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Coverage of DMAs on DirecTV vs. Cable


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#1 OFFLINE   cobalt250

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 09:52 AM

Sorry if this has been asked before, but I searched the forum threads and I couldn’t find anything related. I live in an area where my cable company (Comcast) carries the network feeds from two different DMA’s (NY and Philadelphia). I was wondering why DirecTV is restricted to providing my area with only one market (NY). I realize it’s probably an FCC regulatory requirement, but how is it that cable companies can get around it?

Tom

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#2 OFFLINE   KingLoop

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 10:46 AM

What is your zip code?
KL

#3 OFFLINE   cobalt250

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 12:04 PM

My zip is 08050.

Tom

#4 OFFLINE   KingLoop

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 12:32 PM

It's hard to say, I guess D* doesn't have any plans to provide these SV channels any time soon either. On the up side The NY market is one of the best to be in.
KL

#5 OFFLINE   Greg Bimson

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Posted 19 December 2005 - 01:38 PM

Actually, everything regarding retransmissions is based on some kind of government regulation or requirement.

Cable must provide all "signficantly-viewed" channels if the cable headend can receive them. So, your cable company is showing both sets of local channels, because they are supposed to.

Satellite is more tricky. When the authorization for the retransmission of local channels began, no one could get the "neighboring market" local channels. However, the law was revised and signed in December, 2004, with the "significantly-viewed" provision. The rules for the significantly-viewed channels were just ratified by the FCC in October.

Dish Network has added some signficantly-viewed channels. DirecTV has not; it appears that quite a few people may need to switch dishes, and DirecTV's upgrade plans for HD local channels may have thrown a wrench into their significantly-viewed plans.

Just like you, I am waiting for this to pass, as I'll finally get my DC locals.

#6 OFFLINE   Newshawk

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 01:40 AM

Sorry if this has been asked before, but I searched the forum threads and I couldn’t find anything related. I live in an area where my cable company (Comcast) carries the network feeds from two different DMA’s (NY and Philadelphia). I was wondering why DirecTV is restricted to providing my area with only one market (NY). I realize it’s probably an FCC regulatory requirement, but how is it that cable companies can get around it?

Tom


It's called grandfathering, Tom. Comcast in Ocean County can carry both NYC and Philly stations because the cable companies going all the way back to Clear, Cable Haven and Island Cable have carried both sets of locals. In Island Cable's case, that goes back to the late 60s!

#7 OFFLINE   cobalt250

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 06:17 AM

Thank you all for the responses. I figured that local network cable coverage was grandfathered somehow but always wondered why DirecTV could not provide the dual coverage. In any event, I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens when the revised SV provision passes. One further question, would the revised SV regulations also apply to coverage of the Regional Sports Networks? Again, cable has them all. The DirecTV RSN in my zip area is considered Philly, which I get nothing.

Tom

#8 OFFLINE   Greg Bimson

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 08:35 AM

cobalt, the SV provision is complete. The only real issue is DirecTV's implementation; the SV channels can be turned on at any time.

Regional Sports Networks are a completely different animal. Comcast is able to keep Comcast Sports Net Philadelphia off of DirecTV and Dish Network through a different legal loophole. There appears to be a different way, of sorts, to possibly force Comcast to open up the CSN-Philly feed:

Comcast and Time Warner are trying to buy the assets of Adelphia Communications. This will require FTC and FCC approval. The FCC was taking comments on this deal. Surprisingly, there are more and more parties filing in support of safeguarding consumers in this deal. DirecTV itself, when bought by Fox Entertainment Group, had to agree to open access for all its channels. DirecTV is now telling the FCC that because Comcast will be so large, that open access of all programming should be required. And this is the only way anyone will see CSN-Philly on a dish system.

#9 OFFLINE   HIPAR

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 09:19 AM

I think these issues have become so convoluted by the advance of business and technology that's its time to scrap all of those obsolete regulations. Either write one law that fits all or just let the marketplace determine the course of events.

I know this will never happen!

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#10 OFFLINE   KyL416

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 09:22 AM

As for RSNs, their coverage is determined by Teams and Zip Codes independently of what market you live in. For example, where I live, I get FSN NY, MSG, and YES, except that all Nets, Devils, and Islanders games are blacked out. With the Sports Pack, my area can recieve all Penguins and Pirates games on FSN Pittsburg. My area would also be fully covered by CSN Philly if it were on D*. Oddly enough, the cable system in my area provides Nets games on YES, and the Nets are the only Basketball team that the local news stations here cover, yet D* still blacks them out.

Personally, I think the rule for local channels should be this: if the majority of people in a town/county can recieve it with your rabbit ears, you should be able to get them on Satellite and/or Cable. If you can't get any out of market channels on rabbit ears, you only recieve your market's channels.

#11 OFFLINE   Link

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 09:41 AM

Providing more local stations is one reason why cable still has an advantage over satellite is that they provide stations from more than one DMA. I know with satellite having to be DMA specific with what locals they provide an area, that some viewers were shocked to learn they were part of another DMA whose channels they hardly watched!

Sometimes its good to have 2 network affiliates when one pre-empts network shows for something else, that way you still have an alternative.

The signifcant viewed list that Dish Network is using is back from the 70s and not even accurate today. Specific counties are getting significantly viewed channels in a DMA while neighboring counties in the same DMA that receive the stations on cable, aren't getting the SV channels on satellite because that old 70s list doesn't list a particular station for their county.

#12 OFFLINE   KyL416

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 09:57 AM

heh, Pike County in Pennsylvania is a perfect example of that. They are part of the NYC Market, which has absolutely no coverage of news for that county. While the stations in the Wilke-Barre/Scranton market, which they can't get on Satellite, frequently cover ongoings for Pike County.

#13 OFFLINE   Greg Bimson

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 10:56 AM

I think these issues have become so convoluted by the advance of business and technology that's its time to scrap all of those obsolete regulations. Either write one law that fits all or just let the marketplace determine the course of events.

Understand that there are different issues at work, here.

Cable television has always maintained the ability to retransmit local channels. This even includes a 1968 Supreme Court decision that allowed cablers copyright exemptions for retransmission of terrestrial channels. Of course, there were some other rules that had to be followed.

Satellite television never received that kind of copyright exemption. So, Congress had to grant the satellite companies some kind of exemption: in 1988, it was for distant network service, and in 1999, it was for local channel rebroadcasting.

So, remember that cable television has 50+ years of regulation, legislation, and case law on its side. Satellite's local-into-local has only been available for all of SIX years.

The truth is that if the free market decided, locals would probably be off of satellite. Each station would need to redo their programming contracts with the network and the syndicators, so that the network and syndicators could determine where the signal could be resold. A rebroadcast license would then be given to the station for those mentioned areas, so that it could be resold to cablers and satellite companies for those mentioned areas.

It is these old business regulations, specifically copyright law, that keeps their business afloat.

#14 OFFLINE   ansky

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 11:55 AM

My situation in the NYC area is a bit different. D* actually provides me with more NYC local channels than my local cable company. With D* I get WLNY-55, WRNN-62, and WNYN-39 - none of which are available to me on cable.

#15 OFFLINE   HIPAR

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 12:04 PM

Understand that there are different issues at work, here.

A rebroadcast license would then be given to the station for those mentioned areas, so that it could be resold to cablers and satellite companies for those mentioned areas.


I obviously don't understand the inner workings of this business. But here's my simple minded take on the whole issue:

With Cable and Satellite delivering 85% of the TV, I would demand that broadcasters pay me, as a 'rebroadcaster' to deliver their content to the viewers.

--- CHAS
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#16 OFFLINE   cobalt250

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 12:25 PM

I just found the thread over in the Legislative and Regulatory Issues Forum that discusses the SV issue. The Nov 3 FCC press release from the FCC Media Bureau web page (sorry for no direct URL, I don’t have 5 posts yet) indicates that the SV list is being updated. For my situation, the current list shows Ocean County, NJ eligible for all the NY stations and one Philly station (WPVI-6). Looks like this part of the list definitely needs to be updated.

Tom

#17 OFFLINE   Greg Bimson

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 02:09 PM

With Cable and Satellite delivering 85% of the TV, I would demand that broadcasters pay me, as a 'rebroadcaster' to deliver their content to the viewers.

Yes, but without these popular OTA channels, one would suspect the 85 percent would go to about 45 percent. Now who needs the carriage more?

There was a study done in the early 1990's. Over 50 percent of people surveyed believed that if their OTA channels were removed from their cable system, their bill should be halved. Now who needs the carriage more?

Satellite companies in the late 1990's claimed they needed local channels to compete more effectively with cable. Once the SHVIA was passed to enable the retransmission of local channels on satellite, the DBS companies went from around 9 million subscribers to 25 million subscribers in six years. Now who needs the carriage more?

#18 OFFLINE   Link

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 02:41 PM

Satellite companies in the late 1990's claimed they needed local channels to compete more effectively with cable. Once the SHVIA was passed to enable the retransmission of local channels on satellite, the DBS companies went from around 9 million subscribers to 25 million subscribers in six years. Now who needs the carriage more?


Yes I agree with that. Back when we got Directv in the mid-90s we dropped cable knowing we'd get distant networks East and West coast of ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox. That was the main thing that sold me on getting satellite was to get east/west networks. Our local stations weren't that great so it was nice to finally get more syndicated shows from different areas in the country.

But when they changed the laws regarding distant networks and you couldn't have them without waivers, many people stopped getting satellite and wouldn't switch because they didn't want to mess with an antenna to get the local networks.

It wasn't until the past few years when satellite got local stations, then more people started dropping cable because they could get the networks on the satellite.

One thing I don't understand is why satellite companies didn't start devleoping receivers with off air tuners sooner. That way it would have been easier to incorporate your locals with the dish receiver and not been such a hassle for people to switch it to antenna to the dish receiver. I know to some that doesn't seem like such a chore but it is for people who were used to having all the channels on one cable box.

Another thing that keeps people on cable around my area is the fact that you pay $45-$50 for basic service and you can have it on as many TVs throughout your home without messing with extra boxes or additional outlet fees.

#19 OFFLINE   nmstough

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Posted 20 December 2005 - 02:47 PM

One thing I don't understand is why satellite companies didn't start devleoping receivers with off air tuners sooner. That way it would have been easier to incorporate your locals with the dish receiver and not been such a hassle for people to switch it to antenna to the dish receiver. I know to some that doesn't seem like such a chore but it is for people who were used to having all the channels on one cable box.


The first DirecTV receiver I ever owned (about 2000) had an input for OTA SD antenna and I picked up my locals that way until I got tired of having to tweak my indoor antenna constantly and switched to getting locals off the satellite.

#20 OFFLINE   westwood wizard

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 08:20 PM

Another thing that keeps people on cable around my area is the fact that you pay $45-$50 for basic service and you can have it on as many TVs throughout your home without messing with extra boxes or additional outlet fees.


Sorry. I just took part of your quote because for your point that in some ways satellite remains more expensive in comparison to cable for the very reason you cited. Most people still spend most of their time watching the first 75 channels or so that are normally available through the analog service without the need for an additional box and hence fee. This is great when you want to have televisions in secondary rooms such as a guest room.

With Directv and Dish Network, you have to get a set top box of course for each room so the additional outlet fees do add up when you are looking at a typical 4 television house. I know about Dish Network's dual tuner which does help but Directv has no such offering.




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