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DirecTV sees 4K TV having 'material impact' by 2016


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#41 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 01:07 AM

There's no reason to concern yourself with native sd on them if you have a Hi Definition signal or mpeg4 signal of a channel that can be converted to Hi Definition.

I'm not ready to "buy this" yet.

The 4k TVs have a lot of video processing in them, and my experience has been even my old 2006 1080p did a better job with SD than any of the receivers I've had.

The 4ks also have internet functions and handle a lot more codex, so I suspect they will be superior for scaling/processing SD than anything DirecTV will be doing.


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#42 OFFLINE   inkahauts

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 02:55 AM

I should have said that a little better I think... I'm simply suggesting that they will have an MPEG 4 version of every channel they have an mpeg2 version for. So if the channel isn't in Hi Definition then itd be a sd version in MPEG 4 similar to how a couple channels are now. I think nasa is mpeg4 sd as I recall. They key IMHO is to be able to truly start removing duplicates of mpeg2 and mpeg4. Of course the first step IMHO for that is getting both versions of all channels regardless of the resolution. Once that's happened they can stop worrying about mpeg2 in boxes. ..... Maybe.... I did realize one thing. Over the air. If they can't build an atsc tuner that decodes mpeg2 in a AMxx then they won't be getting rid if mpeg2 for 30 years. Eventually they want to get rid of sat mpeg2 though im sure. So my idea of getting rid of mpeg2 decoding in boxes may hinge on over the air support. Either way vos, I'm simply speculating about a next gen box that won't be widely used for maybe four or five years and will be a niche product if it hits in maybe two. I am not suggesting that mpeg2 is going anytime soon but that it's days may be numbered for boxes. But by the time a next gen box is really widely used I think mpeg2 will finally be truly heading towards an end where we no longer see DIRECTV offering sd systems to new people in the first place. So don't worry about "buying it" yet, I'm suggest we are a couple years or more away anyway... :)

#43 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 03:13 AM

I'm not ready to "buy this" yet.

The 4k TVs have a lot of video processing in them, and my experience has been even my old 2006 1080p did a better job with SD than any of the receivers I've had.

The 4ks also have internet functions and handle a lot more codex, so I suspect they will be superior for scaling/processing SD than anything DirecTV will be doing.

 

I completely agree. Directv receivers aren't exactly known for having powerful processors, so they're the last thing I'd want to have do the scaling for me!


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#44 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 03:25 AM

Except I'm simply suggesting that they will have an MPEG 4 version of every channel they have an mpeg2 version for. So if the channel isn't in Hi Definition then itd be a sd version in MPEG 4 similar to how a couple channels are now.

They key is to be able to truly start removing duplicates of moeg2 and moeg4. Of course the first step IMHO is getting both versions of all channels regardless of the resolution. Once that's happened they can stop worrying about mpeg2 in boxes. .....

Maybe. I did realize one thing. Over the air. If they can't build a atsc tuner that decodes mpeg2 in a AMxx then they won't be getting rid if mpeg2 ever.

Eventually they want to get rid of sat mpeg2 though in sure.

Either way vos, this I'm simply speculating about a next gen box that won't be widely used for maybe four or five years and will be a niche product if it hits in maybe two. I am not suggesting that mpeg2 is going anytime soon but that it's days may be numbered for boxes.

 

 

I just don't understand why you think replicating all the SD channels in MPEG4 is a good idea. What's the end game here? It seems to extend the life of SD, which is the last thing Directv should want, and in the many years before they can drop MPEG2 SD it means they're spending an extra 50% bandwidth on SD channels!

 

Directv shouldn't care about getting rid of MPEG2, they should care about getting rid of SD duplicates of HD channels. There will always be some SD, because some subchannels will be in SD only, and a few networks that broadcast only old TV shows would have no incentive to upgrade to HD when the shows are SD, plus maybe some foreign channels that might only be available in SD. Once all MPEG2 only receivers are gone (every single D1x and R1x!) they could convert them to MPEG4, but the bandwidth savings by that point would be minor.

 

The problem with SD is not MPEG2, it is the 4:3 aspect ratio. When the day comes they can drop SD, they will also be able to drop MPEG2 (they care about it only for the bandwidth it uses, not for the decoder - by 2015 over 90% of the MPEG2 patents will have expired) So having MPEG2 reception via AM21 is not an issue. When they can drop SD life will be much simpler. If by let's say 2020 they decide they want to get rid of HD duplicates of 4K channels, all they'll have to do is phase out receivers that aren't capable of decoding HEVC and they can do that. The HEVC receivers will be able to receive 4K and downscale/output HD. Same aspect ratio, so no problem. They can't do this with HD unless they want to give all SD subscribers letterboxes of HD channels. Maybe someday, when the number of SD subscribers becomes so low they aren't worried about losing them (because every other provider will offer a similarly crappy SD experience)


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#45 OFFLINE   inkahauts

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 05:09 AM

You missed what I was saying. I am saying that for every sd mpeg2 channel they need some sort of mpeg4 version. Hi Definition if its possible, for ones that it isn't, give us an mpeg4 sd feed. So you have an mpeg4 version of every mpeg2 channel. Then you can get rid of moeg2 versions as you upgrade peoples equipment. You can't get a market to all mpeg4 if you don't offer all channels in mpeg4. This is going to be very important for lil. You can't have everyone change out all their equipment in one day and flip sd stations from moeg2 to mpeg4 also that same day. But since all moeg4 boxes can decode and display mpeg4 in any resolution from sd to Hi Definition, you only need one copy of every channel in mpeg4, either Hi Definition or if not possible then sd. Im Not suggesting simply duplicating all sd channels in mpeg4 at all. There is a reason DIRECTV stopped adding any lil markets in moeg2 years ago, and have only added new lil markets in moeg4 for several years now. I suspect we will see them turn off mpeg2 support to sports packages first, like nhl and NBA, etc, working their way up to MLs. Yes, I think that would be the last one to change. I'm sure they have the numbers, but I'd suspect they'd chose to change packages that have the fewest sd only customers first, working towards the ones with the most. Then they could start changing people, market by market. Remember, that's basically what they did with the move from mpeg2 Hi Definition to mpeg4 Hi Definition. Get it running in both version, then kill off the old version segment by segment, smallest to largest, then shut off the old segment.

#46 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 01:36 PM

Killing off MPEG2 HD was easy, because it was around for such a short time before MPEG4 HD came out, so there weren't many subscribers. More importantly, those subscribers were were all early adopters, who would be much easier to migrate than the laggards subscribing to SD only in late 2013.

 

I think understand what you're saying now, you would introduce MPEG4 versions of channels that are only available in SD. Those available in HD wouldn't get a MPEG4 version. I'm not sure so about that. Watching a 16:9 signal letterboxed or vertically stretched on a 4:3 TV is just as objectionable as watching a 4:3 signal on a 16:9 set with the same compromises in the other direction. They'd risk losing subscribers to other providers who provide proper 4:3 versions of the channels. As more providers offer only an HD signal (I think ESPN is already there?) this won't matter, but until then it will.

 

It seems you're suggesting that providing a MPEG4 version of a SD only channel should be done in advance of dropping the MPEG2 version. If so, I fail to see the point. All MPEG4 receivers can receive MPEG2, so as you upgrade people to MPEG4 capable equipment they can still watch the MPEG2 version. Only when you switch off the MPEG2 channel would you turn on the MPEG4 channel. What's the point of doing it earlier, except to waste bandwidth?

 

You say "You can't have everyone change out all their equipment in one day and flip sd stations from moeg2 to mpeg4 also that same day." That's a red herring, because you don't need to change out equipment in one day. Unless you are suggesting Directv should build equipment that cannot decode MPEG2 at all, which makes no sense, you can take years to switch out all the equipment in an area, then flip the switch on their locals in one day. When it has been done everywhere, the switch can be flipped for all the remaining MPEG2 SD only channels in one day.

 

Given how far Directv is from doing this, by the time they think about dumping MPEG2, the migration may happen not to MPEG4, but to HEVC :)


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#47 OFFLINE   JosephB

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 01:48 PM

The conversion to all-MPEG 4 won't result in an SD and HD feed of each channel. By the time they are ready to shut off all MPEG-2 channels, they'll just use HD equipment and downconvert. Putting up an SD duplicate in MPEG-4 would be wasteful, and there's no good reason to do it. 

 

The transition, whenever it happens, will be to simply stop producing and installing hardware incapable of receiving MPEG-4. As it stands now there are still receivers being built that are MPEG-2 only. First step will be for every box to be MPEG-4/HD capable. Then, they'll at whatever pace they deem necessary, start replacing SD/MPEG-2 only boxes with the HD/MPEG-4 capable boxes. All of the boxes would be capable of both MPEG 2 and MPEG 4. Making an MPEG 4-only box would not save any money over adding in the MPEG-2 hardware (if it's even a separate chip, which I doubt it is).

 

Moving to all-MPEG 4/HD will also require new dishes for people who have 101 only. Given the amount of bandwidth they're about to have when they launch their new satellites, and the pressure on new channels now being cost instead of bandwidth, I suspect they won't go down this road until MPEG-4 boxes cost at least exactly the same as the MPEG-2 only boxes.



#48 OFFLINE   inkahauts

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 03:31 PM

Killing off MPEG2 HD was easy, because it was around for such a short time before MPEG4 HD came out, so there weren't many subscribers. More importantly, those subscribers were were all early adopters, who would be much easier to migrate than the laggards subscribing to SD only in late 2013.

I think understand what you're saying now, you would introduce MPEG4 versions of channels that are only available in SD. Those available in HD wouldn't get a MPEG4 version. I'm not sure so about that. Watching a 16:9 signal letterboxed or vertically stretched on a 4:3 TV is just as objectionable as watching a 4:3 signal on a 16:9 set with the same compromises in the other direction. They'd risk losing subscribers to other providers who provide proper 4:3 versions of the channels. As more providers offer only an HD signal (I think ESPN is already there?) this won't matter, but until then it will.

It seems you're suggesting that providing a MPEG4 version of a SD only channel should be done in advance of dropping the MPEG2 version. If so, I fail to see the point. All MPEG4 receivers can receive MPEG2, so as you upgrade people to MPEG4 capable equipment they can still watch the MPEG2 version. Only when you switch off the MPEG2 channel would you turn on the MPEG4 channel. What's the point of doing it earlier, except to waste bandwidth?

You say "You can't have everyone change out all their equipment in one day and flip sd stations from moeg2 to mpeg4 also that same day." That's a red herring, because you don't need to change out equipment in one day. Unless you are suggesting Directv should build equipment that cannot decode MPEG2 at all, which makes no sense, you can take years to switch out all the equipment in an area, then flip the switch on their locals in one day. When it has been done everywhere, the switch can be flipped for all the remaining MPEG2 SD only channels in one day.

Given how far Directv is from doing this, by the time they think about dumping MPEG2, the migration may happen not to MPEG4, but to HEVC :)


My point is they will need an mpeg4 version running before they shut off the moeg2 version. And they will want them simultaneous for a little while for sure. I suspect they will slowly kill conus channels to force stragglers along before they kill lil mpeg2 and then just do a market or two at a time.

No reason an sd only channel can't be shown in mpeg4 native as that's what thy do with some now.

I fully expect the next ten boxes to do hvec and them not stopping new sd installs till that equipment is out. And I dont see any reason other than maybe over the air reception as to why DIRECTV would need to include mpeg2 decoding in their next gen boxes if they can get mpeg2 decoding for over the air into a new AM5x type box. That might save them lots if money per box so I would think they'd at least consider that.

#49 OFFLINE   JosephB

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 03:33 PM

My point is they will need an mpeg4 version running before they shut off the moeg2 version. And they will want them simultaneous for a little while for sure. I suspect they will slowly kill conus channels to force stragglers along before they kill lil mpeg2 and then just do a market or two at a time.

No reason an sd only channel can't be shown in mpeg4 native as that's what thy do with some now.

I fully expect the next ten boxes to do hvec and them not stopping new sd installs till that equipment is out. And I dont see any reason other than maybe over the air reception as to why DIRECTV would need to include mpeg2 decoding in their next gen boxes if they can get mpeg2 decoding for over the air into a new AM5x type box. That might save them lots if money per box so I would think they'd at least consider that.

 

They won't have MPEG-4 versions of SD channels if those channels are available in HD. If and when they go to all MPEG-4, they'll simply go with the HD versions for all subscribers.



#50 OFFLINE   Diana C

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 05:04 PM

I'll just point out that DirecTV thought 3D would have a material impact on their business too. We saw how that worked out.
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#51 OFFLINE   inkahauts

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 05:50 PM

They won't have MPEG-4 versions of SD channels if those channels are available in HD. If and when they go to all MPEG-4, they'll simply go with the HD versions for all subscribers.

 

If there is no hd version, then you'll have mpeg4 version in sd, which WILL happen.  There's tons of LIL channels that will never be anything other than sd. No point in wasting time upconverting a sd only and forever channel to hd just for mpeg4 when you can send it sd mpeg4 and let the box convert it and not waste the bandwidth



#52 OFFLINE   inkahauts

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 06:23 PM

I'll just point out that DirecTV thought 3D would have a material impact on their business too. We saw how that worked out.

 

True, although I don't think they thought it would ever have an impact as great as 4k will..  4k is the evolution of today's hd, 3d was a whole other market trying to coexsist.  Very different worlds. And 3d has a chance still, if they can ever make 3d sets that don't require glasses.



#53 OFFLINE   JosephB

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 06:58 PM

If there is no hd version, then you'll have mpeg4 version in sd, which WILL happen.  There's tons of LIL channels that will never be anything other than sd. No point in wasting time upconverting a sd only and forever channel to hd just for mpeg4 when you can send it sd mpeg4 and let the box convert it and not waste the bandwidth

 

No kidding. I'm referring to the overwhelming majority of channels that have HD feeds available. When DirecTV gets ready to shut down SD/MPEG-2, they will not duplicate those channels that have HD available in an MPEG-4 SD feed.



#54 OFFLINE   JosephB

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 06:59 PM

I'll just point out that DirecTV thought 3D would have a material impact on their business too. We saw how that worked out.

 

No one said whether it would be a positive or negative material impact :)


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#55 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 08:16 PM

My point is they will need an mpeg4 version running before they shut off the moeg2 version. And they will want them simultaneous for a little while for sure. I suspect they will slowly kill conus channels to force stragglers along before they kill lil mpeg2 and then just do a market or two at a time.

No reason an sd only channel can't be shown in mpeg4 native as that's what thy do with some now.

I fully expect the next ten boxes to do hvec and them not stopping new sd installs till that equipment is out. And I dont see any reason other than maybe over the air reception as to why DIRECTV would need to include mpeg2 decoding in their next gen boxes if they can get mpeg2 decoding for over the air into a new AM5x type box. That might save them lots if money per box so I would think they'd at least consider that.

 

 

Taking out MPEG2 would save almost nothing. 90% of the MPEG2 patent pool will have expired by 2015 - that's barely a year away. The rest won't last much longer than another year or two after that - completely expired before Directv ever has a chance to dump MPEG2.

 

I doubt you could buy an MPEG4 decoder that doesn't also do MPEG2, so you probably can't avoid it even if you don't want it.


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#56 OFFLINE   JosephB

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 08:20 PM

Taking out MPEG2 would save almost nothing. 90% of the MPEG2 patent pool will have expired by 2015 - that's barely a year away. The rest won't last much longer than another year or two after that - completely expired before Directv ever has a chance to dump MPEG2.

 

I doubt you could buy an MPEG4 decoder that doesn't also do MPEG2, so you probably can't avoid it even if you don't want it.

 

Dropping MPEG 2 has nothing to do with license fees, and you're also right about MPEG 4 hardware also being MPEG 2 capable. It's not about saving money in the boxes either. It's all about saving bandwidth on the satellites (and, to a lesser extent, reducing the amount of hardware required at the broadcast centers. Encoders don't last forever)



#57 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 08:33 PM

Dropping MPEG 2 has nothing to do with license fees, and you're also right about MPEG 4 hardware also being MPEG 2 capable. It's not about saving money in the boxes either. It's all about saving bandwidth on the satellites (and, to a lesser extent, reducing the amount of hardware required at the broadcast centers. Encoders don't last forever)

 

I was responding specifically to inkahauts suggestion that the next generation of boxes could have the ability to decode MPEG2 removed if there were MPEG4 versions of all the SD only channels. He said they "might save lots of money" by doing so. I don't agree.

 

I still think his idea of adding MPEG4 versions of all the MPEG2 SD only channels today/soon makes no sense. There's no point in adding them up front, it just wastes bandwidth. You only do so as you remove the MPEG2 versions. The only reason you'd need the MPEG4 version for a long time in advance would be if there were receivers that could decode MPEG4 but were incapable of decoding MPEG2.


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#58 OFFLINE   JosephB

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 08:49 PM

Any MPEG-4 capable receiver will be capable of downconverting HD, so there will never be a reason for putting up SD duplicates in MPEG 4. The only SD channels that would EVER be in MPEG 4 would be channels that do not have an HD feed available. 



#59 OFFLINE   HDTVFreak07

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 08:23 AM

Was just at Best Buy yesterday.  I walked past the new 4K (UHDTV) and had to pull out my handkerchief to wipe off my drooling.  I stood up close, like inches, and could not find a single pixilation.  Wow, such amazing picture on it! 



#60 OFFLINE   Diana C

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 09:04 AM

IMHO, the biggest obstacle to 4K adoption is the huge success regular HD has been.  With so many HD sets out there, many (most?) of which are under 5 to 7 years old, it will be a decade before we will again see the sort of turnover in TVs that we have seen in the past 10 years (indeed, the manufacturers have been pushing 3D, "smart" TVs and now 4K to try and keep sales volumes and prices high).  The message was sent to the consumers (rightly or wrongly) that they needed to replace their analog sets with digital ones to be able to watch TV.  Watching a HD broadcast downconverted to SD on an analog set was, to put it mildly, an unpleasant viewing experience (letterboxed 16x9 on an analog 4x3 screen).  This factor does not exist in 4K.  There will be no 4K broadcasting for a long time.  4K will be mostly a Blu-ray, and perhaps PPV, format for the forseeable future.  This will slow upgrades.  Sure, people with the room and desire for 80" and larger screens will buy 4K sets (these folks bought the first generation 1080p sets as well, so they are a lot closer to replacing them than most).  But I'd be amazed to see 4K reach 30% market penetration before the next decade, and widely available 4K content will follow even later.

 

Both DirecTV and Netflix's announcements about 4K are far less about technical direction than they are marketing ploys to attract the higher end consumer that will be willing to pay a premium price for 4K content (and are more likely to spend more money on the 1080p content offered today than the average viewer). 


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