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HD Locals not till 2010 for DISH Network?


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#1 OFFLINE   mya23rd

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 09:59 PM

When I first heard about Charlie chat I thought oh how cool, and I actually tried to get in a question. Not knowing how it really worked, I called in and of course got a screener. I wanted to ask about HD locals and when they might be available on Dish Network but I could tell instantly that there was no way I was gonna be able to ask the question. The screener put me on hold, then came back with some scripted answer saying we are looking forward to offering HD locals in the future. So I said can I ask Charlie about it and he said no, I said can I ask about new HD channels in general and he said no. I was very irritated as was the screener so I asked are there current plans for an HD locals rollout? After a few more minutes of back and forth he said I don’t think we’re gonna be offering that anytime soon. I asked what does that mean and he said maybe by 2010 we will have that available. He said they were still working on adding non HD locals to other parts of the country and HD locals are simply not a priority. I was rather surprised by this answer although it took me a while to get it out of him.

My initial reaction was disbelief but now I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes another half decade to get HD locals through Dish Network. Considering how long its taking DirecTV to roll out HD locals and since Dish hasn’t even started its gonna be a really long time before they offer HD locals. When I first heard about Dish buying Voom’s satellites, I figured they just wanted the bandwidth which they would use to start rolling out HD locals or at least begin the process. But from what I have seen, they are keeping the Voom Channels and trying to offer more national HD channels to become the largest national HD provider in one big move which I’m sure they’ll use in some marketing campaign. I hope I’m wrong and they actually do plan on using the bandwidth for HD locals. The Voom channels are a waste in my opinion. Consider the fact that Voom could hardly sell any subscriptions and eventually went out of business. There channels are just a waste and although its nice to have more HD channels, I would rather have my HD locals. But it looks like Dish Network customers will have to use that OTA for a long while.

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#2 OFFLINE   TNGTony

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 10:09 PM

HD locals will start rolling out by mid year next year. But remember that locals on satellite started rolling out in 1998 (illegally - sort of) and legally in December of 1999. Now, 6 years later, Dish has 164 of 210 markets covered by Dish. (http://ekb.dbstalk.com/19 or http://ekb.dbstalk.com/15) Many less by DirecTV. It will take time for HD locals to roll out as well.

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#3 OFFLINE   Link

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 10:17 PM

What can you really expect from Dish???? They haven't even added ABC, NBC, or Fox in HD from New York and LA.

Directv has had all 4 networks for nearly a year now I think. All Dish offers is CBS and you have to have a second dish to receive it on whichever coast you live on.

For local HD channels, it seems cable is the way to go.

#4 OFFLINE   Jon Spackman

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Posted 10 December 2005 - 11:16 PM

Link- "What can you really expect from Dish???? They haven't even added ABC, NBC, or Fox in HD from New York and LA.

Directv has had all 4 networks for nearly a year now I think. All Dish offers is CBS and you have to have a second dish to receive it on whichever coast you live on."


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#5 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 01:33 AM

:welcome_s mya23rd
I believe you were misinformed. When did you place your call? (The Charlie Chat for December isn't until Monday and last month's 'chat' was a Tech Forum and Charlie wasn't present.)

I doubt if it will take until 2010 to get HD Locals via dish. All 210 markets? Yes, it will be a while. But E* (Echostar/Dish Network) is positioned well to convert their SD LILs to HD over the next several years.

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#6 OFFLINE   mya23rd

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 02:39 AM

I got this info from a Dish Network CSR a few months ago, not in the latest Charlie Chat. Honestly I don’t think its going to come for a very long time. Consider how long its taken DirecTV. They started a while ago and kept pushing it back. I mean 2006 is around the corner and Dish Net has not announced anything yet. Considering DirecTV’s roll out you would think they would at least make some announcements to assure both new and current customers that they are working on it. I may be wrong but from what I understand they have yet to do so. I think it would also benefit them to at least make some announcement if they had any plans because DirecTV has finally begun its roll out and has hit the ground running. They have already begun broadcasting HD locals in several markets and will add even more by next year as they transition HD customers over to mpeg4. I really think they are going to make a big in the next few months once they have all the equipment and techs ready to start mass installations. This is even more true once they release the HD DVR for mpeg4. All this taken into account means they will have many of the major markets up and running by the middle of next year. I think they will also use the fact that if your in the right market you will no longer need to bother with setting up an OTA which is a pain for many people especially newbies who are just used to plugging in a box. No OTA is gonna be a big selling point in my opinion. And consider all the people who cannot get HD locals or only a few channels with weak signal, getting it thru the box will be a major relief.

I seriously doubt Dish Network will begin rolling out HD locals by mid next year. But hey you never know, they could make some huge announcement tomorrow and begin implementing their plans within a few months.

#7 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 03:50 AM

E* has been a little slow in the announcement department lately. They are probably trying to avoid the mistakes of 2003 when they announced that they expected the satellite at 105° to carry 50 HD channels (or at least thats what we thought we heard). It would be hard to put together a package of 50 HD channels now, two years later - Getting all 21 Voom channels on the system helps get closer to 50 but there is still a big gap between what E* thought would be available and what was available in 2004 and is available now.

As noted on the last Tech Forum, MPEG4 encoding technology isn't where E* expected it to be either. They are not seeing the gains of moving to MPEG4 that were forecasted and have decided to go a different direction with their encoding while they wait for an MPEG4 encoder to be developed that works better. They ARE pushing ahead with distributing MPEG4 decoding receivers. The decoders exist today and are reported to work as promised.

I expect E* will have a handful of HD LIL markets online by the end of 2006 as well as every market's SD LIL stations (ALL 210 markets, except stations that refuse to agree to carriage or are small stations not eligible to force carriage). D* (DirecTV) will have a few HD markets up but will still be lagging far behind in the SD locals carriage.

2006 will be a good year - hopefully E* will do a little announcing to help those who like the service 'keep the faith'.

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#8 OFFLINE   waltinvt

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 08:44 AM

Sorry but I honestly don't see HD LiLs from Dish being a real priority anytime soon and you can thank congress and the NAB for that.

It makes no business sense to invest in a product there's relativly no demand for and that market is not going to materialize until a lot more people get into digital tv.

It was different when it looked like the analog shutoff was going to happen at the end of 2006 but now that deadline has been recinded, the majority of the general public won't care about HD for a while yet. Once forced into digital, people will quickly learn about and demand things like high defination tv but until that happens, it's going to be a slow transition.

Therefore "E"s marketing stratagy has changed (and I wouldn't be surprised if "D"s changed too).

What will probably happen is 5 or 6 major dmas will get hd locals. It won't be a spotbeam thing like current analog LiLs but more like it used to be when Dish offered analog dns from half a dozen major cities (instead of just the current two - NY & LA), only this time it will be the digital dns and probably transmitted in a "HD Lite" format.

That combined with the rest of Voom and a few more national HD channels is where Dish will probably go in 2006.
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#9 OFFLINE   Mike D-CO5

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 08:51 AM

Hd lite would be better than what they offer in analog locals presently.

#10 OFFLINE   BillJ

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 10:18 AM

I believe Charlie said several months ago they hoped to have HD locals in the top 20 major markets early in 2006. The only question is what their problems with MPEG4 might do to that schedule.

Charlie is not stupid. He knows D's move into HD locals will soon lead to defections among his HD customers. And those customers probably spend the most per capita of all E* customers.

#11 OFFLINE   Nightlife1970

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 10:20 AM

ok estimates are that only 16 million households will have even 1 HD ready tv by the end of this year. Of those only 49% will even attempt to get HD programming. Thats around 7 million households.

I can see why there is no real push for local HD from E*. There is just not the demand for it yet. Those that do get HD programming from E* are probably willing to setup an OTA and get their locals for free at this time.

#12 OFFLINE   navychop

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 10:59 AM

Think about it- the HD locals won't wait until 2010. Legislation, in various forms, crawling thru Congress now all cut off analog TV in 2009. So by then, ALL locals provided will be digital. Note I said digital, not HD. Most digital stations today provide less than half their line up in HD. And by then, Congress & the FCC may allow downrezzing anyway- who knows?

I suspect the main reason there are no warning stickers on analog TVs today is so Congress helps out the manufacturers in dumping analog only TVs over Christmas.

#13 OFFLINE   Dave

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 11:30 AM

Dish has also decided to go with there Turbo system as they call it right now. No they are not going to Mpeg 4 any time real soon. They think there Turbo System is the way right now and this is what they are going to implement more and more. They don't believe that Mpeg 4 with give them enough compression and channels for HD.

#14 OFFLINE   JohnH

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 12:54 PM

When will digital must carry happen?

#15 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 02:16 PM

When will digital must carry happen?

2009?

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#16 OFFLINE   navychop

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 02:26 PM

FCC hasn't said. Prob 2009.

#17 OFFLINE   Greg Bimson

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 03:00 PM

HD locals will start rolling out by mid year next year. But remember that locals on satellite started rolling out in 1998 (illegally - sort of) and legally in December of 1999. Now, 6 years later, Dish has 164 of 210 markets covered by Dish. (http://ekb.dbstalk.com/19 or http://ekb.dbstalk.com/15) Many less by DirecTV. It will take time for HD locals to roll out as well.

Let's not forget that although Dish Network has a 25 market lead over DirecTV, that the market lead only equates to less than 2.5 percent of US households. Since DirecTV will be adding Rockford, Rochester-Mason City, Mankato, and Zanesville by the end of this month, DirecTV will be down 21 markets and just under 2 percent of the households in the US.

And don't think that DirecTV is standing still with local market adds. DirecTV will be launching DirecTV 9S sometime next year, and is building DirecTV 12S as a on-ground spare. There is a great possibility DirecTV will be using DirecTV 9S to serve the rest of their local markets.

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#18 OFFLINE   mya23rd

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 05:32 PM

I really hope Dish does have some HD Locals by mid 2006 but I think that’s a bit optimistic. Maybe by the end of the year but I wouldn’t be surprised if its not till 2007. Think about how long its taking DirecTV to roll out HD locals and all the new Sats they have had to put up. I know that Dish has essentially purchased bandwidth with the acquisition of Voom but I don’t know exactly how much capacity that gives them. I mean DirecTV first said locals will be available in the summer of 05, then they pushed it back till fall now only now HD locals are really starting to roll out, very slowly as they gear up for the roll out. But consider how many months its going to take for new dishes to be installed and new receivers to be swapped. I have read in several posts about a lack of equipment in many markets with installers not even having the receivers or dishes yet. The point is that this stuff takes a very long time to roll out, many months and years. Sure I agree that HD demand isn’t massive yet but it is growing fast and will make a big jump this holiday season. HD television prices are dropping fast and a lot more programming is available. A lot more people will have HDTV’s by the end of next year and if Dish wants to capitalize on that they should get to work on offering HD locals.

#19 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 06:03 PM

I really hope Dish does have some HD Locals by mid 2006 but I think that’s a bit optimistic. Maybe by the end of the year but I wouldn’t be surprised if its not till 2007. Think about how long its taking DirecTV to roll out HD locals and all the new Sats they have had to put up.

E* does not equal D*. DirecTV's approach to HD LIL is via low power ka band satellites that have plenty of room but also require a large hard to aim dish and may have issues with weather. By the nature of their past limited bandwidth, D* has pulled out all the stops they can on their DBS positions. E* didn't.

That "room for improvement" is about to pay off. I cannot get into all of the details, but what they called "8PSK Turbo" on the last chat is going to open up a lot of bandwidth. The new E10 spotbeam satellite is E*'s first to be built to a higher standard ... not 25 spot transponders replacing 5 ConUS beams but a massive array of spot transponders to blanket the nation. Plus they are adding the 129° DBS slot via Dish1000 - a *small* dish similar to D*'s tripple but instead of tuning up to 46 transponders (the limit of D*'s licenses at 101-110-119) it will deliver up to 82 transponders (the limit of E*'s licenses at 110-119 and the borrowed Canadian space).

These three developments alone have the potential to empty 105°, 121° and the wing birds (61.5° and 148°) of all local channels. Giving E* a lot of in orbit space for HD locals or whatever they wish to uplink.

A lot more people will have HDTV’s by the end of next year and if Dish wants to capitalize on that they should get to work on offering HD locals.

I believe they will. The first step toward that is to take Voom's approach of serving HD locals the way that the FCC intended it - OTA. The best part of that approach is no negotiations with broadcasters haggling over price and permission to carry. There is nothing that stops E* from selling or leasing you a receiver that will get HD locals OTA.

There are places where HD OTA isn't strong enough ... and for those places (and people who won't install a VHF/UHF antenna) satellite HDs will be helpful. But just the inclusion of an ATSC tuner in the next generation of satellite boxes goes a long way toward getting a good percentage of their customers covered.

It will take a while for the receiver replacements to be done ... but until then there is a path that E* can follow to nudge people in the right direction. Introducing national HD channels such as the Voom21 and any new 24/7 HD that becomes available. Good reasons for people to upgrade to new receivers.

E* will be moving on HD locals ... don't pre judge their future success based on D*'s experiences. Last year it seemed that D7S would never get in the sky and E* cranked out new LIL market after new LIL market all year long while D* stayed stagnent. This year both companies seemed to slow down on locals (with D* practically stopped). Both companies have challenges. I believe E*'s approach will be the winner.

JL

#20 OFFLINE   Mike123abc

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 11:01 PM

Echostar with the launch of E10 will have huge capacity. Here are some assumptions I am going to make:

1. E8 to be turned off and it or E6 moved to 119 for backup.

2. E8 spots to all be transferred to E10.

3. This will leave about 100TP worth of capacity at 110 on E10

4. They have huge spot capacity on 61.5 with R1 which they should end up owning soon

5. Assume they put 4 MPEG-4 channels HD/TP

Given that they will end up with about 150-175 new spot TPs (given some on 61.5 will not be able to be used out west since too low angle, and some on 110 are SD LIL covering E8 and other markets). This will be 600-700 HD channel LIL carrying capacity. This would put dish around 75 or so of the top markets in LIL HD, plus some odd ball small markets on empty spots.

This is of course pure speculation on my part, but it is easy to see that by May/June of next year with E10 fully operational Dish will be able to cover a lot of the US with LIL HD. Dish will have the advantage of being in Ku band and having a lot less rain fade. Directv will have the advantage of more capacity, but Dish will cover around 75% of the population.




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