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Losing my east/west CBS--have some questions!

Discussion in 'General DISH™ Discussion' started by davepack, May 17, 2004.

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  1. davepack

    davepack Cool Member

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    Nov 24, 2002
    As a long-time Dish subscriber (since February 1997), I've been pretty happy overall with them. I've had the east/west network package during that entire time, which is great because I'm about an hour northwest of Indianapolis, so those stations come in very crappy with an antenna if at all. There's a single station in my city--a CBS affiliate--and I've long wondered if that's why my city (Lafayette) has yet to get some sort of local networks offered to us (like the Indianapolis locals, for example).

    A week or so ago, I read somewhere on these forums that "grandfathered" customers might lose their access to these packages. And guess what came in today's mail? A letter from Dish, saying that I'll be losing my east and west coast CBS feeds within the next two weeks unless a "waiver" automatically submitted on my behalf by Dish goes thru.

    Of course, I am expecting to lose these channels.

    The letter states that I can purchase an off-air antenna from Dish for $49 and that includes professional installation. I'm not much of a "do-it-yourselfer", let alone getting up onto my roof to fiddle around with the connection, so I'd certainly take advantage of this if I went this route.

    I have some initial questions that I'd like to throw out there and see what input you might provide. I've received great feedback on these forums from some very friendly and knowledgeable (i.e. you seem to know more than Dish does about their own product!) folks, so I'm hoping to get some good responses and further things to think about.

    1. How much faith should I put into Dish's waiver request for me?
    2. I know zilch about antennas. Is this a good price? Does anyone know if the antenna Dish would most likely provide be of good quality?
    3. I have a 508 DVR. If I lose my east/west coast CBS feeds and get the antenna to pick up my local CBS, how will this work with the guide? Will I see it at all? Will I be able to record anything at all from this station?

    Edited to add a couple new questions:

    4. Can I expect future letters down the line saying I'll be losing my NBC and ABC stations too? An antenna would most likely pick up my local CBS affiliate, but I doubt they'd pick up the Indy NBC and ABC stations well, if at all.
    5. Would I be better off getting "basic" cable via my local cable provider (something like $13 or $14 per month) which includes the Indianapolis-based networks? And tying into question #3 above, again, would my 508 be able to record from channels provided by a local cable carrier?

    I apologize if these questions seem very, very basic--to many of you, I expect that they are. Thanks for your time!
     
  2. JohnL

    JohnL Icon

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    Apr 1, 2002
    1) The Waiver process is NOT decided by Dish. Dish is following one remedy in the SVHIA legislation to ALLOW Distant service. Basically Dish files a WAIVER REQUEST to your Local Affiliates on your behalf. It's up to your locals to respond and either allow or disallow Distant service for you. I'll tell you the VAST majority of Local Affiliates will patently refuse a waiver request. What a waiver is, your local affiliate admiting you can't receive any acceptable OTA signal.

    2) With regard to antennas, go to antennaweb.org. Input your address and the site will tell you which stations are available in your area, their azimuth broadcasting strength and the type of antenna that you need. Be sure to get the best antenna for the weakest signal you wish to receive.

    3) If or when you lose your Distant network services from Dish you WILL NOT see these affiliate channels or any OTA networks in your guide. You will NOT ever be able to record any OTA signals with your 508 DVR.

    4) I or anybody else here will NOT be able to determine what you qualify for and what you don't. I suggest you try the address broker on the Dish Network website to see what Networks you qualify for and what you don't

    5) You could go with your Local Cable company basic only service for locals, but you will NOT be able to record anything other than channels from Dish Network on your 508 DVR.

    One suggestion is the RV/Truckers Distant exemption. ALL RV owners, and Commercial truckers with a Commercial license can subscribe to Distant services. All that is necessary is completing a RV/Truckers exemption and providing a copy of either a Valid State RV registration or your states Commercial drivers license. The RV or Drivers license MUST be the same name as on your Dish Account. BTW Dish has also been know to allow Boat registrations for the RV exemption. If you don't have a RV, look in the Newspaper and purchase a POS trailer or popup and use it to get the exemption. You will likely not be asked in the future to prove you still own it.


    I used my boat registration several years ago and I have yet to be asked to clarify of reafirm I still own it, although I do, see my avatar.

    John
     
  3. Bahnzo

    Bahnzo AllStar

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    May 16, 2004
    Correct me if I'm wrong....but wouldn't he be able to get the local CBS "ala carte" for like a $1.50 thru Dish, and still be able to get the other distants besides CBS as well? A much better solution if so, and still allows for DVR recording.....
     
  4. JohnH

    JohnH Hall Of Fame

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    His local CBS is not offered.

    Locals are only offered as a package when they are offered.
     
  5. davepack

    davepack Cool Member

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    Nov 24, 2002
    Thanks guys. I really appreciate the responses.

    Damn. Just damn. The wife is NOT gonna be happy about this one...
     
  6. Bahnzo

    Bahnzo AllStar

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    May 16, 2004
    ahhh thanks. Well the waiver route would be the only way. Although waivers are rarely accepted, one thing you can do is be a PEST to the local CBS station manager if they don't approve the waiver. There's always a chance they will just get fed up with you calling and give you a waiver to get you outta thier hair.
     
  7. davepack

    davepack Cool Member

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    Nov 24, 2002
    I thought about that. But I really don't have the time or desire to fight them on it if they want to push the issue. And yes, it's that one station--WLFI--here in Lafayette that screws me out of getting the Indianapolis locals.

    I started doing some research into what I could get thru our local cable company, Insight. Surprisingly, I would not have to pay much more than I pay for Dish now to get pretty much comparable channels, and that includes a 40-hour DVR that sounds very much like my 508 (at least operation-wise). That's not to say I'd LIKE to switch over to them--their info guide is horrid (my folks have Insight Digital) and after 7 years of the Dish guide (especially with the PIP in the upper right corner) it would definitely take some getting used to.

    The thing is, I don't want to have to switch to cable. I'm really not *dissatisfied* with Dish. However, my wife and I talked about this issue and our options last night, and we both agree it's ridiculous that, in 2004, we'd have to resort to a medium directional antenna (according to antennaweb.org, which is probably true because reception of the local CBS affiliate sucks even with a halfway-decent omni-directional antenna) to pick up our local CBS affiliate and have no way of recording it using the PVR (I no longer have a VCR; with the combination of my DVR and my DVD collection, VHS became a taboo word in my house a year ago :D ) I verified with Dish that I have no outstanding commitment to fulfill should I decide to cancel. That said, if we lose the CBS stations in the next couple weeks (as we probably will), I expect we'll drop Dish and go with Insight. I'll get some sort of discount from Insight for already having broadband cable Internet access from them; how much, I don't know.

    So I guess this is a case of a Dish customer probably dropping Dish not because of any real dissatisfaction with them, but more due to the fact that one local affiliate forces us to go to an antenna. And I'd need a large directional antenna if I wanted to pick up any of the Indianapolis affiliates if I were to lose those as well (and according to Dish's website, I should only be receiving a max of "2" a la carte distant networks). Right now, I'm getting NBC, ABC, CBS, and FOX as part of the distants.

    The whole thing has left me frustrated. Is it Dish's fault? Probably not--this is a congressional law, right? Is Dish partly to blame for not fighting hard enough for customers in situations like this? I don't know--I'm not saying they HAVEN'T fought hard. I don't follow the happenings of Dish and sat-TV legislation nearly as much as most of you good folks. And thank God it was here that I heard about that "grandfathered customers" thing getting repealed--at least I gave my wife a heads up about it about a week before that letter came, so it wasn't a total shock to either of us.

    Still, I have several friends here in Lafayette who will probably get the same letter (will find out this weekend if they did). They'll be in the same quandary. I would expect many sat TV subscribers in Lafayette will be as well.

    Thanks again for all your input, guys. You gave me some great options and workarounds; unfortunately, none of them will really work for me. All I can do is see how the next couple weeks turn out and go from there.

    Dave
     
  8. JohnL

    JohnL Icon

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    Apr 1, 2002
    Dave,

    Dish fought very hard to have as many Dish subscribers as possible to qualify for distant services, albeitly mostly because there was money to be made.

    The problem lies squarely on the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) that are patently against ANY DBS subscribers getting ANY SORT of Distant services. The NAB plain and simply outspent and out gunned Dish in the Halls of Congress on this one. The NAB has VASTLY deep pockets and it is HIGHLY unlikely any PRO CONSUMER Distant language will be passed any time soon if EVER.

    John
     
  9. davepack

    davepack Cool Member

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    Nov 24, 2002
    Thanks John. I appreciate the additional information. And as I expected, I really didn't think this was Dish's fault. What you said makes sense to me.

    Dave
     
  10. scooper

    scooper Hall Of Fame

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    Yep - if you're looking for somebody to blame - blame your local broadcasters ! Or Congress...
     
  11. moedog

    moedog Legend

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    Jun 20, 2003
    Yeah, local broadcasters should be blamed because they want at least a fighting chance of serving local households. They should be blamed even though they have exclusive rights to most of the programs they broadcast and do not care for stations from NYC or LA, which have no rights to the programing in the local market, to get the viewership. They should be blamed because they have invested millions of dollars on equipment and personnel to provide a local service. They should be blamed because they have broadcast local news and emergency information for the last 50 years with millions of watts of power (in the case of Lafayette). Eventually, WLFI will be provided in its local market by DISH. In the meantime, go to RS, get a decent UHF antenna, watch a little bit of channel 18 and learn something about your home town.
     
  12. Tusk

    Tusk Back in the Game DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Nov 14, 2002
    They should also be blamed because they were given something for free 50 years ago and today they are griping about errosion of their viewership while at the same time they operate their digital signal at minimum power to meet FCC rules, transmit no HD without plans to do so in the next year or two, and justify that by saying they don't have enough money to do any better yet the Liveview superduper cloudmaker earthquaker doppler 56 is new this week so watch our weather. By the way, that huge graphic of the state in the corner taking up a quater of the screen indicates that it is raining in one county up north that isn't even in their DMA nor gets their signal.

    Ok, I'm done now :)
     
  13. FTA Michael

    FTA Michael Hall Of Fame

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    Local broadcasters have a huge advantage. They're local, and are most likely to cover local events. They should be a trusted source for local weather and emergency information. They're the default channel for their national network on all local cable systems. They pay nothing for the OTA frequency they use to serve their area, including a significant percentage of viewers with no cable or DBS.

    And yet a few viewers want something different. Despite the high duplication of programming and the extra cost, they want to pay extra to view an additional OTA broadcaster from another market. The technology is there, but US rules prevent it from happening under most circumstances.

    My belief is that competent, local-oriented stations have little to fear from out-of-market (OOM) OTA delivery. For every in-market viewer they lose, they'll get some cash and an OOM viewer from somewhere else. Check out Canada, which allows this sort of thing but without the extra cash -- are local stations folding up North?

    The rub is that incompetent stations that ignore the market they serve probably would be hurt by this system. When an affiliate blows off network programming to generate more profit by running an old movie, when its local news show is nothing but cut-and-paste national news, that's the station that's going to lose viewers. And in that case, I believe that's what it deserves. IMHO.
     
  14. davepack

    davepack Cool Member

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    Nov 24, 2002
    Obviously you aren't from around here, or you'd know, like many people here, that WLFI TV-18 is a worthless and piss-poor excuse of a television station. "Learn something" about my home town? First of all, having been born and raised here and having spent most of my 34 years in this town, I'd like to think I know my city rather well. And I'm sure as hell not going to learn anything about it I don't already know from an amateur station like WLFI. The only benefit of having WLFI is watching Purdue basketball games. That's pretty much about it. I get my local news from a different source, and that's good enough for me. WLFI's "news" is just horrid--in terms of story content, camera work (don't EVER move the camera around--a story should consist of static shots of the same image from a half dozen angles), and bumbling, stumbling on-air personalities. Any decent people they've had have never stayed around long, always moving on to better opportunities (Angela Buchman for weather--a great example).

    Screw 'em.

    Again, thanks to everyone else who provided great information for me. I've learned a lot in the past week. :)
     
  15. moedog

    moedog Legend

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    Jun 20, 2003
    I've never watched the station in question, WLFI, however, on looking at their website I notice they are owned by LIN Broadcasting, a well-respected national broadcast group. I also notice they broadcast four hours of local news a day. And yes, they do have the "doppler" radar one poster referred to, a valuable resource when bad weather threatens. On looking at their schedule, I see no evidence that they pre-empt any CBS programming. With about 1.5 million watts, they broadcast to an area that that has no other tv broadcast stations and have been doing it for over 50 years. And I'm sure you are right that there are a few households in the area that do not have cable, DBS, or a large antenna, either for economic or other reasons. There are also other locations where TV becomes indepensible in times of disaster, etc. Remember 9-11? Tv's popped up in some of the most unlikely places then, all tuned to their local station, if they could recieve one with rabbit ears. It is for situations such as these that the FCC/government wants to preserve local television broadcasting and it is a worthy goal. But local stations cannot make money if they can only reach people in disaster situations or in poor economic situations. A few years ago, before my local market had LIL, a local station mamager was lobbying for DBS carrage of the local stations. He said his local newscasts had lost 20% of their audience, not because of cable or increased number of channels, but because 20% of the households in the market had DBS, and most no longer bothered to watch local channels (if they could get them in a very mountainous area with poor OTA even though the stations are ultra-powerful). Many had NYC/LA stations. For some time we have had LIL on both DISH and Direct and the situation has greatly improved, so I understand.
     
  16. TonyM

    TonyM Banned User

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    Aug 14, 2003
    Oh my god, you just described the Minneapolis TV stations...They'll talk about a tornado warning for counties in Wisconsin that are in either the Duluth or Eau Claire DMA.

    **rant on**When KMSP ran "Severe Weather" during the NASCAR race (I don't remember the exact race..It was the one where the asphalt came loose) and the weatherlady says "I know there are lots of you who want us to get back to programming. But when severe weather strikes, I think its imperative we stay with it"....Hey Janie....The damn tornado and severe storms already went through our area and is in Wisconsin!!! Get back to the race!!**rant off**
     
  17. Link

    Link Hall Of Fame

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    It's odd to me a CBS affiliate is necessary to serve only a 3 county DMA. I'm sure counties on the Illinois side might be able to pick up WLFI but no cable systems carry it in Illinois.
    Where are they to get all the other networks? --Indianapolis of course which includes a CBS affiliate there by the same owners. In fact, WISH and WLFI used to practically have identical schedules until WISH changed some of their syndicated programming. It would make more sense to me if WLFI was a satellite station of WISH, but just provided their own local news maybe.

    It is crazy that Lafayette viewers in this 3 county region can pick up Indianapolis stations with an outdoor antenna or on cable but yet they are denied them on satellite??

    The Terre Haute DMA is useless now as well. The only station that people can pick up well with an antenna is WTHI, the CBS station. The NBC station and Fox station are the only other 2 stations in the market and are not easliy picked up with an antenna. Many people in the surrounding areas now watch Champaign, Indianapolis or Evansville stations and do not care about getting Terre Haute anymore. They might as well do away with the Lafayette and Terre Haute stations.
     
  18. waltinvt

    waltinvt Godfather

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    When comparing apples to apples I think most viewers would choose their local or at least not get all that upset if forced to take it in lieu of the distant broadcast.

    But....what about when the local can't or won't provide an HD signal and the distant does ?

    or what if you're on the opposite side of a mountain and just can't get the station ?

    or what if your afflilate prempts the "big game" to cover a local field hocky match ?

    Then it's no longer apples to apples and certainly not free enterprise. I'm all for giving the stations a fighting chance. If they're broadcasting the same programs and can give you a decent signal, then they should get priority but if they're not, the viewer should have a choice.
    Like any enterprise in this country, if there's no competition, you have no insentive to get better.
    WaltinVt
     
  19. TonyM

    TonyM Banned User

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    We got one of these in MN. Mankato has one station (CBS). If you look at the map below, the Mpls DMA runs all the way to the Iowa border and cable customers can get Mpls stations along with CBS Mankato. But Dish customers can't get any Mpls locals. They can get NBC & FOX via distants (ABC supposedly is Grade B). This is why we need "significantly viewed" status.
    If you're in Mankato, give them Mpls NBC & FOX.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. moedog

    moedog Legend

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    Jun 20, 2003
    Its interesting how so many people on this board would like to do away with small market TV. I won't repeat my remarks from above, but the argument still stands. I a still believe that most people would rather recieve their local newscasts, public affairs and even advertisements than those from hundreds of miles away. In the case of Lafayette IN, of course residents have an interest in what goes on in Indy, only 50 miles away, and they can get those channels OTA, on cable, and eventually, probably, on DBS (when WLFI is put on DBS, all the missing channels from Indy will probably also be offered to subscribers in the Lafayette DMA). This is already being done by DISH in places like Sherman/Ada and now in Cheyenne. Even now, I bet you cannot get CBS programming and other duplicated syndicated programming from WISH on cable in Lafayette. BTW, regarding Lafayette's very small (in geographic area) DMS---this is a problem that one station DMAs have. Traditionally, people have pointed their antennas towards the place where they can get more channels, Indy in this case. Also, in order for a county to qualify for a particular DMA, stations in that DMA have to have the majority of the audience in the given county. THat is hard to do when there is only one channel while the neighboring city has 7 or 8, like Indy. WLFI covers far more than the three counties, I have a feeling, considering its fairly high power. THere is also something called a TSA which is the entire area in which the station is viewed in which the station is also rated.
     
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