Saturday, 12 July 2008
C.G. Hill links to a post by Doc Searls:
If you have an HDTV and live within sight of New York TV station transmitters on the Empire State Building, you can probably pick them up over an antenna on your set or your roof. In fact, a loop or bowtie antenna will do. So will length of wire about 5 inches long, attached to the center conductor of your coaxial connection on the back of your set.Doc believes the advent of digital, and its associated reception problems, will have the unintended consequence of driving even more people away from broadcast television to other forms of delivery. That concern is shared by people in the broadcast industry.
But if you live farther away, good luck. Your old VHF TV station not only won’t have the range it did on VHF, but will probably not have the same range as an old analog signal on the same UHF frequency. It certainly won’t have the same behavior. The signals tend to be either there or not-there. They don’t degrade gracefully with increasing “snow,” as analog signals did. They break up into a plaid-like pattern, or disappear entirely.
Speaking on the phone with RF Update..., [Barry] Goodstadt [vice president, Centris] said that... he was surprised by the massive scale of the potential OTA household decline. Regardless of DTV’s better picture, elimination of multipath ghosting and higher resolution in the case of HD, the digital television transition will significantly decrease the number of OTA households, he said. - Broadcast Engineering: Will DTV Kill Over-the-Air Television?And if nobody’s using the broadcasts, who needs the broadcasters?
Related (added 080717 22:00):
Posted by: Turk Turon at 07/12/08 22:49:05 (iTKty)
So yeah, pixelation and broken sound is my every morning routine now since I got a decent converter box. I expect that to improve when I get the antenna on the tower hooked up, but until then, as the sun goes up, channels 13 and 20 start breaking up. If the weather is OK, in the evening reception is fine.
Posted by: Rob K at 07/13/08 00:41:15 (rCv05)
If– say– 90% of your market (or 90% or the demo you’re interested in... forget the hix in the stix) receives your program via cable or similar means, is reaching that last 10% worth the expense and hassle of maintaining a transmitter and license? Virtual stations don’t have to deal with RF-paranoid municipalities, enormous power bills, tower maintenance, “acertainment,” or getting fined any time someone says “f*ck.”
And if 90% of the market can be reached without a transmitter, do the networks really need their affiliates any more?
Believe me, these are questions the financial types are considering right now.
Posted by: Old Grouch at 07/14/08 16:18:16 (R2uPT)
You are right that when 90% of the audience gets their signal over cable, the tail will start to wag the dog. But the NAB is so powerful that they can soften that change, and delay some its effects for years if not decades. For example, cable operators and broadcasters frequently used to get into fights over fees ("You pay me!", "No, YOU pay ME!") for signal carriage. But Congress passed "Must Carry" legislation which deprived cable of the only leverage they had in negotiations with the stations, groups and networks. One could argue that it makes for a more level playing field, but I dunno ...
Posted by: Turk Turon at 07/14/08 18:21:16 (blNMI)
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