Perhaps I haven't expressed my concerns very well. Let me try this again, perhaps by starting with the what I perceive as the "TV channel" model for the early 21st century.
Here in the San Francisco Bay Area we have KGO 7, a broadcast TV channel owned and operated by Disney/ABC. As of the analog shutdown, it transmits over-the-air digital channels 7.1 (KGO/ABC programming), 7.2 (ABC News/Live Well HD) and 7.3 (ABC7 AccuWeather NOW).
As everyone on this forum understands from this, KGO 7 transmits one over-the-air digital version of ABC network (and KGO local) programming. This is a good example of the early 21st century model of a TV channel.
Here in the 21st century, if you still have an old analog SD 480i TV in 4:3 format, you have to buy a box to convert the one-and-only KGO signal offering network programming. If you have one of those digital-tuner SD TV's folks pointed out to me still can be purchased (in 16:9 format) you already can receive the one-and-only KGO signal offering network programming.
If you have an HDTV - you know, an early 21st century TV like the one I've had since 2003 - you can watch KGO's ABC network programming in its true format, delivered by the one-and-only signal (I'm ignoring the old grumble about stations still using SD programming).
Now we come to cable/satellite providers. Under this TV channel model, there is one channel offering Disney-owned ABC programming in the Bay Area DMA - KGO 7.1 digital HD. For awhile, Comcast continued to offer an analog version, but they are shifting to digital only requiring those with analog TV's to have an additional box. All satellite providers begin with a digital-only signal and have provided one or more analog outputs so you don't have to buy a box for your old 480i 4:3 TV.
My point here is that there is one ABC affiliate channel - KGO 7.1 - being transmitted digitally over-the-air. You must have a digital tuner to receive it. If you watch it on an SD TV, that's your choice, but its native format is 720p 16:9 HD. It is TV in 2010, there is no other version of ABC in the Bay Area.
In 2010, cable and satellite providers should be paying for that one Disney-owned KGO channel, not two. Because that is the way TV works in 2010.
Well, at least that's the way I thought TV works in 2010 until I read this court order. Apparently in the Magic Kingdom (and perhaps in other media conglomerate fictions) two time periods exist simultaneously:
- the late 20th century where an SD channel exists offering programming that involves producers, writers, actors, camera operators, set decorators, etc., who live in the 20th century; and
- the early 21st century where an HD channel exists offering programming that involves producers, writers, actors, camera operators, set decorators, etc., who live in the 21st century.
By some some miracle of 21st century time travel, Disney (and perhaps other media conglomerate fictions) can deliver a set of programs on one channel from the 20th century as well as a set of programs from the 21st century. And Disney desires ...no... demands that the cable and satellite providers carry both channels of programming and charge me for them.
Me, on the other hand, doesn't see the difference in the programming - it appears to have involved the same production costs - albeit accomplished through the Magic Kingdom's time travel. In fact, it looks suspiciously like the programming's native format is digital 16:9 HD and if there are additional costs incurred, it is to downrez to SD and reformat to 4:3 aspect that was not intended for that.
But some technology-challenged judge at the urging of the Disney folks decided to say (emphasis
Defendants license programming networks, consisting of standard definition and high definition programming, to distributors such as EchoStar.
The problem is the word "programming." According to Wikipedia:
A television program (television programme in the United Kingdom, Ireland and many Commonwealth countries) or television show is a segment of content broadcast on television. It may be a one-off broadcast or part of a periodically recurring television series.
"Programming" is content which could be created in 16:9 color HD 3D and delivered in black and white in the old British 576i format and would still be the same content, the same "programming" at least as I understand the TV-biz language.
I'm not willing to accept without protest an absurd TV business model that would have viewers paying for a black and white 576i channel, a black and white 480i channel, a color 576i channel, a color 480i channel and a color 1080i (or 720p) channel all delivering content originally produced for a color 1080i (or 720p) channel.
And I'm not willing to accept without protest an absurd TV business model that has viewers paying for "only"
a color 480i channel and a color 1080i (or 720p) channel all delivering content originally produced for a color 1080i (or 720p) channel.
What has gone wrong here is that just because many people still have 480i TVs, instead of delivering one signal like off-the-air we have satellite and cable delivering two signals and Disney and the court describing them as two separate programming
Now tell me that isn't absurd. Maybe I should pay for better technology, but I shouldn't have to pay to have these companies actually deliver lessor technology. And right now, that is what is going on. Tell me those of us with HDTVs aren't paying for duplicate channels in SD and not even getting some channels now producing new programming in HD?
Give me a cogent argument that says any channel that is native 1080i (or 720p) should be offered or carried in 480i by a cable or satellite company when off-the-air the federal government, the channel, and now Comcast (in some places) have already said if you want to watch it on a 480i analog TV, buy a box to convert it. Otherwise join us in the 21st century, which is now over 10 years old.
After all, WRAL began broadcasting in HD in 1996. The ATSC HDTV system had its public launch on October 29, 1998, with live coverage of astronaut John Glenn's return mission to space on board the Space Shuttle Discovery
. That was 12 years ago, or 4 generations by technology advancement standards.
Why should I pay for a 480i signal of ABC Family or Disney or ESPN or any other channel? HD isn't some standard just now available for "early adopters." Certainly in June 2010 high definition TV is "standard" TV.
What don't I understand? I know I'm old, so maybe I've missed something younger folks who grew up with computer technology accept. Maybe a lot of folks have opted for technology to stop with their Commodore 64 PCs and their 480i TVs and we all have to adapt backwards to them?
Edited by phrelin, 29 June 2010 - 09:49 AM.