly rooftop 
antennas died a long time ago for most Americans.

IF broadcasters ever decide they need to compete with the program 
distributors who are carrying their water today, then, AND ONLY THEN, 
will technology become an issue. At that point the following issues 
will become important:

1. Can the system support mobile and portable reception? This is the 
ONLY major competitive advantage for broadcasters.

2. Is the system easy to install with a simple omnidirectional 
antenna that can be located either inside the home, or outside (i.e. 
gutter mount). This configuration MUST be able to receive all local 
channels (distant channels are not relevant if local transmission 
facilities work properly); no rotors, electronically steerable 
antennas or antenna arrays allowed.

3. Is there a well defined "platform" with all of the services that 
consumers expect today from the other multi-channel services.
        a. A well designed, integrated program guide;
        b. Local caching to support PVR functions and (premium) 
cached VOD services;
        c. Back channel capabilities to support interactive and data 
broadcast services,
        and transactional services;
        d. Competition among vendors to drive innovation and lower 
costs to consumers.

4. Can the system compete with cable and DBS in terms of delivering 
targeted advertising based on viewer preferences, location, or 
demographic factors?

When viewed from this perspective, it is clear that ATSC is simply a 
place holder, which will need to be replaced in order for 
broadcasters to field a competitive service.


At 8:45 PM -0400 4/8/05, John Shutt wrote:
>Dr. McDonald,
>Just because multipath is not a concern at the McDonald residence does not
>mean it is not a problem.  Ask Mr. Schubin his opinion of what concerns him
>most.  I have a receiver and a Silver Sensor, and the winning feature of
>this antenna, also touted as the savior of ATSC, is it's ability to be very
>directive, thus reducing the multipath load on the receiver.  Now you want
>an omnidirectional high gain outdoor antenna and say it's no problem?
>If you don't want to have to install a rotor, then mount two yagis on your
>mast, each aimed at the market of interest, then sum them into one downlead.
>Cable head ends do it all the time, and serious rural channel surfers have
>done so for many years in NTSC.  I'm sure you can do the same with ATSC.
>In the meantime, I will continue to press for a system that will
>successfully deliver our quality programming to the highest percentage of
>our off air community.
>Unfortunately, I am prohibited from sharing some of the emails and calls we
>have received in the past year with complaints about receiving our digital
>signal.  So you will just have to take my word, or dismiss it out of hand,
>that all is not well in the land of OTA DTV.  At least not in Lansing,
>Michigan.  However, I shouldn't worry, because help is just around the
>corner.  The Cold Fusion Receiver should be on the market soon.
>John Shutt
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Doug McDonald" <mcdonald@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
>>  The problem is not multipath, it is simple field strength
>>  in the null of a bi-directional figure eight pattern.
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