More economical for who? At the moment the networks run their few national feeds (with ET and CT sharing a feed) leaving it up to the affiliates to pay for and maintain transmitters - with the funding of those local transmitters done locally.
Without the affiliates the networks would have to own and finance stations across the country ... and some markets would simply go without. As finances get tight and the network decides that a second feed to a major city is more important than a first feed to podunk.
What you're lobbying for isn't the end of affiliate TV ... it is the end of broadcast TV - and unfortunately there are those pushing the same goal. Seeking "consolidation" where multiple content channels in a market are forced to use the same broadcast channel. Say goodbye to HD over the air.
The affiliate model is keeping that alive and at least giving the chance that a program will air in HD. Kill the affiliates and you have killed broadcast TV.
You must be looking through a narrow non-broadcast window. Are you looking for a system that somehows allows local affiliates to continue to exist on cable and OTA as they do today but waters down their content via satellite (favoring a separate non-local HD feed)?
If the networks want to do this they can. There is no law preventing a network from setting up a national satellite channel (or channels) to distribute the same program they are sending their affiliates. What is stopping them is the network's agreement with their affiliates that the affiliate will get first run carriage within each local market.
If you want what you want to actually come true you need to take over a network.
There are exclusivity contracts right now. What I'd like to see are steps towards eliminating braodcast TV, and the affiliate model. Even if you just O&O'ed all the stations, in the short term, the networks would kill off the smaller ones, and then microwave in signals from a nearby city to broadcast. Ultiamtely, replicating the feed 210 times for each network is totally inefficient, and right now, and if the networks themselves were in control of everything, they would get 100% of the revenue, instead of a good chunk of it getting eaten up by small, inefficient stations.
I don't really care about the spectrum, as aside from the "sky is falling" BS we keep hearing about spectrum, the 50mhz CLR band is plenty for mobile devices, not mention PCS and AWS now, in addition to SMH.
The TV model, however, is absurd. The ultimate would be to get rid of the networks, and have one or two independent channels to do local programming and news in a few dozen of the larger markets, and then carry those on satellite and cable, as well as maybe OTA. As it is, local news is horrendous.
Even if the affiliate model is too ingrained to go away, they could set up an east coast and west coast national feed (or just use the W- and K- channels) for higher quality HD, and specify in the contract that the cable and satellite carriers have to carry it 19mbit MPEG-2 CBR (not sure what U-Verse would do...), and then offer all the local affiliates in overcompressed SD for local news and the like.
The networks aren't running 210 feeds. The networks might be running 3 to 5 (one for East/Central, one for Mountain, one for West, and possibly one each for Alaska and Hawaii). It is the affiliates that pick up from network control their network programming.
Obviously, to a network like Fox, it is much more economical to run affiliates in major markets. Just because Fox may have 200+ affiliates that DirecTV and Dish Network may have to rebroadcast doesn't mean that anything is more economical or outdated.
One cannot hasten the demise of a system so despised when the networks themselves have skin in the game. The networks' livelyhood is dependent on owning some of their affiliates (most owning their large market affiliates) because the revenues are beneficial to the networks.
Simply put, I find it quite interesting some want networks which built this economic model over decades to become quite successful, to simply scuttle that model.
It would really interest me to see a non-fictional scenario from anyone how to get Fox or CBS to abandon their affiliate model so that it doesn't destroy their network.
OK, so have a few channels O&O, get rid of the rest, and make the DMA's a lot bigger. Rebroadcast via microwave if you need to.
IMHO (here I go again ), that point was passed a few years ago and the only thing keeping national programming on broadcast channels is inertia.
The 14.9 million OTA only homes NEED local broadcasts ...
NEED??? No one NEEDs TV. The only people who have OTA only now are cheap or poor. What bothers me is how in the DTV 2009 switchover, people acted like TV is a god given right. Guess what? It's a luxury. Broadbad should be a god given right though...
Just want to point out the basic cable from Comcast should get you basic HD channels via QAM (TV must support QAM singal). In one example, I saw a cable provider in California even doing a bunch of subchannels as well not just the one main HD channel.
It is not advertised for many reasons, but should techically be there.
Yes, as per FCC law.