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How much longer will SD channels be available

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Installation/MDU Discussion' started by bigglebowski, Jun 2, 2011.

  1. Jun 2, 2011 #1 of 27

    bigglebowski Legend

    Jul 27, 2010
    Just wondering if there has been any published deadline. Im asking because we have several MDU accounts that are using a dish only aligned to 101 and using an SD receiver. Going to bid on some sites that are requesting fairly basic programming and most of the sets are CRT type.

    Swapping receivers wont be as big of deal as the labor/time to upgrade the dishes will be.
  2. Jun 2, 2011 #2 of 27

    e4123 AllStar

    Jan 31, 2011
    IMHO, it will be a very long time (10+ years) before they pull the plug on SD TV.
  3. Jun 2, 2011 #3 of 27

    WestDC Well-Known Member

    Feb 9, 2008
    Forever!!! No End in site
  4. Jun 2, 2011 #4 of 27

    BattleZone Hall Of Fame

    Nov 13, 2007
    You're actually asking more than one question.

    On the first, here is my guess:

    SD channels will be with us for the next 4-5 years. I suspect that DirecTV will use the next 3 years or so to entice existing customers to upgrade via promos, and there will be lots of other people getting their first HDTV who will switch on their own anyway.

    Once a very high number (90%? 95%?) of customers has been switched to HD on at least one receiver at home, DirecTV will start converting remaining SD-only customers to HD. They will also start pushing offers for cheap HD upgrades to swap out SD boxes for customers who already have HD on at least one TV. This will probably take about 2 years. During this period, DirecTV will stop installing SD for new customers completely.

    Once virtually every customer has been upgraded to HD (dish, switches, and at least some HD receivers), DirecTV will start removing SD channels, probably starting with the premium movie channels and working their way down. The customers who ignored earlier notices to upgrade and call in will be upgraded, and slowly, all SD channels will be taken down.

    Once that happens, the 101 transponders will be repurposed to carry more HD.

    Now, for the second question: DirecTV has already announced that they will be requiring MDU operators to upgrade all properties to at least MFH-2 in the very near future, or the account will be reassigned to another operator who will. So... I would not recommend selling anyone on an SD-only system in the near future.
  5. Jun 2, 2011 #5 of 27

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

    Jun 14, 2003
    Salem, OR
    Didn't you say something like this prior to the introduction of the D12 and then again a year later when the R16 replaced the R22? DIRECTV seems to leap forward and fall back shortly thereafter in their move towards MPEG4.

    There's a long way to go before they replace the entire installed base of SD equipment as it has to happen across the board, not piecemeal or as people want to go HD on some of their TVs.
  6. Jun 2, 2011 #6 of 27

    bigglebowski Legend

    Jul 27, 2010
    Yes, though it is more about the second part, thanks for picking that up. Some of the systems in question are low quantities that are spread out so MFH2 is not sensible/possible. There are not enough units in one building to take advantage of MFH2. I would call them more commercial MDU "bulk" properties where as long as the channels are on 101 there will be little need to upgrade. None are not residential homes and about half are where "guests" would sleep in. Others are more like waiting room, lobby or in a work office.

    I know competitive bids will be SD, the added costs of pre installing HD capable gear will loose the bid I think.

    What about the SMATV part of it. There must be thousands of systems that are no way big enough to migrate to HD with the current costs of encryption systems. How many more years on those?
  7. Jun 2, 2011 #7 of 27
    Doug Brott

    Doug Brott Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

    Jul 12, 2006
    Los Angeles
    I'd be suspect of any claim that says SD will be completely eliminated from DIRECTV within the next 10 yrs.
  8. Jun 2, 2011 #8 of 27

    RobertE New Member

    Jun 9, 2006
    My guess, the beginning of the end of Mpeg2 SD will be with the launch of the first BSS DirecTv sat.
  9. Jun 2, 2011 #9 of 27

    tkrandall Hall Of Fame

    Oct 3, 2003
    I wonder how much sense it makes to continue to manufacturer/distribute SD only (actually, MPEG 2 only) receivers and DVRs. I guess it a cost to manufacture differential? As long as they continue to distribute them, then the "end of mpeg-2 SD" will be prolonged.

    You can still hook up an HD receiver to a regular SD TV set. For example, I have whole home DVR service with 1 HR20 and 2 HR24s. One of the HR24s is hooked up to a 21 inch 4:3 CRT SD TV set still. I just have not been able to "justify" going out and getting a 24 or 26 inch HDTV replacement for it. I letterbox the HD channel content on it. (I am an aspect ratio format snob)
  10. Drucifer

    Drucifer Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2009
    NY Hudson...
    When networks and channels work out it no longer making large profits broadcasting SD is when you'll see a domino effect as more and more will begin shutting down their SD transmissions. It is always money.
  11. Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

    Jun 18, 2006
    All I know is there are no plans.
  12. mini1

    mini1 Icon

    Jan 25, 2004
    Look at how long it took the government to force terrestrial broadcasters to go digital and then try to draw a conclusion from that. Many, if not most cable systems are still broadcasting analog on channels 2-99. SD digital will be around for a very long time until a large percentage of the population get HD sets in not just the living room, but in the bedroom too and everywhere else there is a TV. There is still a large percentage of the population that either does not want HD or can't afford it, and the carriers know this.
  13. Doug Brott

    Doug Brott Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

    Jul 12, 2006
    Los Angeles
    Dead SD from provider to DIRECTV means nothing ... DIRECTV can down convert the HD signal to SD and transmit it along it's merry way.

    The issue is not with the providers, but with providing new equipment to those that have non-MPEG4 equipment. Yeah, that will continually decrease, but I believe that DIRECTV still hands out R15s, R16s, D11s and D12s today .. meaning we're a long way from moving to no SD on the Sats.
  14. inkahauts

    inkahauts Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2006
    I think until we see the HR34, ther eis no chance they will even think about discontinuing sd boxes. However, once that hits, I wouldn't be surprised if you see sd dvrs go away, and then shortly after that sd receivers. Just my guess... But that seems like the most logical thing to do. I am assuming that the amount of money they can save in RVU clients will be significant, and the amount of money they spend on each hr34 plus say 2 or 3 additional clients will be about equal to installing say one sd dvr and 2 or 3 sd receivers... That's when the economics will start to look favorable to discontinuing the sd boxes, IMHO... Until they can get the costs of mpeg4 equipment to the pricing of current sd equipment, I just don't think they will make the move.

    Off course, the hr34 will need to be out a while and be avaiulable in large enough quantities to make this happen. I also expect that once that starts, they may get rid of all the current gen of hr's as well, in terms of making new ones...

    I also expect this to be implemented by market, over time... Its easier that way to control supply and fix supply issues, which this kind of move can cause...
  15. carl6

    carl6 Moderator Staff Member DBSTalk Club

    Nov 15, 2005
    Seattle, WA
    I think Doug really has hit the key point - the majority of customers are still SD, and DirecTV is still doing SD installs with MPEG2 only equipment. I don't know the actual numbers, but let's just make some approximations for sake of discussion...

    Total DirecTV customers: 20 million
    Number of SD only: 13 million

    That is a HUGE amount of hardware in service that is working just fine, and will continue to work just fine for at least another decade. The cost to replace all of the IRD's for over half of their customers is huge.

    Let's make some wild guesses. If it would cost DirecTV $200 to replace one SD customer with HD (dish, IRD and service call to install, one receiver per customer), and using the above guess of 13 million SD customers, then we are looking at $2.6 Billion (with a B) to make that conversion. $200 is probably a very conservative estimate for a customer upgrade.

    So, with natural attrition of SD customers (either moving to HD or leaving DirecTV altogether), let's say we cut that 13 million in half in say 5 years. Well, you're still looking at over a billion dollars to convert the remainder.

    I don't expect to see the elimination of SD service for a very very long time.

    But, that's just my opinion, and it's based on numbers I made up out of nowhere with nothing to substantiate them. Just wild guesses on my part. But whatever the real numbers are, the point is that the cost to convert is huge, and will remain so for a long time to come.
  16. bobnielsen

    bobnielsen Éminence grise

    Jun 29, 2006
    When Directv stops supplying SD-only (or possibly MPEG2-only) receivers, that will signal the start of the process, which will take several years. I suspect that there is still enough of a cost differential for MPEG4-capable receivers or that step would have happened already.
  17. Avder

    Avder Hall Of Fame

    Feb 6, 2010
    SD will be around forever.

    Mpeg-2 on the other hand....
  18. employee3

    employee3 Legend

    Aug 15, 2006
    Let us not forget about Voom. Clearly the thirst for all things HD is still in the future.

    I can't believe how many 18" DirecTV dishes I see as I drive around. If DirecTV had to replace all of those units not only would it cost $$$$$$$$ but would also slam the installers for a LOOOOOONG time squeezing out new-install timelines.

    There are still a ton of people who don't use a DVR and have dialup internet access - My mom being one of them :rolleyes:
  19. MysteryMan

    MysteryMan Well-Known Member DBSTalk Club

    May 17, 2010
    Months ago on another thread I mentioned the amount of 18" SD dishes that can be seen compaired to HD dishes. My neighbor's son owns a electronic repair shop. He said you'd be surprised at how many people are still using CRT TVs and havn't upgraded to HD sets.
  20. Doug Brott

    Doug Brott Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

    Jul 12, 2006
    Los Angeles
    Yeah, the bottom line is that it's all about $$$$ .. Folks that remain SD only don't want to (or can't) spend the $$$ to go HD, DIRECTV doesn't want to spend the $$$ to upgrade their STB (numbers still too high). The cheapest method is to remain status quo.

    Now, that scale will tip at some point .. most likely DIRECTV will start with existing Locals markets and "upgrade" them over a period of time and then discontinue MPEG2 service to those markets .. But we're talking years here.

    10 years from now used HD sets will be plentiful .. Those folks that don't want to pay for a new TV will be able to get free ones from their friends, etc. meaning that the older CRTs, etc. will be even more dinosaurs than they are now. The desire for HD service will increase dramatically.

    The big point is that logistics alone will make it take at least 10 years to implement. The good news is that HD is now making major inroads in what is the first 5 years (with the HD DVR) .. The next 5 will likely cut the remaining SD customers in half. Hopefully by that point the "HD fee" will just become a part of the regular package costs (among other things).

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