FCC Television Broadcast Consolidation

Discussion in 'Legislative and Regulatory Issues' started by nmetro, Jun 12, 2015.

  1. nmetro

    nmetro Godfather

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    Spectrum. DISH bought a great deal of it and T-Mobile could really benefit.

    Speculation, then, DISH was planning an OTA service to compliment their sattelite delivered programming. But, thanks to the explosion in smart phones, using the spectrum for wireless would rake in much more profits. So much so, that the FCC will be approaching TV broadcasters to give up some frequencies so more can be turned over to wireless. Starting by getting off the VHF band completely (now pretty much 6 - 13, 2 - 5 went with the digital conversion, as did UHF 52 - 69). Also, any TV channels on 51 - 69, will be forced to find a place in teh 14 - 50 range. So, we could see OTA TV only on UHF 14 - 50, It turns out Channel 51, interferes with wireless starting at what was channel 52, and stations are moving to lower frequencies, this happened in Denver. And even that range may be further reduced. In some cities, with a large number of TV channels, like New York and Los Angeles, some TV stations will just be eliminated or some channels, in HD, will go to SD. So, just when OTA has started to find a niche for cable cutters, the federal government, Congress and the Obama administration, is about to reduce the possible options.

     
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  2. inkahauts

    inkahauts Well-Known Member

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    You are kidding right? Hi Definition channels switching to sd? That won't happen.
     
  3. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    That is part of the FCC's plans. Stations sharing frequencies to free up space for wireless devices. OTA HD could be lost on some stations in some markets.

    Part of what the FCC is working out is protections for those stations. Currently only the main broadcast feed as transmitted is protected when it comes to cable and satellite. If a station does not transmit HD the carrier does not have to carry HD. Carriers also do not have to carry subchannels. If OTA is consolidated stations will want to continue their HD via cable and satellite even if they convert their OTA to SD. And with two stations sharing the same transmitter and frequency BOTH stations will want their carriage rights protected.

    Getting stations to give up OTA bandwidth is a challenge. But that is part of the FCC's plans to open up more space for wireless.
     
  4. nmetro

    nmetro Godfather

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    And to add, the PBS affiliate, in Los Angeles, did give up its frequecy and merged aith another channel.

    Of course, if one tries to did into the FCC web site, or find out more information, it is not very clear on what will be the final outcome.

    One of the Denver TV stations, KUSA, owns KTVD. KUSA operates on VHF 9, KTVD UHF 19 (Digital 20). KUSA has started broadcasting on UHF 19.3 (shows as 9.4). So, UHF 19, has two 720p, and 1 480i at present.

    KMGH UHf 7 ( has a duplicate feed on UHF 17). Chances are very good both these statiosn will be giving up their VHF frequencies. KUSA also feeds JusticeTV and Weather Nation. It is quite possible when KUSA moves, that MeTV might be replaced and it will have to find a new home.The irony here, the one reason why I bothered with OTA was to get MeTV.

    Another case in Denver, KTFD moved from UHF 51 to UHF 26, becauise of interference with UHF 52, which is now assigned to wireless. In doing so it replaced a lower powered station on UHF 26. The low power station is currently experimenting, at very low power, on UHF 31. Unfortunately, for it, UHF 32 is a full power station KDVR (31 Digital). The move from UHF 51 is a different program, then what I posted earlier, as stations on UHF 51 are being allowed to move because of wireless nterference.

    As for KUSA and KMGH, this looks like a prmanent move off of VHF, is coming. Denver has VHF low power stations on 5, 6 and 10. Their programming is repeated on other channels is repeated in other parts of Denver's UHF spectrum, and are used to deal with the terrain around here. So, at least here, it looks like VHF will soon be history, but we may not lose full power channels. The low power channels 16, 26, and 28 will probbaly be repurposed to handle terrian issues (their original purpose).

    The question is, of channels 14 - 50, what more of the spectrum will the FCC take. Small and medium markets probably do not have much to be concerned with. Larger markets do.
     
  5. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    An excellent question for the Legislative and Regulatory Issues forum.

    For this thread the simple answer suffices.
    Spectrum: DISH has it, T-Mobile wants it. Mobile Service: T-Mobile has it, DISH wants it. Why not merge?
     
  6. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Last I looked, my local ABC affiliate was channel 11... broadcasting on its old VHF channel 11... I'm vaguely aware of a few other channels around the country that also went back to their VHF original channel after the transition.
     
  7. inkahauts

    inkahauts Well-Known Member

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    What Los Angeles pbs station gave up its ability to show hd?and y know we have several so really, pbs didn't give up Hi Definition. Consolidating to less repeated channels isn't the same thing.

    And I still don't buy it will actually happen. Are there any markets where there are 36 Hi Definition stations now? Sure maybe 50 stations themselves, but not 36 or more in actual Hi Definition. I can see smaller ones moving to sd if they can make a lot more money selling additional sub channels. But that's not the same thing as the fcc forcing them to go sd.
     
  8. nmetro

    nmetro Godfather

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    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/29/business/media/tv-stations-in-los-angeles-to-participate-in-channel-sharing-trial.html?_r=1

    The stations, KLCS, a public broadcaster, and KJLA, a small multilingual programmer, will participate in a channel-sharing experiment that is being devised with the trade association for wireless phone carriers. The wireless companies are eager to get broadcasters to give up airwaves so they can buy them and use them for high-speed wireless Internet connections.


     
  9. Alan Gordon

    Alan Gordon Chancellor

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    Last I heard, the goal is to get MORE broadcasters on VHF, as there will be very few UHF channels left after the repack.

    In the quote above, you stated that channels 52-69 disappeared in the digital transition, so there aren't any channels on 52-69 anymore. Channels 21-51 would have to move into the 2-20 range.
     
  10. Alan Gordon

    Alan Gordon Chancellor

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    It could happen.

    I don't think we'll see any of the bigger networks switching, but I could see some religious and informercial channels switching to SD.

    My neighboring market of Columbus, GA has a TV station (WLGA) that is an Antenna TV affiliate. They broadcast an HD and SD version of Antenna TV, but the signal is upconverted, and looks like someone upconverted a VHS recording. The SD signal honestly looks better in my eyes, so they could easily drop the HD feed in my eyes.

    I do think the possibility of the simultaneous move to HEVC/ATSC 3.0 will help prevent HD from disappearing from most stations.
     
  11. KyL416

    KyL416 Hall Of Fame

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    And many channel 51s are already switching to lower numbers because of interference from the LTE services that are on 52 and higher. Channels 14-20 are also occupied by land mobile services in several major markets. (i.e. in NYC channels 14-16 are used for 2 way communications for first responders and dispatchers, in LA channels 14, 16 and 20 are used)


    As for the KLCS and KJLA thing mentioned earlier, that was just an experiment from a year ago where they also tested using H264 instead of MPEG2, they have since gone back to their own numbers.
     
  12. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    One has to have tuners to be able to pick up the signals OTA ... another multi-year transition with HD and HEVC signals simulcast? Perhaps stations can convert their current HD feeds into an ED feed plus a HEVC feed and tell subscribers to buy a new receiver for a clearer picture. I do not believe that will go over well.
     
  13. Alan Gordon

    Alan Gordon Chancellor

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    I have a channel 51 in my market (previously channel 55). It's very annoying because they frequently mess with their PSIP data. Sometimes they're 51.1, and sometimes they're 51.55.
     
  14. Alan Gordon

    Alan Gordon Chancellor

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    I suspect we'll see one RF channel in each market provide ED simulcasts in MPEG2 for a period of time.

    I can't speak for the country, but in my area, most people have satellite or cable. I know one person that is OTA only...
     
  15. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Cord-Cutting Picks Up: 1.4 Million U.S. Households Tuned Out Pay TV Last Year
    article
     
  16. Alan Gordon

    Alan Gordon Chancellor

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    I'm aware of that... in fact, I know of several people who have recently "cut the cord", or in the case of one young couple, never connected the cord.

    I still only know of one person who is OTA only, and he doesn't care about HD, so if ED feeds were provided to him, I doubt he'd care.
     
  17. nmetro

    nmetro Godfather

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    Somewhere in the FCC documents is the exact plan what they want to do. That is, how much of UHF do they want to take. One of the documents, Idid read, indicated that wireless will occupy the lower TV band. 2 - 6, and 7 -13 are the lower part of the TV band.

    The artcle, I posted earlier, does not make it clear what will exactly happen, eithr. When the digital conversion occurred, the FCC wanted all broadcaters off VHF. So, it makes no sense, though we are talking about teh federal government, to force broadcasters back to VHF. Then, there are those who bought HD antennas which were enhanced to receive UHF over VHF.

    While there is money to be made by broadcasters, I think there will be a pushback to have them move again, after they moved just a few years ago. And consumers will not be thrilled about investing again in new equipment. Especially, when they find out, the government is selling out what is supposed to be public airways.
     
  18. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    If the FCC wanted stations off of VHF they would be gone. They would have been assigned UHF transition channels and told they couldn't go back to VHF. But the FCC did not do that.

    The initial assignments of transition channels and power levels were not optimal. Some stations assigned to VHF petitioned to get UHF channels so they would not be the only VHF in town. Others worked through the initial problems and are doing well on their VHF assignments.

    The current "plan" to vacate channels could be described as "spit balling". The FCC has NOT decided to remove channels from VHF or VHF-Lo. The FCC has not decided to force channels to share transmitters and broadcast channels. The discussion remains in the initial stages of "what can we do to free up bandwidth" and everyone seems to have a suggestion.

    Meanwhile the FCC has accepted applications for MORE broadcast stations ... stations that when licensed serve to fill in the holes the same FCC would like to free up. Apparently the FCC has conflicting goals.
     
  19. Alan Gordon

    Alan Gordon Chancellor

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    As it was explained to me, the FCC is considering doing away with "channels 21 and up".

    My market is fairly easy given that it's mostly VHF:

    PBS (6)
    PBS (8)
    NBC/ABC (10)
    FOX (12)
    CBS/The CW (43)
    IND (55)

    I do realize this isn't the norm though.

    I don't really expect many people to care about any potential transition. If done correctly, most people won't care.
     
  20. nmetro

    nmetro Godfather

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    As we see, the FCC dees not even know what it wants.

    As James pointed out, the FCC is adding channels. They have added a few around here or moved a couple into this market in recent years.

    As Alan points out, he's read that 22 - 51 will be eliminated. A lot of crowding on 7 - 21, if this is their intent. Doable in Denver, but not a place like New York, Los Angeles, San Franscisco, Chicago or Washington-Blatimore. Denver metro, for example, has 39 stations, several are repeaters, translators and low powered. Mainstream full power number 12 - 14. Under analog, there is no way one can have 15 TV stations on consecutive channels. Maybe digital is more forgiving.

    As fro what I read channels below 14 will go away, as 51 - 69 already have, based on the phrase "lower frequency stations". As VHF occupies lower frequencies than UHF, I suspect that si what that meant.

    As we see, we have three different variants and the FCC is is not even sure what it wants to do.

    Considering NAB is very powerful, it is quite doubtful they will give up frequencies without a fight, even if it means selling spectrum and getting dollars for it. They want eyes on all their channels, including the sub-channels. More viewers, more revnue. Let's face it, if there was no profit in channels like MeTV, a broadcaster will not carry it. KUSA, for example, runs insert ads on the local MeTV affiliate here.
     

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