DirecTV Local HD's Via Satellite

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Rob Willey, Feb 10, 2006.

  1. Rob Willey

    Rob Willey Screenwriter

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    I've been keeping an eye out for the eventual rollout of local HD channels via satellite on DirecTV.

    I had lunch today with one of my vendor reps who also lives here in the Bay Area and he told me that DirecTV has already begun rolling it out with no fanfare. He happened to call at end of December to find out when it was scheduled to begin in '06 and was told it was already available.

    He had his new dish and receiver installed a few weeks ago with KTVU, KPIX, KGO and KNTV HD channels. KQED and the WB and UPN affiliates will follow later this year.

    He was told service has been introduced in the 12 biggest markets in the country.

    I hadn't heard anything about this but thought I would share it in case anybody else is interested.

    Rob
     
  2. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    I've mentioned it in passing when I answer any satellite questions. I never thought it was a big deal because I get my local HD via OTA. D* is only carrying the big 4 networks and only their main channel. If you want sub channels, other local digital channels or an HD DVR then you need to stick with what you have now.

    -Robert
     
  3. Charlie Campisi

    Charlie Campisi Screenwriter

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    Re the "no fanfare" they've actually been overplaying it. Haven't you seen all the commercials where directv talks about the new satellites that will broadcast "hundreds of hd channels?" Well, what they are talking about, mostly, is local HD. But they don't say that while they are carrying hundreds of new HD channels, it's only about 4 per market, and many of us are already getting them with an antenna.
     
  4. Brian Osborne

    Brian Osborne Stunt Coordinator

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    Dont most of the DTV HD boxes have terestrial HD tuners built in?
    The only advantage I get with HD cable is its on all the time, where most stations around here don't broadcast DTV or HDTV but just a few hours a day.
    I thought I heard something about cable and satelite companies compressing the HD signal on local channels to fit it into a certain bandwidth or something like that. If this is the case, wouldn't you get a better picture and sound from a terestrial tuner and OTA HDTV?
     
  5. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    No. Some of our locals are multi-casting with one or more subchannels. They are bit starving the main HD channel and it causes problems with the picture.

    -Robert
     
  6. Brian Osborne

    Brian Osborne Stunt Coordinator

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    Strange but true. I can get 24/7 on local cable company for HD local channels but they only broadcast OTA during certain shows/events. Nice thing about the cable is it doesn't switch between HD and SD for shows and comercials. When it switches to SD the sound goes REALLY loud.
    And you can tell the difference between the true HD and the upconverted SD feeds. Only Fox has the sub channel of 17.1 and 17.2 right now. Others only have the .1
    Sorry about the accronyms. you got the just of it...
    thanks.
     
  7. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    For the most information on your local HDTV situation, check out AVS Forum and the Local HDTV section. Find the thread for your DMA and you will probably get way more information than I can provide. I participate in my local thread there along with a couple of station engineers. It's nice to know that the OTA feed will be down at 4am while they change a flux capacitor out at the broadcast tower.

    -Robert
     
  8. Dick Boneske

    Dick Boneske Stunt Coordinator

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    For those of us lucky enough to have a HD TIVO or HD receiver from Direct TV, and near enough to receive digital OTA signals, it's a no-brainer. The BEST QUALITY HD picture today is OTA, even though the major networks only broadcast HD part of the time. If you can receive a Public Television digital station, they broadcast HD 24/7, but not always something you would want to watch. Also, programs are repeated endlessly.

    For those in remote areas, the Direct TV five LNB dish will be a necessity for HD local channels.

    Meanwhile, I'm enjoying the hell out of my HD TIVO. What more could you ask of any component in your home theater system. It can record two programs at once, shows no loss of picture or sound quality, and is so easy to use. It makes VCR's and DVD recorders look like stone-age equipment.
     
  9. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    To get the digital locals you have to upgrade to a 5 LMB dish and live in Detroit or one of the other 11 cities. My mom's just bought Direc branded, DirecTivo is compatiable with the new HD offerings. My older Hughes HD DirecTivo is said not to be...

    I won't be buying the locals from Direc or anybody else, ever, I presume. I pick them up just fine. I lve on a hill. My mom does not though. She lives at really low alttitude in a river canyon. She wants 'em...
     
  10. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    No current or future DirecTivo will work with the MPEG4 local HD channels. Right now, the only receiver that will work with them is the H20. The HR20-250 (the new NDS powered DVR) will work with them when it is introduced sometime between now and the end of the year.

    -Robert
     
  11. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Robert, if it's not compatiable, they lied to us either conciously or unconciously?
     
  12. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Rachael,

    The HD capable DirecTivo is an MPEG-2 only unit that won't work with the new MPEG-4 format used with the new local-into-local HD service. DirecTV will offer an HD capable DVR unit with MPEG-4 capability soon, but it won't be a Tivo as DirecTV is phasing out their association with Tivo.

    Rumor is that my market (Fresno California) will have the local into local HD available in early summer 06, and that the upgrade to the MPEG-4 equipment will be free with a 2 year service commitment.

    I have the current HD DirecTivo and love it, get perfect reception of all my local HD channels OTA. The fly in the ointment is that any new nationwide HD channels that will be added, such as TNT-HD, National Geographic HD, etc. will also be in the MPEG-4 format.

    If the MPEG-4 DirecTV HD DVR is available at the inception of the local-into-local service, I will go ahead and get one if they're free to existing HDTivo owners, but if it isn't I'll wait until it is available since I already get my local HD stations ota. I do want to get the new nationwide channels but don't want to give up the use of a DVR.

    I just hope the user interface of the new DVR is half as good as that of the Tivo unit.
     
  13. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    Not on purpose. Most service reps and installers range from incompetent to complete morons. They know absolutely nothing more than what is in front of them on the script. If they get away from the script, they start spewing wrong answers. Between here, the dedicated satellite forums and the Tivo Community, you could have easily gotten the correct information.

    -Robert
     
  14. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    I believe ya'all that the DirecTivo won't be compatiable with MPEG 4. That's what I previously thought and I was suspicious of the info given us. I think Direc is screwing up by not continuing with Tivo. My mom is elderly and I don't know if she'll ever be able to comfortably operate anything other than Tivo at this point. I could but I may not want to. When the whole MPEG 4 thang is compete, I may no longer want Direc...? I like today's equipment but tomorrow's...?

    I may see about getting my mom an antenna on a high mast for the locals on down the line. She lives about as low as you can get around here, right at river level, in what amounts to a canyon. Right now, she's tickled pink to be getting Vol & Lady Vol games in HD off of the ESPN HD's and HD Net Movies. It's a start for her down the HD road.
     

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