[opendtv] Re: Let them eat cake (and ATSC while they're at it)

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 17 May 2005 23:09:10 -0400

At 7:14 PM -0400 5/17/05, Tom Barry wrote:
>But the ABILITY to offer a not too badly pared down service for
>free may have depended somewhat on decreased startup costs in
>picking up the skeleton of OnDigital on good terms.

Not in the case of OnDigital and Freeview. Remember, only a small 
portion of the UK audience subscribed to ANY multichannel service 
prior to OnDigital and BSkyB. I think that cable penetration topped 
out at about 30% in the UK. The issue is not the viewers carried over 
from On Digital, but rather the ability to get more than thirty 
channels for the cost of a STB versus a handful of analog channels.

A significant amount of money changed hands when Freeview was formed 
out of the ashes of On Digital. The biggest benefit to Freview was 
not the reduced start-up costs, but rather the existence about 2 
million On Digital STBs.  It does not hurt to launch a new service 
with a decent market share from day one. The promotional value of 
getting rid of the monthly subscriber fees for existing customers was 
a major plus.

>Actually I'll wager a six pack of beer that USDTV would become a
>success with their current price and offering if they just had
>Cold Fusion plug and play receivers.

USDTV hand picked the markets for ease of reception. I am not aware 
of major problems with the establishment of service in these markets, 
although their maps do have some significant coverage holes. When I 
spoke with them at NAB they were primarily focused on the need for 
more content.

I guess the real issue for consumers today is not how many channels, 
but having the channels they want.

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