[opendtv] Re: NTSC Cutoff Date

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 1 Aug 2004 12:53:39 -0400

At 11:45 AM -0400 7/14/04, Manfredi, Albert E wrote:
>I like that idea. I would also appreciate seeing some mention
>of this on public service announcements from OTA stations. It's
>still surprising that the transition is, what, almost 6 years
>into its total 8 year duration, and almost no one other than
>fanatics has any clue. My hope is that OTA broadcasters will
>get more enthusiastic after these better receivers make it
>into products on store shelves.


OTA broadcasters like the status quo. They have no incentive to promote DTV.

I think, however, that you are mistaken about the level of public 
knowledge about DTV. For most people it is simply irrelevant - they 
made the decision to subscribe to cable or DBS and have no reason to 
go back, UNLESS DTV offers something compelling. HDTV may be 
compeling for SOME people, but the reality is that the multichannel 
services are stepping up to the plate to provide the HD content that 
people really want.

When a customer goes to a CE retailer to buy a Digital TV, they 
usually ask about OTA DTV reception. The virtually universal response 
from the salespeople is that an ATSC receiver is not a worthwhile 
investment. They make money selling DBS services, and increasingly 
selling cable services. They simply tell the customer that they can 
add an ATSC receiver to the monitor in the future when the prices 
come down, if the customer needs one.

>I see a problem with the *principle* of rushing to give away
>this publically owned spectrum. An OTA TV distribution scheme
>loses out against the subscription services mostly because
>they offer less choice. Extra usable spectrum allows for more
>OTA choice, with DTV permitting the relaxation of many of the
>old tabboos. It's arguable that Congress should not so
>heavily favor the subscription model, to the point of
>auctioning off public property, without a proper public

A reasonable point. Unfortunately there was never a proper public 
debate about the DTV transition. It was handed to the special 
interests, who have used the broadcasters to advance their own 

>How come broadcasters aren't demanding the spectrum for new
>stations or for new services as loudly as the cell phone
>companies are?

Because almost everyone wants a cell phone. And all of us that have 
them already want a higher qualit of service, which requires more 
spectrum. Handly anyone wants to put up an antenna to receive a 
limited TV service. IF broadcasters offered a competitive 
multichannel service that situation might be very different.

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