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Guest Message by DevFuse

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when is mpeg4 supposed to start?


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89 replies to this topic

#26 OFFLINE   EricD

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Posted 03 October 2005 - 09:47 AM

Seems like all the concern about when MPEG4 debuts is putting the cart before the horse. First we need to see MPEG4 receivers and DVRs. Have any retailers had a look at them yet? I've read comments about the 962 but is that fact or rumor?

If I'm not mistaken, MPEG4 is "simply" a different compression algorithm that on one side compresses files smaller than MPEG2, but on the flip side requires more computing power to decompress in real time.

I wouldn't be surprised if E* already put more powerful processors in its recent high-end units so they could upgrade those units with software only. That's what I would have done and those engineers at E* are smarter that me.

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#27 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 03 October 2005 - 10:16 AM

That's what I would have done and those engineers at E* are smarter that me.

Computations on that level are normally done in dedicated chipsets. Solid state still works better than software, even after 40 plus years of development.

JL

#28 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 03 October 2005 - 10:32 AM

Careful - you'll get slammed for "negative posting". :(


I wasn't insulting anyone... Just noticing a coincidence between the kid in the car who wants updates every 5 seconds when nothing has changed and the folks who want to know about MPEG4 when there isn't anything new to know.

Just an interesting psychological observation :)

#29 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 03 October 2005 - 10:34 AM

Are we there yet? :lol:

JL

#30 OFFLINE   TechnoCat

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Posted 03 October 2005 - 05:56 PM

And before it is asked, nothing has been said about how the equipment will be replaced - so don't assume that E* will require people to buy all new equipment or assume that there will be a free trade out program - it is all speculation! Wait and see.

No, it's not all speculation. It's history. We have a very high likelihood, way beyond speculation, that...

1. New equipment will be required.

2. It won't be available for lease to existing subscribers (see the 942), but they can outright purchase it.

3. No upgrade path is available. (See #2.)

For you to caveat otherwise is just plain disingenuous. If you can't learn from history, you can't learn from anything.

#31 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 03 October 2005 - 06:49 PM

No, it's not all speculation. It's history. We have a very high likelihood, way beyond speculation, that...

1. New equipment will be required.
2. It won't be available for lease to existing subscribers (see the 942), but they can outright purchase it.
3. No upgrade path is available. (See #2.)

When you are dead wrong will you still be here to correct? It's obvious that new equipment will be needed since not one current receiver can handle MPEG4 - but it is only paranoia that suggests that E* won't do something special to get those new receivers into customers hands.

Past performance is not indicative of future results. :D

JL

#32 OFFLINE   auburn2

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Posted 03 October 2005 - 07:38 PM

I know MPEG 4 will save bandwidth over MPEG 2 ... but not if they are supporting both formats at once.

My guess is they will cut the bandwidth on MPEG 2 broadcasts as they add MPEG 4 to give customers a little extra incentive to upgrade to an MPEG 4 receiver and complete the conversion earlier.

Am I missing something here?

#33 OFFLINE   rocatman

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Posted 03 October 2005 - 09:07 PM

I know MPEG 4 will save bandwidth over MPEG 2 ... but not if they are supporting both formats at once.

My guess is they will cut the bandwidth on MPEG 2 broadcasts as they add MPEG 4 to give customers a little extra incentive to upgrade to an MPEG 4 receiver and complete the conversion earlier.

Am I missing something here?


Dish currently provides HD channels on dedicated transponders (TPs), i.e., only HD channels are on a TP with other HD channels. This is because although Dish uses MPEG-2 for both HD and SD, they use QPSK encoding for SD and 8PSK for HD. I have to believe that when MPEG-4 is introduced, it will be segregated on separate TPs similar to what is done with HD and 8PSK currently.

#34 OFFLINE   TechnoCat

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Posted 03 October 2005 - 09:32 PM

When you are dead wrong will you still be here to correct? It's obvious that new equipment will be needed since not one current receiver can handle MPEG4 - but it is only paranoia that suggests that E* won't do something special to get those new receivers into customers hands.

Don't drown yourself in kool aid! Dish did nothing to get the 942 in our hands. Only new subscribers (to Dish, not just to HDTV) got deals. Given the multi-year roll-out of MPEG-4 (per Dish themselves), I doubt Dish will see any need to cut us deals.

Learning from history is not paranoia. But there is a word for trying the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result eventually.

Past performance is not indicative of future results. :D

Why do you believe this? Do you have a recent (last four months) source?

Your original post was hopeful, but you didn't provide any reason to believe it. When I pointed out contrary evidence (hardware, history), rather than rebut it you cast me wrong and paranoid - perhaps not the most thought-provoking of responses. History, Charlie's consistency and some communications I have had with Dish all fail to support your perspective. Do you have any evidence, or just a generalized optimistic world view?

#35 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 03 October 2005 - 09:44 PM

Do you have a recent (last four months) source?

Do you? Nope. You are speculating --- Why do you believe that speculating negative is OK and you want to shut me down? How about making your fifth post on this forum a statement from Dish backing you up?

Sorry for the harsh reply but we cannot assume negative or positive on this issue - the point of my prior post. If you have evidence, present it. Otherwise just accept the fact that you are making assumptions. OK :D

JL

#36 OFFLINE   TechnoCat

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Posted 03 October 2005 - 10:16 PM

You are mischaracterizing my messages. I haven't made any attempt to "shut you down", nor did I claim anyone was paranoid. All I'm trying to do is point out that history and consistency are likely more accurate barometers of the future than, as you put it, speculation and assumptions.

I have pointed out evidence... the past. I also have recent communications with Dish where they refused to even agree with Charlie's statements from January. That's very fast back-pedalling on their part. These are more than just tea leaves in an empty mug. I asked what evidence you have because you seem to place blind speculation at the same faith-level as such evidence; I'm trying to understand why.

It doesn't really matter - my source indicates the MPEG-4 roll-out isn't as near as previously thought. But I am intrigued by your approach that would seem to require absolute proof, with a blood signature, to tip trade-ins into the longshot category. Not all speculation is created equal. (Not that you have to agree with my handicapping - if we all agreed, such conversations would be quite boring. ;) )

#37 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 03 October 2005 - 10:24 PM

And before it is asked, nothing has been said about how the equipment will be replaced - so don't assume that E* will require people to buy all new equipment or assume that there will be a free trade out program - it is all speculation! Wait and see.

You chose to assume the former -

No, it's not all speculation. It's history. We have a very high likelihood, way beyond speculation, that...

1. New equipment will be required.
2. It won't be available for lease to existing subscribers (see the 942), but they can outright purchase it.
3. No upgrade path is available. (See #2.)

I was hoping for some proof that your speculation wasn't.

my source indicates the MPEG-4 roll-out isn't as near as previously thought

A lot of talk about it last January as if we would be seeing it released now ... but as the year passed we keep hearing later dates. The latest later date mentioned is early 2006.

We're already past the expected date, so on that part you cannot be wrong! :D

Besides, you quoted a paragraph on receiver swap policy - not on release dates. Which argument did you want?

JL

#38 OFFLINE   TechnoCat

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Posted 03 October 2005 - 10:35 PM

You chose to assume the former -I'm asking for some proof that your speculation isn't.We're already past the expected date, so on that part you cannot be wrong! :D

I understood my communications in the last week to indicate that January is perhaps at risk, and that when it does happen, it will be a slow process. That latter bit surprised me; my guess would have matched that of several members here that they would try to expedite it, to free up the bandwidth.

However, I am interpreting words that were intentionally circumspect. They do seem to make perfect sense in the context of history though.

What I don't have any insight into is why January is at risk and they should move slow. It seems to me that the DBS advantage is trumped by cable's HDTV (and internet broadband, soon telephony) selection for the high-end user. I would have expected them to be very aggressive about onboarding HD content and getting it to us, whether by new codecs or by leasing extra bird space. Perhaps it's a technical hurdle, perhaps a financial one, but either way there's some big part of the picture that I'm just not grasping.

On swap policy vs release dates, I expect them to delay release further, but I don't care . I expect them to not provide a trade-in, based on history and communications, and I care a bit. But the latter (trade-in) is what I thought we were debating speculation about. Apologies if I mangled quotations.

#39 OFFLINE   M Sparks

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Posted 03 October 2005 - 10:39 PM

Dish did nothing to get the 942 in our hands. Only new subscribers (to Dish, not just to HDTV) got deals. Given the multi-year roll-out of MPEG-4 (per Dish themselves), I doubt Dish will see any need to cut us deals.


Your analogy is invalid, and I've seen it many times before. Just because the 921 was a bad receiver doesn't mean you are entitled to a free upgrade. Did Ford give Pinto owners free Escorts?

The MPEG-4 switchout is unlike any previous situation. It is in their interest to move it along. It's bad for them to just flip it instantly, but it's also bad to let it drag on for more than 2 or 3 years. And EVENTUALLY, they will have to give anyone that still has an MPEG-2 receiver a new one. Does that mean everyone gets a new, top of the line machine. Obviously not. I've heard some talk that the 411 will become the new base receiver. Notice one of the features is that it "outputs HD and SD simultaniously."

There will be activity at both ends of the spectrum. HD-LIL markets will get new machines quicker and cheaper, so the SD-LILs can be shut off quicker. But new national HD content will push other people to pay full price.

Creating an incentive to upgrade means less out-of-pocket cost for DISH later. Why give someone something for free in a few years when you can get $100 now? And DirecTV is banking on the HMC because customers with expensive, high quality equipment are less likely to churn. By the same token, DISH should be trying to get the 962 to as many people as possible.

Perhaps Dish has made it hard for loyal customers to get a 942 because they know they have to upgrade them later. (A real conspiracy theorist might even think the current software bugs are a way to scare people off until the 962 is ready.)

I think the second part of your statement is basically right. The day MPEG-4 gets turned on will not be the day to find a deal. But they will come eventually.

#40 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 03 October 2005 - 11:45 PM

The only thing we really know... is that we don't really know anything :)

But past history and some business logic suggests a few popular rumors:

1. Dish may begin adding new channels, HD for instance, that are only available in MPEG4. They would then offer paid/discounted upgrade paths to the "early adopters" who are often willing to pay to get the latest hardware.

This serves the purpose of "forcing" some of us to upgrade, but not alienating most customers... provides a revenue stream for Dish to get some additional moolah to fund their upgrade efforts... and provides a larger testing bed of folks who might uncover early problems.

2. When #1 has been live for a while (months, perhaps a year), Dish will start converting existing channels to MPEG4. Either multicasting (sending both MPEG4 and MPEG2 to not cutoff old customers) OR converting a particular niche, like HD for instance, all to MPEG4 and again providing a upgrade path at some cost, but this time the cost will be a bit better as they want to entice more of us to upgrade.

3. Depending on how #1 and #2 progress... Dish will have to make a decision before they can convert everything over to MPEG4 and stop all MPEG2 use. Either they have a small customer base on the old equipment and they are ok with risk of alienating them by forcing a paid upgrade... OR they have a substantial customer base that has so far refused to pay upgrade... and they have to work a free upgrade to a lowest-end MPEG4 receiver for everyone OR make it very inexpensive.

Stage #3 would most likely take 1-2 years at least depending on how many folks need to be swapped out I would think. Consider how long the over-the-air transition from analog to digital broadcasting has been going on!

All of the above is pure speculation, but there's some logic to it.

#41 OFFLINE   TechnoCat

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Posted 04 October 2005 - 06:15 AM

Your analogy is invalid, and I've seen it many times before. Just because the 921 was a bad receiver doesn't mean you are entitled to a free upgrade.

I was referring to recent non-HD PVR purchasers, which is much more analogous than 921 upgrades. The 921 had a pretty short lifespan.

Was there a trade-in from the 510 to the 921?

#42 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 04 October 2005 - 10:54 AM

I was referring to recent non-HD PVR purchasers, which is much more analogous than 921 upgrades. The 921 had a pretty short lifespan.

Was there a trade-in from the 510 to the 921?


To be fair, that is sort of an apples to oranges comparison.

It is one thing for a company to offer new hardware with more bells & whistles and charge you for upgrades.... It is quite another for them to change the way their system works and require you to buy new hardware just to get the same level of service you have now.

A 510-921 upgrade is an upgrade that provides new features and more modern equipment... a 921-XXX MPEG4 receiver would potentially be a requirement in order to continue service.

The former is a nicety that you can pass on and still receive service... the latter would be something that if you didn't upgrade, you wouldn't get anything if they flip the all/none switch!

#43 OFFLINE   M Sparks

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Posted 04 October 2005 - 11:01 AM

TechnoCat, I'm still missing your point...maybe it's me. The HD receivers have always been sold at a premium.

Actually, I think I do understand your point, but I think you're missing part of the puzzle. Eventually, EVERYTHING will be in MPEG-4. MPEG-4 will allow DISH to add more services, which allows them to make more money and attract more customers. It's not a "new service" like HD was, although it will be sold to early adopters as such. They can't say "well, you'll need a new reciever to get that service." EVENTUALLY they will HAVE to replace people's equipment, because there won't BE any MPEG-2 service.

Let's say they add all the HD LILs for New York & LA. This helps attract new customers, who get new MPEG-4 receivers. But they still need to leave the MPEG-2 locals up, which wastes space. If they get MPEG-4 receivers to everyone in those areas, then thay can turn off the SD LIL channels, which frees up space for HD-LIL in other cities, which continues the cycle.

IF the 411 does indeed turn out to be the new base receiver, it's a key to understanding how this all will work. The fact that it's HD, but it cuts corners in other places (no UHF remote, ect), supports this theory.

So DISH offers free 411s to everyone in those cities. EVERYONE gets HD, EVERYONE gets MPEG-4, everything is easier for DISH. But for people with DVRs (even SD-DVRs), the 411 is not a fair trade.

So DISH gives them an option- take the 411 (perhaps with no extra receiver fee) and keep your current DVR, but you may not be able to record all your local or HD channels. Or pay an upgrade fee and get a 962. (I would expect a few other options as well- a dual tuner "422" (?) and a single tuner HD PVR.)

To use your analogy again- when the 921 came out, no one said "oh, BTW, your 510 will no longer get local channels and it will eventually stop working entirely- would you like to trade it in on a 921?"

DISH will use additional National-HD to lure some people into buying a new receiver at full price. People like me (who JUST dropped $700 on a 942) will hold out for a upgrade deal of some sort, but probably jump at the first one. (Personally, I'm counting on DISH getting to my HD-LIL market within a year.) Eventually the deals will get better, and EVENTUALLY, some people really will get totally free receivers.

Another way to look at it is that they will convert ALL HD to MPEG-4 first, and that HD customers will be the first to benefit from upgrade paths. I'm not sure if I buy that. Or maybe they will convert JUST Voom to MPEG-4. Those that are already subscribed may get first dibs on new recievers. Or since VOOM is going to be required to be in the "basic HD tier", perhaps the current HDpak channels become part of some basic package. ("America's Top 120 HD"?) Those channels stay on DISH 500 in MPEG-2 for now. Then, they come out with a NEW HD Pack, with Voom-21 and other new channels in MPEG-4 on 61.5 and 129. That way, they only need to convert Voomers first.

There are dozens of possibilities, but SOME people will get free or cheap receivers. And some will get suckered.

#44 OFFLINE   navychop

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Posted 04 October 2005 - 11:23 AM

I think there will be deals due to competition. If D* comes thru with generous offers, including free upgrades, then E* will have to offer deals about as good, just to keep customers and market share.

#45 OFFLINE   BobaBird

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Posted 04 October 2005 - 11:32 AM

HDMe has offered what I see as some very realistic speculation in post #40 as everything he said has already happened. Unlike the 942 analogy (there are no channels that only a 942 can receive) it is supported by history as this is how the HDTV channels were moved from QPSK to 8PSK modulation. Owners of the 5000 had to kick and scream and get "special treatment" (big topic at the time on AVSForums) to get an upgrade offer. What make that different from what will happen in a few years is that the 5000 still works, it's only obsolete for the optional HD channels.
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#46 OFFLINE   Jim Parker

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Posted 04 October 2005 - 11:47 AM

My opinion is that for existing customers, Dish will sell the 411/962 at full price to the early adopters, give trade ins after 4 to 6 months and give away the 411 after a few years.

So, do I pay full price for a 962 that has not been fully tested or stay with a known POS that is the 921? Since the 962 is supposed to be based on the 942, it will probably be more stable than the 921. After spending $1000 on the 921, I will most likely wait for a few months to see what problems the 962 does have. I had one of the very first 921s, having bought it Dec 31, 2003. Once burned, twice shy.

If the trade in is not enough for me, I may buy a 962 for the living room and move the 921 to the bedroom. At some later time Dish might increase the trade in. My wife mostly records her soaps there on a 510, so the HD is no big advantage, but it would be nice to have the dual tuners. Other options include trading in the 510 or a mothballed 501.

But, I will just wait and see how this all plays out.

"Past performance is not indicative of future results. " Yeah, right! Tell that to the owners of 921s. I have no confidence that Eldon will ever do any better than the dismal results so far.
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#47 OFFLINE   DoyleS

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Posted 04 October 2005 - 12:05 PM

A local techy radio program stated that D* was going to swap out like kind HD receivers in their Mpeg4 conversion. PVR for PVR and Non PVR for Non PVR. If Dish does that then that is reasonable. If it is the big cash outlay then likely a number will move down the road and take new subscriber deals at other providers.

..doyle

#48 OFFLINE   DCDeac

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Posted 04 October 2005 - 01:04 PM

When I signed up for Dish 2 months ago both the Dish Rep and my local installation guy said they'd be swapping out anyone who had a 942 as first priority for MPEG 4 units.

It's absolutely possible, even likely, that they were bs'ing to get me to sign up. But they said the exact same thing (and they had no contact with each toher) so there must be SOME truth to it...

#49 OFFLINE   Jim Parker

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Posted 04 October 2005 - 01:11 PM

Dish should swap out the 921s as the first priority. It would be nice, but I'm not holding my breath.
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#50 OFFLINE   M Sparks

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Posted 04 October 2005 - 03:16 PM

The 921 AND the 942 should be of equal priority. Their owners are the best customers, and should be treated as such.

DISH would never give the 921 top priority because that would be admiting they made a mistake.




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