[opendtv] Re: News: DTV Boxes Could Cost $1 Billion

  • From: Eory Frank-p22212 <Frank.Eory@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "'opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx'" <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 26 Jul 2004 15:55:29 -0700

>From: "Dale Kelly" <res0xtey@xxxxxxxxxxx> 
>To: <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> 
>Date: Mon, 26 Jul 2004 12:37:09 -0700 

>>Give them a converter box and they can continue using that old NTSC
>>set until it dies. If they buy a new TV with an integrated ATSC
>>receiver, their problem is solved and they don't need a government handout.

>That was understood and makes sense. My concern is to assure, as best as
>practical, that the DTV box provide reception equal to, or better than, NTSC
>and a statement to that effect from Motorola would be helpful.

"Reception equal to, or better than, NTSC" is never going to be true for all 
the people all the time, even with the most perfect DTV receiver that one can 
conceive. We've been through all this many times -- the problem of the 'digital 
cliff,' the FCC DTV Planning Factor basis of 'DTV reception wherever Grade 3 
NTSC reception is possible,' etc.

The biggest problems I see with reception 'guarantees' are (1) VHF to UHF 
transition, which will require some OTA viewers to install new antennas, (2) 
DTV ERP and (3) comparisons of DTV to NTSC where NTSC is worse than Grade 3.

This last one is especially difficult. For example, how many people will watch 
a very snowy NTSC broadcast of high-value content (like a football game), if 
that is the best they can get? You can't expect such a consumer to find any 
comfort in the fact the he "just missed" having perfect DTV reception by only 1 
or 2 dB, when he's looking at a blank screen. On the other hand, he will get 
perfect DTV video on other channels or in other reception conditions where NTSC 
was far less than perfect. From a reception perspective -- as perceived by 
individual consumers -- not by engineers taking measurements -- some things 
will be better, but some will be worse.

DTV is *not* equal to NTSC, and DTV reception will never equal NTSC reception, 
just as apples will never equal bananas. You could say that with advanced 
receivers, with stations at full power, etc., that for most people, most of the 
time, DTV reception will be better than NTSC reception. But that still doesn't 
help the guy who misses it by 1 dB on the day of the big game, who wishes he 
could still receive the snowy NTSC version rather than nothing at all.

>Many of those refusniks do live in poorer urban environs and I assume there
>will be a backlash should current reception not be replicated.

There will be a backlash for many reasons, but I think reception issues will be 
far down on the list.

-- Frank
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