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Old 07-22-2010, 08:55 AM   #61  
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I think there may be some sacrifices made to free OTA tv (the business model may be in trouble as ad dollars are dropping also) but we pushed back the transition to digital tv about a dozen times and six years or so because of public fears that Grandma,grandpa,and joe 6 pack would lose their tv and the screens would go dark so I don't think that the politicians will be able to usurp it entirely
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Old 07-22-2010, 01:11 PM   #62  
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I think there may be some sacrifices made to free OTA tv (the business model may be in trouble as ad dollars are dropping also) but we pushed back the transition to digital tv about a dozen times and six years or so because of public fears that Grandma,grandpa,and joe 6 pack would lose their tv and the screens would go dark so I don't think that the politicians will be able to usurp it entirely
Not to keep this thread going, but you bring up a very valid point. The government spent a couple billion making sure everyone had those OTA adapters - the political pressure to do that, as well as to ensure that everyone was ready for the transition, thereby delaying countless times... all the gnashing of teeth by the media about how grandma would lose her ability to watch Oprah - tells you all you need to know about how willing Washington would be to pull the plug on free OTA TV. The public outcry would be astounding.
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Old 07-22-2010, 01:43 PM   #63  
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Some cities had the foresight to force basic cable offerings at affordable prices, but many did not.
Generally, though, the places where basic service is not provide are places where the local government has lost the power to impose what you suggest, because there are multiple sources for OTA broadcast stations.
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Old 07-22-2010, 03:09 PM   #64  
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Fee TV won't dissapear. At least not for the next 30 or 40 years. If the TV representatives don't offer something that people would pay to see, we'll still watch free for the next decades.
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Old 07-22-2010, 06:04 PM   #65  
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Someone posted something to the effect that cable/satellite should be able to charge whatever they want, because we have the choice to pay it or not. While I do view myself as a capitalist, I do think we do have to protect against monopolies. If the consumer has only one choice in a given area for particular content, then I think the government stepping in to either regulate prices, or preferably open the market to more competition.

My beef with DirecTV is that they are the only provider of NFL games outside of the home market. Personally, I think the exclusionary deal that DirecTV has with the NFL should not be permitted. The NFL should be required to sell the content to all providers or to none of them. Then you would have price competition, and you would probably see DirecTV prices falling for their services. The NFL would probably also find that they make more money in the process too.
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Old 07-23-2010, 06:20 AM   #66  
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While I do view myself as a capitalist, I do think we do have to protect against monopolies.
And that's why we've put in place myriad provisions to ensure that there are no monopolies in this space. There is effective competition for subscription television service in every market in the United States. That's not my opinion; it is the actual fact, as determined by those in our society designated as responsible for ensuring it. In addition, there is effective competition for carriage of OTA broadcast channels in hundreds of localities within those markets, and dozens more every month.

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If the consumer has only one choice in a given area for particular content, then I think the government stepping in to either regulate prices, or preferably open the market to more competition.
In those localities where there is still only one supplier for carriage of OTA broadcast channels, the local government does indeed regulate the price and conditions of carriage for that service. They indeed do ensure that the price charged for that service is affordable and fair.

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My beef with DirecTV is that they are the only provider of NFL games outside of the home market. Personally, I think the exclusionary deal that DirecTV has with the NFL should not be permitted.
However, such a restriction would be a violation of free enterprise. If I paint paintings, I have the choice to make 5 paintings per year or 100 painting a year. I have the choice to only sell them as original paintings, or also make them available as prints. I have the right to control how many prints are in a series.

The people who own the NFL have the same right. They have a right to determine how much to sell tickets to their games, how to offer those tickets (i.e., giving priority to the subscription "fan club" perhaps, another way of earning more revenue), how much to charge for television carriage rights, to which outlets, etc. Major boxing events are even sometimes only available via PPV for $100 or more.

While we may not like how much we have to pay for what we want, we have strictly limited rights to dictate to providers of non-essentials what they do. That is a reflection of a balance between the needs of consumers and the needs of business.

The reality is that football is not a right. If football is too expensive, then watch basketball instead, or car racing, or dramas, or reality shows. These are all different genres within the same commodity, television entertainment. The fact that an individual has a preference for one genre over another does not constitute an entitlement that individual has for that genre.

I know it is pointless to try to make this clear, because some people in these forums don't care about truth and will just defecate on free enterprise every chance they get, but the reality is that what I've written above is essentially not my opinion, but rather is the law. Again, I doubt that fact will dissuade the anti-free enterprise crowd from having their say, and in a free society it shouldn't: They have an absolute right to post their misinformation.
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Old 07-23-2010, 06:55 AM   #67  
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Generally, though, the places where basic service is not provide are places where the local government has lost the power to impose what you suggest, because there are multiple sources for OTA broadcast stations.
What multiple sources? When the cable agreements were set, in virtually every case, satellite didn't even exist. The cities were granting exclusive franchises to provide cable service. They granted monopolies with very little foresight and regard for their constituents, either due to ignorance or greed. The cable sales pitch was that they had to charge for their content because their channels were "commercial free" (that concept has long since been forgotten), and that they would provide the local channels. What many cities didn't do was require a basic tier for just the local channels at a minimal cost. Without the free OTA channels, cable would have had a difficult time acquiring customers. In fact, to this day, most people still watch more of the free channels from the major networks than they do the actual cable channels.
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Old 07-23-2010, 07:31 AM   #68  
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What multiple sources? When the cable agreements were set, in virtually every case, satellite didn't even exist. The cities were granting exclusive franchises to provide cable service. They granted monopolies with very little foresight and regard for their constituents, either due to ignorance or greed. The cable sales pitch was that they had to charge for their content because their channels were "commercial free" (that concept has long since been forgotten), and that they would provide the local channels. What many cities didn't do was require a basic tier for just the local channels at a minimal cost. Without the free OTA channels, cable would have had a difficult time acquiring customers. In fact, to this day, most people still watch more of the free channels from the major networks than they do the actual cable channels.
Monopoly status for cable is no longer a given. In fact, it's anything but. When cable first came about it was considered a utility. As such, like any other utility, the company providing the service was put under pretty stringent requirements by the local governing body to ensure that citizens within the service area were given equal access to that utility.

That's no longer the case by a long shot. Just about every area has access to multiple sources of TV programming. Locales are unwinding those monopoly statuses that were given to cable companies to help ensure competition. And even if they didn't, they can't stop the influx of service via IP or DBS - they can stop another cable company from coming in, but cable is far from the only game in town anymore.

And as much as people decry the cost of these services, competition has led to better service, while value has improved - yes, costs have gone up, but that's largely due to these companies falling all over themselves to provide services that people want.

Think about what it was like even 10 years ago. At the time, I had basic cable - there was no digital cable around here. DBS was just starting out, and still didn't carry our locals. I got a whopping 72 channels... and that was it.

Today, it's very different. I have access to hundreds of channels... all digital. I have access to over 125 HD channels... VOD... interactive guide data... digital music feeds... widgets... internet connectivity... It's a very different world and what you get for your money is pretty astounding, in my opinion.
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Old 07-23-2010, 07:40 AM   #69  
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Monopoly status for cable is no longer a given. In fact, it's anything but. When cable first came about it was considered a utility. As such, like any other utility, the company providing the service was put under pretty stringent requirements by the local governing body to ensure that citizens within the service area were given equal access to that utility.

That's no longer the case by a long shot. Just about every area has access to multiple sources of TV programming. Locales are unwinding those monopoly statuses that were given to cable companies to help ensure competition. And even if they didn't, they can't stop the influx of service via IP or DBS - they can stop another cable company from coming in, but cable is far from the only game in town anymore.

And as much as people decry the cost of these services, competition has led to better service, while value has improved - yes, costs have gone up, but that's largely due to these companies falling all over themselves to provide services that people want.

Think about what it was like even 10 years ago. At the time, I had basic cable - there was no digital cable around here. DBS was just starting out, and still didn't carry our locals. I got a whopping 72 channels... and that was it.

Today, it's very different. I have access to hundreds of channels... all digital. I have access to over 125 HD channels... VOD... interactive guide data... digital music feeds... widgets... internet connectivity... It's a very different world and what you get for your money is pretty astounding, in my opinion.
It's obvious you live in a highly populated area and don't have a clue as to what goes on in the rest of the country, especially in smaller, more remote markets where the monopolies still exist and only one cable provider is available. Also, if your sense of history only goes back 10 years then you have no idea what I'm talking about because these agreements were made over 30 years ago in most cases.
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Old 07-23-2010, 08:42 AM   #70  
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Huh? What are you talking about? The points have been made that bandwidth is being taken from OTA TV to be given over to wireless providers. The assumption is then made that that means that OTA TV content will take a hit. My point is - that's not true. Even if they take some of the bandwidth currently given to TV to wireless, so what? There's spare bandwidth out there.

Use my example again. In the old days I could carry 4 programs with 24 MHz. Today, I can carry those same 4 programs (in both SD and HD) in 15 MHz (max - probably less). That means that you can carry all the same exact programming that was traditionally there, in both HD and SD, and STILL have bandwidth you could give away to wireless. How in the world does that in any way take away from what's offered on TV? It doesn't.

The device I choose to use to view stuff via wireless is totally irrelevent. Whether I use that 9 MHz to view stuff on my cell phone... use an on-line ap... or whatever... doesn't matter. The question is - how much overall bandwidth will be available for wireless. How that bandwidth is used is totally separate from this conversation (it's not like me watching a TV program on a cell phone takes away any more bandwidth from OTA TV than it would otherwise - when that bandwidth is allocated to OTA, you don't have other devices tapping into it).

Finally, Bicker's point is totally valid. At one point OTA TV was the ONLY game in town. You wanted entertainment at home, it was either radio or OTA TV. That's it. That's no longer the case at all. Yeah, there are still alot of people out there who watch stuff OTA - I don't deny that. But far from a majority. There are so many alternate sources of entertainment that OTA TV viewership, as a percentage, is a fraction of what it used to be. Couple that with the fact that you can carry the same with less bandwidth than you used to, and it's utterly insane NOT to reallocate some of that TV bandwidth to other sources.

And even if they do that... where is it written that OTA TV is going away? Where is it written that OTA content will even take a hit if they do that? It won't. There's way too much fat in the TV bandwidth that's out there today - I gave one example of Sezmi. TV bandwidth is so restricted right now... that TV stations are able to lease out part of their bandwidth to another company. As another example - when the OTA analog shut-off happened, the FCC allowed TV stations to reoccupy their old VHF slot. That is, prior to the shut-off, TV stations had two slots - one VHF and one UHF (for digital). After the transition, they allowed TV stations to move their digital feed down to their old VHF slot.

So what? Well that means that there is additional bandwidth in the TV spectrum that's not being used for anything right now. The FCC only sold off a portion of the VHF spectrum - far from all of it. That's on top of the space that the TV stations are leasing to Sezmi. Take all that together, and you have alot of fluff in the TV spectrum that could be reallocated for better purposes WITHOUT CAUSING ANY REDUCTION IN FREE OTA PROGRAMMING AT ALL.
Cause for concern,,hell yes,,,
Quote:
Perhaps most provocative is his statement that "reaching an always-on wireless broadband future means that the spectrum can no longer remain attached solely to uses deemed valuable decades ago," possibly a veiled reference to the FCC's ongoing spat with TV broadcasters over the future of over-the-air broadcasts. Free TV or an iPad with a fast, functional browsing experience -- if it came down to it, which would you prefer?
http://www.engadget.com/2010/02/04/g...ain-rides-ipa/
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Old 07-23-2010, 09:27 AM   #71  
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It's obvious you live in a highly populated area and don't have a clue as to what goes on in the rest of the country, especially in smaller, more remote markets where the monopolies still exist and only one cable provider is available. Also, if your sense of history only goes back 10 years then you have no idea what I'm talking about because these agreements were made over 30 years ago in most cases.
Right... because DirecTV and Dish Network don't operate in those areas. Neither do IP feeds... Please. A number of years ago we visited my wife's family in a very rural area (in the mountains) of western, PA. Guess what I saw EVERYWHERE - DBS dishes. Just about every house had one. You're not guaranteed a full plate selection of services regardless of where you live.

Next, stop with the personal attacks... my perspective doesn't ONLY go back 10 years. I was trying to put things in perspective, and give a sense of just how FAST things change. If things were like that just ten years ago, and if you look at where things are today, then you get a sense of just how far we've come in a very short period of time.

But since you're going back 30 years... what the hell. We first got cable back around 1981. We had about 25 channels - including the two premiums offered (HBO and TMC - later to be changed to SHO). We paid about $17 for service. Sounds like a bargain, right? Really? Well, considering you're taking 1980's dollars... and considering the very few channels (especially when you consider the fact that most of the channels we got were either local or information - the number of real cable channels was very small at the time) it was pretty darn expensive.

Now... fast forward to 10 years ago. What changed between those times? Well, in reality, not much. Yeah, the capacity improved, and we went from about 25 channels to just over 70... and the number of real cable channels went up... but the cost per channel kept right up with that. And innovations in cable were pretty flat - many of the related products/services we take for granted today were either in their infancy, didn't exist, or were so stinking expensive that they were basically not there.

What's happened in just the last 10 years? There's been an absolute explosion of cable channels (when ESPN first started there wasn't enough programming for the channel - anyone else remember them broadcasting Australian Rules Football? Today they have so much programming that they have multiple manifestations of ESPN... or anyone else remember when HBO didn't START broadcasting until 5:00 PM?). You've seen the advent of interactive guides... interactivity period, actually (e.g. widgets)... web connectivity (being able to do remote DVR booking, e.g.)... and speaking of which - DVRs... digital streaming music... HD... and now 3D. ALL of that happened within the last 10 years or so. Why? What happened? In a word - competition.

You think Comcast around here is moving to DOCSIS 3.0 out of the goodness of it's heart? Or is it because it needs to compete against FiOS?

The notion that we're getting crushed by a duopoly (whatever the hell that means) is utter nonsense. We've never had more choices, and these companies are falling all over themselves to get your dollars.

One last point - you made the point that I don't understand history because those agreements were made 30 years ago. You exactly made my point. At the time when cable first started (gee, I seem to remember making that pretty clear in my post) those agreements came into being. Within the last couple of years those agreements have been going away. That coincides with increased competition... which so nicely coincides with all those advances that I've just mentioned.

One last, last point - just because you live in a rural area don't decry those that live in heavier populated areas. It's the heavier populated areas that make these innovations affordable - if these companies can't recoup their costs, then they don't move forward with the innovations. The best place to do that is in heavily populated areas. If there were no heavily popluated areas for these companies to play around with, you would never see many of the things I mentioned. You benefit too.

Last edited by JPL; 07-23-2010 at 09:52 AM..
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Old 07-23-2010, 09:37 AM   #72  
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That one line about which you would choose is the author's speculation... nothing more. They're asking an almost rhetorical question based on their read of what's going on in Washington.

Speaking of which, if you read into this article, it's pretty clear what this is about. It's about net neutrality. They're all of a sudden concerned that the web may be maxed out due to the iPad? Really? You really believe that? How many of them have you seen around? I think I've seen 1 - no... I KNOW I've seen one. They're so ubiquitous... so omnipresent... that they still turn heads when you see someone with one.

Or could it just be that you have a politician who's using a scare tactic to get the public on board with the administration's position on net neutrality? Why... if I was a betting man... it would be the latter. I know it's beyond the pale for a politician to engage in those tactics and all... but that's exactly what I read in the article 'if we don't pass this regulation, the internet will be overtaken by iPads!' that's about as silly as the scene from Scary Movie 4 when we were attacked by the iPod.
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Old 07-23-2010, 09:50 AM   #73  
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The people who own the NFL have the same right. They have a right to determine how much to sell tickets to their games, how to offer those tickets (i.e., giving priority to the subscription "fan club" perhaps, another way of earning more revenue), how much to charge for television carriage rights, to which outlets, etc. Major boxing events are even sometimes only available via PPV for $100 or more.

While we may not like how much we have to pay for what we want, we have strictly limited rights to dictate to providers of non-essentials what they do. That is a reflection of a balance between the needs of consumers and the needs of business.

The reality is that football is not a right. If football is too expensive, then watch basketball instead, or car racing, or dramas, or reality shows. These are all different genres within the same commodity, television entertainment. The fact that an individual has a preference for one genre over another does not constitute an entitlement that individual has for that genre.

I know it is pointless to try to make this clear, because some people in these forums don't care about truth and will just defecate on free enterprise every chance they get, but the reality is that what I've written above is essentially not my opinion, but rather is the law. Again, I doubt that fact will dissuade the anti-free enterprise crowd from having their say, and in a free society it shouldn't: They have an absolute right to post their misinformation.

I actually agree with you on this for the most part. The only area with football that makes it a little gray for me is that tax dollars go to so many of the NFL stadiums and the such. While I agree they should be able to sell their "NFL package" to whoever they want I don't think they should be able to blackout games that aren't sold out. But that is again off topic.
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Old 07-23-2010, 11:43 AM   #74  
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What multiple sources?
It depends on the area. The FCC outlines the basis for each of its determinations of effective competition in each applicable Order.

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What many cities didn't do was require a basic tier for just the local channels at a minimal cost.
That was remedied in 1992.
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Old 07-23-2010, 11:45 AM   #75  
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I actually agree with you on this for the most part. The only area with football that makes it a little gray for me is that tax dollars go to so many of the NFL stadiums and the such.
But not the NFL itself. Public money that goes into stadiums are reflected in municipal considerations, typically the economic activity attributable to hosting the team itself.
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