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DIRECTV HD Channel Anticipation (Official Q2 2011 Thread)

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Programming' started by Scott Kocourek, Mar 17, 2011.

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  1. maartena

    maartena Hall Of Fame

    Nov 1, 2010
    And they probably will. One problem still is the price of an HD box vs a SD box. Even though everything is mass-produced in China, HD boxes are still more expensive. I got the Free HD-DVR deal, free 2nd HD receiver, and then I could pick another SD receiver. And since I had a third, old TV..... why the hell not, it was free and an HD receiver would have cost me another $99.

    It would be more costly to DirecTV to phase out SD equipment. That said, they probably will within the next 2 to 3 years. The bigger question is.... is it *really* needed? From what I know, I think you can place 6 to 8 SD stations in the same bandwidth it takes for 1 HD station. Do we really need to throw out 20-ish SD stations so we can squeeze in another 3 HD? With the 2013 satellite launch, if successful of course, there is plenty additional bandwidth to grow, and there is simply no NEED to stop doing SD.

    It is a "perfect world" scenario. Yes, in a perfect world everyone in the United States will have no more SD televisions by 2015, so you can start taking down SD-duplicates of channels.... but this isn't a perfect world, and it won't be for quite while.

    I was in a great dive bar in Chicago a few weeks ago. They have two televisions (they are not a sports bar) and have DirecTV. All big SD tubes, and the SD tubes were maybe 5 years old. I talked to the owner (as I know the guy) and he said just that: We are not a sports bar, we are a local bar that also has a few TV's. I see no need to invest in HD, as these run just fine, and as a neighborhood bar, I won't attract new clientele with HD screens, they will still go to the sports bar with 25 big screens all around you, and that is not what this bar is about.

    And I know it will be that way for quite a while. A family member I know doesn't watch much TV.... she has 2 TV's, an old tube in the basement that she converted into her bedroom, and a 24" 720p HDTV in her livingroom both with a SD tuner connected to it. She had DirecTV for many many years and she still does now. And quite frankly, because the 24" HD screen is relatively small, and her setup with 2 la-z-boys and a couch is just far enough.... SD looks pretty much perfect on that screen. She has no need to upgrade her SD tuners until DirecTV would force her.

    We might be HD-addicts, and want everything HD.... but the reality is, that the world around us.... is not. Many people have SD tuners, many people are content with them, and I see no need to "educate" these people and forcing them to buy HD tuners when the SD ones work just fine.
  2. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

    Jun 14, 2003
    Salem, OR
    Assuming that you're TV doesn't need a modulator and/or you're willing to do battle with a video switch.
  3. maartena

    maartena Hall Of Fame

    Nov 1, 2010
    What you are forgetting in this scenario is second, third, fourth, etc TV's. Most households will put up a nice brand spanking new HDTV monster in the livingroom, but will demote older TV's to bedrooms, mancaves, garages, offices, basements, whereever.... So although 50% of DirecTV customers may have at least ONE HDTV and HD-DVR, they may for all we know have 3 more SD tuners attached to a variety of old TV's they aren't upgrading.

    It is very possible, that if we look at the number of actual BOXES, which is probably over 40 million with 20 million customers, guesstimating an average of 2 per household (some have 1, some have 3 or 4 or more), that we'll find that there are over 25 million SD boxes out there, and only 15 million HD ones. And that brings those numbers in a whole different perspective.
  4. Paul Secic

    Paul Secic Hall Of Fame

    Dec 16, 2003
    None of my neighbors have HD yet. Three have DirecTV and four Dish, and one has Comcast Digital +, which looks horrid .
  5. slimoli

    slimoli Hall Of Fame

    Jan 27, 2005
    That's what I think as well. It's hard to get rid of an old SD TV set, nobody buys it. To the bedroom it goes and so does the old SD box. My condo is served by a MDU company (terible !) and we got 4 SD receivers for free for each unit. I replaced them already but many people didn't. People love stuff for free :)
  6. georule

    georule Hall Of Fame

    Mar 31, 2010
    I'm going to guess 2.5 as an average is closer to the truth, and while at first glance that might look like quibbling. . . it actually adds as many as another 10M SD boxes to the picture, which is certainly enough to be material to the way D* thinks about these issues.
  7. gcd0865

    gcd0865 Legend

    Jul 23, 2008
    Very interesting side topic here...

    Couldn't the owners of SD tv's just use either the 480p s-video out or RCA (yellow) composite video out connection from HD DirecTV boxes to provide their video signals (adjusted at the box to appear either in 16:9 widescreen format with black bars on the top and bottom or in a side-crop mode that would look exactly the same as a 4:3 broadcast)? If so, then DirecTV could discontinue separate SD boxes and discontinue their duplicative SD channel transmissions, freeing up significant additional bandwidth for HD channels. With more and more customers adding HD sets these days and more channels switching to HD 16:9 broadcasts, I would think that the ability to add many more HD channels would be quite a sales bonanza for DirecTV. I know that some programming is broadcast now only in 16:9 widescreen format, so that 4:3 SD tv owners watch them with black bars on the top and bottom. Presumably, more and more programming will be produced only in the widescreen 16:9 format as time goes on (dropping the 4:3 format production altogether) just in order to save production cost.

    Of course, this would require giving HD boxes to every new/upgrade customer (which are more expensive than SD boxes) and, at some point, initiating a program of swapping out all remaining SD boxes to HD boxes. But, as time goes on, many SD customers will be switching to HD on their own anyway, and the new MRV technologies will soon allow the use of a single main 5-tuner (HD) box plus smaller (presumably less expensive) slave boxes for remote (HD or SD) tv's. At some point soon, wouldn't the huge advantage of being able to discontinue the duplicative SD signals (presumably at some cost savings) be overwhelming?
  8. bobnielsen

    bobnielsen Éminence grise

    Jun 29, 2006
    I suspect that the production cost of a H24 or H25 is probably less than the cost of SD boxes 5-10 years ago. There is an upside for the viewer--a 480i picture of a HD channel on a SD TV looks much better than the equivalent SD channel.
  9. joed32

    joed32 Hall Of Fame

    Jul 27, 2006
    At some point, absolutely. The question is how far away is the tipping point when it will be cheaper to provide new receivers to all of the remaining SD subs than it is to maintain the SD duplicates. I think it's quite a ways off.
  10. maartena

    maartena Hall Of Fame

    Nov 1, 2010
    Yeah.... sure, at some point in time DirecTV will stop distribution of SD boxes, and distribute ONLY HD boxes, proviced the HD box does have a yellow RCA output, (and red/white for sound) that can be connected to pretty much any TV from the 1980ies and up.

    But replacing the MILLIONS of current SD boxes is a whole different matter. DirecTV can't make the claim in 5 years from now to someone that has 1 HD tv but still has 2 perfectly fine SD TV's, that he has to cough up the dough for 2 HD boxes.

    The biggest question however remains unanswered: Why SHOULD we get rid of SD any time soon? Why couldn't it exist for another 20 years along side HD?
  11. tonyd79

    tonyd79 Hall Of Fame

    Jul 24, 2006
    Columbia, MD
    There is another cost. As channels like ESPN start to send out only HD and companies like DirecTV have to downrez to SD for transmittal, that cost starts to be put on the DirecTVs of the world. Not a huge cost but it does involve maintenance of more hardware.

    I WANT MORE CowboySooner

    Oct 3, 2006
    Northern plains
    Now, That was uncalled for by the both of you!!!!! :lol:
  13. Beerstalker

    Beerstalker Hall Of Fame

    Feb 9, 2009
    Peoria, IL
    No I'm not. The difference in cost between an SD box and an HD box has to be getting pretty small these days, especially with the new H25.

    The big cost with switching everyone over to HD is going to be the cost of sending techs to all their homes and replacing the round dish with Slimline dishes and upgrading all the wiring. If a customer already has an HD dish in place, it will be pretty cheap for DirecTV to just mail them HD receivers and have the customer swap them out themselves.

    I think we are already starting to see this with the deals DirecTV seems to be making more and more people on upgrading/adding receivers even if they aren't near the end of their contracts. DirecTV realized that it doesn't cost them that much to just give the HD receivers to the customers since they already have HD service, and are wired up for it. So letting them upgrade to a new HD receiver, and getting them into a new 2 year agreement at the same time is a good deal for D*.
  14. maartena

    maartena Hall Of Fame

    Nov 1, 2010
    Well, the main question(s) I have.... still remains. Why is there a NEED to get rid of SD channels and/or SD decoders? Why can't they co-exist with HD for another 20 years?
  15. Beerstalker

    Beerstalker Hall Of Fame

    Feb 9, 2009
    Peoria, IL
    There isn't really a need to get rid of them, but why keep them? Why keep two versions of the same channel active, why keep around more models of receivers then you really need. Why continue to support old dishes, multiswitches, etc. Eventually it doesn't make sense to keep making parts for and maintaining old systems.

    By getting rid of SD they free up some space (I realize it's not a whole lot, but there is some space). They get down to only having to support/trian people how to install one dish, and will most likely convert to only using SWM equipment so they only have to train on that. They get down to only 2 classes of receiver (HD receiver, HD-DVR) and so on. Less models to inventory, less variables to train, etc.

    I don't think they will get rid of all SD. I'm sure there will be quite a few SD channels still around for a long time. However, they can move them to MPEG4, which takes up less space than the current MPEG2 SD channels, they can get rid of the SD/HD duplicates, etc.

    Also, why continue to install equipment that is already outdated, and you plan to discontinue and replace some time in the not so distant future anyway?
  16. Tom Robertson

    Tom Robertson Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

    Nov 15, 2005
    Cost, Cost, Cost.

    I think your analysis is right on. Until it costs more to use an SD receiver for an SD TV than using an HD receiver, DIRECTV won't switch.

    Just so, at some point it will cost DIRECTV money to leave SD up. So somewhere around 15 years from now (maybe 10, maybe 20) DIRECTV will pull the SD.

    Has DIRECTV introduced the last SD only receiver? Maybe. We sure haven't seen any new models for a few years... :)

    Is DIRECTV still making new SD only receivers? Looks like it as you can still order them from SolidSignal. That might be the next milestone--when you can't order them new from retailers. :)

  17. georule

    georule Hall Of Fame

    Mar 31, 2010
    I'm pretty sure that H25's aren't free to D*, but at this point those SD boxes are. The natural consumer-led retirement of SD boxes for HD boxes ought to mean that either very soon, or already, D* will never have to buy another SD box from the manufacturer(s) and still have all they need for current customers and new customers who want one from "retired stock".

    And don't argue "storage costs of retired SD boxes" either, because there is no marginal increased cost. They don't have to keep every SD box retired --they just need to keep enough of them to meet their needs, which is the same number of total boxes whether SD or HD.
  18. johnner1999

    johnner1999 Legend

    Aug 30, 2003
    Actually ESPN provides the new decoders
  19. Drucifer

    Drucifer Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2009
    NY Hudson...

    Check your phone bill. There still a fee for tone dial. Because pulse is still being used.
  20. georule

    georule Hall Of Fame

    Mar 31, 2010
    And start selling "refurb only". :D

    Is D* really the manufacturer on those?
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