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DirecTV Response to Thin Gateway Mandate and Future

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by Sixto, Jan 30, 2010.

  1. Sixto

    Sixto Well-Known Member

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    Some interesting stuff in this FCC Filing:
    Some highlights ...

    Thin Gateway Mandate
    Much of this proceeding’s focus has coalesced on a mandate to deploy a simple, or “thin,” gateway device. Although not entirely clear, it would seem that such a mandate would require each MVPD to deploy a device to “translate” its offerings into Internet protocol so that third parties could repackage the MVPD’s service into their own proprietary offerings. This proposal – plainly a response to cable’s market power and viewers’ experience with the CableCard regime – would raise difficult questions if applied to DIRECTV. ​

    "As discussed above, DIRECTV places most of its innovative features in the set-top box. Below, one existing capability and two current DIRECTV initiatives are described to illustrate how placing a “thin gateway” between the satellite dish and downstream devices might actually hinder innovation rather than stimulate it."

    Enhanced Electronic Programming Guide
    DIRECTV is in the process of upgrading its on-screen electronic programming guide (yet again). Over the last several months, DIRECTV has developed the capability to add new features that will, for example, include greater integration of the program ratings and reviews offered by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization that provides parents the trustworthy information they need to help manage their children’s media lives. Today, DIRECTV provides Common Sense Media’s ratings and reviews through its website. With this new upgrade, that information will be integrated directly into the guide so that it will be available on-screen as families consider their video options. This upgrade will also enhance the user interface by adding photos, cast biographies, and other information related to each available television program.​
    Local Political and Retail Advertising
    Terrestrial MVPDs, such as cable operators, can insert local commercials at the appropriate local headend. DIRECTV’s nationwide satellite network does not have a similar capability. DIRECTV’s subscribers thus do not receive cable advertising from their hometowns, local advertisers and small businesses throughout the country cannot access part of their potential audience, and local and statewide political candidates lack a vital avenue for reaching voters who subscribe to DIRECTV.

    As the culmination of a multi-year research and development project, DIRECTV is on the verge of introducing a local advertising capability for its service. This capability would, for example, allow candidates for local political office to place ads in their home districts or allow small retailers to target ads to their service areas. This new technology requires the use of a dedicated portion of the set-top box’s hard drive, where a cache of advertisements is stored. Upon a cue from the programmer that a commercial slot is coming up, DIRECTV would then send a trigger to the box. In just one-thirtieth of a second, the box must then identify and splice into the programming stream the appropriate local advertisement from the cache. Obviously, this new local advertising capability requires extremely close coordination ​
     
  2. Davenlr

    Davenlr Geek til I die

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    And I suppose in that 30th of a second, it would also temporarily disable the 30skip button. Have the candidates considered using local tv affiliates? What a waste of time and resources.
     
  3. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    This would be a hairball of epic proportions. Who decided that it is the FCC's mission to foster regional businesses? I can't fathom why the FCC would (want/need/be empowered) to mandate access for localized commercial advertisers.

    It seems like this is a problem that the satellite provider might want to evaluate and address and only if they see value in it.


    Were you able to find some documentation of the original proceedings that elicited this response from DIRECTV?
     
  4. Sixto

    Sixto Well-Known Member

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    The features mentioned were just examples:
    "As discussed above, DIRECTV places most of its innovative features in the set-top box. Below, one existing capability and two current DIRECTV initiatives are described to illustrate how placing a “thin gateway” between the satellite dish and downstream devices might actually hinder innovation rather than stimulate it."​
     
  5. kevinwmsn

    kevinwmsn Hall Of Fame

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    I wish they just use the local channels commercials. So in the future it doesn't matter what channel I'm watching, I'll get the local negative political compaign ads? I hope they don't mistime a commercial interuption that we'll miss a key play in a ball game. I wish the FCC didn't get involved in this at all... not having this "feature" is a good for us having satellite. I don't want to see the ads, so I'll skip the commercials like always. I think D* is likely getting some $$$ from whomever that wants these ads.
     
  6. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    This would seem to be an obvious push on the part of terrestrial based services to "put upon" satellite.
     
  7. JoeTheDragon

    JoeTheDragon Hall Of Fame

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    any way to use that for better LOT8's?
     
  8. JosephB

    JosephB Icon

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    I think everyone is misreading this. This isn't something the FCC is pushing on Directv, these are initiatives that DirecTV is complaining will be hindered if they follow the FCC's proposed mandate.
     
  9. Ken_F

    Ken_F Godfather/Supporter DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Correct.

    TiVo, Sony, and others would like the FCC to mandate a standardized gateway solution.

    The proposed mandate would require every cable and satellite operator to provide a gateway that would make video streams, PPV/VOD requests, and program information available using a standard protocol (ex: an enhanced form of DLNA with DTCP-IP encryption) over a home network using ethernet or MoCA. CE manufacturers could then implement the video streams and information however they liked.

    This would allow gaming consoles, STBs, and DVRs from Sony, Microsoft, Panasonic, Samsung, TiVo, and others to work with every cable and satellite provider. Because all the tuners and system-specific hardware would be in the cable or satellite gateway rather than the CE product, manufacturers would be able to offer these solutions at much lower cost (think <$100). In the case of gaming consoles with hard drives, this capability could be added with a software update.

    One of DirecTV's complaints, voiced in this response, is that they would be at a competitive disadvantage because they are a national service that can only insert local commercials on cable channels through the DVR. If they were required to provide a gateway solution, only customers that opted for DirecTV's own DVR would see those commercials; customers using gaming consoles, STBs, and other DVRs to view programming would not see those commercials, thus devaluing DirecTV's local advertisements.
     
  10. Alan Gordon

    Alan Gordon Chancellor

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    I'd LOVE to have access to multiple STB options like the "good old days"...

    ... and I would easily give up local commercials to get them...

    ~Alan
     
  11. Sixto

    Sixto Well-Known Member

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    Exactly.
     
  12. jacksonm30354

    jacksonm30354 Icon

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    The solution is to add a dedicated 'local content' dvr that would house locals ads, weather updates, and news updates. They would be inserted regardless of the programming source - cable, satellite, and even ota.
     
  13. Upstream

    Upstream Hall Of Fame

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    Because in large media markets, like the NY Market, local affiliates cover parts of 4 states. A candidate running for office in a single congressional district is wasting lot's of money advertising on a local affililiate that reaches 14 million people who can't vote for him. Same for a local business. It is much more cost effective to run cable insert ads which go only to the 100 thousand homes in your local area.
     
  14. Mike_TV

    Mike_TV Legend

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    We can't do a “thin,” gateway device because...wait for it...

    THE CHILDREN!
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    We need a big fat proprietary box to "help manage their children’s media lives". Think of the children, won't you, if you we have to provide a thin gateway device that is open to others to exploit?

    /s
     
  15. lwilli201

    lwilli201 Hall Of Fame

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    Since the ads are on the HD, the activation signals to play the ads could be by zip code, which would eliminate ads playing where not needed. The whole system will be zip code driven anyway. They could actually play different ads in different parts of the same TV markets.
     
  16. V'ger

    V'ger Icon

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    D* doesn't have issue in inserting local weather in the weather channel (if you are internet connected). So I don't see this as a problem. The use of disc space, especially if the DVR or eSata drive is owned by the end-user, and space is limited due to forced commercials would be a problem likely involving a class-action lawsuit against the FCC.
     
  17. JosephB

    JosephB Icon

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    Again, the FCC is not requiring this. DirecTV is attempting to implement the local ad feature and is complaining that the FCC's proposed rules would interfere.
     
  18. gregjones

    gregjones Hall Of Fame

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    I suggested this for local weather some time back. Nice.
     
  19. gregjones

    gregjones Hall Of Fame

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    Wrong.

    There is a reserved area on the hard drive already, which houses any PPV or special information that DirecTV chooses to send to the box. DirecTV does not include this space in the calculation detailing the hours of content that can be stored on each box. This has been discussed at great length.
     

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