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Congress may delay distant net reauth for another 15 days


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#81 OFFLINE   joshjr

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Posted 04 March 2010 - 09:47 PM

When this bill is finally signed will this mean that I will one day be able to once again receive from "E" the local to me CBS station from Dothan Al due to my Panama City FL DMA does not have a CBS affiliate?

I'm not sure if it's which of the correct terms it's covered under..... Distant Networks.... Local into Local.....or Significantly Viewed..... but I used to get CBS from E and wanted to know if this new bill would give those of us in this situation any hope.

Thanks.

Possible. I think there will be something in there about significantly viewed. If thats the case then yes you could se it back. If not then I doubt it as they would just import one in from NY. That being said you could always just add a large antenna and get them anyways.

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#82 OFFLINE   Bigg

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 11:28 AM

I'd be happy with "every station in your DMA" (even though DMAs are arbitrary) plus "every station that reaches anywhere in your zip code with their predicted signal" (including former analog Grade B coverage that is allegedly replicated in digital).

Very few people want a station from thousands of miles away. Most want the stations they could get on cable. The closest affiliates. The only expansion needed would be for those who would still be missing an affiliate after the two rules above.

The early days of satellite spoiled people with out of market stations delivered without permission to viewers across the nation. There would be no locals or distants at all if it were not for the permissive rules put in place by congress. The only drawback is that satellite rules are too restrictive on out of market signals. (Signals that a cable system can be forced to carry cannot be delivered to the same customer via satellite.) Get rid of the gap and I believe most viewers will be happy.

There will always be those who want everything from everywhere ... but the majority would be served by just giving satellite customers what locals they get from cable.


I guess I can see your point, at least allowing them to have the same as cable would put them on a level playing field. The geek in me just wants the government to allow D* and E* to just through the switch and get all the locals on national transponders, and whatever spot beams it gets.

I still think the best thing to do would be to just say any station that broadcasts within 60 miles of you should be able to be provided to you by your chosen television provider. If you're beyond the 60 mile limit for any network you should be allowed to purchase either a national version of that network or even one from a city in your region. But i'm sure that's way too simple to work, but it sure makes a lot more sense in my head than the current DMA based rules they have for satellite and a completely different set of rules for cable.


NO! The problem is the channels that are between 60 and 100 miles away, like the NYC locals, which go more than 80 miles E-NE into Hartford-New Haven via cable, and partially on D* (in HD). If you're only 60 miles or less away, you can get them anyways OTA. The issue is where I live, we are 80+ miles from NYC, and because of 9/11 and the subsequent antenna issues that are still plaguing the area, as many of the antennas hastily stuffed onto the Empire State Building (or weaker backup antennas that were activated) after 9/11 are still in use at the primary transmission method.

In New England, we have a lot of out-of-market locals, including Boston locals ranging from the middle of NH to NE CT (3+ hour drive), and NYC locals covering most of CT.

#83 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 01:08 AM

Out in the west there are huge DMAs where there is no hope of local reception ... except perhaps from a neighboring DMA that you can get on cable but can't get via satellite. Another reason to level the playing field.

Once DISH gets the rest of their local markets up (soon) we'll start to see that playing field level as out of market stations begin to appear.

#84 OFFLINE   joshjr

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 01:11 AM

I still think the bill was slanted to better E*. There is no incentive for D* to offer all DMA's their locals.

#85 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 08:02 AM

Out in the West, we have lots of translators. Most of them are still analog.

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#86 OFFLINE   Bigg

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 08:57 PM

Out in the west there are huge DMAs where there is no hope of local reception ... except perhaps from a neighboring DMA that you can get on cable but can't get via satellite. Another reason to level the playing field.

Once DISH gets the rest of their local markets up (soon) we'll start to see that playing field level as out of market stations begin to appear.


Yeah, what rules do the cable providers run under anyways?

Out in the West, we have lots of translators. Most of them are still analog.


Then they're not worth anything, since they're not HD. The channels have to be HD to count.

Whats unbelievable to me is that we still have broadcast TV from the networks. If the big networks went for a single national feed, or at least regional feeds, the PQ advantage to OTA would dry up, since the DBS providers could throw a LOT more bandwidth at them. We would still need local news, but the quality of local coverage really doesn't suffer from over-compressed 720x480i.

But yes, leveling the playing field would be the right thing to do. What rules does cable operate under? What about Verizon and AT&T, now they they are getting an absolutely massive footprint, especially AT&T. AT&T has more HD locals from out-of-market even than cable, since they don't have virtually unlimited capacity.

#87 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 12:28 AM

Yeah, what rules do the cable providers run under anyways?

Better rules, IMHO. I believe I have summarized it before in this thread but basically:
A cable system has to set aside a percentage of their capacity for locals - a small system would have less of a locals burden than a large one (which is kind of moot as the locals are a key part of what cable service sells). Once that allotment is full, they don't have to add locals. If a satellite carrier carries one station in a market they must carry all stations who want coverage (stations can refuse to be carried).

What qualifies as a local station is based on actual reception not arbitrary lines cutting the country county by county. Satellite has been prohibited from carrying stations from neighboring markets even to customers who could pick up those stations on an antenna or local cable. The new law fixes that (again). The biggest problem with the 2004 law that allowed "close distants" (Significantly Viewed) was it was written treating those channels as distant signals, not locals. If cable can carry a signal satellite should be able to carry it too.

Controversial but I'd go a step further and require carriage without payment to local broadcasters. Broadcasters should not be selling the rebroadcast of their signals. Cable and satellite could be good partners with broadcast TV if they both worked together to get the signals distributed and in viewers homes instead of fighting over money.

We would still need local news, but the quality of local coverage really doesn't suffer from over-compressed 720x480i.

Take a look at your local channels ... who has the best local news? Is it a network station (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX)? In rare cases an independent will have decent news. Unfortunately in a growing number of cases even network stations fail at local news - but look at the best broadcast news and you will likely see a major network.

They get to be the best by spending money on their product ... by buying the best talent and equipment that they can. They get their money by selling local advertising during their news and that major network programming.

If people get their network programming from a national feed and don't see local advertising (including ads for the news) it makes it harder for the station to survive. If the networks left the local stations many would close down. National feeds are good for viewers ... but not for the stations.

#88 OFFLINE   FTA Michael

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 08:52 AM

According to Broadcasting & Cable's John Eggerton, the House passed HR 4851, which would give them until April 30 to figure out whether what changes they might want to make to the Senate-passed STELA.

Not that there's a whole lot of new stuff, but you ought to read it anyway: http://www.broadcast...to_April_30.php

Best surprise note: "The bill is also expected to have an advanced timetable for Dish carriage of noncommercial stations' HD signals. A spokesperson for the Association for Public Television Stations said this week that they were still negotiating a private deal for HD carriage that would make that amendment moot." Will we hear something soon about Dish and PBS HD?
Yes, FTABlog is active again. Why do you ask?

#89 OFFLINE   psdstu

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Posted 19 March 2010 - 12:30 AM

[quote name='What qualifies as a local station is based on actual reception not arbitrary lines cutting the country county by county. Satellite has been prohibited from carrying stations from neighboring markets even to customers who could pick up those stations on an antenna or local cable. The new law fixes that (again). The biggest problem with the 2004 law that allowed "close distants" (Significantly Viewed) was it was written treating those channels as distant signals, not locals. If cable can carry a signal satellite should be able to carry it too.[/QUOTE']

James,

I certainly hope that you are correct in the new law "fiixng" this issue. In Dec 2006 "E" dropped our local CBS Station because it was coming from a neighboring DMA. (Our DMA does not have a CBS affiliate).

The local cable provider was/is providing the same CBS signal and it's never made sense to me how cable could provide the signal but not "E"?

As you stated, hopefully the new law will once again allow "E" to provide those of us who fall into this category the missing signals from neighboring DMA's.

#90 OFFLINE   joshjr

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Posted 19 March 2010 - 05:54 AM

What qualifies as a local station is based on actual reception not arbitrary lines cutting the country county by county. Satellite has been prohibited from carrying stations from neighboring markets even to customers who could pick up those stations on an antenna or local cable. The new law fixes that (again). The biggest problem with the 2004 law that allowed "close distants" (Significantly Viewed) was it was written treating those channels as distant signals, not locals. If cable can carry a signal satellite should be able to carry it too.

Thats not really true. If I remember right I read through the last SHVERA act and its in there. What the new act does in my opinion make it easier for the sat providers to carry more of the significantly viewed stations. I am pretty sure that there are a few markets that have them now at least with D* just not very many.

Even if its in in the final bill and approved then we will have to wait and see what markets the providers decide to work something out with. I can gurantee you it wont be every market. I not only hope to have my DMA's locals but would love to have Tulsa's as well as it is in state and my DMA is not. That being said I am not holding my breath even though Tulsa is a stong presence at least in my zip code and county. The cable co here offers a few of the Tulsa channels and a strong antenna will pick them up as well. I plan to add a very large antenna soon to get Tulsa on my own since D* is not really helping me with locals other then DNS.

So that being said keep your fingers crossed. If passed I look for it to be 6 months to a year before they really get much going with it anyways. Another thing that would work for some of you though as E* customers is that with the new bill passed it would appear to me that if you are in a short market that they would import you that affiliate via a DNS station. Thats the whole deal with this bill for E* anyways. Offer all DMA's and use DNS feeds to cover the gaps.

#91 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 19 March 2010 - 01:09 PM


What qualifies as a local station is based on actual reception not arbitrary lines cutting the country county by county. Satellite has been prohibited from carrying stations from neighboring markets even to customers who could pick up those stations on an antenna or local cable. The new law fixes that (again). The biggest problem with the 2004 law that allowed "close distants" (Significantly Viewed) was it was written treating those channels as distant signals, not locals. If cable can carry a signal satellite should be able to carry it too.

Thats not really true. If I remember right I read through the last SHVERA act and its in there.

It is in there, but it it is in there as I stated ... carried as distant signals instead of local signals. When DISH lost permission to carry any distant signal (including to legally qualified customers) they also lost permission to carry significantly viewed signals. If congress would have put SV into the locals part of the legislation DISH would still have SV channels.

Widening out from the one company (DISH) to satellite in general, the SV legislation was based on a list of stations. Stations on the list are considered SV. As long as the cable company carries the station there is no reason for the station to seek SV list status. Cable companies can carry stations not on the SV list but if the station does not have SV status it cannot be carried by satellite. It is a situation where cable can carry a signal by simply receiving it and satellite cannot carry the same signal to the same customer because of some list. A list that is harder to get a station added to as over the air reception counts drop (thanks in part to cable carriage - the station must meet a threshold value of over the air viewers to make the list). The list is pretty good, but isn't perfect.

What the new act does in my opinion make it easier for the sat providers to carry more of the significantly viewed stations. I am pretty sure that there are a few markets that have them now at least with D* just not very many.

For DISH it makes it possible again. DISH was moving strongly into adding as many SV stations as it could before they had to pull them all. DISH has very few markets left uncovered ... under current law DISH could only deliver stations to those markets that were in those markets (for example, Lafayette Indiana would only get one local ... their CBS). The new law reopens the door so Lafayette can get most of the Indianapolis channels as well. (One local and seven SV stations ... Indy locals are 11 channels with 3 PBS stations.)

I'm not sure what DirecTV's problem is. They have some SV carriage but they don't seem to be pursuing it as much as DISH did five years ago. Perhaps it is smaller spots or less capacity. Or perhaps a lack of desire. DirecTV seems to be doing fine without 100% local market carriage. They don't need the new law to add new SV.

Another thing that would work for some of you though as E* customers is that with the new bill passed it would appear to me that if you are in a short market that they would import you that affiliate via a DNS station. Thats the whole deal with this bill for E* anyways. Offer all DMA's and use DNS feeds to cover the gaps.

The big benefit is restoring "close distants" ... out of DMA stations that are on the SV list. There is still the loophole of unlisted stations being blocked from satellite but possible on cable.

I don't believe that carriage should be list based. Carriage should be coverage based. If that doesn't fix the "short market" problem then add in the closer distants from the customer's market or a neighboring market. Just like cable.

#92 OFFLINE   runner861

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Posted 19 March 2010 - 11:49 PM

I don't believe that carriage should be list based. Carriage should be coverage based. If that doesn't fix the "short market" problem then add in the closer distants from the customer's market or a neighboring market. Just like cable.


I don't understand the meaning of "closer distants from the customer's market." If they are in the customer's market, they are locals. If they are outside the customer's market, they are distants. They are not both. That is my understanding.

The "neighboring market" argument sounds good, but it may prove to be unworkable. Until now, Congress has generally placed stations into two categories--locals and distants. It will be difficult to write a definition for "neighboring locals" or "neighboring distants." A more likely outcome is to continue with the distants as being any station outside the local market.

Consider the Salinas-Monterey market in California. It lacks an ABC station. What is its neighboring market? San Francisco is the market to the north, Santa Barbara-San Luis Obispo is the market to the south, and Fresno is the market to the east. Why should one of those markets receive priority over the other?

A better way to handle it is to continue with the current law, which generally allows any out-of-market network station to be imported into a market that lacks that same network. People in Salinas-Monterey are legally receiving ABC from KGO, located in San Francisco; KABC, located in Los Angeles; and WABC, located in New York. There may be others who are legally receiving other ABC affiliates in the Salinas-Monterey market. Let the satellite company and the customer mutually decide which station to receive to fill the gap in the short market.

#93 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 12:34 AM

I don't understand the meaning of "closer distants from the customer's market." If they are in the customer's market, they are locals. If they are outside the customer's market, they are distants. They are not both. That is my understanding.

My proposal throws out markets as a first step. A local in my proposal is any station with a signal that covers the customer. These are the stations most people want. Coverage of the station based carriage is what cable can do ... why not satellite?

The "neighboring market" argument sounds good, but it may prove to be unworkable. Until now, Congress has generally placed stations into two categories--locals and distants. It will be difficult to write a definition for "neighboring locals" or "neighboring distants." A more likely outcome is to continue with the distants as being any station outside the local market.

I don't want to leave any subscriber without a station of any network just because no affiliate has not been built that covers their location. That is why I'd expand to the current "market based locals" and what many would consider "significantly viewed" stations from other markets. Whatever is done I would never consider a station that should be viewable over the air to a subscriber (they are in the station's coverage area) as a distant. The satellite SV law put these stations in as distants ... which was wrong.

Consider the Salinas-Monterey market in California. It lacks an ABC station. What is its neighboring market? San Francisco is the market to the north, Santa Barbara-San Luis Obispo is the market to the south, and Fresno is the market to the east. Why should one of those markets receive priority over the other?

Three neighbors ... sounds like any of the three would work. What does cable do?

A better way to handle it is to continue with the current law, which generally allows any out-of-market network station to be imported into a market that lacks that same network. People in Salinas-Monterey are legally receiving ABC from KGO, located in San Francisco; KABC, located in Los Angeles; and WABC, located in New York. There may be others who are legally receiving other ABC affiliates in the Salinas-Monterey market. Let the satellite company and the customer mutually decide which station to receive to fill the gap in the short market.

I don't want anything more restrictive than current law ... although if the local cable company cannot carry KABC and WABC why should satellite be able to? Equality is the goal.

Of course this is just my fantasy ... the real law varies.

#94 OFFLINE   runner861

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 08:15 AM

I guess what we are dealing with is your proposal, which generally sounds good. However, continuing with Salinas-Monterey, which is an excellent short market to use as an example, I am not sure that the proposal will work.

Do you have any information that in the near-final version of the satellite law that Congress will soon vote on there is any definition that redefines or does away with the designated market areas? Is there any definition of a neighboring station? As opposed to, or different from, a distant station?

In Salinas-Monterey, there are parts of the market, particularly in the South and the East, where it is very rural and there is no cable service available. In the northern part of the market, there are several cities, and the cable service there carries a modified version of KGO. However, it is unlikely that KGO will qualify as significantly viewed in any area other than the extreme northern areas of the market. Distance and terrain keep it from generally being picked up by an antenna in that market.

The modified version of KGO is something that the cable company calls ABC7. It is KGO's signal, but with some local commercials replaced with commercials inserted by the cable company. Also, some syndicated programming (not ABC programming and not local programming) is replaced by the cable company with other programming. This is due to syndicated exclusivity rules, and also it allows the cable company to make more money by selling its own commercials.

As far as cable in that area not being allowed to carry KABC or WABC, as you assert, I do not know what rules govern the cable company's carriage. I do not believe that the cable company would want to carry WABC, as that station is in a different time zone. However, I am unaware of anything other than the choice of the operator that is stopping the cable company from carrying KABC. KGO was historically the easier signal to obtain, because it is several hundred miles closer than KABC, in the days prior to satellite. Cable has served this market since the 1950s, and the cable company in the northern part of the market runs a short microwave relay system to bring signals down from San Francisco. It would have been much more cumbersome to build a microwave system to bring stations in from a greater distance.

It is unlikely that satellite will get involved in an operation like "ABC7," and there may be logistical problems with spilling a spotbeam from a "neighboring" market into an adjacent market and having that spotbeam cover the adjacent market completely. To cover Salinas-Monterey with the "neighboring" market ABC signal, the satellite operator would have to spill the spotbeams for San Francisco, Fresno, and Santa Barbara-San Luis Obispo. This may be expensive and not very efficient. It may not even be technically feasible, given the limitations on satellite space. Or if the satellite operator chose to spill only one spotbeam, how does one fairly decide which spotbeam to spill?

I certainly have no opposition to having a neighboring station imported when a network is not available in the market, but I believe that satellite will still find it more workable to have a station from a big city in the same time zone on CONUS, and that signal can be used to fill the network gap in the short market. Also, I believe in greater choice, and there are always reasons to have cable and other reasons to have satellite. If one prefers a station from a more distant city, that may be a reason to have satellite. Ultimately, I believe that if a network is not available in a market, then any station affiliated with the missing network should be able to be imported, either by cable or satellite, to fill the gap. Let the operator and the customer decide what is best.

Edited by runner861, 20 March 2010 - 08:36 AM.


#95 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 02:38 PM

Do you have any information that in the near-final version of the satellite law that Congress will soon vote on there is any definition that redefines or does away with the designated market areas? Is there any definition of a neighboring station? As opposed to, or different from, a distant station?

I don't believe Congress is changing the definitions (unfortunate - maybe in five more years?).

As far as they are concerned for satellite local is in DMA and distant is out of DMA even if the signal of the "distant" signal easily covers the customer location in question. For cable local isn't defined solely by DMA.

The big change is in permission to carry, especially for DISH getting their permission to carry "distant" stations back. I have not looked into the details of the other changes. Looks like I have some homework!

The modified version of KGO is something that the cable company calls ABC7. It is KGO's signal, but with some local commercials replaced with commercials inserted by the cable company. Also, some syndicated programming (not ABC programming and not local programming) is replaced by the cable company with other programming. This is due to syndicated exclusivity rules, and also it allows the cable company to make more money by selling its own commercials.

This could be done by DISH and DirecTV as well. If KGO provides a "cable channel" feed to DISH or DirecTV it isn't a TV station any more and doesn't fall under the TV station rules. The only limit would be KGO's affiliation agreements.

Satellite providers are prohibited from modifying any OTA station themselves ... so it would have to be a non-broadcast feed.

Edited by James Long, 20 March 2010 - 02:46 PM.


#96 OFFLINE   runner861

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 04:38 PM

It will be interesting to see what actually passes Congress. I agree with almost everything you say. I agree that "significantly viewed" stations should not be treated as "distants." The only thing that we appear to disagree on is that I am not sold on the idea that the network station filling the gap in a short market must be from a neighboring market. I think that any city's station should be able to be used.

What are the code sections that govern carriage by cable?

Edited by runner861, 27 March 2010 - 11:50 PM.


#97 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 04:38 PM

Poking around the (proposed) law ... probably better to continue the "what is really happening" thoughts in the STELA thread and leave "what James wants to happen" here ...

STELA Thread: http://www.dbstalk.c...ad.php?t=173991

#98 OFFLINE   Bigg

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 10:34 PM

Better rules, IMHO. I believe I have summarized it before in this thread but basically:
A cable system has to set aside a percentage of their capacity for locals - a small system would have less of a locals burden than a large one (which is kind of moot as the locals are a key part of what cable service sells). Once that allotment is full, they don't have to add locals. If a satellite carrier carries one station in a market they must carry all stations who want coverage (stations can refuse to be carried).

...

If people get their network programming from a national feed and don't see local advertising (including ads for the news) it makes it harder for the station to survive. If the networks left the local stations many would close down. National feeds are good for viewers ... but not for the stations.


What happens when cable has all the locals, and they aren't up to their percentage? How do you measure the percentage for AT&T, since they don't have a capacity per se, they in effect have an unlimited capacity. They also have all 10 locals in HD from NYC and Hartford-New Haven, which is more than cable or D*. D* has NYC NBC, CBS, and FOX, while Comcast has PBS in HD and the rest in SD. Of course, why not even if no one necessarily wants them, as they have to be on there for other towns anyways, and it's all switched IPTV, so there's no bandwidth penalty.

The key to all this is what cable and IPTV can carry. If I can pick it up with an antenna, then I have no desire for them to copy it onto satellite so that I can just go back in and delete it from the channel guide. The issue I have is that NYC locals are not available OTA, so they have to be brought in via cable or U-Verse.

If they were available OTA, then carriage anywhere else would be utterly irrelevant, as both D* and E* have ATSC tuners with guide integration available for their DVRs. Although the government and broadcasters would never allow it, I'd much rather have WNET HD (PBS NYC) than WEDH HD (Hartford PBS) over satellite, as WEDH is available OTAfrom WEDH-DT.

I agree about the payment for locals. It's absurd. That whole WABC/Cablevision thing was absurd, WABC shouldn't get paid. If they want to get paid, then they should take their signal off the air and be a cable network.

Maybe we would kill off some local news, but if there's a market for it, it would get done. The other thing is, in today's day and age, it's cheap and easy to produce local content, and an independent local news station could use freelance news reporters all over their area to file reports over the internet, and with EVDO, even do live news streams over Skype, at a tiny fraction of the cost of rolling satellite trucks, and in a quicker way too. It would also allow for more hyper-local content, and then to downlink some national stuff, just like newspapers and the AP.

So that being said keep your fingers crossed. If passed I look for it to be 6 months to a year before they really get much going with it anyways. Another thing that would work for some of you though as E* customers is that with the new bill passed it would appear to me that if you are in a short market that they would import you that affiliate via a DNS station. Thats the whole deal with this bill for E* anyways. Offer all DMA's and use DNS feeds to cover the gaps.


I don't get how a DMA can be a DMA without all five locals. Concord, NH isn't a DMA because it's missing two of the networks. It's part of Boston, which has them all, even though three of the five are replicated in New Hampshire and Maine. To be fair, one of those is the infamous WMUR, which exists largely as a satellite source for national and international cable news during election season.

I'm not sure what DirecTV's problem is. They have some SV carriage but they don't seem to be pursuing it as much as DISH did five years ago. Perhaps it is smaller spots or less capacity.

I don't believe that carriage should be list based. Carriage should be coverage based. If that doesn't fix the "short market" problem then add in the closer distants from the customer's market or a neighboring market. Just like cable.


DirecTV is weird. They don't offer PBS or ABC for NYC to Hartford-New Haven, even though they are on CONUS transponders. PBS is the big one, since the network programming on the others is all the same, but WNET (NYC) doesn't have the same "network" programming as WEDH (Hartford).

My proposal throws out markets as a first step. A local in my proposal is any station with a signal that covers the customer. These are the stations most people want. Coverage of the station based carriage is what cable can do ... why not satellite?Equality is the goal.

Of course this is just my fantasy ... the real law varies.


I agree with equality.. so why not put them under the same set of rules? Or just not have rules and let them carry whatever the heck they want?

The problem with using OTA reception is that it's not equitable with cable. Cable carries signals way beyond OTA reception. Plus, if they are available OTA, its irrelevant for satellite. The receivers can do ATSC.

However, I am unaware of anything other than the choice of the operator that is stopping the cable company from carrying KABC. KGO was historically the easier signal to obtain, because it is several hundred miles closer than KABC, in the days prior to satellite. Cable has served this market since the 1950s, and the cable company in the northern part of the market runs a short microwave relay system to bring signals down from San Francisco. It would have been much more cumbersome to build a microwave system to bring stations in from a greater distance.


I think that is the case, as even with today's technology where it would be easy to get KABC via satellite or fiber, people just wouldn't want it.

It's interesting that DBS providers cannot modify the stations, as Comcast gets to put in some of their own commercials- maybe part of the reason they pay for the local stations?

It will be interesting to see what actually passes Congress. I agree with almost everything you say. I agree that "significantly viewed" stations should not be treated as "distants." The only thing that we may slightly disagree on is that I am not sold on the idea that the network station filling the gap in a short market must be from a neighboring market. I think that any city's station should be able to be used.

What are the code sections that govern carriage by cable?


I would agree, as long as the DBS company can choose, and the Lawyers and politicians in Washington who don't have EE degrees don't force D* and E* to provide significantly viewed locals instead of national feeds in places where the spot beams aren't lined up to do so.

What I don't understand is why satellite is being forced to carry certain locals or PBS stations. I don't care if they carry my local PBS in HD, or any of my locals at all. I think the important part is allowing them to carry channels, not making them carry them. The out of market channels are the most important, as if they are more than 70 miles away, or lower power, they can't be picked up OTA, which is where satellite comes in.

Bigger DMAs might have distance challenges, but in Hartford-New Haven satellite LIL's are completely worthless, as our OTA signals cover the whole DMA.

Anyone know what rules AT&T is operating under? They seem to be on their own planet, and they have the possibility to offer about any channel they wanted, as it's just a big switched IP network with channels being send on demand. They could be a real loose cannon if they are not regulated in regards to locals.

#99 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 11:41 PM

What happens when cable has all the locals, and they aren't up to their percentage?

If they carry all the available locals they are done.

If I can pick it up with an antenna, then I have no desire for them to copy it onto satellite so that I can just go back in and delete it from the channel guide.

Over the air is part of "basic cable" and in their "lifeline" level packages. Cable started out as community antenna TV. People paying a monthly fee to share an antenna instead of putting up their own expensive systems (perhaps with large antennas and rotors). Rural communities putting up an antenna and charging a few bucks a month for retransmitted locals. Then someone got the bright idea to have a national fed 24/7 weather channel. And someone decided to do a national fed 24/7 news channel. And someone decided to do a movie channel (as a premium service). The idea grew and the number of national channels grew. Cable became a service that was more than rebroadcasting local channels sharing a common antenna. It became what we now call a content delivery system.

Replacing OTA reception with via system reception is the core of cable and locals are often the missing selling point on satellite systems. I'm glad you have good over the air reception but most just want the content just as clear as their national "cable" channels. That means carriage via satellite.

I don't get how a DMA can be a DMA without all five locals.

They are market areas. Some company (A C Nielson) decided that, for example, three counties near Lafayette Indiana was a separate market from Terre Haute, Indianapolis, South Bend and Chicago. Unfortunately there is only one full power commercial station based out of those three counties (the FCC channel allotments put channels in the major cities). So Lafayette is a one station market.

Perhaps these micro markets should be merged in with neighbors, but which one? The FCC didn't ask A C Nielson to draw up groups of counties containing all five networks. They just used an existing market list A C Nielson created for ratings.

Just one of the flaws in using the arbitrary markets as the end of the definition of local.

The problem with using OTA reception is that it's not equitable with cable. Cable carries signals way beyond OTA reception. Plus, if they are available OTA, its irrelevant for satellite. The receivers can do ATSC.

Spend some time on AVS Forum and find out how well ATSC reception is doing. I'm 10 miles from all of the stations in my market and still get better reception via satellite than over the air on a simple antenna. Yes, satellite receivers can do ATSC ... but many customers still need a better antenna. I'm already paying for satellite for other channels - why not also improve my reception of OTA-TV?

It's interesting that DBS providers cannot modify the stations, as Comcast gets to put in some of their own commercials- maybe part of the reason they pay for the local stations?

Stations are free to make their own arrangements outside of the law to get carriage but if satellite or cable systems use the law carriage is all "no local changes". If Comcast is showing different commercials than OTA then they are not carrying the stations via the law. They have worked out another contract.

Satellite pays for local stations. That is one of the things that IS equal between satellite and cable. Stations can force their signals to be carried (for no charge) or withhold their signals from carriage (unless the cable/satellite provider pays). Stations cannot be charged by satellite or cable to carry their signals.

#100 OFFLINE   Bigg

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 05:22 PM

If they carry all the available locals they are done.


Over the air is part of "basic cable" and in their "lifeline" level packages. Cable started out as community antenna TV. People paying a monthly fee to share an antenna instead of putting up their own expensive systems (perhaps with large antennas and rotors). Rural communities putting up an antenna and charging a few bucks a month for retransmitted locals. Then someone got the bright idea to have a national fed 24/7 weather channel. And someone decided to do a national fed 24/7 news channel. And someone decided to do a movie channel (as a premium service). The idea grew and the number of national channels grew. Cable became a service that was more than rebroadcasting local channels sharing a common antenna. It became what we now call a content delivery system.

Replacing OTA reception with via system reception is the core of cable and locals are often the missing selling point on satellite systems. I'm glad you have good over the air reception but most just want the content just as clear as their national "cable" channels. That means carriage via satellite.


I don't doubt the need for DirecTV and Dish to carry locals, since it would cost a lot more to have their installers going out and putting up antennas, cabling them in and the like for each and every customer, but it is a well known fact that the best satellite system feeds locals in via OTA.

They are market areas. Some company (A C Nielson) decided that, for example, three counties near Lafayette Indiana was a separate market from Terre Haute, Indianapolis, South Bend and Chicago. Unfortunately there is only one full power commercial station based out of those three counties (the FCC channel allotments put channels in the major cities). So Lafayette is a one station market.

Perhaps these micro markets should be merged in with neighbors, but which one? The FCC didn't ask A C Nielson to draw up groups of counties containing all five networks. They just used an existing market list A C Nielson created for ratings.

Just one of the flaws in using the arbitrary markets as the end of the definition of local.


How do those markets get locals on satellite? Or do they not?

Spend some time on AVS Forum and find out how well ATSC reception is doing. I'm 10 miles from all of the stations in my market and still get better reception via satellite than over the air on a simple antenna. Yes, satellite receivers can do ATSC ... but many customers still need a better antenna. I'm already paying for satellite for other channels - why not also improve my reception of OTA-TV?


My experience has been 30 miles away from the transmitters with a small ~$30 Wal-Mart antenna and DLOS, which is not realistic in most installations. However, there is some powerful gear out there from antennasdirect.com, which apparently yield some incredible results when paired with high-quality amps combiners and splitters, and clean runs of QS RG-6.

OTA is higher quality, and doesn't require a mirroring fee for every pair of tuners in your house. Plus, at least on Dish, it doubles the number of tuners in the box from 2 to 4, while still allowing a fifth stream to be played back.

Stations are free to make their own arrangements outside of the law to get carriage but if satellite or cable systems use the law carriage is all "no local changes". If Comcast is showing different commercials than OTA then they are not carrying the stations via the law. They have worked out another contract.

Satellite pays for local stations. That is one of the things that IS equal between satellite and cable. Stations can force their signals to be carried (for no charge) or withhold their signals from carriage (unless the cable/satellite provider pays). Stations cannot be charged by satellite or cable to carry their signals.


The channels must have had to allow Comcast to modify the ads in order to get paid during contract negotiations. I don't see what the incentive for Comcast to pay anything for them is though, as they are big enough to wipe out 1/4-1/3 of a station's viewership if the station doesn't transmit to them for free, and then Comcast can just pull in Boston/NYC locals to fill the network gap (they're already there).




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