[opendtv] Re: Latest 5th Gen

  • From: "John Shutt" <shuttj@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 22 Mar 2005 19:27:04 -0500


If we had a simple plug and play DTV system, that was capable of portable 
and mobile as well as delivering HD to fixed receivers, it would be just as 
powerful as NTSC.

DTV Must Carry is already part of the rules.  Whenever a station turns off 
it's NTSC, either voluntarily or after the dreaded cutoff date, Must Carry 
of their primary program stream is assured.  Status Quo.

If NTSC is the goose that laid the golden eggs, then ATSC simply laid an 

If the CEA wanted to sell lots and lots of pretty, big, and expensive HD 
displays, then a workable DTV system would help, not hurt that cause. 
Digital Broadcasting Australia shows on their website HD STBs offered for 
sale by no fewer than 14 different manufacturers.  Not 14 different models, 
FOURTEEN DIFFERENT MANUFACTURERS. (25 different manufacturers when SD only 
boxes are included!), Most of the HD STBs are priced at around $700 AU, 
which is less than $550 US.  This in a market of 14 million PEOPLE, not 
households.  It's insane that we're still sticking with ATSC after all those 
"the next generation will be the magic one" promises.

The NAB decided to stay with ATSC rather than fight it out over changing the 
DTV system because 1] They truly believed that the receiver problem was an 
easy fix (after all, look at the European system, and digital is digital, 
right? Can't be that hard.) and 2] Congress was salivating over the untold 
Billions that a spectrum auction would bring, and threatened the 
broadcasters with new legislation giving free air time to all candidates as 
part of a "campaign finance reform" package if the broadcasters dared to 
rock the boat and delay the transition.  Little did they know that the delay 
would be due to the uncontrollable part of the equation, the manufacturers.

Look, Craig, Bert, and everybody else, the free market is the most powerful 
and efficient system in the world to allocate resources.  If a nation of 14 
million people with a unique DTV system (DVB-T, HD, 7 MHz channels) can have 
14 different manufacturers vying to sell them High Definition DTV STBs, then 
surely those same 14 companies and more would be crawling over each other to 
break into the US market with 300 Million people.  But they're not.  Why 
not?  Because they know how difficult (read: expensive) it is to build an 
ATSC box that actually is plug and play.  They aren't stupid.  They have 
labs.  They can build prototypes and mess around with them.  And they know a 
money sinkhole when they see one.

The point is, almost 6 years later we're still waiting for 1999 COFDM 
performance out of an ATSC box, but we will never get it because ATSC isn't 
capable of portable, mobile, or low power (consumption) operation.  Maybe 
with Representative Tauzin out of the picture, Congress can finally see that 
no matter how many times LG demos a prototype box, unless it can be made 
economically, and by many vendors, then they aren't going to be made, 

It's disgusting that it comes down to someone like Bert arguing for ATSC 
when he hasn't even tried one yet.  That's like a virgin arguing the finer 
points of the Kama Sutra.  Meanwhile, we have people like Bob Miller, and 
Sinclair Broadcasting, who have seen both side by side and know exactly how 
many light-years COFDM is ahead of 8-VSB, yet are dismissed out of hand.

But no, let's stay the course.  I do believe that may be an iceberg ahead, 
Captain Smith...

(The definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over, expecting 
different results.)

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Craig Birkmaier" <craig@xxxxxxxxx>

> What is so difficult to understand Bob?
> This really is SIMPLE.
> Terrestrail television broadcasting exists in the United States today
> for two reasons, neither of which have ANYTHING to do with technology:
> 1. Must Carry, re-transmission consent, and local-into-local (SHIVA),
> are fundamentally tied to the NTSC franchise. These regulatory perks
> guarantee the survivability of the OTA franchise, while giving the
> media conglomerates a powerful tool to retain control of the ENTIRE
> television audience. In short, TV is the most lucrative public
> franchise ever granted by a government - it is hanging by a tenuous
> thread that cannot sustain another Supreme Court legal challenge.
> NTSC is " The Goose that lays the Golden Eggs."
> 2. Poliitical control. The NTSC franchise is the most powerful
> political tool ever conceived by our elected representatives. While
> it is financially lucrative for the franchisees, it is politically
> potent for for the politicians. It is the only Television service
> that reaches into nearly 100% of U.S. homes. It provides a powerful
> stage for political actors, who have used this stage to bring about
> radical changes in social mores and Federal government intervention
> into just about every aspect of governance that our Forefathers
> delegated to the States via the Constitution.
> The collusion between the politicians and their NTSC franchisees is
> unprecedented. Consider two current events:

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