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More Reaction to Passage of Key Satellite Legislation
Posted 23 November 2004 - 06:04 AM
The legislation contains extensions for satellite TV carriage of distant networks and superstations, and creates a "digital white area" mandate that will allow small dish services to deliver digital distant broadcast networks to viewers who cannot receive a local digital or high-def signal. The bill also requires EchoStar to cease within 18 months is use of a solution that splits up channels for some markets between two dishes.
Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican and outgoing chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, expressed support Monday for passage of the Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act of 2004. "I am pleased that, with passage of this bill, Americans who are unable to receive a network television station over-the-air, often those who live in rural areas, will continue to be able to enjoy network programming via satellite."
He added, "I am pleased that passage of this bill will, for the first time, ensure that these same Americans can enjoy digital high-definition television programming via satellite, even if they are unable to receive the broadcast signal over-the-air."
Edward Fritts, president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters, said in a statement: "Congress has hit the trifecta by passing a pro-consumer bill that enhances broadcast localism, slams the door on EchoStar's abusive two dish practice that discriminates against Hispanic and religious TV viewers, and thwarts efforts to establish 'digital white areas.' We salute Congressional leaders for recognizing the enduring value that local television stations provide to the viewing public."
Tom Watts of Oppenheimer and Co. said EchoStar's customer conversion of its two-dish local TV solution will cost the company up to $100 million, including the cost to send out new dishes to consumers in markets where a two-dish solution exists. Watts said the bill has no real impact on DirecTV, except for the fact that it may benefit from the ability to transmit distant high-def signals.
Craig Moffett of Bernstein Research said while EchoStar's conversion of two-dish customers will cost the company millions of dollars, "The real cost is likely to come from higher churn in those markets, given the inevitable disruption," he said. "Nevertheless, the 18 month timeframe is a decided improvement from the House version's 12 month transition."
http://www.skyreport.com (Used with permission)
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Posted 23 November 2004 - 10:03 AM
The legislation contains extensions for satellite TV carriage of distant networks and superstations, and creates a "digital white area" mandate that will allow small dish services to deliver digital distant broadcast networks to viewers who cannot receive a local digital or high-def signal.
Edward Fritts, president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters, said in a statement: "...and thwarts efforts to establish 'digital white areas.' "
I guess Ed didn't read the bill. The FCC is charged with performing a study by Dec. 31, 2005 which will determine if a new digital model is required to predict reception, separate from the current analog model. The FCC must also determine what equipment a household is expected to invest in in order to receive off-air broadcasts, ie. must they have an outdoor antenna, and if so, must it also be able to rotate. (My vote is that set-top rabbit ears should be considered an adequate investment.) The new digital guidelines will have the effect of establishing the digitally "unserved" population, or a new "digital white area".
--- WCS [living in an ANALOG "white area" for all nets]
PROGRAMMING: DISH HD Platinum, Atlanta locals
ANTENNAS: 61.5, 110, 119, 129
Posted 23 November 2004 - 05:51 PM
Posted 26 December 2004 - 07:16 PM
If broadcasters are praising the bill, you can bet there is nothing in it that is favorable to consumers. Once again, the broadcasters' money wins out over market forces and free choice.