[opendtv] Re: Toward digital TV

  • From: "John Shutt" <shuttj@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 20 Dec 2005 11:35:42 -0500

The UK DTV model started with OnDigital that put tens of thousands of 
subsidized boxes into the hands of individuals, who got to keep them after 
OnDigital's demise.

DTV uptake in the UK after OnDigital's demise, and other places, is enhanced 
by the ability to receive additional programming that cannot be received via 
analog FTA.  No such stimulus is offered here in the US (because in most 
cases the additional programming is subsidized by TV License fees) so there 
is no incentive for the average OTA viewer to buy an STB.  (The very few HD 
display owners who rely exclusively on OTA excepted.)

Until the US offers "DTV Exclusive" programming, it will take an analog 
cutoff to provide any incentive to buy digital STBs.

Would this situation been different had the US adopted the Sinclair 
petition?  In my opinion YES because broadcasters such as Papas and Sinclair 
would have been touting DTV much more than they did, and networks would have 
been looking for ways to leverage more profit by offering DTV exclusive 
derivative multicasts of their cable brands.  (ESPN/Disney for ABC, News for 
NBC, MTV for CBS, and movies for Fox)

Further, the CEA manufacturers would have been swamped with competition for 
STBs by European and Asian manufacturers, since the designs could be so 
similar (I simply point to Australia as an example.)  As it stood, nobody 
wanted to build an STB in 1999 when the PSIP standard, the E-VSB standard, 
and the echo tolerance ability was still in flux.  Making a box prior to 
2004 was tantamount to making an obsolete product before it even left the 
factory floor.  Not true with DVB-T, with the exception of the 2K only 
former OnDigital boxes.

As it is, the entire industry has been in a holding pattern waiting for the 
1999 promises of operational receivers to be fulfilled.  As exampled by the 
prototypes that have been tested by Bob Miller, even 2005 STBs fail to live 
up to the LG prototype, so there still is something else to be solved. 
Maybe it will never be commercially solved to the M.Schubin site standard.


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