[opendtv] Re: PR: I want my DTV

  • From: "John Willkie" <johnwillkie@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 1 Jul 2004 17:04:55 -0700

I don't think that will happen that way, Tom.  What people who get digital
cable soon learn is that, with their HDTV sets, the video quality on
(over-compressed) digital tiers is the same, or quite often, lower quality
than analog tiers.  However, digital does have more channel offerings than

What these customers find is that the extra $10 or so a month that is
involved in going to the HDTV tier, they get a few HDTV channels (including
local OTA DTV, often in HDTV) and access to Showtime, HBO HDTV, etc.  They
also note that the video/audio quality is supreme.

Eventually, with more HDTV offerings on cable, all the new channels will be
in HDTV, and the meretricious ness of crappy little "digital cable" will
leave it an orphan, a cable operators dream that was a nightmare for many
customers interested in video quality.

Then, there's the widescreen angle.  BY DEFINITION, HDTV is wide-screen.
That is, none of the Table 3 screen aspect ratio target formats used by
programmers for HDTV are 4:3.  So, when people buy these (now $995 and up)
wide screen sets, they have a Hobson's choice:  either endure distorted
pictures if they set their unit to stretch the 4:3 channel image to fully
fill the 16:9 screen, or have each 4:3 channel with the top and bottom of
each screen cut off for "common sides" or see the entire 4:3 image
letterboxed in the 16:9 screen and suffer the possibility of burn-in on the
black sides.

So, in many ways, digital cable is a kludge for people with new, expensive
TV sets.

There is nothing "stealth" about the premium aspects of cable.  Hell, cable
ITSELF is a premium service, and once you subscribe, most systems advertise
the "advantages" of their digital services, at extra cost. The only people I
know who do not complain about the crappy quality of digital cable are
people with analog TV sets.

There was a yarn on KGTV here in San Diego yesterday on the digital tuner
mandate kicking in on 36 inch and larger as of today, and the concomitant
digital cable ready features that also come with these sets.

One interesting tidbit:  Cox Cable San Diego reports that the intake rate
for HDTV this year is 300% of the rate from last year.  San Diego county, as
of the first of this year, had 24,000 cable subscribers (about 8% of the
market) paying the premium for HDTV digital cable.

At least in this market, I believe the HDTV tipping point has arrived.

John Willkie

-----Original Message-----
From: opendtv-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:opendtv-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of Tom Barry
Sent: Thursday, July 01, 2004 6:29 AM
To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [opendtv] Re: PR: I want my DTV

I somewhat think the driver for HDTV in the USA will be the attempt by
  cable companies to equate it with digital cable.  Thus it will be a
stealth premium service, having an increasing amount of HDTV material
that requires a digital cable subscription and various tiers to get.
The cable companies still have a competitive bandwidth advantage in
this over the satellite folks.

- Tom

Craig Birkmaier wrote:
> At 1:37 PM -0400 6/30/04, Manfredi, Albert E wrote:
>>Craig Birkmaier wrote:
>>> According to the following report, it is DVD, NOT
>>> HDTV that is driving the adoption of new digital
>>> television displays in most areas of the world...
>>I think you seriously misinterpreted what the article
>>is saying. As in:
>>"High-definition television (HDTV) - a subset of
>>the overall DTV market - will eventually have a
>>dramatic impact on consumer education and
>>adoption of digital TV in certain parts of the
> What misinterpretation?
> Note the use of the term "eventually."
> The reality is that even here in the U.S., TODAY, DVD is a stronger
> driver of purchases of HD capable displays than HD receivers and/or
> program services.
> I agree that HD will be a strong driver in the future as it becomes
> more pervasive, ESPECIALLY in non-entertainment applications of
> digital media.
> I do not agree that HD entertainment is going to cause any
> significant shift in the mass market for TV displays in the next few
> years. Perhaps in a decade we may see HD become commonplace. For the
> rest of this decade it is going to remain a market niche, closely
> coupled with home theater systems.
>>"At this point, HDTV content delivery, and therefore
>>set adoption, is essentially limited to Australia,
>>Canada, Japan, South Korea, and the United States for
>>the foreseeable future. Digital TV in other parts of
>>the world will continue to be driven by advances in
>>flat-panel displays and the red-hot DVD market, ..."
> Yup. In the countries listed above there is some HD content
> available. Korea may be the most advanced in terms of peo0ple buying
> HD capable displays and actually watching HD programming. In
> Austrailia there is VERY LITTLE HD content available today, as is the
> case in Japan. Canada is mostly getting its HD content from the U.S.
> In all of these countries, DVD is the dominant driver of sales of HD
> capable displays today.
>>Bottom line is that only in those parts of the world
>>where HDTV is unavailable will DVD *alone* drive the
>>adoption of so-called digital TV, according to this
> Nobody said anything about "alone." The dominant driver in my
> purchase of an HD capable display was the desire for a "watchable"
> big screen image. The integration of a deinterlacer for SDTV was the
> dominant driver of my purchase. DVD was second. HD is now on the
> horizon, but still mostly unimportant to my family.
> Ther are other drivers as well. Perhaps the most significant is the
> appeal of flat or very thin cabinets that take up less space in the
> room. For others, it is the ability to display the progressive scan
> output of a PC, which can act as a DVR, source of content (tuners and
> libraries of images and music), and a portal to IP based services. HD
> is just one of many factors that are causing people to buy HD capable
> displays.
>>So when you say "in most areas of the world," it's
>>only true because "most areas" won't see HDTV for
>>some time!
> We even disagree here.
> Because of the success of HD as a niche service in the U.S. and a few
> other countries, and especially because a significant amount of
> premium content is now being made available in HD, it is likely that
> HD services will be available in virtually all developed countries in
> the next 2-3 years. The most likely form of distribution for this
> content will be satellite. Cable will also be a factor in some areas.
> And HD-DVD is just around the corner, IF the major content providers
> elect to support the new standard.
> The reality is the same around the world. HD is now, and will become
> an important driver of premium television services in the near
> future. This should not be confused with the continuing mass market
> for SDTV. As Mark Schubin pointed out in this week's memo:
>>- NPD Intelect, which measures sales to consumers (except Wal-Mart,
>>catalogs, and Internet) reported 404,660 CRT-based projection TVs in
>>the first quarter and 56,623 microdisplay-based (DLP and different
>>forms of LCD) projection TVs. LCD 27-inch and up exceeded plasma.
>>But CRT still has a roughly 11 times more units sold than non-CRT:
> The mass market is not going HD anytime soon.
> Regards
> Craig

You can UNSUBSCRIBE from the OpenDTV list in two ways:

- Using the UNSUBSCRIBE command in your user configuration settings at 

- By sending a message to: opendtv-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word 
unsubscribe in the subject line.

Other related posts: