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What do you think boosted DBS to where it is now?
Posted 15 December 2001 - 10:51 PM
I think people bought into DBS for the promise of better picture quality and better variety of programming. Cable systems back in the mid 90's were price gouging the consumer pretty badly. The cable system here had only about 50 channels including locals and were charging over $35 a month. On top of the lousy selection of channels came a noisy picture and just all around bad service.
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Posted 15 December 2001 - 11:39 PM
Hi Chris. I agree with your points on value, picture quality, and variety but would add a couple more.
I know I've mentioned Primestar a couple of times here but they were IMO the best available for some time...let me clarify that..as an all-around company.
One of the things that they brought to the table was outstanding customer service. When you compared their customer service to that of cable companies, and even the dbs providers, Primestar won hands down. It was part of the reason they were the fastest growing dbs provider and the fact that they had won several awards.
Innovative pricing schemes comes to mind as well. The deals on hardware and set-up by any of the dbs companies was unmatched by cable.
Last but not least I would include availability. DBS did, and still does, find huge favor amongst those in the rural areas. You can drive 500 ft outside of many towns or cities and not be served by cable so DBS finds a following there too. J
Posted 16 December 2001 - 09:22 AM
I agree with everything said. P* was a huge factor in the growth of DBS, even though technically they werent a DBS provider. D*/USSB started out as a a competitor to P* and a few years later bought them out leaving E* and D* to compete. # of channels and lower $$ were the big thing. 100 channels for $28.99/month on E* or 45 channels on TW for $35/month. Every year cable went up. When I first moved into this house back in '89 (ya I was 4 years old but I asked my mom to verfiy this) cable was $26.50/month. Then on 12/27/98 we gave TW the boot and got E*.
Posted 17 December 2001 - 12:23 AM
Ya know Steve every now and again there are things that happen that make you wonder about whether true justice exists in the universe.
Consider if several years ago Primestar/TW's request for a high power satellite feed had been granted. I'm mean they were already the fastest growing provider, the lowest cost of the "big 3", and had the highest rated customer service. Going high power would've also instantly negated all of those "Primestar has a big ugly dish" comments.
Don't get me wrong I at least in part understood the reasoning due to TW's interests in cable but I do think those could've and _should've_ been worked around. Still we see the approval of AOL and TW, and now we see the possible merger of E* and DTV. Right now I'd be thrilled to have a Primestar alternative out there. That would be justice. Then again had they never left I would've never had the <puke> pleasure of the DishPlayer experience these past two and a half years. J
Posted 17 December 2001 - 07:35 AM
P did have its place but was hamstrung intentionally by cable to prevent it from competing with existing cable systems. It was designed for RURAL areas only, where cable didnt exist. They didnt invest in the infrastructure of more solts and channels till the end, and were denied that because of their cable ownership.
Now LIL, overwhelming channel slot and carriage growth, and features driven largely by E have taken the industry to near mainstream.
The DP was the first PVR device on the market. Unfortunately its a bug ridden mess but still its a leader.
PQ jut doesnt sell as well as carriage, more channels drove me to DBS
Posted 17 December 2001 - 07:57 AM
First to answer this, there are two main reasons a new competing business succeeds. 1st, people are not happy with their present business they use and/or 2nd, the new competing business offers or is at least is perceived to offer something people want and are not getting already.
(For a few like most at these forums - the need for new technology/toys plays a factor also)
I think the DBS providers had both these things going for it. (And still do) For many if not most people, cable PQ is not as good as DBS, even though many complain about the DBS PQ.(And sometimes rightly so) and again for many if not most cable is costs more and you still get less. Cable is making some gain by starting to go digital and adding more channels, but still has a way to go.
What is most interesting about this question is, it leads to what could happen if Dish/DTV combine. If there is a need in the market as described above, someone will eventually come forward with a competing service to the combined Dish-Dtv. It could be a new technology, or an improved version of the existing one. This happens all the time in the United States and is why I am not opposed to the pending merger. Either they will give us service we like or something else will come along to compete.
Posted 18 December 2001 - 01:29 AM
Hi Bob. I'm pretty sure that if I sifted through some old boxes that I could come up with the channel offerings from a few years back for all of the big three. As I recall P* had a better offering before the purchase by Hughes was announced than did Dish Network although DTV did edge them by a bit and mostly with obscure programming. If they were tied by TW's cable interests it certainly wasn't the case when compared to Charter Communications at that time.
I also agree that P* was initially targeted towards the rural communities but it certainly didn't end up that way unless you want to lump towns and cities of between 10,000 and 25,000 together as being rural 8-)
I absolutely agree with your assertion that carriage plays a more important role than does PQ. People want bang for the buck. That being said we are now at a stage where there aren't any "must have" channels to be added. New channels being added, aside from locals, are a joke IMO.
I still believe that DBS providers should exploit their clear advantages over cable. With the explosion in dvd sales, pvr sales picking up, A/V receivers/home theater systems dramatically on the rise, it only makes sense to promote having more digital channels than cable, better audio than cable etc.
The DP a leader? A pioneer maybe, but not a leader. They were finally passed in sales effective January this year by TiVo. If they've been surpassed by ReplayTV I would'nt know as Sonic Blue has yet(to my knowledge) officially release their numbers. The only other thing I consider the DP aside from being a huge waste of an opportunity, is a good example to the rest of the industry of how not to handle a product 8-) J
Posted 18 December 2001 - 01:38 AM
Tampa I haven't seen a lot of people chomping at the bit to enter the dbs market. There was clearly enough demand on the consumers part to support three providers yet after Primestar was purchased no one stepped forward here in the states to replace them.
I do agree that a new competitor _could_ take advantage of more recent advances in technology. It seems that transmission technology is growing by leaps and bounds these days so I'm sure someone could create a new service using more advanced technologies.
The question is who and how. Do they go with regional offerings and grow? Would they be able to secure the financing to make it through the lean years? Will it be big companies or small ones? I for one could see the merger between E* and DTV as pushing MS into spending some cash to help someone launch a new satellite service because if Chuck runs a newly merged company you can bet the farm that MS isn't going to be involved in any of his products. Then you have to ask yourself if you want the likes of MS providing your satellite signal.....I've seen their software crash cable, have seen enough Pink Screens of Death on my DP to last me a lifetime, I'm not sure I'd want them behind the delivery lol J
Posted 18 December 2001 - 06:49 AM
I know sooo many people who are rushing to D* over E* just because of the $99 DirectTiVo. Even people who were not thinking seriously about DBS when they hear the DirectTiVo is effectively the same as the SA TiVo but with no PQ loss and has Dual Tuners (for $99) that has sold many of my friends that were sitting on the bench.
Posted 19 December 2001 - 04:10 PM
I think the factors are in this order:
1. DBS pricing of service was significanly lower than cable in most places. Nonethe less, there are probably plenty of folks, like me, who are now spending far more on DBS services than they would have ever thought of spending with their cable compaany.
2. Offering of several channels not available on cable. Distant nets (from PT24) superstations (from E*) foreign channels, NFLST DirecTV). Unique channels like Sci-fi, Animal Planet, Fox Sports World, multiplex HBO, SHOWTIME, TMC, Starz.
3. A chance to get back at the cable companies. My son-in-law loves to tout his DBS system when teh cable salesman comes to the door.
4. Convenience over BUD for rural subs. No more long waits for for channel changes. Second, third, and fourth receivers for 5 bucksd a piece rather than full subscriptions.
5. PQ - While perhaps not as good as it once was, it still remains better than most cable systems, especially on the analog systems.
6. Novelty - The first DBS subs could amaze their friends and neighbors by being the first "kids on hte block" with an alternative to cable... and it looked great too.
I am sure that LIL also brought in a second wave of subs after SHVIA was passed.