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Any suggestions on getting the national local feeds?

Discussion in 'Legislative and Regulatory Issues' started by Eleggua, Mar 30, 2006.

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  1. Eleggua

    Eleggua New Member

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    Mar 30, 2006
    Hi,

    Three years ago we moved and switched from DirecTV to Comcast as I didn't think we had a clear view where needed at our new home. I came to discover that we do have the necessary view.

    When I had DirecTV previously, I had all the locall feeds from around the Country. This is what I liked the most.

    A couple of weeks ago I decided I missed having all the local channels from around the country enough to switch back to DirecTV. What I didn't remember is that all those channels weren't an automatic thing.

    Anyway, I bought two 130 hr. HD recording DirecTV HR10-250 HD TiVo from weaknees dot com (an incredible company to deal with) to replace our Replay TV's we were using with Comcast.

    Imagine my shock when I was told I could not get what I thought I was switching providers to accomplish.

    I immediately applied for waivers and was promptly denied.

    So I called back up DirecTV and told them that I would have to shut my account down and switch back to Comcast as there's little reason for me to have spent $3000 on new equipment if I wasn't going to have what I wanted and that which prompted my change.

    I didn't get to the "disconnection" dept. as the service rep I talked with was extremely helpful.

    After listening to my situation she resubmitted the waiver based on the fact that I've now spent over $500 on OTA antenna's and $500+ in install fees to try to get OTA digital signals, and can not do it. We're also in a bit of a valley surrounded by huge, tall trees. I don't have the results of this request yet.

    Bottom line is that I REALLY want the national feed of the local channels. The equipment I have is the DirecTV HR10-250 HD TiVo.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on how I might do something to get approval for these channels? Surely there must be a way. I suppose I can call and say I want my system disconnected and if it is possible to help me, they will. But is there a better way?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Kenrick
     
  2. FTA Michael

    FTA Michael Hall Of Fame

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    Search these forums for discussions of "moving", where you leave your billing address the same but change your service address to a spot that qualifies for distant networks. If you feel comfortable about lying just to watch different TV channels, this option is for you.

    Another option is to become friends with the technical folks at the "local" stations that rejected your waiver requests. Sometimes you can persuade them personally to grant waivers that they wouldn't grant automatically.
     
  3. kenglish

    kenglish Icon

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    Salt Lake...
    Wouldn't that make him an "illegal"?
     
  4. FTA Michael

    FTA Michael Hall Of Fame

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    "Moving" is probably unlawful (subject to civil penalties), but I doubt that it's illegal (subject to landing in jail). Personally, I don't like the risk/reward ratio involved, but I can't say that no one ever does it.
     
  5. waltinvt

    waltinvt Godfather

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    Feb 9, 2004
    What are the risks you mention?
     
  6. News Junky

    News Junky Icon

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    Mar 16, 2005
    Isn't that also now no longer permitted (either by law or by D*'s policy) if you live within the best contour area?
     
  7. News Junky

    News Junky Icon

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    Mar 16, 2005
    Directv has a reputation of suing customers for thousands of dollars in civil court. In fairness however I'm only aware of legal action against those who STEAL premium movie channels and pay-per-view movies by figuring out who to modify their receivers to see channels are are blocked that D* charges extra for. I am not aware of directv taking people to court for being dishonest about where they live in order to see channels but PAY to see them.
     
  8. FTA Michael

    FTA Michael Hall Of Fame

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    The biggest risk I see is that some day some really large national sports league (ahem) will find an easy way to detect "movers" (probably through some DBS subscriber list) and then launch a DirecTV-style shotgun lawsuit approach to squeeze money out of those who it will say unlawfully avoided paying for its Sunday PPV package. It could pick out the folks who get billed away from their service address, maybe check the phone book, then hand a package of local suspects to a local collection agency or legal firm. The league would put the fear of lawsuits on movers, plus it would take a percentage of the legal settlements.

    Of course, I hope this never happens, but I can't say that it won't. And if you consider all the other content providers (game show syndicators or other leagues, for example) who might get a similar notion, the odds look worse all the time.

    So when I do the math, I take the percentage that something awful like this will happen, multiply it by the ickiness of legal hassles, and divide by the tiny benefit of watching distant TV signals. Throw in the bad karma of lying merely for personal benefit, and to me, the answer is obvious. I don't know that other folks are doing anything harmful or wrong by "moving", but it's not for me.
     
  9. News Junky

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    Mar 16, 2005
    I agree its a big risk. Besides, you'll never go wrong when you do the right thing. There are legit avenues we can pursue:

    1. Customer feedback. This can be complicated because there are so many different vendors involved from D* and E*, to the networks to the local affiliates both in-market and the distant markets we want access to. Paying customers can express their wishes and I think in time somebody will listen. The NFL saw the wisdom in modifying its model in offering access to multi-market programming. Now the hardcore fans are happier and they’re making more money. Now if we can only get local news to offer something similar. Well, they do over the Internet so it shows they’re interested. Now the challenge is showing them the wisdom of putting that same content on DBS. Network TV is now playing with on demand network programming a day later with no commercials for a Napster type download fee.

    2. Redress of grievance. The federal government is involved by the request of the industry. Everybody with an opinion is represented in Washington on this matter EXCEPT the consumers. Write your congressman and senators.

    3. There are exceptions to the rule for RV owners. If you have an RV or plan to get one remember you are already allowed access with no special waiver required.

    4. Lastly, there’s TiVo to go and Slingbox that lets you set up a receiver in your Mom’s house back in Toledo that sends the programs to you via the Internet anywhere you go. Quality isn’t as good but its better than nothing. Who knows? In time they might improve the compression technology or the Internet might start offering serious bandwidth, I which case the quality could be as good as regular DBS. What they could do now is allow the programs to be recorded digitally in Toledo than transferred over the Internet in their original high quality. You wouldn’t be able to watch it live but the content could be standard def or even HD if you’re willing to wait all day for the program to get to you.
     
  10. waltinvt

    waltinvt Godfather

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    Feb 9, 2004
    I'm talking about the situation with "E" where they are refusing to provide the HD versions of the same network signals their customers are already legally qualified to get in analog.

    For instance, I'm in central Vermont. The Burlington, Vt DMA affilliates aren't broadcasting digital yet. My antenna doesn't get their analog signals anyway (shich is why I qualify for SD DNS with Dish), so I doubt it will ever get the digital signals when ever they do transmit.

    So I get the NY analog distants. Dish, although legally entitled to, will not sell me the NY HD DNS. Lower Vermont is in the Boston DMA, which already has HD LiLs provided by Dish. Dish will not sell me them either. If I change my service address by a few zip codes, I can get the Boston locals including the big 4 in HD.

    It makes me sick that I have to even consider such a silly thing as changing my service address in order to get channels from Dish that Dish carries; and I'm legally entitled to them; but they won't sell them to me.
     
  11. rcoleman111

    rcoleman111 Guest

    With the networks starting to offer their shows over the Internet, it won't be long before you can watch most TV shows without having to go through the local TV stations. That means that local stations that put extraneous junk on the screen during network shows will find that no one is watching. These dinosaurs will be relegated to their rightful purpose - delivering local programming.
     
  12. waltinvt

    waltinvt Godfather

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    I wish it were true and I do believe their being unreasonable will eventually be their undoing but I'm not expecting to be seeing live sports like NFL & Nascar on the internet anytime soon. Even prime time series will always run a little later and in both cases, how does having it on the internet get it to our big screens in HD?
     
  13. tsmacro

    tsmacro Hall Of Fame

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    East...

    It's one of those things that's starting to happen more and more. The internet is starting to offer more entertainment options including full-blown network shows. More people are starting to use their computers for television w/ the integration of tv tuners into the computers and using the computer as a DVR. Computer screens are getting bigger, I do know some people that have their computers (not many yet, but a few) hooked up to large screen monitors that are bigger than my tv. The lines are starting to blur between one and the other. Give it between 5 and 10 years and i'd be surprised if your computer wasn't a fully integrated part of your entertainment system. If local channels don't wake up to this coming eventuality and make it easier to have access to the programming they offer many of them will be left by the side of the road. Right now in my personal opinion the best thing they can do for themselves is offer waivers to their customers so the customer can time-shift programming. Why? well i'm a prime example. About a year ago I requested waivers from the big four nets in my area. Only abc granted me one. Guess what ended up happening? I now watch more shows on abc regularly than any other network. Why?, because it's easier to keep up with their shows when I have a couple of opportunites to watch and/or record the shows. Times when I know i'm going to have multiple conflicts (which for me usually happens during sporting events, there's two big sports fans in our house) I know I can watch or record the shows later and keep up with the series. And this helps my "local" abc station because most the time i'll watch those shows on their affiliate and because I can keep up on them without missing any eps it keeps my interest, making it more likely to continue watching those shows. Another reason that allowing waivers is smart for local channels is because currently for most people their tv's and computers are seperate. So if you are a really big fan of a show and you miss an ep, you'll get up from the tv and go to your computer to watch it if it's available. On the other hand if your local channel granted you waivers you have the chance to watch or record that show later, making more likely you'll stay in front of the tv rather than going over to your computer and all the distractions that includes. All in all the local channels are going to have learn how to be more flexible or all they're going to end up being good for is an endless loop of local news & weather and the occasional local sporting event. And if that's what it comes to a lot of local channels will go out of business as there would be limited economic viability for such channels, maybe 1 to 3 per market depending on size I would guess. So yeah the local channels are only cutting their own throats by engaging in protectionist policies at this point, with any luck they'll realize it sooner rather than later which will mean "better tv for all".;)
     
  14. Tower Guy

    Tower Guy Godfather

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    OK, now what happens if all the local stations granted your waiver request? You can't have additional allegance to all of them, so how could they gain additonal viewership while you are watching out of market stations?

    A DVR would keep your ABC viewing local and still allow timeshifting.
     
  15. News Junky

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    Mar 16, 2005
    Interestingly the President of the NAB (the local TV lobby group) made some very interesting comments to the TV and radio station people concerning digital media at their convention this year. Basically he told the owners to stop worrying and feeling threatened about new technology because they always rise to the top, but seemed to be indirectly slamming the protectionists mindset and death grip they have on the status quo. I'll see if I can find it. I was personally surprised and encouraged.
     
  16. News Junky

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    "We need to move away from being seen as an organization that's always on the defensive," Rehr said to immediate applause. "We need to be seen as one that's on the offensive. We shouldn't be protecting the status quo, but need to be an organization that embraces change."

    Newly elected NAB President David K. Rehr

    http://nabdaily.imaspub.com/pages/s.0008/t.79.html
     
  17. FTA Michael

    FTA Michael Hall Of Fame

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    I've had a good time reading the blog of Jack Perry, head of TitanTV. http://blog.jackperry.com/pt/blog/ I don't know that I agree with it, but his vision is that anyone should be able to get their network shows over the internet, but with the local station getting a taste of the action somehow. I think that's what he's saying. Go ahead and read through it and see what you think.
     
  18. tsmacro

    tsmacro Hall Of Fame

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    I have a DVR, but just one 522. So on nights where's there's multiple conflicts the west coast abc comes in real handy. No I guess there's not enough time in the day for me watch additional shows on all the nets, but if the other nets also gave me waivers they'd at least have the same chance at gaining my viewership as abc. Right now the three other nets are at a competitive disadvantage for my eyeballs and as a result abc gets more of my time and the "local" abc gets most of that.
     
  19. News Junky

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    • One problem is your local affiliate might choose not to run all network programming such as all hours of Today Weekend.
    • Occasionally top rated network programs are pre-empted for some local special or a Jerry Lewis telethon.
    • Another is NY and LA feeds are broadcast with superior quality than other locals, at least in my market, and that goes for every single network both video and audio although they are all satellite signals that brag about “digital quality”. HAHA. Digital quality means pull an analog signal off the air and re-transmit it in a digital format and dumb subscribers aren’t supposed to know the difference.

    The issue is even though we pay hundreds of dollars a year in subscription fees legally we’re watching network programming for free and you’re not supposed to complain about a free gift.

    Oh well. Let’s see how the technology develops. I am hopeful some changes are coming down the pike. We’re already seeing incremental change in the network affiliate programming model from local news on the Internet to network programs bypassing the affiliates.
     
  20. News Junky

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    Mar 16, 2005
    Thanks.
     
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