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SD Channels still needed?

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Programming' started by Juanus, Oct 3, 2013.

  1. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    That would have been far easier to do if they'd added MPEG4 capability to the D12 receiver when they added SWM. Then most of the more recent SD installs would already be MPEG4 and they'd have a lot fewer people to upgrade to dump MPEG2. Since they continue to add new MPEG2 only subscribers every day, they probably aren't even considering that yet.

    Look how drawn out the process is to switch out receivers with the old guide, and that was a much smaller project than swapping out all MPEG2 receivers would be. At least that could be done via mail. Dropping SD entirely would mean replacing all SD dishes, so that would take even longer.

    By the time they get around to trying to phase out MPEG2, MPEG4 will be considered obsolete and they might as well replace all those receivers at the same time :)
     
  2. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    They are already there. It is easier to letterbox for SD than maintain a 4x3 safe area on their productions. Or maintain the safe area and have satellite/cable crop the feeds. I'm surprised by how many channels actually bother to produce a separate SD feed. But they are looking for the best presentation of their channel possible, including on cable systems that have no HD.

    I don't see an issue with offering SD of content not available via DirecTV in HD. I certainly do not want cable/satellite dropping channels that do not have a HD feed. But they do need to move forward with receivers that can handle the MPEG4 future.

    Apparently DirecTV is seeing significant cost savings in continuing to place MPEG2 only equipment. As long as they are doing that MPEG2 SD channels must remain ... or the MPEG2 subscriber will receive less than the full package they are paying for. Dropping SD where there are HD versions would kill the MPEG2 subscriber's packages.

    Explain to ESPN that their contract for DirecTV to deliver their channels to 20 million subscribers no longer includes ~10 million MPEG2 only homes. See how that discussion goes. :)

    SD will be around as long as MPEG2 only receivers are deployed. The first step is to replace every receiver with one capable of MPEG4. After that is done then DirecTV can look at eliminating the MPEG2 feeds. But don't be surprised if they still have SD versions of HD channels ... even with both in MPEG4. MPEG4 SD does not take up a lot of space.
     
  3. ejbvt

    ejbvt AllStar

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    Local channels swear that Directv (and cable companies) produce the SD feeds themselves and do not send those feeds to the providers. A friend of mine with cable said that the cable company still crops the Fox picture to be 4:3 on the SD feed and so the scores and sports graphics get chopped.

    I know that a few locals still have -1 HD and -2 SD on their OTA signals, but that is going away fast.
     
  4. damondlt

    damondlt New Member

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    I would agree with that. Most networks are using HD cameras for their broadcasts.

    The downrezzing is not doubt done by the provider.
     
  5. JohnBoy

    JohnBoy New Member

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    Here in Florida sd becomes handy when thunderstorms hit constantly in July and August and the first thing to go is the HD signal and the dreaded 771 appears.

    So switching to sd is a must during outages as it uses less bandwidth.
     
  6. KyL416

    KyL416 Hall Of Fame

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    It varies, some local channels send both HD and SD feeds via fiber from the studio to providers, others just send out the HD feed via fiber or OTA and it's the provider who creates the SD feed.
    They should complain to their local Fox affiliate and provide them with the name and location of their local cable provider. Fox uses active format descriptors to tell providers what should be cropped and what should be letterboxed, for whatever reason their cable provider is either ignoring them or doesn't have the right type of equipment installed.
     
  7. PrinceLH

    PrinceLH New Member

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    I agree! I also like the idea of an SD fee, instead of an HD fee.
     
  8. JosephB

    JosephB Icon

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    There's no way they could rationalize an SD fee to the customer base. And, how do you charge it? Technically, everyone with HD service is getting all the channels in SD. You don't raise prices on something as it gets cheaper to provide.

    Obviously there is some value in providing SD only. U-Verse, which has only existed since the HD era began, offers SD only feeds and you have to pay extra for HD. And, all of their boxes are HD-capable and can downconvert. I wonder how many content providers are still charging the cable and satellite companies extra for their HD feeds (which they did from the beginning and I think was the rationale for the additional HD charges)
     
  9. gov

    gov Legend

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    Did VOOM charge extra for SD ??

    :coffee
     
  10. damondlt

    damondlt New Member

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    No. VOOM wasn't all HD.
    HD was hardly even born when Voom was in town , Which would most likely explain Vooms death.
     
  11. HoTat2

    HoTat2 Hall Of Fame

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    Did you mean VOOM "was" all HD?
     
  12. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    "VOOM" (the satellite service that failed) offered SD channels. After the satellite company failed and sold off their satellite and licenses to DISH the "VOOM" brand name stuck around as a set of HD channels that were carried by DISH.

    At the time many "cable" networks were not available in HD ... and people would not sign up for an HD only service without the core content on those SD channels.
     
  13. HoTat2

    HoTat2 Hall Of Fame

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    Its not the bandwidth, but the lower frequencies of the Ku band (12.2-12.7 GHz, BSS portion) used by the SD channels which is less susceptible to atmospheric attenuation than the Ka band during thunderstorms which keeps the SD channels alive longer.
     
  14. HoTat2

    HoTat2 Hall Of Fame

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    Oh ....

    Didn't know VOOM ever offered any 480i SD channels.

    Been so long though I'd forgotten, .... :)
     
  15. PCampbell

    PCampbell Icon

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    How long till the sats at 101 end of life? That may put an end to SD.
     
  16. HoTat2

    HoTat2 Hall Of Fame

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    Well according to SatBeams;

    D4S went up in '01

    D8 in '05

    D9S in '06

    And they are all rated at the standard 15 year lifespan, barring any major malfunctions or mishaps of course.

    So it looks like D4S is close to retirement, but D8 and D9S could go to 2020-2021, again assuming no major system failures.

    This also doesn't take into account whatever backup the upcoming D15 will provide if needed with its Ku band payload of 30 transponders.
     
  17. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    I wasn't aware D15 had both, do any of Directv's current satellites have both Ka band and Ku band transponders? Would Slimline LNBs be able to receive Ku band signals from D15 if it was located at 101?
     
  18. HoTat2

    HoTat2 Hall Of Fame

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    Yes, that's what makes D15's orbital slot destination difficult to predict. It is to have Ku, Ka, and Reverse-DBS band payloads.

    From SPACENEWS 11/4/2011;
    http://www.spacenews.com/article/astrium-picked-build-directv-15-telecom-satellite


    And yes this will be the first DIRECTV satellite to have both Ka and Ku band capability *available to subscribers.*

    The Ku band birds D8 and D9S at 101 have Ka band payloads as well, but only for DIRECTV's internal use for signal back-hauling purposes and not available to subscribers.
     
  19. JosephB

    JosephB Icon

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    And this is actually something you put in the "pro retire SD" column. If they retired SD, they could move some of the most popular HD channels into the Ku-band space, as well as moving locals into Ku-band spotbeams, making HD less susceptible to rain fade. Plus, that would also free up a lot of space on spotbeams for digital sub-channels.

    Even when the satellite reaches its end of life, its replacement will have a Ku payload. The 101 slot is licensed for Ku-band operations. DirecTV can't just put a Ka satellite in its place, so the on orbit hardware will have nothing to do with whether or not SD is retired. The only exception would be if DirecTV wanted to put up a satellite that was not capable of whatever encoding scheme the current Ku/MPEG-2 setup uses, but I would find that highly unlikely. The cost of putting up a new satellite capable of both legacy and future-proof encoding would be way, way less than forcing themselves into retiring SD before they're ready.
     
  20. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    The band being used has nothing to do with the encoding scheme or whether the signal is SD or HD. They could start using Ku band for AVC encoded HD if they wanted, it is left to the receiver to be able to decode the bitstream and send it out formatted as an SD or HD picture.

    If they can't use the 101 slot for Ka band, then Directv-15 probably isn't going there. It couldn't go at 99 or 103 either if those slots aren't licensed for Ku band, or the current LNBs couldn't receive Ku band from those slots. So maybe it won't use both at the same time, so maybe one is only there as a backup as you seem to be suggesting.

    If so, I'd assume they'll put it one spot where it can do something less important (like Ku band spotbeams for SD subchannels) but have it able to move to 99 or 103 if one of those more important HD satellites has problems. People would be upset over losing the subchannels, but not as upset if a big chunk of HD channels went away. Probably the cost of adding transponders that would only ever be a backup that may never be used is pretty small in comparison to the cost of building and launching a satellite.
     

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