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Latest Comcast ads challenge DTV's HD superiority

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by captain_video, Nov 29, 2007.

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  1. tonyd79

    tonyd79 Hall Of Fame

    Jul 24, 2006
    Columbia, MD
    I know you were being extreme to make a point but 4%??? The sports content alone is far more than 4%. Gee, since Comcast is somewhere around 25 channels of HD (not all HD, of course, since many are the same as DirecTV), just the Big Ten Network (which Comcast is battling) accounts for more than 4%.

    Yeah but when you are advertising to millions of people, really hard to tailor the ads that way. A good point for the individual but silly for national advertising.

    Totally disagree. You have to count only base packages? Why? Content is content. It costs varying amounts. Everyone knows that. They say they have HBO, for example. That costs extra. They should not count that? What package level do they count? Lifeline cable (anything more costs more)?

    As for double counting, you are opening up Pandora's box. Are you going to discount reruns? Are you going to count the HBO channels as one because movies show up more than once. Are you going to say ESPN HD is not all that much becasue they rerun Sportscenter 10 times a day? What if HBO shows the same movie as Starz? Does it not count?

    As with any purchase, do your homework. Don't depend on ads.
  2. lifelong

    lifelong Legend

    Sep 16, 2007
    The "local" aspect of the DirecTV system is a benefit, I agree. But, if you're watching a movie or other programming that isn't burdened by commercials (which is most of it is not, save for a promo at the beginning and/or end), the trick play is less important. "Instant-ness" is most important to me. And come on, "5 to 10 minutes" for Comcast's on demand menu system is a HUGE overstatement, too.

    I hope that for DirecTV VOD they are smart about proactively pushing popular HD content to our DVRs so that we get the "instant-ness." Unfortunately they won't be able to push everything.
  3. Upstream

    Upstream Hall Of Fame

    Jul 4, 2006
    I was being extreme to make a point.

    Regarding doing homework, that can be difficult to do:

    As I indicated, the most meaningful comparison for any person is to compare the HD content that he/she wants to watch. But there is no easy way to get a list of HD content on each provider to make the comparison.

    The next best comparison would be to list the channels I watch, and see which channels are offered in HD by each provider. You would also need to look at what percentage of programming on each HD channel is actually in HD.

    Then, if you are a person who would make use of On-Demand or PPV, you would need to make an assessment what is available and how much you would purchase.

    But most people won't really go to all that effort. So they'll either believe the ads, say more HD channels is better, or say that specific HD channels are sufficient.
  4. msuspartan

    msuspartan Mentor

    Jul 11, 2006
    Interesting discussion but lets not forget the "food chain" of any kind of product development. In the case of HD programming the chain looks something like this.

    Consummer demand - enough HD capable equipment in hands of you and I reaches critical mass and warrents large investment in capacity.

    Capacity - Providers (Cable companies, Sat companies, Telco's) invest in and turn capacity on making room for media providers.

    Media Outlets - Providers (Networks, so called cable channels, etc) provide programming outlets once capacity is there to distribute which encourages development of new programming. "If you build it they will come."

    Programming - Producers develop new programs for the outlets raising consumer demand.

    Increase of consumer demand starts the cycle over and costs begin to come down.

    This cycle is not in the hands of one company. D* has done a good job in providing capacity and most likely stimulating development of HD media outlets through negotiations that preceeded the investment in and launch of D-10. I think that on these grounds it is hard not to say that D* is the market leader. It is now in the hands of the programmers to increase content. Bottom line we now must have patience and realize once that the outlets are there the programming will come.

    Thanks D* for getting us to this point!
  5. man_rob

    man_rob Hall Of Fame

    Feb 21, 2007
    In much of Comcast's service areas, (As with most cable systems across the nation) they don't provide more HD, even with VOD. Where I am, Comcast's system is antiquated, and can barely push their crappy SD service. They have maybe 15 HD offerings, and they are horrible quality, compressed almost to the point of being unwatchable.

    Their only hope is to changeover to a switched video system, but that's going to piss a lot of people off, when their cable ready devices stop working, and they are forced to rent a cable box.
  6. fineware

    fineware AllStar

    Jun 12, 2007
    Give that man a cigar.

    Not sure if anyone's raised this:
    Which market is Comcast talking about when they made the claim. I happened to see Comcast's On Demand offering over Thanksgiving. There was hardly anything there and certainly nothing I cared to waste my time with. On cable, every market is configured differently, whereas DirecTV is fairly uniform across the sats' coverage areas.

    So, yet again, the counting game makes no sense.
  7. jpl

    jpl Hall Of Fame

    Jul 9, 2006
    I'll jump into the fray here with a couple of my own observations. First, I don't agree that one can just say that Comcast including on-demand offerings is somehow invalid. While I agree that you can't count an on-demand offering as a 'channel', how is this any different than what DirecTV is doing in their channel counting? Aren't they counting HD PPV feeds as channels? So if there are 4 channels showing PPV offerings for 'Blades of Glory' in HD, why is it ok to say that that counts as 4 HD channels, but when Comcast has that movie in HD and counts it as an offering it's invalid? I guess my point is that DirecTV started with the fuzzy math on this (sorry, but they did), and to cry foul when a competitor just follows essentially the same playbook just doesn't sit right with me.

    Second, not all on-demand content is a duplicate of what's on regular cable channels. Even if you take new movies out of the mix, there are still some VOD only channels out there. They're becoming more popular, and it makes alot of sense. For example, on fios we get FEARnet on demand, even though there is no FEARnet channel (not that we get, anyway). Ditto for a handful of other offerings. We now have a VOD-only channel - I forget what it's called - that offers nothing but a handful of foreign independent films.

    I'm no fan of Comcast, but to claim what they're doing is out of bounds just seems a bit disingenuous to me. They're pushing the advantages of their system over DirecTV. Why is that any different than what DirecTV does? They ALL do it. And they should. All these systems have different focuses, and tailor to different types of customers. To not point out an advantage would be stupid. For example, when I flip on VOD on my system, I get a promo show up in a little screen - know what the promo says "On-Demand... go where satellite can't..." That's called promoting your product. If your product can deliver something that your competitor can't - or at least not in the same way - then why is it wrong to point that out?

    As for HD content per channel, there was a website that I saw that gave you that type of information. You put in your zip code, as well as the provider you used, and it gave you the list of HD channels, as well as the percent of the programming on that channel that was in HD.

    I found two main flaws in that website, which caused me to pretty much ignore it - first, they didn't include all HD channels that are available. Second, their methodolgy for computing that percentage must have been screwy - they had TNT HD showing up as 100% HD, e.g. I KNOW that's not right. There could also be one other piece of info that would make that site much more valuable - average bit-rate for their HD programming. That would give you a better idea of the quality of the HD, and not just the quantity.
  8. sNEIRBO

    sNEIRBO Icon

    Jul 23, 2006
    If you consider all of the VOOM Channels that DISH supplies - which are running HD 24/7 - DISH probably would win in the amount of content provided in any single day. BUT - there's nothing there I want to watch. And they have very limited content that they rerun over and over again - ad nauseam.

    DirecTV has HD Channels that I want to watch. It was nice to be able to watch Battlestar Galactica: Razor in HD - I couldn't do that on either DISH or Comcast. I don't care if SciFi-HD is not broadcasting in HD 24/7 - they are broadcasting what I want to watch in HD.

    Believe it or not, I really like watching CNBC-HD in the afternoon for updates on the Market - I couldn't do that on DISH either.

    I just spent a very frustrating 30 minutes trying to find out what HD Channels are available from Comcast - it's IMPOSSIBLE to find out from them what they have! They don't give that info out on their website. That's an indication to me, that they're playing with the numbers to make themselves look better. If is VERY easy to find which channels are available on the DirecTV.com site.
  9. Thaedron

    Thaedron Hall Of Fame

    Jun 29, 2007
    Comcast may have an arguement because they do have HD content available via on-demand.

    However, I view their entire claim as pure marketing spin. With DVRs, how much content is available at any given moment is totally irrelevant. What is relevant is whether or not I have the HD content that I want to watch available to me. With enough DVRs, I could have more DirecTV provided HD content available at any point in time than Comcast does. The reverse could also be true... It's an illogical arguement (but then so is most advertising).
  10. jpl

    jpl Hall Of Fame

    Jul 9, 2006
    While I'm no fan of Comcast's website (try figuring out their pricing structure - it's infuriating), what you said isn't really true. You can find the HD channels on their website pretty easily. They have a channel listing, and they even have little icons to indicate the 'type' of channel. The HD channels are clearly marked:

    200 Comcast SportsNet HD* High-Definition TV
    202 ESPN HD* High-Definition TV
    203 ESPN 2 HD* High-Definition TV
    204 TNT HD* High-Definition TV
    205 HD Theater* High-Definition TV
    206 MOJO* High-Definition TV
    207 Versus/Golf HD* High-Definition TV
    208 Universal HD* High-Definition TV
    209 MHD* High-Definition TV

    That's without the formatting, but you get the gist. The HD channels are clearly marked.
  11. man_rob

    man_rob Hall Of Fame

    Feb 21, 2007
    Again, as I and other posters have stated. Comcast's claim to more HD programming with VOD is limited to a select few markets. In most of the nation it's simply not true.
  12. saleen351

    saleen351 Godfather

    Mar 28, 2006
    Doesn't using the internet to deliver HD content make you a "cable company"??? VOD is dumb, there is no way I'm going to use my internet to download HD content. It simply won't work. The entire grid will come to a halt.

    Push it via the Sats or leave it off. They just spent tons of money on two new sats, the idiots should have built them to push HD on Demand.
  13. JeffBowser

    JeffBowser blah blah blah

    Dec 21, 2006
    I'm guessing you don't really understand the bandwidth limitations involved here.

    I have no real interest in VOD myself, but I do agree, pushing it via the internet will be hit or miss for a few years yet, until bandwidth becomes a true commodity.

  14. sNEIRBO

    sNEIRBO Icon

    Jul 23, 2006
    My apologies! I was looking under the HD Button, and not under the general button. When I went back to the main page I found their Channel Lineup button, and it was right there.

    Having found it though - their HD Channel Lineup for Detroit is NOT very impressive -

    199 National Geographic HD
    200 A&E HD
    201 FSN Detroit HD
    202 ESPN HD
    203 ESPN2 HD
    204 TNT HD
    205 Discovery HD Theater
    206 MOJO
    207 Versus/The Golf Channel
    208 Universal HD
    209 MHD
    215 /300 HBO HD*
    219 /319 Cinemax HD*
    223 /339 Showtime HD*
    227 /369 Starz! HD*
    231 WXYZ-(ABC) HD
    232 WDIV (NBC)-HD
    233 WWJ CBS HD
    234 WJBK Fox HD
    235 WMYD MNT HD
    236 WKBD CW HD
    240 WTVS (PBS)-HD

    The only things I see on that list that they are providing that DirecTV HD is not - is the local CW and PBS HD feeds (which I get via OTA on my HR-20 so not really a big deal) and MOJO(??). Or do we get MOJO and I just don't watch it??
  15. itguy05

    itguy05 Legend

    Oct 24, 2007
    Let me just say this, my Comcast here in Central PA had the locals + the limited selection that other poster listed.

    Since going to DirecTV, we gained lots of channels, lots of programming that I watch, and in HD (or uprezzed SD). The Quality of the shows I watch is much better.

    And I pay about $10/less per month.

    The OnDemand section was worthless to me on Comcast, as the stuff there was pretty much junk.
  16. ansky

    ansky Hall Of Fame

    Oct 11, 2005
    I agree. HD on Demand via the internet is pointless. SD is bad enough. If you have to wait 6 hours for a movie to download then it's not "on demand". Even if you wait an hour and then start watching the movie, the running time of the movie will outpace the download. My impression of DOD right now is just D*'s half-assed approach to trying to offer a service just because other providers have it.

    The other problem with comparing VOD between D* and cable is that D* relies on a high speed internet connection, which for most people is a $40/month or more investment. With cable you don't need this extra service/cost to watch on demand. You can't just assume that everyone has a high speed connection available.

    So ultimately we are not comparing apples to apples when talking about the VOD services between D* and cable.
  17. Doug Brott

    Doug Brott Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

    Jul 12, 2006
    Los Angeles
    Don't forget, after you watch all of that HD content from Comcast On Demand, it's still the same content .. at least for some period, right? .. Your choices go down after watching each show.

    In any event, Comcast doesn't really say anything wrong per se, but there reasoning for calling themselves the best is weak.
  18. msmith198025

    msmith198025 Member of the Year

    Jun 28, 2007
    very well put doug
  19. frederic1943

    frederic1943 Icon

    Dec 1, 2006
    As to HD vs. SD content on HD channels remember when color TV was first being broadcast it took 13 years from the first primetime show in color until all of the primetime shows were being broadcast in color.
  20. gfrang

    gfrang Hall Of Fame

    Aug 29, 2007
    does anybody know if comcast will enforce the download cap on internet ?
    that will limit use of on demand for comcast brodband cust.
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