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Reinvention of Broadcast TV: 10 Things to Know

Broadcasters bet its future on ATSC 3.0
10/23/2014 02:00 PM EDT
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MeasurementBlues
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Re: Better be compatible
MeasurementBlues   10/24/2014 11:00:03 AM
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"do-or-die" situation for broadcasters

With an election less than two weeks away (we have atight governor's race here), the bulk of the money is going into local TV ads now. What will politicians do without terrestrial broadcast TV.

I've head it said many times that elections often come down to who has the most TV ad money.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Some things never change, but maybe old dogs can learn new tricks
junko.yoshida   10/24/2014 10:28:37 AM
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@AZskibum, I knew you would be able to add some historical context to this story. Thank you.

I was thinking about the same thing. When I used to cover the birth of the digital TV, 8VSB vs OFDM debate, in essence, turned into a religious war. 

At a time when there're so many naysayers for terrestrial broadcasting, I do think they may finally have a real chance to do a total overhaul. I didn't know Luke was your friend and former colleague. I sat next to him on a bus ( we were visiting Kohl Center) and I learned a lot from him.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Better be compatible
junko.yoshida   10/24/2014 10:21:20 AM
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I am totally with you @AZskibum. As you noted, this is a "do-or-die" situation for broadcasters. TV stations need to move on and non-backward compatibility is not so dire as it sounds -- technically speaking -- when compared to 15 years ago. 

When most consumers are willing to pay for a dongle or a set-top to receive additional services or upgrade our phones and computers every so often to do stuff we couldn't do before, why do we have to tell broadcasters, "nope, you have to stick to your old system"?

MeasurementBlues
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Re: Better be compatible
MeasurementBlues   10/23/2014 11:28:42 PM
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"I went through the pain of my cable provider going 100% digital,"

Me too. The company gave me two converter boxes that deliver local broadcast channels only. We ended up not using them and I bought an antenna. It connects to two DVD recorders so we can record two shows at once and the recorder can be programmed to change channels. that overs recording OTA channels. For cable-only chanels, I have a cable box connected to (get this) a VHS recorder. The third TV (living room) has the other cable box to  get CNN, local sports, etc. It also has a DVD/blu-ray player. I've never used the blu-ray function Why? because there's no place around to rent blu-ray, only DVD. The player also connects to my netowrk so it can get Hulu and Netflix.

I still don't watch anything.

 

Anand.Yaligar
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Re: Better be compatible
Anand.Yaligar   10/23/2014 11:07:24 PM
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"But here's the thing. I am sick and tired of having to subscribe "a package" from cable operators. If I could stick to watching a few TV programs I like (CBS, NBC, etc.), and maybe an HBO, I would rather watch that via free-over-the-air TV and maybe just pay for HBO (if ATSC 3.0 enables the a la carte model). It's a much better proposition than a huge bundled package my cable company ask me to subscribe to. "

There should be more free channels with relevant content. Most free channels aren't worth watching (maybe except few) and for decent home entertainment you must pay a hefty subscription fee. I wish we could go back to the days where the channels were relevant and the cost wasn't much.

Anand.Yaligar
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Re: Now it makes sense
Anand.Yaligar   10/23/2014 11:04:39 PM
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"I had not even considered the "free-over-the-air" component. That does make things complicated. I would love to see them fill a niche by becoming municipal wifi ISP's, but that probably doesn't make sense for a number of reasons. Their entire history is one-to-many communications and the world is moving in another direction. I have to say that I don't see much of a chance for them."

Most municipal ISP's won't last a day in this broadcast network war without proper backing. Not one company wants to lose its coverage area, and if that is marred by local broadcasters then we're going to see lots of lawsuit action on TV.

AZskibum
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Some things never change, but maybe old dogs can learn new tricks
AZskibum   10/23/2014 10:04:19 PM
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I love this quote from my friend & former colleague: "The broadcast industry's priorities are mobility, flexibility, and robustness in the coverage and service areas." This is almost verbatim what broadcasters wrote in their requirements document during the ATSC RF Task Force days of 2000-2001. But during those days of the "modulation wars," it was more important to roll out OTA HDTV with the existing physical layer standard and simply hope that improvements in 8-VSB receiver chips and RF tuner & consumer antenna improvements would magically make up the deficits in the transmission network -- not only the inflexible modulation & coding, but also transmitter locations, power levels, adjacent & co-channel interference (including the still existing NTSC TV broadcasts), and ultimately link budgets -- none of which were designed to meet those lofty broadcaster requirements.

I am delighted to learn that Wayne and his colleagues at Zenith are now embracing multi-carrier modulation (OFDM) as a way forward in meeting robust transmission/reception requirements. Back in the RF Task Force days, they viewed me as the devil incarnate for even suggesting that OFDM might offer advantages over single carrier modulation.

So in one sense, nothing has changed in 15 years. Broadcasters still want to deliver their signal to viewers, whether they are watching on a 60" screen in their living rooms or on a 6" screen in the back seat of a car on the freeway.

But in a very important sense, a lot has changed. The politics of modulation has given way to technical & business realities, and there is a real chance that ATSC 3.0 could meet the goals that broadcasters have been trying to meet for so long. I have great confidence that Luke Fay's technical leadership in trying to help them get there is a tremendous asset.

AZskibum
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Re: Better be compatible
AZskibum   10/23/2014 9:40:29 PM
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If the criterion were "it better be compatible," then they should just throw in the towel right now. Fortunately, broadcasters are viewing this as a necessity to remain relevant -- a do-or-die situation -- whereas 15 years ago it was all about "stay the course" with an inflexible physical layer standard that didn't quite meet all of the broadcasters stated desires or needs.

DrFPGA
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Re: Better be compatible
DrFPGA   10/23/2014 7:02:05 PM
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Y R Correct. Content is king. If there was something worth watching people would watch....

LarryM99
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Re: Now it makes sense
LarryM99   10/23/2014 5:51:48 PM
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@Junko, I had not even considered the "free-over-the-air" component. That does make things complicated. I would love to see them fill a niche by becoming municipal wifi ISP's, but that probably doesn't make sense for a number of reasons. Their entire history is one-to-many communications and the world is moving in another direction. I have to say that I don't see much of a chance for them.

Larry M.

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