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

  • From: Tom Barry <trbarry@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 09 Apr 2005 11:00:53 -0400

Craig Birkmaier wrote:
> 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.

No, I do not believe it is.  If the other ease of use elements you 
mentioned were in place then the major advantage would be that OTA 
broadcasting could competitively be delivered FREE, without 
registration, as advertiser supported material.

Other premium channels and services are just icing on the cake.  But the 
ability to move into a new apartment and just plug in your TV is still 
the driver if the new digital world does not contrive to forbid that.  I 
really cannot imagine how broadcasters are willing to voluntarily give 
up that major advantage and just get lost in a maze of must-carry 

Even if the broadcasters get multi-must-carry how the heck are the local 
broadcasters going to bargain with the networks for prime content if 
they offer no value added?  The network stations are already not relying 
on must-carry.  Why would any network need an affiliate if the prime 
content would be carried anyway by the cable companies once local 
affiliates were dropped?

I think the nets could go straight to cable as contracts expired.  There 
would still be no shortage of local content to fill whatever existing 
demand. And in a many-channel cable world I don't think most local 
broadcasters have enough desirable non-network content that they could 
attract many advertising $$$ at all.

I still feel there are viable business models for broadcasters.  But 
only if they care about the business of broadcasting instead of being 
led down the rosy path.

- Tom

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