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DirecTV going back to OTA for locals?

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by mnassour, May 16, 2013.

  1. May 22, 2013 #81 of 142
    tonyd79

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    I will give you a recent example.

    In Boston after the Marathon bombing, they turned off cell phone access because they were afraid it was being used to set off the bombs. So, millions of people in the middle of a city are cut off from information and in the grip of terror.

    I will give you more. Cell phone towers often go out in hurricanes or tornadoes. Yet all you need to watch DirecTV is power at your house.

    Not a good plan.

    Cell phones are not reliable in all cases. Not to mention that your plan would put a much larger burden on the cell phone networks as they are not broadcast. Then you get the condition of the football game I was mentioning. A stadium of 70,000 easily knocks out multiple carriers in that location. Say half of them are using data (they are not, more like 1/5) and there are three major carriers. That means 10,000 users are knocking out a cell.

    The idea is not a bad one, it is just no where near where we are with the technology and the penetration of that technology (like little old ladies who just want to turn on their TV and watch the weather, etc.).
     
  2. May 22, 2013 #82 of 142
    slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    You have to be tuned to one of your locals for Directv to be useful during emergencies. If you're watching HBO or ESPN, or a recording for that matter, how exactly are you going to learn about the emergency? If you already know about the emergency, you can turn to a local station and get information, so without locals Directv wouldn't be of much help. But you could also use the Internet, your cell phone, your landline if you still have one, or a radio. Radio is still the best way to get information during emergencies because just about everyone owns a car which has a radio that doesn't need utility power! If the emergency takes out your power, Directv is no help unless you have a generator.

    Rather than worrying about locals support on Directv for emergency alerts, if you really care about this get them to support the EAS system that cable companies all have to now. Personally I hate this crap, and I'd view it as a feature in favor of Directv that it didn't have them if I was able to get Directv at my house. If you want it though, and push them and/or congress hard enough, Directv could implement it using the same spotbeams they use to deliver locals, along with your account's zip code as saved on your access cards, to send EAS warnings to your receivers. The constant stream of nonsense warnings will likely cause you to not pay attention when a real emergency finally happens. I know I probably won't, since where I live I get hundreds (no, I'm not joking or exaggerating) of EAS warnings every year. Be glad you have Directv and don't see this crap!
     
  3. May 22, 2013 #83 of 142
    bobcamp1

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    They didn't intentionally turn off the service. It was immediately overwhelmed. It just proves your point even more.

    Cell providers will only guarantee a text message will arrive within 24 hours of when it was sent. Which is why doctors still use pagers.

    Still, if you subscribe to local channels, or you entered your zip code on your unit correctly, D* knows where you live and could send out emergency notices. Logistically it would be difficult, but the technology is there.
     
  4. May 22, 2013 #84 of 142
    1948GG

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    So... the upshot is...

    All the work they did taking OUT the OTA tuners from both the DVR's and Receivers a few years ago was for naught, since they now come to the conclusion that they 'may' want it back in.

    Real Smart Thinking.

    BUT, those of use who (myself) that when it was announced that they were taking out the OTA, who immediately bought up boxes that still had it (I have the 'original' HR20-700 and went out and got 2 HR20-100's) knew that the tuner in them was several generations back, and when A/B'd to newer ATSC/HD tv's they (the newer tv's) performed hands down better off the same antenna input.

    So, they'll need do two things (that folks here have pointed out), get the antenna OUTSIDE at the dish, and second, get the best design tuner. Most folks don't live in New Jersey or Kansas (both flat as a pancake over most of the terrain). And most broadcasters 'tune' their broadcast array's to 'point' their power in the direction of the most potential viewers.

    So, if done right, it'd be a good thing to 'bring back'. But again, it does make the original decision to take it out look pretty dumb (and don't talk about the AM21, it's just a poor an ATSC tuner as the original 'built-in's).
     
  5. May 22, 2013 #85 of 142
    carl6

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    As bobcamp1 noted, they did not turn off cell service, the system was simply overwhelmed by call volume. Cell phones are absolutely NOT a reliable source of communications following any disaster. While it is perhaps technically possible to shut down cell service, it is no small matter to actually do so. And if they (the carriers) were to actually do so, it would take a considerable amount of time and effort to restore service. It is not as simple as flipping a switch. Texting is marginally better than voice cell service, because your phone will hold the message until it can get a slice of airtime to pass it (unlike voice which must have the airtime live in order to work). That is of course, assuming the infrastructure itself is undamaged (there is a cell tower your phone can actually connect to).
     
  6. May 22, 2013 #86 of 142
    tonyd79

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    You said we were talking only about EAS? (Which I believe they do have.) what about the hours of local information during snow storms and hurricanes, terror attacks, tornados, etc? The person who said locals were useless said use cell phones. Won't work.
     
  7. May 22, 2013 #87 of 142
    peds48

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    Then you are in the "minority" lol
     
  8. May 22, 2013 #88 of 142
    slice1900

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    Who says they'd put tuners back in the receivers if they decided to support OTA? Tuners could be located in the SWM module to deliver OTA via SWM, or the AM21 could be shrunk to the size of a pack of cards that plugs into and is powered from a receiver's USB port.

    The reason why Directv dropped OTA is because of the ATSC licensing costs, which are rumored to be $20-$40 per device. So coming up with a solution that doesn't require tuners in every receiver would be highly desirable from their standpoint. You want to create one device with multiple (at least 4, to compete well with Hopper) ATSC tuners that can deliver the content to receivers without OTA tuners. Either over a SWM channel just like satellite if the tuner is in the SWM, or attached to the back of one receiver and shared with others over DECA.
     
  9. May 23, 2013 #89 of 142
    mkdtv21

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    What would Directv do with all the freed bandwidth.
     
  10. May 23, 2013 #90 of 142
    slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    There wouldn't be any freed bandwidth, they'd still offer the locals via satellite, the OTA solution would just be an option. There's no way Directv could entirely stop broadcasting locals via satellite, there are too many customers who have no other ways to receive them.

    They'd just have to figure out a way to encourage customers to adopt their OTA solution. They could charge more for getting the locals via satellite, for instance. Or they could have a hybrid solution where the OTA solution would use whatever locals it could pull in for free at a good signal level, and get the rest via satellite. That way customers don't lose anything - in fact most would gain locals they previously didn't have - but Directv still has fewer customers relying on them for a given local station, thereby gaining a better bargaining position when negotiation time rolls around.
     
  11. May 23, 2013 #91 of 142
    MysteryMan

    MysteryMan Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

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    Wrong! That makes me part of that sizeable part of the population that doesn't live near a city. My house is located off a state route. Time Warner ran their cable along that state route but not any of the roads that run off of it. I was able to acquire their service and have Road Runner for my internet provider.
     
  12. May 23, 2013 #92 of 142
    damondlt

    damondlt New Member

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    My Cell phone had no problem letting me know about the severe weather in my county 5 times yesterday.

    My Directv Genie, didn't flip over to my local networks to show me the alerts, Nor did the receiver walk down the steps outside while I was in my office to warn me about the Severe Thunderstorm warning that hit last night.

    So when I went up to the house to close the windows, I said maybe I should check the TV , OH but Guess what. "Searching for Satellite"
    OH yea forgot if there are any Storms coming from the southern Sky NO Directv.
    Better keep that in mind when you have only a 10 minute warning to get into your basement.
     
  13. May 23, 2013 #93 of 142
    Mike Greer

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    Not sure what the big deal is. DirecTV should not agree to pay blanket fees to broadcasters. It should be per sub and that cost should be passed on only to those that actually subscribe their locals. Of course DirecTV would have to make changes so that the locals are billed separately.

    Obviously not everyone can use OTA but millions can. I would use OTA with no problem although it would be nice if DirecTV updated their equipment to make it easier. Seems kind of nuts to have an OTA tuner twice the size of the HR44 or 4 times the size of the H25 receivers. A new OTA module similar to what Dish Network does is long overdue from DirecTV. Being able to scan for OTA channels is also a no-brainer.
     
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  14. May 23, 2013 #94 of 142
    Draconis

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    Another article on it.

    http://broadcastengineering.com/ott/directv-considers-rf-antennas-challenge-broadcast-retrans-fees

    I'm curious if they are talking about the AM21 or if there is a new IRD coming that has the antenna built in.

    I have seen something like this coming for a long time. Having to pay the local providers to rebroadcast their content to people (while maintaining the cost of the rebroadcasting equipment) never made financial sense to me. Especially when many people can get the same channels (or more) with a AM21 and an antenna.

    The only problem I can see with this is that you cannot guarantee reception from a OTA.
     
  15. May 23, 2013 #95 of 142
    bobcamp1

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    Having worked in the cellular industry for a long time, I can honestly say you have no idea what you're talking about there. I recently had a text message take 18 hours to get to me, and I was in an area with good coverage with no local event that would cause an increase in volume. The message simply didn't get to my phone for 18 hours. Of course, most of my other messages DO get there within 5-10 minutes or so. But SMS is only 98% reliable. That 2% will kill you. Which is why doctors still use pagers.

    But you ARE correct about the weather disrupting the satellite signal when you might need it most. But weather also disrupts the ATSC signal -- I've had problems in recent days getting a good signal with all the thunderstorms that have been around. Even a gusty day can wreak havoc.

    Since no one method is 100% reliable, you need to use as many methods as you can. Which should include DBS. But there's no need for an antenna for THAT. If they can send you local weather on The Weather Channel, they can incorporate EAS just like cable does. They aren't doing it because they have a waiver from the FCC.

    As a side note, some of my channels are not available in HD OTA but are available in HD with cable and satellite. Which is why very few people here use an antenna.
     
  16. May 23, 2013 #96 of 142
    Mike Greer

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    Wow - that's nuts! A broadcaster that doesn't broadcast in HD but invested in the equipment to do HD over cable and satellite? What kind of programming do they have?
     
  17. May 23, 2013 #97 of 142
    Cyber36

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    I do. I like to exercise ALL my options, the cheapest way possible. After all, its only tv............
     
  18. May 23, 2013 #98 of 142
    HoTat2

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    Some stations have duel goals I suppose;

    For instance I've got one local station here in the LA market, KJLA-57, which does that;

    The reason being they wish to use their OTA spectrum for many SD sub-channels, 10 (1 main and 9 secondary). with most of the secondaries carrying Chinese and Vietnamese programming. Yet DIRECTV and other MSOs carry a 720p HD feed of their main sub. 57-1 sent to them directly by fiber or microwave.
     
  19. May 23, 2013 #99 of 142
    slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    If you work n the cellular industry then you know that if the government were serious about sending emergency alerts out via cell phone (which it seems like Europe already is and the US is getting on board with) they'll use Cell Broadcast, not SMS. The capability is in most recent phones but not fully enabled on many of them because currently carriers aren't using it to provide any meaningful information yet.

    You can never rely on a single solution for emergency notification. Even if cellular notification was a perfect solution, it requires the person to own a cell phone. Some don't. If you rely on local TV stations, it requires the person to own a TV. My brother doesn't. And so on.

    Personally, I dread the full implementation of Cell Broadcast. I fear that government regulations will make it work like EAS where it isn't permitted to have a way to disable it. If my phone is going to wake me up every time there is a severe storm warning, I'll keep it in another room if there's no way to shut it up.
     
  20. Mike Greer

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    I guess that makes sense for them.... But that has to be a tiny minority of local channels and could still continue as-is for someone that wants to pay DirecTV for locals.
     

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