[opendtv] Re: Let the games begin

  • From: Mark Schubin <tvmark@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 14 Nov 2006 18:56:57 -0500

Richard Hollandsworth wrote:
Ya Broadcast Guys gotta put things in perspective....
OTA has advantage of being (almost) free, but it has limited coverage today, and
reportedly only "serves" perhaps 15% of households.
Second/Third TV's may increase percentage of actual OTA connected sets, but it's still expected to shrink as Analog is shut down (forcing use of an STB) and ATT/FiOS expand their market share.....and the associated increase in BroadBand penetration.

Likelihood of OTA reception is a crap shoot--most people live with whatever happens to come in.....such as it is..... And if it doesn't work, there is nowhere to submit a complaint (vs Cable and Sat).

So if DTV reception for some people in "difficult locations" for stations using Distributed Transmitter Networks becomes more difficult under particular propagation conditions, how many people would even notice, given that DTV reception (esp via indoor antenna) is iffy to begin with???
There might be a slight problem with this analysis.

When you fly, you probably pass the airport fire trucks at some point. Maybe they're being washed. Maybe they're serving as roosts for the firefighters. But you never see them being used. They're "serving" even fewer people than OTA broadcasts...

...until they're needed.

Ku-band satellite service works great except in heavy rain or when the wind blows the dish away. Cable works great unless a wind-blown tree knocks the cable down or a fire melts it.

Yes, I know people are supposed to use radio to get news in disasters. But most people are accustomed to getting their news from TV, and, with graphics and crawls, TV can provide more info more quickly than radio.

It's not just disasters. Here in Manhattan, almost everyone uses cable, except when one of our teams is in a playoff contest. Then you see people walking down the street with portable TVs, standing around car hoods with TVs on them, gathering at grocery stores with TVs on the cashiers' counters, etc. You could also see that on Election Day night.

When the 9/11 attack occurred, almost all New York-market broadcast stations lost their OTA transmitters but not their direct feeds to cable and satellite (there was a brief interruption of WWOR's direct feed). The exception was WCBS-TV, which kept a transmitter on the Empire State Building. All stations ran full-time news; the same full-time news. WCBS's ratings spiked up. When the other stations got back on the air, WCBS's ratings went back to normal.

There might be more value to OTA TV broadcasts than the statistics would seem to indicate.


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