[opendtv] Re: NTSC Cutoff Date

  • From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 16 Jul 2004 12:13:00 -0400

Mark Aitken wrote:

> I believe that the point (bigger picture) is being missed.
> Forget about
> "what ifs". A specific question is being asked by the commission. If
> NTSC went away (today, tomorrow or some other future time),
> WHAT would
> be the immediate impact?


There are *two* issues here:

1. The wording that John Shutt keeps posting, in which the 12/31/2006
shutdown of NTSC is predicated on this 85 percent rule, and

2. This most recent FCC public inquiry, DA 04-1497 (Docket 04-210).

In the public inquiry, the FCC broad question concerns direct
impact to household TV sets, specifically as it will help determine
whether this 85 percent number has been reached.

The FCC itself ties the two issues together, in DA 04-1497, as
follows (this is the introductory section):

Section 309(j)(14) of the Communications Act sets forth the
conditions under which analog television broadcasting will end
in the United States.  Those conditions could be met as early
as December 31, 2006, although the statute provides for extensions
of that date if certain marketplace criteria have not been
satisfied.  As contemplated by Section 309(j)(14), up to 15 percent
of television households in a given market could lose television
service altogether if they rely exclusively on over-the-air
broadcasting and have analog-only sets when the transition ends.
In the remaining households, analog sets that are not connected to
a pay television service could lose service as well.

In this Public Notice, we seek comment on options for minimizing
the disruption to consumers when the switch-over to digital
broadcasting occurs.  We are primarily concerned with those
households that rely exclusively on over-the-air broadcasting for
their television service, but we seek comment more broadly on
minimizing the impact on all consumers.  First, we seek comment
on the identity of those consumers that rely on over-the-air
television broadcasting and why they do not subscribe to a pay
television service.  Second, we seek comment on potential options
for minimizing the impact on these and other consumers when
broadcasters are operating solely in digital.

(I posted earlier the exact questions they want answered.)

> Forget ATSC...that comes later. Today, who is
> being served by OTA. THAT is the question.
> And for clarification, this is not just my idea, but I am moving it
> forward to the commission...so should the rest of the
> Broadcasters out
> there who give a hoot about the impact of the "Ferree Plan".
> I say just
> answer the question being asked. We will get to the rest in
> good time, and it won't be lost on anyone...

Yes, who is being served by OTA, but this is in fact directly
tied to the "Ferree plan," because that's what they're trying to

Put yourself in the FCC's shoes. What would YOU want to
know? Whether a few dozen cable head-ends use OTA feeds? Or
how soon you can recover the OTA spectrum without disrupting
a huge number of consumers?

The extra twist you're introducing is interesting, but if I
were Michael Powell, it would not help me understand just
how many consumers will have to go buy an STB or go get a
multichannel service subscription. I think *that* is the
bigger issue. Cable systems can easily buys a few old
RCA DTC 100 receivers on e-bay, if it comes to that, to
convert any OTA NTSC head end they might have. No?

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