[opendtv] Re: HD DVR for the antenna crowd

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 12 Jan 2008 09:51:18 -0500

At 8:22 AM -0800 1/11/08, Dale Kelly wrote:
Best of CES 2008
© EchoStar
Best of Home Video
EchoStar TR-50: HD DVR for the antenna crowd

Aside from the misstatements in this story, there is a great deal that can be read between the lines in the DISH/Slingbox announcements.

Clearly the cable and DBS industry look at the DTV transition as an OPPORTUNITY to pick up new subscribers when the full power analog transmitters are turned off.

Question is, how will they go about this, and is there a possibility that a merged DirecTV/DISH could use support for Free TV as an ace-in-the-hole to get approval for the merger?

Both the cable and DBS industries seem to be moving toward a strategy to tell local broadcasters where to stick their re-transmission consent payment demands. By adding ATSC tuners to their STBs, they give the subscriber the choice of putting up an antenna, or paying extra for their local stations via satellite.

We have already seen that BSkyB is offering a free tier of programming in the UK, to attract new subscribers, and FTA satellite is an important part of the DTV transition strategy in New Zealand.

So let's speculate that the DBS operators tell the bureaucrats that they will use a portion of the spectrum that will be freed-up when they eliminate the duplication of programming on their systems to deliver a tier of programming in the free and clear, and that all of their STBs will have the ability to tune to FTA terrestrial broadcasts...

This might be enough to get the merger approved, and it would allow the merged DBS system to sell boxes that would allow viewers to pay for additional services such as VOD or paid programming tiers.

Apparently the first banners went up at the Moscone Center Friday for next week's MacWorld Conference. The banners say: "Theres Something In the Air"

I've gotta believe that Feb. 17th 2009 is going to be remembered for much more than just the end of full power analog broadcasts.


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