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Guest Message by DevFuse

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To VOOM - Eulogy et Vita


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26 replies to this topic

#21 OFFLINE   ocnier

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Posted 08 April 2005 - 05:00 PM

So what actually happened with the c. dolan miester, did he finally capitulate (?),

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#22 OFFLINE   Soccernut

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Posted 09 April 2005 - 02:12 AM

OK, this is why VOOM didn't survive. It's because they programmed for some self-proclaimed ELITE class of television viewer that would rather watch daisies grow on the Matterhorn in hi def, than watch college football in SD on their local RSN. Where do you think the numbers are? It's not like VOOM couldn't have offered both, but they chose not to.

If you want to survive in a high dollar business, you need to offer something that appeals to massive numbers of consumers. VOOM may have learned that lesson in the last 2 months. Waaaay too late. Somebody should have analyzed their marketing plan 2 years ago and slapped them upside the head.

E* and D* are well aware of this "elite class" and in about a years time when capacity permits will have a lot of these HD channels available, but just like internationals that caters to small groups it won't be cheap.
I don't know this for a fact just an opinion.

#23 OFFLINE   JM Anthony

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Posted 09 April 2005 - 09:14 AM

Nice piece of prose, Nick. But the staff I dealt with at Voom were anything but pros. At best, they were a quirky niche service provider with the worst customer service staff around. When I finally pulled the plug on our service last July, there were only a few programs I missed, certainly not enough to justify the monthly expense and hassle of yet another technology service interfact for the rest of the family to master.

I still subscribe to E* HD pack, but most of my viewing these days is OTA. Once HD tuner cards mature a bit more, I've got a slot or two reserved in my HTPC!!

PS - couldn't agree more with you (not ewe) about the Masters. That is one gorgeous site (or is it sight, but certainly not cite). Masters and Final Four in the same week. Priceless.
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#24 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 09 April 2005 - 02:09 PM

A long long time ago in a thought process far far away, a company that became RainbowDBS applied and recieved 22 DBS transponder assignments. The early assignments were done under the opinion that east satellite slots (61.5, 101, 110, 119) would be used to reach the eastern US and west satellite slots (148, 157, 166, 175) would serve the western US including Alaska and Hawaii. RainbowDBS was assigned 11 transponders at 61.5 and 11 transponders at 166.

But satellite engineers being the rocket scientists they are, it was discovered that the eastern slots could serve the entire US (with three of the four also being able to serve Alaska and Hawaii). This cost saving measure meant that companies need only launch one satellite and park it at their eastern assigment to reach all of their customers. Most satellite assignees defaulted on their western positions ... including RainbowDBS. (Only one of the assignees kept both their eastern and western assignments.)

Over time, D* - the first and still #1 DBS provider - combined their 27 transponders at 101 with USSB's 8 transponders (5 at 101 and 3 at 110) and Tempo's 11 transponders at 119 to create the core of the system they have today. (D* also uses Canadian licensed transponders at 72.5 for locals, and plans to use ka satellites for HD locals.)

E* kept all of their original 22 transponders (East: 11 on 119 and West: 8 on 148, 3 on 157) and combined with DirectSat (10 on 119 and 1 on 110) and DBSC (11 on 61.5). They obtained 24 transponders at auction (on 148) and later purchased 28 transponders MCI won at auction (on 110). Last year they purchased 29 more transponders at auction (on 157) for future programming. (E* also uses FSS satellites for locals and plans to add more FSS and ka bandwidth in the future.)

Dominion / SkyAngel received 16 transponders, keeping the 8 at 61.5 and defaulting on their 8 slated to be at 166. They have yet to launch a satellite or even uplink their own channels, relying on a lease from E* to be an active carrier.

Most of the above picture was in place in October 2003 when Rainbow DBS was ready to launch Voom. Rainbow had already defaulted on the west transponders at 166 and was nearing default on 61.5 .

RainbowDBS struggled before Voom was born. They held on to their 11 transponders at 61.5 as long as they could before actually launching service. While D* and E* were talking merger a few years ago, RainbowDBS was trying to get in the air - and actually made a proposal supporting the merger IF the FCC would force E* to sell RainbowDBS E3 to fit in with their yet to be completed R1.

Being the last entrant into the DBS marketplace they had the ability to skip a lot of the start up problems D* and E* had and go with technology that simply didn't exist when D* and E* were earning their first customers. But being the 'third' national carrier they needed a reason to convince subscribers that they were worth subscribing to instead of D* and E*.

Rainbow DBS introduced a heavily HD system, filling in what space they had left with core SD channels. Unfortunately the technology wasn't quite advanced enough (until March 2005) to be able to launch enough SD channels to supply all the cable favorites their customers wanted. This made V* an add on service for many who kept D*, E* or cable to get the missing channels. Being an add on priced the service out of range for many customers who didn't want to give up channels to get V*.

V* also got behind on box technology. D* and E* both offered popular DVR receivers while V* did not. They were close to release of a DVR only when the end was too near. At one point V* had 2% of all US HDTV households as customers. But the HDTV marketplace grew faster than V* grew and at shutdown they are only in 1% of HDTV homes. (2% today would be 80,000 homes.)

It was only after years of struggle that V* finally got on the air in October 2003. And they spent most of the 18 months that they were alive fighting for the next month. They gave it a good run, but time was against them.

IF Voom would have been able to hold off until this fall (2005) to introduce service instead of needing to beat the FCC deadline on 2003 I believe they would have done better. But with that deadline in mind, I believe their biggest flaw was to focus so strongly on HD. They could have wiped the HD marketplace clean with half of the HD they offered - balanced with a full set of cable favorites at a competitive price. The intergrated OTA tuner was a major feature V* had that others rejected. A DVR would have been the icing on the cake.

But Voom chose to go the HD route ... limiting their marketplace to the 1% of US TV households who had HDTV (and a few more that didn't mind watching HDTV on a quality SD monitor.) And in the end they lost their struggle.

Unfortunately no other company has made a bid to fill Voom's shoes as a third national DBS service. That is a shame. A satellite sits in orbit and is ready to run, and only two guys named Charlie want it - one who will just add to the 125 transponders he already has and one that can not get a deal signed to continue his service.

JL


#25 OFFLINE   sonicrob

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Posted 09 April 2005 - 07:22 PM

I will probably never visit the Shirakami Mountains of Japan, but I feel like I've already been there, thanks to the advent of high definition television, and to VOOM. I seen it on Equator on Friday i have travel all over the World with Equator. I also Love Rave and Rush i am going to miss Voom.

I will not get Cable or Sattellite nothing could compare to Voom i will stick with DVD's and Local TV. I hear that there are allready coming out with a HD DVD Player and HD Movies will come out by the end of the Year maybe i would invest on a HD DVD Player. :D

#26 OFFLINE   Nick

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Posted 09 April 2005 - 10:15 PM

Because I live alone, I am master of my domain (so to speak) and have almost no problems switching between five sources. If I had to explain it to others, it might get complexicated. ;)

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#27 OFFLINE   Cpt Matt

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Posted 10 April 2005 - 02:51 PM

I can be highly ridiculous if I want, :D but you miss the point entirely. It isn't VOOM I'm eulogizing, it's the loss of THE FUTURE OF UNIQUE AND QUALITY HD that I mourn.

You must be blind if you can't see the implications for the future of HD! All those HDTVs out there and nothing to watch except the three R's of low-class tv - Rassling, Racing and Raunchy Jerry Springer! :shrug: :rolleyes: Without the support of the intelligent and the concerned, even HDTV will be reduced to the lowest common denominator.

Now, I must go and watch The Masters, Day 2, on Universal High Definition, which is to found only on VOOM! There is no more beautiful sight than (not then) Augusta National in April in awesome HD.


I agree with nick eulogizing the concept of V* HD. I was a very early adopter of Voom and have been quite happy with them. Essentially Voom pioneered true HD programming: taking full advantage of the platform of a true digital signal to allow many smaller groups to enjoy niche programming. Rave, Monsters, and MOOV were among my favorites.
Mr. Chuck Dolan took a radical step and launched an advanced concept in hopes that the general public would adopt it. So far it's not going so well, 14.9 m in total revenue. However, it appears he is still fighting, exhibiting a true pioneer spirit that I thought had dissapeared years ago. Hughes built the spruce Goose, Tucker built the torpedo and they are both remembered as, albeit eccentric, passionate pioneers. Perhaps one day everyone else will recognize this event as a loss of a vision.




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