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If you've been denied the HD distant nets.....

Discussion in 'Legislative and Regulatory Issues' started by waltinvt, Jan 12, 2005.

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  1. waltinvt

    waltinvt Godfather

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    Feb 9, 2004
    I emailed my 3 congress people 12 days ago about not qualifying for digital distants and just got a phone call from Senator Jeffords's office (Vermont) in Washington.

    It seems that some in Congress ARE interested in the problem with people in areas that can't get digital networks OTA being denied the digital distant feeds from satellite.

    He had me on the phone for about 15 minutes and by the way he was repeating things back to me, he was obviously taking notes. He said my email was the first his office had heard anything about this and that they intend to try and do something to resolve the problem. Whether it would be putting pressure on the FCC to define the digital white area sooner or issuing some clarifications on the new legislation, I don't know.

    My sense is that he and many in congress intended this bill to help the viewers that have no digital OTA options and he seemed quite interested that this wasn't what was happening.

    I think that if every one that has been denied the HD distants called or emailed their congressman, we might see some FCC action rather quickly.

    WaltinVt
     
  2. gor88

    gor88 Icon

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    May 9, 2003
    Walt,

    Since you are getting a response, I would suggest to the Congress people to take whether or not the local channel broadcasts an HD signal, not just a digital one. This, in addition to determining whether or not a given station's signal can be properly received in a given location.

    Although I don't have HD now, I probably will get it in the future. Jackson, MS only has ABC, CBS and PBS broadcasting HD with the NBC affiliate coming online soon (hopefully this year). WB and FOX are NOT HD here. They both share digital channel 41 in SD format. A new full power UPN station is being built and scheduled to go on air in September, but no word on when they will go digital.

    It is quite important for Congress to force HD as a requirement for a station to be counted when determining digital white areas. If the station wants to keep the HD equipped satellite customer, they must be willing to go HD. Otherwise, the subscriber should be able to opt for the distant HD version of the network in question.

    Just my $0.02.
     
  3. Bobby94928

    Bobby94928 Hall Of Fame

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    May 12, 2003
    The problem with your scenario is that there is no mandate for any broadcaster to have HD, just digital.
     
  4. waltinvt

    waltinvt Godfather

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    Feb 9, 2004
    We're limited to working within the laws we do have and how they're interpreted and applied. There is no mandate for an affiliate to switch to HD programming perse, only to transmit whatever they do provide in digital.

    That being said, the bulk of any affiliate's programming usually comes from a nationl network and that signal is in HD. The major networks don't want what their advertisers are paying for to be downgraded and watered down before it gets to the viewer, so it makes sense they're going to "encourage" (insist when contracts come due) their locals to pass the signal on they way they want it.

    Since this digital transition is moving like mollasses uphill in the winter, the new legislation did contain some wording about "unserved" viewers and digital white areas. Defining those viewers / areas was placed in the FCC's lap but they were given way too much time to do it (to satisify the NAB and Cable).

    However if congress gets pressure from people like us they just might cut through some of this red tape and get things moving a little faster.

    Their concern is getting everyone digital. They know that the best way to do that is by giving the folks an option if their local stations don't want to play ball.
    WaltinVt
     
  5. scottchez

    scottchez Icon

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    Feb 4, 2003
    The problem with the law is there is no Digital TV white area map, thus no way for anyone to know if they can legally get it or not.

    They made a law, but there is no way to use the law.

    Kind of like say the Speed limit is 65MPH, but No cars have Spedometers in them.
     
  6. gor88

    gor88 Icon

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    May 9, 2003
    Walt, I hope you're right. I see smaller stations saying that they can't afford to convert to HD. Hopefully, the networks will demand conversion to HD for all affiliates as the digital conversion deadline nears.

    It's frustrating to see so many stations try to buck the digital conversion and others simply splitting their digital into subchannels, thereby negating the possibility of HD.

    I don't know why the company that owns FOX and WB here isn't applying for a second digital channel for FOX so that both nets could broadcast HD in Jackson.
     
  7. waltinvt

    waltinvt Godfather

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    Feb 9, 2004
    Really ? Check this out:
    http://www.iwantmyhdtv.com/iwanthdtv/wrapper.jsp?PID=5080-101

    It may need minor updates but this map is based on the FCC's own information. Plus I believe there have also been other studies done by an independent firm but I don't remember the name.

    The infomation already exists. The delay is probably nothing more than giving time promised to the NAB and cable industry in exchange for campaign $ & favors.

    Walt
     
  8. waltinvt

    waltinvt Godfather

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    Feb 9, 2004
    The mother Fox network (sorry about how that sounds) actually footed the bill for a lot of the HD transmitting equipment for every affiliate that was willing to meet them partway by upgrading to certain minim standards.

    I agree, the main networks need to do something to speed this but they're probably limited until contract negoation time.
    Walt

    Walt
     
  9. scooper

    scooper Hall Of Fame

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    There is NO REQUIREMENT (on the federal government side) for the stations to do HDTV - only digital / ATSC - so you may very well see smaller markets that go digital and stop. It IS a very expensive thing to do.

    Affiliate agreements may be an entirely different kettle of fish.
     
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