Do you think broadcasters will all eventually adopt HDTV or SDTV?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dave Poehlman, Oct 14, 2002.

  1. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    I'm still new to this, so tell me if I have this wrong. But the way I understand it is, with the new technology, broadcasters will have the option of transmitting a single HDTV show or give the viewer multiple viewing options in standard resolution (SDTV).
    For example, our CBS affiliate here broadcast the NCAA tournament in SDTV, giving the viewer the option to choose between multiple games to watch on the same channel. (article is here.)
    Which makes me wonder, what is the incentive for broadcasters to go with HDTV programming rather than multicast? Yeah, you get a "prettier picture" with the HD, but you can sell more advertising with the multicast.
    Will there really be a day when all I see on my TV is 1080 resolution?
     
  2. VicRuiz

    VicRuiz Second Unit

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    No, HDTV will not be 24/7, at least for a while. They will settle on a combination of some multicasting during the day and HDTV in prime time and special events.

    The problem with multicasting is what are you going to put in all those other channels? A network executive complained once: "Where are we going to get all this programming from? We're having a hard enough time filling the one channel we have now! HDTV will cost me money, but multicasting will kill me!"
     
  3. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    I also think that the emphasis will be on HD, as opposed to multicasting. The satellite and cable services have probably already picked up the biggest opportunities for multicasting: the ability to look at multiple sports events at the same time. And that is the example cited in the article you reference—multiple basketball games. Interested parties can already sign up for NFL/NBA/NHL multiple packages. How much can be supported?

    Prime time and event HD is rapidly becoming the norm (except for Fox) and with the latest announcements by ABC/ESPN, major sports events are yet another step closer.

    As far as everything on HD—that will be a really, really long time.
     
  4. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    Interesting.. so do you think the occasional multicast TV show will evolve into allowing the viewer to view different camera angles, follow multiple plot lines.. etc? It would be interesting to see a show where you could choose which charater you wanted to follow... (those reality shows like Survivor come to mind)

    Or perhaps you could make a choice for a plot line in your favorite show and the multicast would show you what the outcome of your choice would be. Is anything like that possible?
     
  5. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    Someone will no doubt do it as a gimmick. It was actually done in Sweden a few years ago, but not with "multicasting", but simply showing the same show on two channels at exactly the same time, except in one channel you followed one storyline and in the other another. Every few minutes or so they connected so you had the same scenes playing in both channels.
    I don't see any longterm practical use for it with SDTV though. It really is just confusing and the viewer will constantly feel like he's missing what's happening on the other channel/angle. In sports I guess it might be useful, but even there it'll probably end up being a fairly unused gimmick.
    I think the main use for it will eventually be that they can target commercials to different demographics, or some other commercial use. Maybe you get to select when a show starts one out of 4 or so commercial groups ("electronics", "home improvement", "clothing", "travel") and then the majority of the commercials in that show will be about what you selected. Not only do they get a better chance to target their audience, they get to sell more commercials during the same timeslot.
    Channels like QVC and HSN will probably want to use multicasting to let the viewer see different angles of a product they're selling, and to select different categories a la what I mentioned above.
    HDTV will probably be used the majority of the time however. That's my little prediction. [​IMG]
     
  6. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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  7. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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  8. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    Yes, the cost per ad would be less for some of the ads, however since the ads will be targeted to an audience that have (hopefully) actively selected those ads because of their interest in that kind of products, they will be more valuable to advertisers. They will simply reach more people that are interested in their products for a lower price, however, the price will not be 1/4 (if we have four areas) of what the ad price would have been, more like 1/3. So the ad company is happy because it gets a better demographic for a lower cost (even if the number of actual viewers are down), while the broadcaster is happy because it increases revenue. Everyone's happy. [​IMG]
     
  9. Gary_E

    Gary_E Second Unit

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    Just last night our local CBS station did analog multi-casting. The local CBS affiliate also owns the local UPN station and since the Dolphin-Bronco game was on ESPN, the AFC station (CBS) had the rights to broadcast the game locally.

    The game pre-empted programming on the CBS station, while UPN showed the normal CBS primetime programming, including the Gleason movie. Other than the fact our UPN station is not digital, this particular situation was very cool.

    -Gary
     
  10. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    Gary, you point out an interesting aspect. Maybe if a sports event broadcast in HD runs over its alloted time, it will be broadcast in SD for the remained of the game while the channel resumes normal programming (also in SD, of course), thus no delays will have to occurr because of sports. Then when the game is over they can resume in HD.

    /Mike
     
  11. Bill Slack

    Bill Slack Supporting Actor

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    The only reason a network would really want to do this is to compete with cable/DBS.

    But why would they want to compete with cable DBS? So they don't have to pay to have their other channels carried? Well, they're going to have to do that anyway to avoid pissing a lot of people off.

    Can you imagine ABC ditching MNF in HD because they want to show ABC-Fam, ESPN and ESPN-News along with the football game? And 99% of the HD viewers are already going to have access to all those channels anway.

    And once more people see HDTV they're not going to stand for the mutlicasting, which looks worse than DBS or analog cable, imo.

    Finally, if an HD event is running over the station could cut the bandwidth and add a multi-cast SD channels along with the partial bandwidth HD channel, it's not optimal but could improve over time (there is a noticable increase in artifacting on the HD feed.)
     
  12. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Our local ABC station can and does multicast 3 channels at all times, one of which is always either native 720p from the network or 480i upconverted to 720p when no network 720p is on. The second channel is a loop of recent news shows in SD, and the third channel is just a constant feed from a stationary camera atop our tallest downtown building.

    It's our only local digital channel doing any HD. The Spanish channel is multicasting 2 different SD pictures 24/7, The UPN affilliate is doing only a single SD broadcast, and we have one oddball independent simulcasting nothing but Home Shopping Network in SD.
     
  13. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    I see the future of multicasting as a solution for sports runover.

    I also think that instead of sending the shows like "24" or "Alias" to cable for a rerun later in the week, that they may run programming on a 2 day delay, that way you can catch it later in the week if you so wish. If you keep your interest groups seperate, then the advertising won't be less valuable.

    I do think that the top dramas, and maybe a few comedies will be HD, along with sporting events and movies.
     
  14. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    The reason I brought this up is I was watching a HDTV broadcast and marvelling at the quality. Then I thought "is this resolution really necessary? Do I really need to see every blade of grass or brick in a building?" Yes, to us, the A/V geeks, we think it is.
    But, does J6P really care if he/she is getting 1080i? I'm wondering if the networks will have the same train of thought and offer lower res programming in multicast where they can target multiple demographics. Action on one, comedy on another, etc..
    Heheh.. but the problem is.. there's not enough programming out there to fill air time as it is. Which makes me wonder if we will see a flood of second rate fluff shows that are created solely to sell advertising time. Will there be a day when I'm standing by the water cooler and no one knows what show the other one is talking about? [​IMG]
    "Hey did you watch 'The Johnny cop show' last night?"
    "No, I watched the 'Billy Sci-fi'show. What the hell is the 'Johnny cop show'?!?"
     
  15. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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  16. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    It's funny- I mentioned this topic last year and no one cared. I went to the NAB convergence convention in Vegas and spoke with programming heads from at least a dozen major stations and all the major networks- and every single one said the same thing:

    "We get to choose between having one station or multiple stations, which do you think we're going to pick?"

    Every person said they had no intention of offering HD material in the long run, and would concentrate on doing niche market programs on a multicasting system like HBO has done with their multiple flavors of HBO.


    The problem with the assumption that people will flock and demand HD once they see it is that test after test has shown the average viewers can NOT tell the difference on smaller sets. Truth is HD is useful for large format sets- but anything 27 inch or smaller will be a much smaller margin. I think the majority will be hovering around the 32 inch mark- so the chances of them caring is going to be slim.

    -Vince
     
  17. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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  18. Anthony Hom

    Anthony Hom Supporting Actor

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    I read a report that PBS intends not to use HD, but to do multi-cast instead. The reason they would use it is to spread out the time at which there shows play, so you don;t have to fix yourself to one time slot to watch a show.
    Say, for example one day will have from 8-11, on one multicast, Nature, Nova, Mystery. Then another cast could have Nova, Mystery, Nature and another could have Mystery, Nature, Nova.

    Not really sure if that will work, but that's was the scenario in an issue of Sound And Vision.
     
  19. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    VInce, the thing is where will they find the programming to support multiple channels? Hell, they can barely muster up 3 hours a day of primetime TV as it is, with Fox doing only 2 hours. And look at the specialty networks like HGTV or Food Network, rerun upon rerun.

    I guess the networks could do what Anthony suggests, basically timeshift primetime TV for us, the way some cable stations do today (HGTV runs their programming twice, once for the eastcoast and once for the westcoast). I wonder if it'll be worth the effort though, maybe it is.

    I agree though that the PQ isn't that important to most people, especially on smaller TVs. Personally, I don't care too much about PQ on TV (I even tape everything in EP mode), I just want HD to be able to watch sports and movies.

    /Mike
     
  20. LarryDavenport

    LarryDavenport Cinematographer

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