Well at first when I heard about the merger I was excited. I was thinking of all the advantages a merger would bring to the world of DBS. After watching events unfold, I am now on the fence, but leaning towards not liking the merger any more. So, the question comes up, why do we need the merger: 1. Will provide local TV to all DMAs. Well this sounds like a noble goal. After thinking about it for a while, I wonder why this is even important? Independent they will probalby cover the top 75 markets (I know they say 50 is all they can do, but E* especially with "wing" sattellites could easily do 100, maybe even 125+ if they put a spot satellite on one of the "wing" satellites). If they used 5 transponders on 61 and 5 on 148 to do east and west US, they probably could even go to 150+ markets. Actually with the 35 transponders they have on the "wing" satellites they could do ALL dmas, but it is not really profitable for them to do it. The Top 75 markets is 78.2% of the population. But, the question comes up, why would I like to have locals on DBS? The PQ is 100x better over the air. Even basic cable is about the same as DBS. Soon my market will go to HDTV. This will be 1000x better than DBS, and DBS has no plans for HDTV at all... mayb just 12 national stations. If I am unable to recieve locals OTA (as with some stations in my market, since they are not even transmitted WB, PBS, etc) I can buy distants/superstions. Many of the smallest DMAs only have one or two channels and would have to have distants anyways. With 78% of the nation able to get DBS locals, and the rest would probably need some distants anyways. 2. Able to provide nationwide broadband internet connections. Well the service already exists without the merger, I do not see how a combined company can really improve on this. 3. Unified national pricing. Well this is probably not a good thing. With competition they will fight with low prices. Yes, in some markets they might have a lower price than national rates for various reasons, this does not raise national prices. There has been a good history of minimal price increases anyways. With only one company they could do like the cable companies and raise prices every year. Yes they may still be lower than cable, but in my case they are 40%+ lower than cable. Making one company with 20% below cable just raises prices for everyone equally. 4. Able to add the latest technology like 8PSK to increase variety and add HDTV. Well, last I looked E* was going to pay 26 billion for D*, this is about $2500/subscriber. They could instead use the money to update their own subscriber boxes, and satellites and end up with a great system and still have money left over. So, I have come to the conclusion that I will not really gain anything from the merger (besides LIL of dubious value) but higher prices. Will I go back to cable? No way at this time, it costs more and delivers less. And even with the current quality levels of DBS, it still beats digital cable. Now if E* went up in price to close to cable and cable started carrying tons of HDTV, I would switch back very fast. I am sorry if E* does not want to work hard and win the DBS wars without taking over D*, but competition is what is needed. In reality with what E* currently has they should be able to trounce D* without trouble. D* has 46 national transponders, E* has 50 national and 35 "wing" satellites (essentially each can do about 3/4 of the US).