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Should we be subscribed to analog distants BEFORE new law is signed ?


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15 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   waltinvt

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Posted 24 November 2004 - 08:58 AM

I have read so much about this new law on 3 or 4 discussion lists that my head is swimming. Since I live in Vermont and get NO digital OTA except PBS (and even that's out this week), I'm concerned about what I'm actually qualified for.

I currently have the Dish locals from the Burlington DMA along with the Dish HD & AEP programming plus superstations. I also have analog distant feeds of NBC & FOX plus the NY CBSHD channel.

One interpertation of the new SHVIA seems to be that whatever distants you subscribe to at the "time of enactment" of this new law affects whether you can be considered "grandfathered" and thus be automatically elegibile for any new HD distant network feeds that DBS brings online.

Does that mean that we should be making sure we're subscribed to the distant analog nets BEFORE this law gets signed - as in we better be doing it within the next week or so ?

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#2 OFFLINE   wcswett

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Posted 24 November 2004 - 09:44 AM

Does that mean that we should be making sure we're subscribed to the distant analog nets BEFORE this law gets signed - as in we better be doing it within the next week or so ?


I read that and the wording was confusing to me. What I THINK I get from it is that if your DMA is available by satellite and you don't get distants now, you won't be able to get them in the future even if you're in a white area. You'll just be able to get your own DMA and any "significantly viewed" channels offered. The apparent intent by the NAB in getting that clause in there is to limit as many future subscribers as possible to only one channel from each network even if they can't receive them off-air ("significantly viewed" channels excepted).

Also, if you have waivers for receiving distant analog signals those waivers do not apply to getting distant digitals (HDTV) when those become available as distants in 2006.

Caveat: these are just my interpretations. Given that, I went ahead and subscribed to LA distants last week just to be safe since I'm in a white area for all networks but am still part of the Atlanta DMA. It's worth $6 a month to me to preserve that right.

--- WCS
DISH RECEIVERS: 622(x2), 510, 211(x2)
PROGRAMMING: DISH HD Platinum, Atlanta locals
ANTENNAS: 61.5, 110, 119, 129

#3 OFFLINE   waltinvt

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Posted 24 November 2004 - 11:07 AM

I read that and the wording was confusing to me. What I THINK I get from it is that if your DMA is available by satellite and you don't get distants now, you won't be able to get them in the future even if you're in a white area. You'll just be able to get your own DMA and any "significantly viewed" channels offered. The apparent intent by the NAB in getting that clause in there is to limit as many future subscribers as possible to only one channel from each network even if they can't receive them off-air ("significantly viewed" channels excepted).

Also, if you have waivers for receiving distant analog signals those waivers do not apply to getting distant digitals (HDTV) when those become available as distants in 2006.

Caveat: these are just my interpretations. Given that, I went ahead and subscribed to LA distants last week just to be safe since I'm in a white area for all networks but am still part of the Atlanta DMA. It's worth $6 a month to me to preserve that right.

--- WCS


This is exactly what I was getting at and I'm surprised there's not more talk going on about it. A lot of people are in a "wait and see" mode and if what we're talking about is true, waiting may not be the best course.

#4 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 24 November 2004 - 12:11 PM

It's too late to subscribe now. SHVERA has October 1st, 2004 as the cutoff (for markets with locals). For markets without locals, you can still subscribe but when your locals come available you must choose locals or distants. The only other grandfathering left is for subscribers who had distants grandfathered under SHVIA and SHVA. White areas are going away in markets with LILs as well.

I'm not sure why this has not been jumped on by many. I do recall a thread or two where the Oct 1st deadline and choosing locals or distants was mentioned, but no fired debate.

JL

#5 OFFLINE   wcswett

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Posted 24 November 2004 - 07:15 PM

It's too late to subscribe now. SHVERA has October 1st, 2004 as the cutoff (for markets with locals). For markets without locals, you can still subscribe but when your locals come available you must choose locals or distants. The only other grandfathering left is for subscribers who had distants grandfathered under SHVIA and SHVA. White areas are going away in markets with LILs as well. I'm not sure why this has not been jumped on by many. I do recall a thread or two where the Oct 1st deadline and choosing locals or distants was mentioned, but no fired debate.


It will be interesting to see if/when DISH will cut off my distant nets. I bet they don't. If they do, at least it won't cost me $5. I had distant nets up until last spring when I took them off. The Atlanta locals I qualify for often don't retransmit the full network schedule (Fox) or censor/pre-empt certain shows (ABC). Being in a white area for analogs, I KNOW I'll be in a digital white area. For the purpose of getting HD, and until DISH can give me distant digitals, I'll continue to live in Canada.

--- WCS
DISH RECEIVERS: 622(x2), 510, 211(x2)
PROGRAMMING: DISH HD Platinum, Atlanta locals
ANTENNAS: 61.5, 110, 119, 129

#6 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 24 November 2004 - 07:54 PM

Whatever floats your boat. I was talking about the law, not how it is skirted.

JL

#7 OFFLINE   Vermonter

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Posted 25 November 2004 - 04:46 PM

I just hope it means I can get all national HD feeds (that is CBS, NBC and FOX)....versus going with Adelphia and getting only CBS.

It DOES mean that, right?

Now if the HDTivo would just drop in price......

#8 OFFLINE   dishnh

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Posted 25 November 2004 - 06:57 PM

I understand that if you have distants before October 1, 2004 that you can keep them. Also that after January 1, 2005 you can only get distants if locals are not available. But what is the scenario if you got distants between October 1 and January 1, 2005? Do you get to keep them? Can you only kep them with a waiver? Will they be automatically dropped? Any help would be appreciated.

#9 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 25 November 2004 - 11:26 PM

I understand that if you have distants before October 1, 2004 that you can keep them. Also that after January 1, 2005 you can only get distants if locals are not available. But what is the scenario if you got distants between October 1 and January 1, 2005? Do you get to keep them? Can you only kep them with a waiver? Will they be automatically dropped? Any help would be appreciated.

New 47 USC 339(a)(2) states:
If you had distants on Oct 1st, 2004 - you have 60 days from notification to elect to keep distants. Once you have locals, the distant of that network goes away.

As for people who didn't have distants on October 1st:

47 USC 339(a)(2)(ii) FOR THOSE NOT RECEIVING DISTANT ANALOG SIGNALS.—In the case of any subscriber of a satellite carrier who is eligible to receive the distant analog signal of a network station solely by reason of section 119(e) of title 17, United States Code, and who did not receive a distant analog signal of a station affiliated with the same network on October 1, 2004, the carrier may not provide the secondary transmissions of the distant analog signal of a station affiliated with the same network to that subscriber.

I'd read that as "you can't add them" (unless your local market has no affiliate of the network in question). And subparagraph C backs that up:

47 USC 339(a)(2)© FUTURE APPLICABILITY.—A satellite carrier may not provide a distant analog signal (within the meaning of subparagraph (A) or (B)) to a person who—
(i) is not a subscriber lawfully receiving such secondary transmission as of the date of the enactment of the Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act of 2004; and
(ii) at the time such person seeks to subscribe to receive such secondary transmission, resides in a local market where the satellite carrier makes available to that person the analog signal of a local network station affiliated with the same television network pursuant to section 338, and the retransmission of such signal by such carrier can reach such subscriber.


Kiss distants goodbye?

JL

#10 OFFLINE   wcswett

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Posted 26 November 2004 - 12:01 AM

As for people who didn't have distants on October 1st:

47 USC 339(a)(2)(ii) FOR THOSE NOT RECEIVING DISTANT ANALOG SIGNALS.—In the case of any subscriber of a satellite carrier who is eligible to receive the distant analog signal of a network station solely by reason of section 119(e) of title 17, United States Code, and who did not receive a distant analog signal of a station affiliated with the same network on October 1, 2004, the carrier may not provide the secondary transmissions of the distant analog signal of a station affiliated with the same network to that subscriber.


47 USC 339(a)(2)© FUTURE APPLICABILITY.—A satellite carrier may not provide a distant analog signal (within the meaning of subparagraph (A) or (B)) to a person who—
(i) is not a subscriber lawfully receiving such secondary transmission as of the date of the enactment of the Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act of 2004; and
(ii) at the time such person seeks to subscribe to receive such secondary transmission, resides in a local market where the satellite carrier makes available to that person the analog signal of a local network station affiliated with the same television network pursuant to section 338, and the retransmission of such signal by such carrier can reach such subscriber.


JL, there's a key phrase in this passage: "solely by reason of section 119(e) of title 17". I found a copy of Title 17 online this evening and section 119(e) is a single paragraph that states "Until December 31, 2004, a subscriber who does not receive a signal of Grade A intensity...[some references omitted] of a local network television broadcast station shall remain eligible to receive signals of network stations affiliated with the same network, if that subscriber had satellite service of such network signal terminated after July 11, 1998 and before October 31, 1999, as required by this section, or received such service on October 31, 1999.

So, what this means is that the new 47 USC 339(a)(2)(ii) takes away eligibility for distants from Grade B contour subscribers who had previously been grandfathered until the end of this year, and not white area subscribers. I read this as meaning that after October 1, 2004, there will be no more new Grade B subscribers to distants if they can get their locals via satellite. I don't read it as precluding new white area subscribers to distants as of Oct. 1st. The exclusion of white area subscribers is left to the next change in the law...

Now, the new 47 USC 339(a)(2)© FUTURE APPLICABILITY, which you quoted, forbids the future marketing of distants to subscribers who have not subscribed prior to the signing of the new law. This second part makes it imperitive that white area subscribers, like myself, subscribe to distants BEFORE this bill is signed into law! After the law is enacted, no new distant nets for anyone with available locals until DIGITAL white areas are established.

--- WCS
DISH RECEIVERS: 622(x2), 510, 211(x2)
PROGRAMMING: DISH HD Platinum, Atlanta locals
ANTENNAS: 61.5, 110, 119, 129

#11 OFFLINE   Bobby94928

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Posted 26 November 2004 - 09:11 AM

JL, there's a key phrase in this passage: "solely by reason of section 119(e) of title 17". I found a copy of Title 17 online this evening and section 119(e) is a single paragraph that states "Until December 31, 2004, a subscriber who does not receive a signal of Grade A intensity...[some references omitted] of a local network television broadcast station shall remain eligible to receive signals of network stations affiliated with the same network, if that subscriber had satellite service of such network signal terminated after July 11, 1998 and before October 31, 1999, as required by this section, or received such service on October 31, 1999.

So, what this means is that the new 47 USC 339(a)(2)(ii) takes away eligibility for distants from Grade B contour subscribers who had previously been grandfathered until the end of this year, and not white area subscribers. I read this as meaning that after October 1, 2004, there will be no more new Grade B subscribers to distants if they can get their locals via satellite. I don't read it as precluding new white area subscribers to distants as of Oct. 1st. The exclusion of white area subscribers is left to the next change in the law...

Now, the new 47 USC 339(a)(2)© FUTURE APPLICABILITY, which you quoted, forbids the future marketing of distants to subscribers who have not subscribed prior to the signing of the new law. This second part makes it imperitive that white area subscribers, like myself, subscribe to distants BEFORE this bill is signed into law! After the law is enacted, no new distant nets for anyone with available locals until DIGITAL white areas are established.

--- WCS


What I read is opposite from your interpretation.

It says "Until December 31, 2004, a subscriber who does not receive a signal of Grade A intensity...[some references omitted] of a local network television broadcast station shall remain eligible to receive signals of network stations affiliated with the same network, if that subscriber had satellite service of such network signal terminated after July 11, 1998 and before October 31, 1999, as required by this section, or received such service on October 31, 1999."

The words 'does NOT receive a grade A signal' (purposely paraphrased). I take that to mean any signal less than grade A.

So, to me, it says that if you recieve a grade B signal or are in a white area AND if you subscribed to distant nets between 7-12-98 and 10-30-99 and either shut them off OR the satellite provider shut them off OR you've had them on by 10-31-99 and still have them that you get to keep them.

That sounds like grandfathering for B and White and if you're in A you get shut off. Am I wrong?
Bobby C

#12 OFFLINE   wcswett

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Posted 26 November 2004 - 09:32 AM

The words 'does NOT receive a grade A signal' (purposely paraphrased). I take that to mean any signal less than grade A.

So, to me, it says that if you recieve a grade B signal or are in a white area AND if you subscribed to distant nets between 7-12-98 and 10-30-99 and either shut them off OR the satellite provider shut them off OR you've had them on by 10-31-99 and still have them that you get to keep them.

That sounds like grandfathering for B and White and if you're in A you get shut off. Am I wrong?


Sorry, I believe you are wrong because white areas qualify under another part of section 119 that addresses "unserved households", so they're not SOLELY qualified by 119(e). Grade B contour subscribers are the ones who SOLELY qualify under 119(e), which self-destructs on Dec. 31, 2004 anyway. I thought of your interpretation late last night but didn't have the energy left to edit my message a fourth time and also digest a couple pounds of turkey. :) It appears to me that through other paragraphs in the law, analog distant nets will still be available to subscribers with 1) no local affiliate or 2) white areas in DMAs that haven't yet been rolled out as LiL via satellite, both of which are considered "unserved" by section 119 and by the new law. New white area subscribers to distant nets after the law is enacted will lose those nets as soon as their locals become available via satellite, whereas subscribers prior to enactment will be able to keep distants for at least a year or two with expiration of that authority on Dec. 31, 2009 at the latest.

--- WCS
DISH RECEIVERS: 622(x2), 510, 211(x2)
PROGRAMMING: DISH HD Platinum, Atlanta locals
ANTENNAS: 61.5, 110, 119, 129

#13 OFFLINE   ehgreen

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Posted 26 November 2004 - 02:24 PM

.. .. .. analog distant nets will still be available to subscribers with 1) no local affiliate or 2) white areas in DMAs that haven't yet been rolled out as LiL via satellite, both of which are considered "unserved" by section 119 and by the new law. -- WCS


Sounds right.

Until this bill, "lossy or poor" OTA was the qualifier for analog DN. Soon Satellite LiL will serve as disqulaifier, except where current analog DN usage is grandfathered. So sign up NOW to protect your analog DN options.

When does FCC have to define criteria for Digital DN? Does it automatically then go into effect, or does Congress get another chance? Any war stories of OTA signal IMPROVEMENT with Digital?

I followed a double link
http://www.digitaltr...a/pr092004.pdf and
www.iwantmyhdtv.com/iwanthdtv/wrapper.jsp?PID=5080-99#map
to maps showing Digital OTA coverage which seemed quite optimistic for Cape Cod. Currently we are mostly White. On that site, almost all is Colored.

Your mileage may vary.

#14 OFFLINE   wcswett

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Posted 26 November 2004 - 06:31 PM

When does FCC have to define criteria for Digital DN? Does it automatically then go into effect, or does Congress get another chance?


FCC has until Dec. 31, 2005, or about one year. They must determine what level of reception equipment an off-air subscriber is expected to invest in, then based on that determine if a new qualification model is required for digitals. Beyond that I don't remember how long they have to institute that model once they figure they need it. I believe that they will report to a committee of Congress what they have found and what they intend. Congress can overrule by enacting additional legislation. I don't feel like going back through 100 pages of draft to find it but I remember that all the steps were spelled out and that the FCC was admonished to make reasonable assumptions as to indoor vs outdoor antennas, etc. In the recent retailer DISH chat, Jim mentioned May 2006 as being around the time they would expect to have everything in motion to serve digital white areas. DirecTV might be up and ready by fall of 2005, before a digital white area model is available, if all goes well with their new satellites.

I think there are too many variables with digital and analog to do any side by side comparisons, mainly due to differences in transmission power and antenna characteristics and location, but it's been my observation, in the limited and few occasions when I've had access to off-air digitals, that you need more antenna directionality to get them and you either get them great, not at all, or oscillation between these two extremes. At least with analogs you can get a fuzzy picture and still view it - not so digitals.

--- WCS
DISH RECEIVERS: 622(x2), 510, 211(x2)
PROGRAMMING: DISH HD Platinum, Atlanta locals
ANTENNAS: 61.5, 110, 119, 129

#15 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 27 November 2004 - 12:22 AM

Sorry, I believe you are wrong because white areas qualify under another part of section 119 that addresses "unserved households", so they're not SOLELY qualified by 119(e). Grade B contour subscribers are the ones who SOLELY qualify under 119(e), which self-destructs on Dec. 31, 2004 anyway.

Which, of course, has been extended to Dec 31, 2009.

(e) Moratorium on Copyright Liability. - Until December 31, 2009, a subscriber who does not receive a signal of Grade A intensity (as defined in the regulations of the Federal Communications Commission under section 73.683(a) of title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as in effect on January 1, 1999, or predicted by the Federal Communications Commission using the Individual Location Longley-Rice methodology described by the Federal Communications Commission in Docket No. 98-201) of a local network television broadcast station shall remain eligible to receive signals of network stations affiliated with the same network, if that subscriber had satellite service of such network signal terminated after July 11, 1998, and before October 31, 1999, as required by this section, or received such service on October 31, 1999.


It seems odd that the new law would mention Oct 1st, 2004 and reference this section that refers to long term subscribers. The "Future Aplicability" section shows intent clearer.

JL

#16 OFFLINE   wcswett

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Posted 27 November 2004 - 12:55 AM

It seems odd that the new law would mention Oct 1st, 2004 and reference this section that refers to long term subscribers. The "Future Aplicability" section shows intent clearer.


There almost seems to be something mystical about having distant nets in a non-Grade A area between July 1998 and October 1999 that makes you eligible to keep them practically forever. I'd say the reference to Oct. 1, 2004 would be to shut the door on new claims to distant nets based on this old grandfathering clause. If you wanted to take advantage of that clause, you had to do it by Oct. 1 or you're SOL. Now this particular group of grandfathered subscribers will never get any larger.

--- WCS
DISH RECEIVERS: 622(x2), 510, 211(x2)
PROGRAMMING: DISH HD Platinum, Atlanta locals
ANTENNAS: 61.5, 110, 119, 129




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