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The End of Free

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Old 07-12-2010, 07:25 AM   #1  
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I've been saying for a couple days now that Free TV is dying, to be replaced by a pay-to-see model. And now this guy comes out with this:
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From the Web, where the browser ruled supreme, to the smart phone, where the app and the pricing plan now hold sway, signals a radical shift from openness to a degree of closed-ness that would have been remarkable even before 1995. - LINK - http://news.slashdot.org/story/10/07...he-End-of-Free
The corporations are leading us down a path towards $1000-to-2000 per year bills just so we can see the latest episode of Stargate, or hear the news, or get a warning about severe weather. What was once free, they are locking-up behind paywalls and ye are cheering it along as technological "advancement" when it's actually the opposite.
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Old 07-12-2010, 09:41 PM   #2  
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Free over-the-air TV isn't going away.
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Old 07-12-2010, 09:50 PM   #3  
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Originally Posted by rcoleman11 View Post
Free over-the-air TV isn't going away.
Unfortunately there is a serious threat to the long term existence of free OTA. That is why the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) has been running public service ads on most OTA stations in the USA for many months to warn viewers of the threat and to encourage them to write to their congressmen to stop it from happening.

Note to Canadian members. There is a similar threat in Canada.
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Old 07-13-2010, 03:59 AM   #4  
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No, there is not a "serious" threat to the long term existence of free OTA. The only serious threat there is is to the current amount of spectrum allocated for free OTA television. There is a serious threat that that allocation will be adjusted downward to make better use of what is available. There is no serious threat that free OTA television would ever go away entirely. The propaganda projecting such a threat is nothing but the fostering of unreasonable fear, uncertainty and doubt, in an effort to corrupt public opinion to serve a specific, often self-serving aim, namely the forestalling of any efforts whatsoever to make better use of the limited resource.
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Old 07-13-2010, 07:08 AM   #5  
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No, there is not a "serious" threat to the long term existence of free OTA. The only serious threat there is is to the current amount of spectrum allocated for free OTA television. There is a serious threat that that allocation will be adjusted downward to make better use of what is available. There is no serious threat that free OTA television would ever go away entirely. The propaganda projecting such a threat is nothing but the fostering of unreasonable fear, uncertainty and doubt, in an effort to corrupt public opinion to serve a specific, often self-serving aim, namely the forestalling of any efforts whatsoever to make better use of the limited resource.
I couldn't have said it better myself.
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Old 07-13-2010, 07:15 AM   #6  
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Originally Posted by bicker View Post
No, there is not a "serious" threat to the long term existence of free OTA. The only serious threat there is is to the current amount of spectrum allocated for free OTA television. There is a serious threat that that allocation will be adjusted downward to make better use of what is available. There is no serious threat that free OTA television would ever go away entirely. The propaganda projecting such a threat is nothing but the fostering of unreasonable fear, uncertainty and doubt, in an effort to corrupt public opinion to serve a specific, often self-serving aim, namely the forestalling of any efforts whatsoever to make better use of the limited resource.
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Sadly Bicker, I don't know if you will prove correct in the end. As its is, the argument is that only 10% of the population use OTA TV. So lets reallocate more TV spectrum for the greatest good for the greatest number of cell phones and data hogs. Now there are fewer Television stations, and many people that had 10 OTA stations they could get now only get say 6. And now after the the spectrum raid, we look again, and now only 7% of the nation uses OTA TV. Meaning fewer advertisers will invest their advertising dollars to keep the remaining OTA Stations up and running. Meanwhile the cell phones companies will have oversold iphone type data hogs, and discover they don't have enough wireless spectrum to feed them all. So its time to raid the OTA spectrum again. And as everyone gets fewer and fewer television stations OTA, the vicious death spiral for free OTA can just keep going and going until there is none at all.

And anyone who relies on the oversold wireless spectrum is screwed, as Telco's who now wind up owning that spectrum,
can charge more and more for less and less.

As for our FCC, they are now seeming in bed with the Fox who is guarding the chicken coop.
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Old 07-13-2010, 07:29 AM   #7  
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Sadly Bicker, I don't know if you will prove correct in the end. As its is, the argument is that only 10% of the population use OTA TV. So lets reallocate more TV spectrum for the greatest good for the greatest number of cell phones and data hogs. Now there are fewer Television stations, and many people that had 10 OTA stations they could get now only get say 6. And now after the the spectrum raid, we look again, and now only 7% of the nation uses OTA TV. Meaning fewer advertisers will invest their advertising dollars to keep the remaining OTA Stations up and running. Meanwhile the cell phones companies will have oversold iphone type data hogs, and discover they don't have enough wireless spectrum to feed them all. So its time to raid the OTA spectrum again. And as everyone gets fewer and fewer television stations OTA, the vicious death spiral for free OTA can just keep going and going until there is none at all.

And anyone who relies on the oversold wireless spectrum is screwed, as Telco's who now wind up owning that spectrum,
can charge more and more for less and less.

As for our FCC, they are now seeming in bed with the Fox who is guarding the chicken coop.
But that 10% is increasing. We already have statistics from May that show us that 1 in 8 U.S. households cut their cable or satellite subscription in favor of OTA. That survey also indicated that the number is rapidly decreasing and that they expect it to be 1 in 5 in the next couple years. I personally ditched satellite back in April because I was tired of paying $97 a month or nearly $1200 a year for two HD receivers with only one being an HD DVR and that's with absolutely no premium channels.
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Old 07-13-2010, 08:25 AM   #8  
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And as everyone gets fewer and fewer television stations OTA, the vicious death spiral for free OTA can just keep going and going until there is none at all.
You're trying to make the argument that the reduction in number of television stations is what cause viewers to move away from OTA, but that's utterly without merit. Absent other factors, reduction in the number of television stations would tend to concentrate viewership, making the remaining channels stronger, not weaker. The reduction in reliance on OTA comes from a completely different direction: the reduction in the actual value of OTA to members of the general public.

At this point, my best guess is that OTA "deserves" about 30 MHz per DMA (so with overlap, I think that means that OTA deserves about no more than 180 MHz, total).
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Old 07-13-2010, 10:28 AM   #9  
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I hope you prove correct Bicker, but time will tell.
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Old 07-13-2010, 11:01 AM   #10  
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The good (?) thing is that we'll probably both be dead and gone before we know the answer.
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Old 07-13-2010, 11:54 AM   #11  
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Originally Posted by rcoleman11 View Post
Free over-the-air TV isn't going away.
(1) I said "dying" not dead. (2) You've not heard the news? FCC's Broadband Plan will sell off the remaining TV channels to ATT, Verizon, and other cellular companies, and Obama has announced he fully supports the plan and wants to implement it ASAP.

(3) No free TV won't be completely dead, but with only 5-6 channels left per city it might as well be. The free services are slowly but surely getting destroyed by the FCC and the corporations it serves. I fully expect that by 2020 instead of forty channels like now, I'll just have barebones news/weather/Judge Judy stations that aren't worth crap. And then I'll have to subscribe to ~$100/month bill to see the latest episodes of CSI or Supernatural; or else have no access to them.

It's ridiculous.

Last edited by electrictroy; 07-13-2010 at 12:28 PM..
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Old 07-13-2010, 12:10 PM   #12  
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There is a serious threat that that allocation will be adjusted downward to make better use of what is available.
If channels 30 and up are given to the ATT/Verizon duopoly, my parents will literally be left with two stations. 8 and 15. That's it. ----- You're technically right that Free TV will still exist, but such a lack of variety would effectively kill it, because viewers want more than 2 stations.

And then sometime around 2020 an enterprising FCC chairman will say, "Nobody watches free tv anymore. Let's just take all the channels and end free tv completely." So this is merely the first step towards obliteration of the free TV band.

I say enough. Or here's a thought: Let's use WIRES instead of wireless to provide internet to everybody. 99.9% of Americans have phonelines running into their homes. Install VHDSL and you'll have upto 100,000 kbit/s to every home (like the Japanese have).

Last edited by electrictroy; 07-13-2010 at 02:11 PM..
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Old 07-13-2010, 12:20 PM   #13  
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If channels 30 and up are given to the ATT/Verizon duopoly, my parents will literally be left with two stations. 8 and 15. That's it. ----- You're technically right that Free TV will still exist, but such a lack of variety would effectively kill it, because viewers want more than 2 stations.
My speculation would leave your parents with 4 channels, which could contain 8 or so different television stations, 4 HD + 4 SD; more than adequate variety afaic, and more than what is called-for by a fair allocation of the available resource.

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I say enough.
But without any real justification other than your personal preference. The FCC has to look at this objectively. An objective view of this is going to come down much closer to my perspective than your. Much closer. I know you know that (despite inevitable exhortations to the contrary); and I know that that's why you're so concerned and reacting in the over-the-top manner ("I say enough") that you are. I respect your frustration, but I also warn against allowing that frustration to blind you to what you're going to need to come to grips with. Don't create an abyss for yourself, an investment in getting your own way that is so deep that you cannot recover from the shock of things going the other way.
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Old 07-13-2010, 01:17 PM   #14  
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The FCC has to look at this objectively.
But instead they have $$$$$ dancing in front of their eyes, and they will saddle us with a bunch of worthless shit called cellphones that cost ~$100/month to get service, and only allow 5 gigabytes per month of downloads (data caps).

All I see is a movement from a Superior service (40 channels of free tv) to an inferior service (cellular internet) that is barely better than dialup and costs a hell of a lot more.
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I know that that's why you're so concerned and reacting in the over-the-top manner ("I say enough") that you are.
I'm not overreacting. I remember what this administration did just a short while ago, forcing through a Pelosicare Bill that over 70% of americans voted "nay" when polled. AND which leads to me being fined $950 a year because I *choose* to exercise my freedom and not purchase hospital insurance.

QED I have every reason to not trust these people. Oh and your name is "bicker". You are not exactly known for taking an objective view yourself.

Last edited by electrictroy; 07-13-2010 at 01:59 PM..
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Old 07-13-2010, 01:52 PM   #15  
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But instead they have $$$$$ dancing in front of their eyes,
What else could someone who disagrees with what they determine say to try to defend their own, perhaps failing, perspective, and attack the perspective that perhaps would prevail?

The companies who's interests you seek to ignore are no more influenced by money than you are - after all, isn't it just your own avarice that prompts you to try to save your over-abundant access to "free" television? Your motivations are no more noble than theirs are. And the FCC is responsible for weighing your greed against that of others who would use differently that resource that you want to dictate the use of.

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All I see is a movement from a Superior service (40 channels of free tv) to an inferior service (cellular internet) that is barely better than dialup and costs a hell of a lot more.
Because you are deliberately narrowing your view to just what you personally want. Again, the FCC looks at these things from a much broader view, where your personal preferences are just a contribution, and due to how few people value what you value, a small contribution. That's the way fairness works.

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I'm not overreacting.
Yes you are. You're trying to draw linkages to things that have no correlation; it just another form of fostering unreasonable fear, uncertainty and doubt - a favorite tactic of advocates who fear that they cannot win the issue on the merits and instead must resort to distortion to do so.

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Oh and your name is "bicker" meaning "fight". You are not exactly known for taking an objective view yourself.
bicker is a family name. I've had it since before I could talk. I have no concern about you presenting your subjective perspective. My interest here is in labeling it as biased, and making it clear that it is biased, and clarifying that there is a completely opposite perspective that , before we even start to discuss relative merits, is just as valid and worthy as yours (yet you insist on trying to deny that and try to demonize the opposite perspective instead). You seek to attack the conclusion of the decision made between your perspective and the opposing perspective (perhaps even before it is made) instead of acknowledging and accepting that your perspective may not prevail and that if it doesn't that that is nothing more than a reflection of a valid, opposing perspective fairly prevailing over yours.

OTA television is not a human right. It is not guaranteed by the US Constitution. It is a reflection of measured consideration of the best use of national resources. Thinking of it, in any way, as a sacred entitlement is without merit.

Last edited by bicker; 07-13-2010 at 01:57 PM..
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