[opendtv] Re: Whether collusion is necessary

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 5 Jul 2013 10:00:36 -0400

On Jul 4, 2013, at 8:27 PM, "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx> 

> Okay on HDMI. Yes, that's in place, and all PC companies adopted it. I 
> suppose you can call that collusion, but colluding with everyone equally 
> somehow makes it different, I think.

PC have had stronger hardware-based protections in place before HDMI even 
existed. HDMI just provided another secure path (with audio) to simplify the 
interconnection of "compliant devices" with a big screen TV. 
>> The real issue here is whether the media conglomerates are going to make
>> their content available to NEW middlemen, and at what price? Or if they
>> will eliminate middlemen altogether, and sell directly to consumers.
> Craig, honestly, they've ALREADY done both. New middlemen and no middlemen. 
> Why ignore this? What content they offer over each model will no doubt change 
> over time, as it has been doing all along.

Not ignoring it. But what they are making available without middlemen is not 
what they make available via the MVPDs. Yes, some shows do make it to free (i.e 
Ad supported) OTT services after they have aired either Free OTA or via an 
MVPD. But the ability to watch these shows live is still a strong feature of an 
MVPD bundle; and the ability to watch it live on a smartphone or tablet (with 
an MVPD subscription) is generally being perceived as an enhancement of the 
value of these bundles.

> I don't see any necessary "politician" involvement at all. Any owner of any 
> product is NORMALLY allowed to decide how widely to distribute the product 
> for sale. If anything, politicians are involved when people demand more 
> widespread distribution, not the other way around. As in the Coors beer case.

Sorry Bert, but any owner of any product does not have the ability to violate 
anti-trust laws. The NFL has a legislative exemption  that allows them to 
control who can watch a game in each market.

> Nonsense. Look, the MVPDs are only doing this because their old scheme no 
> longer works. If people demand to see those TV shows or games on their cell 
> phones and tablets, the old stuck-at-home proprietary STB and proprietary 
> transmission protocol are out of the picture. So the MVPDs are the ones 
> adapting to the new reality.

Their old scheme still works just fine thank you. The Internet is still not 
ready to replace the cables and satellites that dedicate bandwidth to 

But technology now enables us to access content in new ways, on new screens 
connected to the Internet. So they are "extending" their business model in a 
manner that allows them to serve these screens, while creating the perception 
that they are enhancing the value of the traditional service. 

> Again, how odd to see you contradict your previous self. You were sounding 
> like it was already ready, years and years ago. The simple fact is, Craig, if 
> these MVPDs are offering TV to mobile handheld devices, including now talk of 
> even live games, this Internet is evidently reaching a point where this IS 
> feasible. You keep telling us how no one watches TV on a home TV anymore, 
> don't you? Then how is it that suddenly you can't get TV any other way?

It is feasible for every car in the United States to get on an Interstate at 
the same time; but if that happened nobody would be able to go anywhere.

We are talking about proportion and scale - these services are not mutually 

They are complimentary. 

An no, I have never said "no one watches TV at home anymore." What I have said 
is that the TV in the home is now turned on routinely, but only watched 
intermittently. That it has become the background noise of our lives.

> Who the h*ll cares what it was running on? The only thing that matters, for 
> this discussion, is what type of TV stream it was consuming. The box was tied 
> to the fixed-at-home broadcast streams from Comcast, just like back in 1978. 
> If this content is already available over IP, as you claim, and it's also 
> available on demand over IP, all the more reason to question why anyone 
> should be impressed with this anachronistic PVR throwback. All you seem to do 
> is get giddy because it looked like some Apple device. Who cares?

The box is connected to BOTH the MVPD video network AND the Internet. It 
integrates both in a manner that offers the user a much wider choice, AND a far 
better Human Interface. And it was obvious that the traditional cable STB 
providers had little to do with the demo. I strongly suspect it has been 
co-developed with Apple, and that we will see a number of announcements this 
fall about using a slightly upgraded Apple TV as a replacement for a leased 
cable STB (it will need a coax connection for the cable systems). 


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