[opendtv] Re: OTA

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 15 Mar 2012 08:14:29 -0500

At 4:21 AM -0400 3/15/12, Albert Manfredi wrote:
If you have a box in the house, that converts from ATSC to WiFi, WHO CARES about ATSC M/H and about having the best possible coding efficiency? That ATSC channel is ALREADY providing you with at least one HD and maybe 3 SD streams. That part of the path has existed for years, and works fine. And also, if your WiFi is 802.11n, you ALREADY have plenty of bandwidth available within the home too, even if the box doesn't transcode to H.264. Eeking out the best coding efficiency is simply not an issue in this instance. Although if the box can transcode, so much the better.

Yes Bert, we understand that it is possible to build an ATSC to WiFi device for the home. I even noted that it might be a better product than an outdoor antenna for an ATSC enabled TV. But I also noted some of the challenges. While you may find the quality of MPEG-2 adequate for most of the programs you watch, I find that is often inadequate, especially for sports on stations that use 1080i and have several sub channels.

Unfortunately, such a box does NOTHING to support reception outside the home by the new generation of mobile devices that are proliferating by the tens of millions.

Why does M/H use H.264? For two reasons. (1) Because H.264 already existed when M/H was standardized, so might as well go with the newest available algorithm. (2) Because the M/H bit rate *is* severely constrained. Neither of these applies to this case.

But THIS IS the case that must be support if broadcasters are going to survive and deliver content to the devices that consumers are buying and using a second MOBILE screens.

So your Antenna to WiFi box will need to support both h.264
and MPEG-2, and pay the licensing fees for both.

Reality has a way of taking care of these issues, somehow or other. Prices of these products seem to drop rapidly anyway ... uh, except for Apple, of course. This licensing alarmism never seems to pan out?

It already DID pan out.

The world is moving on to h.264 because it is a better codec, more efficient, and the licensing terms are reasonable. MPEG-2 is only supported by the legacy standards that require it - ATSC, DVD, DVB, cable, etc. MPEG-2 is NOT supported by the current generation of mobile devices and it is highly unlikely it will be.

Yes, but I'm going past that, Craig. You don't need a lot of actual broadcasters; i.e. companies involved in the RF signal transmission, if you go with the higher bit rate 3G or (eventually) 4G schemes. If the current OTA broadcasters go with an existing wireless broadband company, then the broadcasters become nothing more than content providers -- their own content, that is (i.e. news and weather mostly). The congloms would only need to deal with the wireless broadband company, no longer with multiple local broadcast stations. If the current broadcasters decide to build their own LTE infrastructure, the why would you need more than one or two?

You seem to be echoing what I said. Broadcasters have been backed into a corner, or they did it to themselves. The most valuable asset that they have moving forward is almost free use of a large chunk of spectrum. The broadcasters in a market will need to work together to maximize the value and potential revenues from this spectrum,and they will need to do this in a manner that is compatible with the mobile devices that people are buying.

That's what I've been saying, Craig. Who is involved in Internet streaming? The content owner, the CDN and ISP, and that's it. The same will happen with a wireless broadband infrastructure, if LTE or even the newer variants of wideband CDMA are used. The unwalled nature of OTA TV, in which multiple broadcasters each transmit their own multiplex, using their own transmission facilities, won't exist anymore. The 4G channels are likely to be 80 MHz wide, each. How many of those do you need to carry the current set of OTA TV multiplexes, in the average US TV market? One? Maybe two, in the larger markets? (More in LA, but that's a unique case.)

Perhaps it will only be two LTE channels per market. I'm not certain what the practical limits are after the spectrum is re-packed again. I'm assuming that the VHF spectrum is not desirable for LTE. But there will still be nearly 120 MHz of UHF spectrum in every market.

As for need? you need to get over the idea that the business model will look like the current model that is failing. We are moving away from the "Time and Channel" program schedule model to a demand based model. I am quite confident that the bandwidth available for LTE broadcasting will be filled in major markets.

First, it is unlikely that the government would allow ANY one company to own
all of the TV spectrum in one market.

Why? They are already allowing just two DBS companies to cover an entire country. Why wouldn't they allow one or two companies to provide the RF infrastructure for a given OTA market? Even if they impose national caps, so that company can't own all OTA facilities in the country?

Because there are more than 1500 licenses today controlled by hundred of companies. They are not going to give this to 2-3 companies. That would only happen if they reclaim ALL of the broadcast spectrum and make it available to the highest bidders.


You can UNSUBSCRIBE from the OpenDTV list in two ways:

- Using the UNSUBSCRIBE command in your user configuration settings at FreeLists.org
- By sending a message to: opendtv-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word 
unsubscribe in the subject line.

Other related posts: