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Getting local channels via DBS -- not DNS


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21 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   Skapare

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 02:48 AM

I'm wondering if anyone can comment on this situation. I want to drop Comcast and go with a DBS provider (so far, undecided). But I also want to get my local channels. But of course, there is a catch.

I live in DMA 154, but, due to hill shadowing, I cannot get any of the stations (7,9,28) from that DMA (I can't even see a sync bar). I live about 5 miles from DMA 22 and can get most of those stations OTA (2,4,11,13,22,53). The picture is snowy with a small antenna, and would require a large antenna to make decent (but I don't want to have a large antenna, and it would exceed the size OTARD protects, anyway). I've only tested this with analog since I don't have a DTV receiver. Comcast carries the affiliates from both DMA 154 and DMA 22 in this area. But only the DMA 22 affiliates are on the DBS local-in-local services.

I've called both DirecTV and Dish Network to inquire about getting my local channels. Almost everyone I talk to there seems to confuse the issue with wanting distant network stations. Of course the real complication is that neither of them carry the stations from the DMA I actually live in. If Comcast can bring DMA 22 into DMA 154, why not the DBS providers? Based on some faked zip codes I qualified it seems I should be well within the DMA 22 spot beam ... unless the spot is shaped funny or something.

Some funny things I've gotten from people there is that they are saying I would need to get waivers from ... and they give me a list of stations including some of the DMA 22 stations. Why would I need to get a waiver from a station that I actually want to receive, but that they won't provide even though I think they could? I think it's yet another case of confused customer support people.

Most of the finger pointing blame seems to be aimed at the networks themselves. But this situation would otherwise leave me receiving absolutely no network affiliates (I do not want the New York or LA stations). I'd think they would like for more people to receive the network programming. But just because I can't get my own DMA 154 at all, they wouldn't want to let me have DMA 22 as an alternative, at least until maybe DMA 154 might get on the satellite some day?

Since Comcast can deliver me DMA 154 and DMA 22 combined, is it the networks saying "because you can't get DMA 154, we don't want you to get DMA 22"? Obviously things got worked out in some way for Comcast to do that. But is it because they can deliver DMA 154 with DMA 22 that allows that?

During one of the phone calls to one of the DBS providers, I was talking to a supervisor. He said something I think was interesting because I never actually asked about it. He said "We do have a big service theft problem, including a lot of people that give us the wrong address to try to get local stations in a different area, but we have no control over that". Was he possibly trying to give me a subtle suggestion?

Anyone know just how wide these local-in-local spot beams really are?

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#2 OFFLINE   FTA Michael

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 07:34 AM

I don't want to have a large antenna, and it would exceed the size OTARD protects, anyway

I can't speak to whether you want it, but OTARD protects pretty much any antenna that is necessary to pick up a particular OTA signal. Even if the mast is over 12 feet, then local folks can act only to make sure it's constructed safely and correctly. And that all assumes that it's in your exclusive use area, and that you don't live in a historic building, and minor exceptions like those.
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#3 OFFLINE   crmartin

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 07:41 AM

I live probably 50 miles away from you in Ohio and I just barely live in the Cleveland DMA#16, 5 miles to the south and the east and I am in the Wheeling/Stubenville DMA #154 and 5 miles to the west and I am at the Columbus DMA, I would think dish would soon carry WTRF, WTOV, and WOUC soon because they already have markets in the mid 100's in the DMA count, but even if your dma is up, you probably wont get an ABC or Fox unless they give you signifigantly viewed channels from Pittsburg.

#4 OFFLINE   Tower Guy

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 05:18 PM

I assume that the cable system can deliver the market 22 stations to you because you live in a county where the Pittsburg stations are significantly viewed. The DBS companies also have the legal right to deliver significantly viewed stations, but only if they also transmit market 154 local stations to you. Yet very few counties have actually been allowed by E* or D* to receive significantly viewed stations. Just like sports blackouts, E* and D* must offer network non-dup protection, as well as syndicated exclusivity. It seems to me that E* and D* are postering because the FCC did not grant them "carte blanch" with significantly viewed, so they are offering it in only a few instances. Because market 154 stations are not available on either E* or D* the CBS and NBC stations in market 154 must issue a waiver for you to be able to receive market 22 stations. I don't see an ABC or FOX in market 154, so legally, you should qualify for ABC and FOX without a waiver, but I doubt very much if either DBS company will sell them to you.

You have the legal right to install an antenna for over the air reception. Your homeowners association can't prevent you from installing an antenna on your own private areas. Type your address into www.antennaweb.org and see what you get. Perhaps your window or deck faces the proper direction to get Pittsburg.

If your unit has a pitched roof there may be a way to install an antenna in the attic.

Antennas can also be hidden in trees if you can find a way to get the coax to your unit without it looking conspicuous. You can even bury flooded type RG6 coax.

#5 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 03 June 2006 - 06:15 PM

Congress did a lousy job of leveling the playing field for satellite when they passed their last law. They really messed up on Significantly Viewed (SV).

Under the law, channels can force carriage on cable systems based on getting a signal to the area or proving that a significant portion of the people in that area watch their channel OTA. More likely than not channels are carried due to signal coverage. Satellite is still stuck with the defined DMAs and CANNOT carry signals from a neighboring DMA unless the home DMA is carried *AND* the station is on the SV list. Stations carried by "signal coverage" may not have applied for SV and may actually be illegal to be carried on satellite even if the signal is strong OTA.

It's a mess that congress probably won't touch until 2009 and probably will mess up just as much as they did in 2004. The good news is that the rules are better than the ones written in 1999.

#6 OFFLINE   Skapare

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Posted 04 June 2006 - 09:35 PM

How does the non-dup protection apply for significantly view adjacent market stations? I have never seen any blackout of network prime-time programming on Comcast in Wheeling of KDKA to protect WTRF, of WPXI to protect WTOV, and of WYTV to protect WTAE. That latter one is even more interesting because WYTV (ABC) is in a 3rd DMA duplicating WTAE. If these stations are so significantly viewed that even non-dup doesn't have to happen, would it still be necessary to waive out the primary market stations?

Tower Guy: If I lived in a DMA 22 county, I could get DMA 22 local channels even if I could receive them OTA. For various reasons, an OTA antenna is not an option here. But if it were an option, it might still be a snowy picture for Pittsburgh unless the antenna was expensive. But for Wheeling-Steubenville channels, the antenna would be facing straight into the side of a hill. It would probably have to go up 150 feet to get anything on those channels. I gather from your nickname, that would be the direction you'd take.

So the issue comes down to the reasons E*/D* can't or won't deliver DMA 22. One annoying aspect of this is that I can't get a straight answer from the people at the satellite companies. I've heard just about every BS story from them, so even if any one of them happened to actually tell me the truth, I wouldn't know it from them. At least a couple of them told me I could get the distant network stations (based on my confidence that a signal test would show I cannot get 7 or 9). So in theory I could have my network programming via satellite with DNS. But since DMA 22 is on the satellite, and is a SV market here, what I really want to know is, under the conditions in which they could deliver DNS to me, why can't they deliver DMA 22 in place of DNS? In particular, one person I talked to at one of the companies actually said I needed to also get waivers from the DMA 22 stations to get DNS (and when I re-iterated to him that I wanted to get DMA 22, not DNS, he became one of the BS-ers). It sure seems silly to require getting a waiver from stations that I want to receive that they could provide to me.

James Long: So basically the fact that DMA 154 isn't available makes DMA 22 denied, even if a signal test shows no receivability for all DMA 154 channels in this location?

Oh, BTW, I'd even be willing to accept DMA 102, 32, or 16, and maybe even 165 or 64, as alternatives. The objective is to get the sports designated for this region, not the sports designated for the DNS cities. If it weren't for that, I'd just be willing to go "cold turkey" on the broadcast networks (and that wouldn't be very hard to do at all, except for PBS, which I understand is available on some free-to-air satellite somewhere).

James Long: The best way to mess up anything is to let Congress do it. Still, I think I will try to bend some ears there and just see what might happen. I suspect you're right about 2009. I'm sure they will hear from a LOT of their constituents after February 17 of that year.

#7 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 09:27 AM

The rules DBS is forced to live under makes it impossible for them to give you SV stations even if you are in their Grade B or above coverage area unless you subscribe to your own market's locals. If your own market isn't offered you cannot be offered SVs.

Distants can only be offered where other stations are unavailable OTA (there is some grandfathering for original subscribers - that doesn't help you). If you are within the Grade B coverage area of a station you need waivers to get any station of that network. E* just isn't set up to offer just any station as a distant ... they have a few select cities they offer. getting their system to allow you to see that "next market over" station would be a lot easier if that market was offered as a distant.

It's a mess that won't be solved untill all markets and all SVs are available plus an act of Congress to rewrite the law to make it what it should have been (SV=Grade B or prior coverage via OTA/cable).

#8 OFFLINE   Skapare

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 10:14 AM

I could understand a rule that disallowed SV in a 2nd adjacent DMA without first getting the primary DMA. What I don't understand is when the primary DMA stations are all waived or proven unreceivable (where I would qualify for DNS if all there was for me was the primary DMA), why I can't get the 2nd DMA in lieu of the DNS. It's not that I don't believe you ... if you say this is a problem with the rules or statues. But I'd like to know how that works with the rules. I'm planning to contact congressman/senators regarding this, and I'd like to understand this process better. Maybe this thread needs to move over to the legislative forum, now.

What I would ask my congressman and senators to do is change the rule that says if I would qualify for DNS, that I can be allowed as an alternative any market deliverable within my spot footprint (I found the map of the spot contours for E*, and notice that I'm nearly dead center of the spot that covers that market I want to get), and further, if I am in grade B and/or a market is also SV, and I want that market, it is mandatory on the DBS provider to deliver it to me at the same price as for anyone else.

The part of the logic that is so silly is where I also have to get waivers from the 2nd (SV) market. If the 2nd market were also unreceiveable like the 1st, then I certainly could get DNS. I think the fundamental flaw in the law is that I'm not allowed to have the 2nd market, that is available, by my choice. The 2nd flaw is that I would even have to get waivers from any station that could be delivered that I also want to get.

What change in the law could fix this? Should I start a new thread over in the legislative forum? Note that I am only interested in fixing this aspect (to get an adjacent market that happens to be SV), not in fixing any DNS issues (those who want that should be the ones to do that). I already know someone on my congressman's staff, so I think I can get a bendable ear. I just want to be "full informed" before I try that.

#9 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 11:54 AM

Let's just move this thread to Legislative ... so the background is there.

#10 OFFLINE   Greg Bimson

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 01:59 PM

It would appear to me your problem would be solved if DirecTV or Dish Network actually carried your market, the Wheeling/Steubenville market, correct?

So, other than to fight the issues with the laws, why not complain to DirecTV and Dish Network that they aren't carrying your market. By carrying your market, perhaps DirecTV and Dish Network could get you the "significantly viewed" stations, and all would be moot, correct?

#11 OFFLINE   Tower Guy

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 07:29 PM

How does the non-dup protection apply for significantly view adjacent market stations?

Tower Guy: It would probably have to go up 150 feet to get anything on those channels. I gather from your nickname, that would be the direction you'd take.


Non-dup protection varies. A VHF station can claim 35 miles without non-dup protection, a UHF station can claim 55 miles. These mileages are the "specified zone" in the following FCC rule.

http://a257.g.akamai.../47cfr76.92.pdf

The position of the DBS companies is summarized in the following filing. They essentially claim that the "equivalent bandwidth" requirement of the rules prevent them from delivering large market stations into smaller markets because the smaller markets would be using more heavily compressed video as compared to a large market station.

http://gullfoss2.fcc...ment=6518331170

Finally; Very observant, my TV antennas are at 115' (Channel Master 4228) and 121' (Radio Shack VHF).

#12 OFFLINE   Tower Guy

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Posted 05 June 2006 - 07:39 PM

What I would ask my congressman and senators to do is change the rule that says if I would qualify for DNS, that I can be allowed as an alternative any market deliverable within my spot footprint (I found the map of the spot contours for E*, and notice that I'm nearly dead center of the spot that covers that market I want to get), and further, if I am in grade B and/or a market is also SV, and I want that market, it is mandatory on the DBS provider to deliver it to me at the same price as for anyone else.


The intent of SHVERA that was passed by Congress in December 2004 was to allow you to get any significantly viewed station in your county that is either waived by the local affiliate or there is no affiliate of that network for that market.

See paragraphs 77 and 82 of the following:

http://hraunfoss.fcc...CC-05-187A1.pdf

It seems to me that the problem lies with the DBS companies.

#13 OFFLINE   Skapare

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 08:49 PM

It would appear to me your problem would be solved if DirecTV or Dish Network actually carried your market, the Wheeling/Steubenville market, correct?

Maybe. Maybe not. There may be an issue getting a full complement of networks. The stations in DMA 154 are WTRF 7 CBS, WTOV 9 NBC/ABC, WVTX 28 UPN, and translator W41AA PBS relaying WNPB 24 Morgantown. Last I heard, WVTX will not be carrying either The CW or My Network TV in the fall.

I'd still need to get stations from the Pittsburgh market, anyway. The ones I technically won't need are KDKA 2 CBS if they deliver WTRF and WQED 13 PBS if they deliver a WV PBS station. But despite WTOV being primary NBC, it does at times drop NBC programming for ABC. I've seen it happen a few times. So WPXI 11 NBC will be needed. Other stations needed will be WPCW 19 CW (UPN until fall), WPMY 22 MNTV (WB until fall), and WPGH 53 FOX.

So what is the chance that Dishnetwork or DirecTV could get this right if they did add the DMA 154 stations to the satellite? And if they would provide some of DMA 22 to fill in the gaps, why not go ahead and provide that subset right now?

So, other than to fight the issues with the laws, why not complain to DirecTV and Dish Network that they aren't carrying your market. By carrying your market, perhaps DirecTV and Dish Network could get you the "significantly viewed" stations, and all would be moot, correct?

Complain to who? The outsourced customer service reps? I'm not sure that would solve the problem even if they did add DMA 154 stations. They's still need to provide all but 2 stations from DMA 22. If they could provide even that subset right now today, without any CBS or PBS, that would certainly be better than nothing.

#14 OFFLINE   Skapare

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Posted 07 June 2006 - 09:03 PM

The intent of SHVERA that was passed by Congress in December 2004 was to allow you to get any significantly viewed station in your county that is either waived by the local affiliate or there is no affiliate of that network for that market.

See paragraphs 77 and 82 of the following:

http://hraunfoss.fcc...CC-05-187A1.pdf

It seems to me that the problem lies with the DBS companies.

77 only applies to stations for which there is no local affiliate broadcasting that network in the market. 82 seems to be the waiver authorization.

So who do I talk to at the DBS companies to make that happen? Obviously the sales rep people won't do anything. They put my zip code into the computer and it tells them there is no LIL service for me, and that I might qualify for DNS if I can get waivers or do a signal strength test (neither of which they will initiate until after I sign up). And even then, all they would give me is NY and LA (one sales rep tried to convince me this is a good thing because they can give me both of those cities for the one local package price). But getting the local/regional network sports is an issue for my father, so DMA 1 and DMA 2 are not really viable options.

#15 OFFLINE   Greg Bimson

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 08:09 AM

So what is the chance that Dishnetwork or DirecTV could get this right if they did add the DMA 154 stations to the satellite? And if they would provide some of DMA 22 to fill in the gaps, why not go ahead and provide that subset right now?

Paragraph 80 on the report and order:

We find that a satellite carrier may retransmit a significantly viewed station to a subscriber when there is no local affiliate of the same network present in that market, provided that the subscriber subscribes to and receives the carrier's local-into-local service.

So, you cannot get significantly-viewed stations until your local service is up and running. Which of course means you need to have the Wheeling/Steubenville market up, and you need to pressure DirecTV and/or Dish Network to get the job done.

#16 OFFLINE   rnbmusicfan

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 12:56 PM

How does the non-dup protection apply for significantly view adjacent market stations? I have never seen any blackout of network prime-time programming on Comcast in Wheeling of KDKA to protect WTRF, of WPXI to protect WTOV, and of WYTV to protect WTAE. That latter one is even more interesting because WYTV (ABC) is in a 3rd DMA duplicating WTAE. If these stations are so significantly viewed that even non-dup doesn't have to happen, would it still be necessary to waive out the primary market stations?


If an out of DMA station is significantly viewed (Pittsburgh stations in Wheeling), it trumps the local in-DMA station's (the Wheeling stations) ability to get the cable system to apply network non duplication/syndicated exclusivity blackouts on the out of DMA stations (the Pittsburgh stations).

If the out of DMA station is not significantly viewed, but the cable system still carries the out of DMA station (as in means to provide a missing network affiliate typically), and the local station is within a given mile radius (as mentioned by Tower Guy) of the cable company service area, the local station has the authority to get blackouts in place, assuming the local station also has exclusivity for the shows it purchased or by the network affiliation agreement with the network.

Salisbury, MD is 100 miles from D.C. and Baltimore. There the second paragraph applies as neither D.C. or Baltimore stations are available OTA to be on SV status, but D.C. and Baltimore CBS and FOX stations fill in the network coverage on cable.

In Wheeling, the first paragraph applies.

#17 OFFLINE   rnbmusicfan

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 01:01 PM

Complain to who? The outsourced customer service reps? I'm not sure that would solve the problem even if they did add DMA 154 stations. They's still need to provide all but 2 stations from DMA 22. If they could provide even that subset right now today, without any CBS or PBS, that would certainly be better than nothing.


I wonder if Dish or DirecTV is permitted to carry just the PBS station, as a token way of getting the market up, then be able to offer SV Pittsburgh market stations, while being "in negotiation" with the main nets from Wheeling.

I would still think cable is more robust when it comes to local TV offerings. Take Zanesville, OH. Cable systems in Zanesville carrying all Columbus stations and the Zanesville NBC. DirecTV with SV doesn't offer the Columbus NBC, so the Zanesville one is exclusive, which doesn't give the viewer the option to watch the bigger market NBC affiliate (but w/cable it's not a problem).

#18 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 01:29 PM

Once E* or D* starts to carry any local station (as a local station) from a market they must offer the rest of the market's stations carriage. If the other stations choose consent to carry and then withhold their signal E* can (to the most part) ignore them. Any station that chose must carried would have to be added. PBS is defined as a must carry.

Cable has a different toolkit when it comes to adding local stations. Some things that are REQUIRED of cable are not permitted on satellite. The laws are really messed up.

#19 OFFLINE   Tower Guy

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 05:07 PM

Paragraph 80 on the report and order:So, you cannot get significantly-viewed stations until your local service is up and running. Which of course means you need to have the Wheeling/Steubenville market up, and you need to pressure DirecTV and/or Dish Network to get the job done.


You could legally get a FOX now because there is no FOX in Steubenville.

#20 OFFLINE   Greg Bimson

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Posted 13 June 2006 - 12:03 PM

However, the issue is whether or not Dish Network or DirecTV can deliver a FOX station that is local to the original poster. If the station is on the significantly-viewed list, it cannot be delivered as a "distant network". The original poster doesn't want FOX from NY, LA, Chicago, Denver or Atlanta. He wants one more local.




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