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DirecTV going back to OTA for locals?

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

  1. HoTat2

    HoTat2 Hall Of Fame

    Nov 16, 2005
    Not sure if that would be practical.

    Since each receiver is assigned its own SWiM channel for programming, you would need an available off-air ATSC tuner for each SWiM program channel. So that's as much as 8 ATSC tuners for a SWiM LNB or SWiM-8 outboard module and 16 for a SWiM-16 outboard module.
  2. Drucifer

    Drucifer Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2009
    NY Hudson...
    Depends on definition of city. Being an ex-NYC, myself, my idea of a city is a lot larger then someone who grew up in Wilmington, Vermont.
  3. CCarncross

    CCarncross Hall Of Fame

    Jul 19, 2005
    If this ever becomes a reality I'm covered. I rarely ever tune to the recently add HD locals via sat, and continue to use my OTA locals.....never a missed recording due to weather, unless it takes out the power....why not use the OTA versions? Ever SL for a network show on all 3 of DVR's is setup for the OTA version...For those that have the option, it seems silly not to use it.
  4. wilbur_the_goose

    wilbur_the_goose Hall Of Fame

    Aug 16, 2006
    If you're like me in Philly, OTA is hit or miss due to the hills.
  5. tnnolman

    tnnolman Cool Member

    Aug 9, 2009
    Stupidest thing I ever heard of. where do you think subs will get their local signals? I have 2 amplified sets of rabbit ears and the one the back cannot pick up PBS out of nashville. this is why LIL was formed for subs to watch those networks. Somehow I hope this not happen but we do need retrans reform right away.
  6. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

    Feb 14, 2013
    They wouldn't have to be able to allow people to watch 8/16 different locals at once. I would think that a limitation of perhaps 5 locals (with tuners able to be shared if more than one TV is watching the same thing) would cover 99% of people. Those who have a problem with it could stick with the satellite delivered locals, and risk paying more and more every year if the stations keep successfully forcing the providers to pay more.

    Five tuners isn't a problem, that's a single chip these days. Actually, for all I know 8 or even 16 tuners is a single chip nowadays, so maybe it would be possible to do what you say.
  7. Mike Greer

    Mike Greer Hall Of Fame

    Jan 20, 2004
    Salt Lake...
    It's not like they would ever do away with the locals but those of us that have no problem getting OTA (the majority I suspect) could save ourselves and DirecTV money. The more people that use OTA the less power the broadcasters will have.
    1 person likes this.
  8. cypherx

    cypherx Hall Of Fame

    Aug 27, 2010
    PA - Berks...
    I'd like to see a QAM tuner built in. I can't get anything OTA here unless I spend a bunch on a large unsightly antenna and amplifier.

    Though with the cable feed, they provide all the locals in HD, plus QVC HD, HSN HD, many SD feeds like Music Choice, SWRV and the whole "expanded basic" SD lineup that has better picture quality than DirecTV's SD feeds. Anyway it's nice to have QAM as a backup and if it could be integrated into a DirecTV DVR for recording and not having to switch inputs.
  9. mnassour

    mnassour Icon

    Apr 23, 2002
    Well, as was said earlier, a lot of this is probably "sabre rattling". But...it IS a large sabre.

    First of all, DirecTV, as well as Dish, already has the technology in place. Yes, it does need to be tweaked, as in the case of the barely-adequate AM21 (of which I own two), but it is in place.

    Second, Direct is going to have to get the station groups to agree to payments based on a per sub model, rather than a blanket fee.

    Third, LIL transmissions will have to continue for those who are outside of the OTA signals assuming it is cost-effective for DirecTV to do so. If there is a market where DirecTV is losing money on LIL, due to high payments and low take rates due to many subs having OTA capability, watch for it to shut down LIL in a moment. Those subs will have to either go to Dish (assuming LIL is available there), put up larger antennas, or do without. Let's face it...local television service is not a right, it's simply been made easier in this age where LIL can be delivered via satellite. I really think it would be a tragedy if millions of us were deprived of local stations due to providers dropping them due to increased retrans costs, but it's not the provider's fault. You can blame your local station's owner for being...well...greedy.
  10. tonyd79

    tonyd79 Hall Of Fame

    Jul 24, 2006
    Columbia, MD
    I don't think it is a large saber at all. The vast, vast majority of users do not want to add an antenna. In many places, the antenna needs to be much larger than the dish (almost everywhere, actually). OTA needs to be directional because of signal strengths but weak and strong, so you can't just slap a omni directional antenna on a dish and expect it to work. And through all that, it may not work well enough or consistently enough. So, you are going to try to explain this to the average customer and make them jump through hoops? I don't think so. I can see the ad campaigns now from cable. They would get slaughtered. So, you save a couple of bucks per sub but you lose a nice chunk of customers because of the cumbersomeness of the whole thing.

    Meanwhile, you have to get local stations to agree to a reasonable cost per sub. Who says they will do that? You are asking them to cut themselves with their own sword. If you tell them, well, 1/3 of your market chose to go OTA, so we want to pay you 1/3 less, what makes you think they are going to say "okey dokey, we will happily take the cut?"

    The only way the saber is going to do any good is the threat of not needing to pay the locals AT ALL. And that is not going to happen unless DirecTV wants to become Zoom.

    Oh, and local TV is a right, sort of. That is what the license says. It may not be a right to be delivered via satellite (actually, to some degree, it is) but it is a right. OTA stations cannot block your signal OTA, so it makes it a right.
  11. mnassour

    mnassour Icon

    Apr 23, 2002
    Good points, yes, but above all, DirecTV will not provide any service on which it loses money. I think that was made clear in the BE article referenced above. And since none of really know whether DirecTV is paying a flat rate, a per sub rate, or what, it's hard to make judgments at this time as to how those negotiations might proceed.

    Indeed...locals are important at the present time. But the network share of viewership overall continues to decrease. I think DirecTV believes the day is coming when locals will be only a small part of its business...and should NOT be chewing up the lion's share of money or bandwidth.

    What we do know, however, is that retrans fees are now really starting to bite into the providers profits. Each of the providers is going to be looking for new ways to cut these costs. Here in Austin, for instance, we're looking at another shootin' match between Time Warner and LIN, which is asking for a reported 50% increase for not one, not two, but three local channels. I fully expect all three to be gone from TWC at the end of the month. The big broadcasting groups apparently are well on their way to killing the golden goose of retransmission with their ever-increasing demands.

    I'm sure that DirecTV's ideal world is one in which those who want LIL pay for it and the rest of us go our merry way. But by the same token, don't expect DirecTV to continue LIL service if only, say one percent, of its viewers in a particular market sign up for it. That's what I mean by saying we have no "right" to local TV, as reception, of course, depends on where you live.
  12. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

    Feb 14, 2013
    One other alternative would be for them to do exactly what Aereo is doing. Put up a bunch of tiny antennas near the transmitter sites, market by market, and stream the feed to each customer from "their" antenna via the Internet. Between that, and some sort of OTA solution, they could cover almost everyone.

    As for those who can't use either solution, because they live out in the sticks far from OTA transmitters and without decent Internet service, if their number is small enough Directv might be willing to lose them if push came to shove. Things aren't close to that point yet, but someday if the local stations keep pressing for more and more money, they might be.

    Maybe instead of Hulu, Directv should buy Aereo. That would certainly put a little fear into the local stations. Maybe the threat of doing a full scale rollout of that technology would be enough that they don't have to actually do it.
  13. AMike

    AMike Godfather

    Nov 21, 2005
    Aereo is coming here to metro Atlanta next month. I'm curious to see how that will work in terms of picture quality via the Roku, but it will likely not drive me to cut the cords that I currently have to receive local channels.
  14. damondlt

    damondlt New Member

    Feb 27, 2006
    Clean out your inbox on your cell phone Or maybe you should upgrade that Cellular One bag phone!!

    Channels that are in HD on cable and Satellite, but not OTA???? By available you mean can't receive? Because Directv can't make a channel HD if its not already.
    Also 2% really what you think TV has a less margin of error.

    2 times last year once in the Ice storm and once during our hurricane, Our local networks towers we either brought down or malfunctioned because of the weather. Cell phones is all we had!
    TV the most reliable source, Ha that's a laugh!

    By the way over 50 million use OTA in the USA.
    And I don't know what I'm talking about.
  15. damondlt

    damondlt New Member

    Feb 27, 2006
    I do agree with you on this!

    Which is why I stated I'm all for a cost saving method, I may not like it . But for me , I don't need my DMA's locals for emergency alert. Programming well I would find another way to get it.
  16. damondlt

    damondlt New Member

    Feb 27, 2006
  17. Herdfan

    Herdfan Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2006
    I would think the large markets would be a better fit for this. Most people who live inside the city limits of a large (top 30) markets can probably get a useable signal with a hanger as an antenna ;) . I don't see DirecTV getting rid of markets served via satellite, but if they can lower their costs by moving some subs, or even threatening to move some subs, to OTA then they might just do it.

    I mentioned an antenna in a STB simply because DirecTV would have some work to do to integrate OTA signals into a SWM/WHDVR system.
  18. mnassour

    mnassour Icon

    Apr 23, 2002
    Right...once again, I should have been more specific. I don't take "marginal" to mean small. I take marginal to mean not terribly profitable. For instance, if here in Austin DirecTV is having to pay more for local channels than it's worth to the company, it might be more economical to go the Dish route and start installing OTA boxes and antennas for customers. Of course, not everyone could be served like this. If it's only one person, and they drop DirecTV, well, no big deal. If it's 90% of the customer base, well, then, that's something else!

    Direct is just exploring all the options it has to cut down on this gouging by large corporations for retrans rights. We're only at the beginning of a hundred mile journey on this one.
  19. KyL416

    KyL416 Hall Of Fame

    Nov 10, 2005
    Tobyhanna, PA
    There are several channels out there that only have the HD feed available via a fiber link to the cable or satellite provider but not OTA. Usually it's in smaller markets where during the analog era they never had a full time local affiliate of one of the networks and launched one in SD using a subchannel while the HD feed is exclusive to cable and satellite.

    There's also another example listed in this thread of a station that uses all of its subchannels for various ethnic programming while the HD feed of the main channel is only available on cable and satellite.

    Our local MyNetworkTV affiliate does it too but they have more of a complicated history. Because of the shape of our market, most of the stations are in the northeast corner of it and reception of the stations is hard in Central PA. Up until the launch of MyNetworkTV it was the central PA repeater of the local WB station (we never had a full time UPN station). Instead of carrying the HD feed of MyNetworkTV OTA, they have it in SD on the main channel, while the second subchannel of that station has the local Fox station in HD for central PA viewers and the third subchannel is a SD simulcast of our CW affiliate.
  20. kenglish

    kenglish Icon

    Oct 2, 2004
    Salt Lake...
    Actually, doing the OTA RF amplification and the heterodyne tuning right at the antenna is the best way to go. It keeps the noise factor down, and allows you to run an I.F. frequency down to the (rest of the) receiver. It would be very much like a SWM.
    Also, the DTV standards already have a provision for a SmartAntenna, which electrically re-orients itself for each channel coming from different directions.

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