The future of DTV has just recently taken quite a blow

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Rob T, Apr 29, 2004.

  1. Rob T

    Rob T Screenwriter

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    http://www.imaspub.com/nabdaily/wed_..._tackles.shtml
    The TV analog spectrum giveback was a big topic of discussion.

    Just before the show, FCC Media Bureau Chief Ken Ferree detailed a proposal to reach the 85 percent TV audience threshold that triggers the analog giveback. Powell said his plan two years ago to move the DTV transition forward led to the push for mandatory digital tuners for TV sets.

    The commission has concerns about the 85 percent threshold, said Powell. "The law is muddy about what is the end," and how is the agency supposed to know whether every household, which has three to four TVs, has purchased a digital TV set, he asked.

    It is right for the Media Bureau to discuss how the 85 percent threshold is reached, Powell said, although he added a caveat that the Ferree plan "is not the final word."

    As for when the TV analog spectrum giveback actually begins, Powell said, "Forget 2006. The law is when they get to 85 percent."

    "If all we do is wait until all households -- all three and four TVs -- are digital ... we're waiting for 50 years and that's unacceptable."

    No one knows what to do about converting the remaining 15 percent of households that have analog-only over-the-air TVs, he said. Whether Congress could subsidize converter boxes for those households should be a part of the discussion, believes Powell. "All that should be in play."

    He cautioned broadcasters to remain nimble and be open to change as delivery systems grow to rival broadcastings in the future. He's been watching the rise of personal telecommunications, and uses his sons as an example of kids today who want their personalized devices with them at all times.

    "My kids look for mobility. They want their things to go with them."

    Switching to Internet improvements, he said, "You're going to have a problem if WiFi matches what broadcasting gives to people."

    He said a lot of industries want the spectrum broadcasters now have. As a spectrum manager, he has to balance the needs of all industries when it comes to allocation, he said.

    All of this is why the DTV transition is important, said Powell. "There has to be a plan, or the other things will happen to you -- fees or the government will yank it back."


    The top half of the article deals with the fight against "indecency".
     
  2. dan fritzen

    dan fritzen Second Unit

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    It was obvious from the start the 2006 deadline was never going to happen. But I do hope they get converted over before 2050.
     
  3. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    He's got his head up his what? [​IMG]

    What a bunch of idiots. I think they were at least all drunk when they were interviewed. (or at least brain dead from wathing porn).

    I've been saying this for years - if we want widescreen only dvd's, then we need widescreen only sets. The TV manufacturers have been dumping the 4:3 sets on us, and now the feds expect everybody (or at least 85%% of us) to buy new sets before 2006.

    As for getting everyone to switch over, I think that the stations could just lower the wattage of their analog signalss until everybody gets the hint. Not such a hard thing to do. I do hope that someone there has thought all of this out.

    Glenn
     
  4. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    And this would be in the broadcasters' interests how...?

    DTV isn't going to take off until people can buy a
     
  5. Anthony Hom

    Anthony Hom Supporting Actor

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    There is more at stake than just households. What about every Hotel/Motel/Conference Hall/School classes/etc?

    This switchover will affect every hotel chain in the country, how are they going to handle that?
    I totally agree , the 85% will never occur so long as the electronic companies pump out analog TV at the rate they are now. Someone doesn't have a clue, HDTVs are being sold as a nice market TV.
    Same goes for audio CDs. Hi-rez formats will never take over with the dumping of redbook players at cheap prices.

    It will take some laws to fix this
     
  6. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    i think companies *are* starting to get the (hi-def) picture. (get it..."hi-def" picture??? hello....")

    i think i read in one of my mags that some company (pioneer???) is going exclusively to digital, "thin tv" technologies. the article mentioned how, at the most recent ces show, that the stars were definitely the new technologies. if there were any tubes, they were relegated to the corner of the room.

    it'll take some time, no question about that. but it will happen ... and i think it will be sooner then later. definitely within 50 years. [​IMG]
     
  7. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    Jason - with the lower wattage, the picture quality will go down, for those with an OTA broadcast. Asking about it will let them know, if they don't already, that they need to convert.

    The cable companies are switching over too, so with all of their customers, a lot of households won't even notice. They can convert the signal at their office.

    The hotels/motels don't factor in either, because they are mostly on cable too, even if it is their own network.

    I did read that the tuners will be required on TV models sold after July 1st. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

    Glenn
     
  8. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    I hope most of our members are aware that most people in the U.S. are completely unaware of this debate. Most people have no idea what HDTV (or DTV) is. Most people are unaware that the analog bandwidth is scheduled to go dark in 2006 (or at 85-percent DTV penetration, whichever comes first).

    Remember, the "general public" still is getting used to the DVD-Video format (with a relish, though).

    And, finally, the less well-heeled among us -- and, most of all, the poor: Even the idea of suddenly having to shell out money for a low-res DTV tuner to interface with their 20-year-old Sylvannia TVs is going to seem way too much a burden. (And it is, really. Come on. There's this thing called "compassion.") These people (how easy to generalize, I know) won't cotton to the idea of expensive new display technologies.

    As Jason notes, DTV at 480p is not going to take off until set prices are in line with current NTSC-only sets. To "most people," anything over $300-$400 is a lot of money to spend on a "TV."

    No one wants a digital, high-def future than we do. But there's the reality of it all, too.
     
  9. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    I ask, again, who does this benefit aside from hardware manufacturers? If you're a broadcaster, you're effectively reducing your potential audience, reducing your worth to advertisers, and taking money out of your own pocket. Just so that Sony can sell some more TV's? If I own a TV station, I say screw that.
     
  10. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    i dunno. i've had *plenty* of people come into bb wondering about hi-def. they always ask what it is, when will it occur, etc. true, they're probably not aware of all the pushback, but at least they're curious.
     
  11. Mike Graham

    Mike Graham Supporting Actor

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    Jack is 100% right. Most people don't give a woot about picture quality - they just want to click on the television, watch some Leno or whatever and hit the hay.
     
  12. ChrisMatson

    ChrisMatson Cinematographer

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    I never figured Jack to be an old softie! But he's right this time. I would guess that most HTF-type folk that are serious about HDTV get a signal by some means other than OTA. Why not relax the 2006 standard and see if the mandated digital tuners help drive down costs?
     
  13. Anthony Hom

    Anthony Hom Supporting Actor

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    Why don't they just drop the NTSC broadcast signal altogether and make people buy cable or satellite if they want to watch TV? Why does it have to be free? This will give the major networks equal footing to make the kind of shows that HBO and Showtime make.
     
  14. Kenneth

    Kenneth Supporting Actor

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    Well, I have to agree with Anthony on this one. I don't recall a right to free over the air broadcasts. I think the government needs to get some backbone and cut the cords. Since 2006 is after the big election I think the political blowback would be minimal (they could even time it to occur after the mid term elections). However, I don't expect them to even contemplate this option.

    Kenneth
     
  15. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Even if this was a good idea - and it's not - what congressman would have the courage to propose it? Which 200+ would vote for it?

    And, again, who benefits from this other than electronics manufacturers? The broadcasters don't, the audience doesn't... If someone tried to put this into law, they'd be out on their ass for being in the pockets of the consumer electronics companies, and rightly so.

    I don't have a DTV. I can't afford it right now, and I won't take a mandate that I have to spend a few hundred bucks on converters for both the TV in the living room and the one in the bedroom, along with the likely inevitable bump in my cable bill (not to mention the inconvenience of having to have a cable box, or how well it would interface with my existing ReplayTV and VCRs), lightly.

    And I'm a guy who really likes consumer electronics. If I take this much convincing, how is my mother who just wants to be able to get the weather forecast from the local news going to react?

    For DTV to take off, and achieve the type of market penetration necessray to trigger a giveback of the analog wavelenghts, it needs to be more appealing to the consumer. That does not mean getting them to shell out $$$ to upgrade every TV in the house or having the cost of buying a new one roughly double.
     
  16. Mike Graham

    Mike Graham Supporting Actor

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    If free broadcasts were dropped, viewership would plummet. If people can't afford to buy cable now, they won't be able to when the free channels go away either. The idea of taking away free TV is absolutely ludicrous.
     
  17. alan halvorson

    alan halvorson Cinematographer

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    I don't like someone else making my choices. I don't own a widescreen display, I don't want a widescreen display, and I don't want my future choices reduced to widescreen only displays. Does that make me an HT heretic? Maybe, but 4:3 material is just as important to me as widescreen stuff and I don't like the compromises widescreen displays make in handling 4:3 material. It is possible to own a 4:3 display and make no compromises when viewing widescreen sources (no loss is size or resolution when viewing widescreen material), but the reverse is impossible.

    So, let's be a little more liberal on this matter.
     
  18. Roger_R

    Roger_R Second Unit

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    Here in Norway you pay about 180 dollars per year to own a TV. That money goes to finance the state-owned TV-station (no commercials and everything in OAR) and to upgrade the entire network to digital TV which should be ready sometimes between 2006-2008. They put up a 1 year long grace period (I think) and during that time people can either buy a new TV with a digital tuner or a digital tuner from the state cheaply.

    Why can't that work over seas?
     
  19. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Because people really, really, really, really hate being told to pay for something that they've been getting for free, espeically when they're not likely to see any immediate benefit for it.

    Also, for the US, this would be a massive undertaking. How many local broadcasters are there in Norway? In the US, There are hundreds, if not thousands, of local stations that need to be upgraded (many have been, but not all), dozens if not hundreds of cable providers, and millions of NTSC televisions in operations. None of whom want to pay for a government mandate. And with Congressmen on a two-year election cycle, this sort of thing is the sort of personal annoyance that gets people kicked out of office.
     
  20. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    NTSC will be dropped, eventually. However, it's that attitude about "why free TV" that can be so offputting -- even to some/many HT enthusiasts. I dropped cable voluntarily more than two years ago, originally with a view to switching to DBS. But something happened. Maybe it's the 600+ DVDs in my place. Maybe it's the Internet. Yet I don't miss the mindless, repetitive drivvle that dominates CATV at all (and most of my viewing had been with PBS anyway). Therefore, I haven't sprung for DBS.

    And so, I very much like my free TV. I also prefer the picture quality of a good OTA signal.

    And to me, when FCC chairman Michael Powell smugly dismisses the idea of free OTA TV, my anger is aroused big time.

    Let's show some concern for others. And I really pity the working poor among us who would be caught completely by surprise when the NTSC bandwidth is shut down.

    If all this is supposed to be the PR for DTV, it angers me. Smug arrogance.
     

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