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NHL Fans, we hear you and we're acting on your concerns and ideas (long response)

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Programming' started by Satelliteracer, Oct 26, 2007.

  1. Oct 26, 2007 #1 of 2038

    Satelliteracer Hall Of Fame

    Dec 6, 2006
    I wanted to start a new thread to get some of these items to the fore front.

    Some of you know me from the NASCAR HotPass launch here on the forums....we do hear you and take your concerns very seriously. I wanted to address some of your concerns here in an unofficial capacity but to let you know that we do hear you, we are acting on your comments and improving NHL Center Ice where possible. We are NHL fans as well, in fact some of us come from a hockey background (I used to work for the Ducks for example and there are many of us here that have a great passion for game, especially in HD.)

    So let's go through the list of questions / concerns and see if I can address your points and illustrate where we have made some improvements, what's coming down the pike and any loose ends I can assist. I'm happy to answer a private PM as well.

    This response is a bit of a manifesto but hopefully it answers many of your questions.

    1) HD Programming: Early on in the monster thread there were some significant and legitimate concerns about the number of HD games shown on Center Ice. Unfortunately at the start of the season that was absolutely the case, we didn't have that many games and it was mostly due to the fact we had very few 24/7 full CONUS RSN's launched to provide those to you. That is now changing and it appears many of you have noticed this positive change. We now have 6 RSNs that carry NHL games providing HD content that we can broadcast on Center Ice. Moreover, by the middle of November we will launch a number of other RSNs allowing us to provide up to 12 HD games per week in HD by mid November, some weeks even more games. Please bear in mind, however, that HD game availability is always subject to a few core parameters....is the game being broadcast in HD, is that HD broadcast feed being sent to DIRECTV, does DIRECTV have the bandwidth capacity to broadcast to customers (this is really only applicable to MPEG2 customers for HD). There have been some messages in the thread that stated another provider had a game in HD and we did not, that is possible though should be rarer and rarer as we add more RSN's in the next 3 weeks. There are times when a game may not be sent to us in HD because we don't have a feed from them.

    All this being said, 2007-08 NHL Center Ice season will have more HD games then ever before. You will continue to see some of them on 94 or 95 (MPEG4 and MPEG2 customers) and those with the proper MPEG4 equipment and subscriptions will see many in the NHL Channel range 764-776. We are using the dash 1 (-1) configuration right now, whether this remains a permanent fixture in the guide or not remains to be seen, but for right now this is the direction.

    Here is a list of RSNs going full CONUS HD tentatively by mid November. Because these RSNs do not broadcast a 24-7 HD feed, we will be airing HD games only. Now, bear in mind that not all of these RSN's listed carry NHL games but you can see that certainly some of them do, this will help to lift the number of HD games available in HD on Center Ice

    Altitude HD
    CSN New England HD
    FSN Arizona HD
    FSN Bay Area HD
    FSN Florida HD
    FSN Cincinnati HD
    FSN North HD
    FSN Northwest HD
    FSN Ohio HD
    FSN Rocky Mountain HD
    FSN South HD
    SportSouth HD
    Sun Sports HD

    Thank you for your patience. In just the last month we have become the HD leader with HD channels people have actually heard of and want to see. It's been an amazing process but also a crazy one as I'm sure many of you can imagine. 72 channels up and many more on the way. It is a "process" and we appreciate your patience.

    2) Upconverted Feeds: OK, upconverted feeds....a few items came up on this topic. It is our policy to provide you with an HD signal for the games on Center Ice...it is not our intention to put up upconverted feeds as HD, but it does happen from time to time (rarely). At times an RSN will provide a schedule to us saying "X game in HD on X date". When the feed comes in at game time, it's not HD but a 4:3 upconverted feed. It doesn't happen often and we try to work with our partners to make sure this doesn't happen.

    3) Dual Feeds: Woo hoo. You may have noticed dual feeds this year. Yes, it's true, we are broadcasting more and more dual feeds when we have them available to us (again, if we don't have the feed from the broadcaster then we can't send it down to NHL CI fans). You will notice in the on screen guide it might say 764 Ducks vs Rangers and 765 Ducks vs Rangers. One is the Ducks feed and the other is the Rangers feed. Our ability to provide dual feeds is similar to HD....we need to actually have both feeds sent to us from the broadcasters and if we have capacity within the Center Ice Channel range (764-776) we will make a best effort to put both feeds up. Please be aware in some cases another provider may receive two different feeds but that doesn't mean we are receiving two different source feeds. Other nights we may receive two feeds and another provider may not.

    4) Where to find NHL CI schedule information: Great question and one we are working feverishly on due to recent changes with dual feeds and dash 1.

    Channel 600 is our sports schedule slide and it changes every day with updated information. It will list the HD games for that day and the channel numbers as well as the dual feeds.

    Directv.com/nhl (select the schedule link)....this has some work to do. The long and short of it is that this site was never created with the intent of having dash 1 channel numbers so some work-arounds have been put in place. We realize that this area needs a bit of work and we thank you for your patience. The dash 1 games are filtering into that site, but the 94 & 95 games are not. Nor are the dual feed games. We are working both of those issues.

    Your onscreen guide. For those of you with MPEG4 equipment, you will see the HD games shown with the dash 1 in the 764-776 range. If available, some games might be on 94 & 95 for both MPEG2 and MPEG4 customers. The dual feeds will also appear in your on screen guide, however at this time it does not differentiate between which feed is which. Whether that changes I don't know...channel 600 will provide that information for you as mentioned previously.

    5) NHL Network launch: It's coming folks and it's coming soon. Both HD and SD. They are feverishly trying to finalize those negotiations and hopefully will be broadcasting by the end of October. No guarantees, but that is the goal for everyone. It will be on channel 215.....tonight's game will be on 215 as a "sneak peek" so check it out.

    6) Other: I read a few posts about DVRs not recording dash -1 games or customers needing Sports Pack to see games in Center Ice. First, I'm not aware of any DVR issues with -1 games. I'm having no problem recording -1 games as an example and have not seen anything to indicate this is a problem. However, if others are still seeing this please PM me and I can have the engineers look into it.

    As for the Sports Pack question, you do NOT need Sports Pack to see games in the -1 area. They are authorized the same as the SD games. However, a few of you have brought this up so if this is something some of you are still seeing, by all means send me a PM and we will look into it. The last thing we want is a frustrated fan that for some odd reason is not receiving a game they should be.

    Hope that helps explain some of your questions you've had and the steps we have taken (and continue to take) to improve the product.

    GO DUCKS...quack quack
  2. Oct 26, 2007 #2 of 2038

    rabi Banned User

    Feb 10, 2006
    Some consistency is REQUIRED...the first one should be the away telecast and the second should be the home telecast...if for some CRAZY reason a Canadian feed is used, it should be third...
  3. Oct 26, 2007 #3 of 2038

    DanoP Legend

    Sep 28, 2006
    Who are 'we?' And who are 'they?' In other words, who are you?
  4. Oct 26, 2007 #4 of 2038
    Earl Bonovich

    Earl Bonovich Lifetime Achiever

    Nov 15, 2005
    Satelliteracer can't specifically reveal who he is...
    But I do know...

    And will vouch for what his has said in his (or any) of his posts, as being just as accurate as if I was saying it.
  5. Oct 26, 2007 #5 of 2038

    bills976 Godfather/Supporter

    Jun 30, 2002
    Will there be a concerted effort to cover RSNs that broadcast for games only, like the Buffalo MSG feed? Pretty please?
  6. Oct 26, 2007 #6 of 2038

    Crypter Godfather

    Jun 21, 2007
    I am a Happy Camper!

    FSN Florida HD
    Sun Sports HD

    coming in NOV! Hopefully early november in time for the start of NBA season! :)
  7. Oct 26, 2007 #7 of 2038

    bosco10021 Icon

    Apr 16, 2006
    Satelliteracer thank you so very much for your post clearing up some of the many questions that us hockey fans have.

    It is great to know that Directv cares about us and is trying to improve it's Center Ice package.

    I have always thought that if Directv made improvements to Center Ice that made the package not only equal to but better than Dish Network, that subscribers from Dish could possibly come to Directv rather than subscribers here leave for Dish because of this.

    I have always felt that Directv feels secure that because of the exclusivity with the NFL Sunday Ticket that subscribers would think twice about leaving. I think this not be 100% true. Just ask some of these NHL fans.

    Now if you could explain what you know about the Hockey Night in Canada problems. ( no pregame, no running of both games continuously,no post game and no HD Canadian feeds)

    Also can you fill us in on the MSG HD and FSN NY HD thing ?

    If you can not comment on all or any of these please say so...I just appreciate someone caring.

    Thanks again
  8. Oct 26, 2007 #8 of 2038

    tonyd79 Hall Of Fame

    Jul 24, 2006
    Columbia, MD
    If memory serves, Satelliteracer was "deeply" involved in the NASCAR channels. To the point of soliciting opinions to take "back" to DirecTV.

    He is legit.

    BTW, it was great to see 215 lit up....

    Channels now come any old day of the week. Every day has the *potential* to be Christmas!
  9. Oct 26, 2007 #9 of 2038

    Castlebill Legend

    Jul 25, 2006
    Thanks for the information. Glad to hear the problems are being addressed and will hopefully be resolved soon. Thanks again satelliteracer.
  10. Oct 26, 2007 #10 of 2038

    Conky Legend

    Apr 17, 2007
    Don't count on getting HD content when these channels roll out. We have had FSN West HD out here for a couple of weeks. I have yet to see any hockey in HD on this channel.

    These same games were broadcast through Versus last year in HD. If the games are available in HD, then why aren't they shown on a supposed HD channel, in HD?
  11. Oct 26, 2007 #11 of 2038

    Tivoenthused Mentor

    Apr 6, 2007

    Can we expect a similar treatment for NBA League pass? Specifically,
    - Dual feeds
    - a dramatic increase in HD coverage as more HD RSN's are brought on board

    Also, any word on when NBATV HD will go live?
  12. Oct 26, 2007 #12 of 2038

    TANK Icon DBSTalk Club

    Feb 16, 2003
    Thank you satelliteracer for the information.

    I have been with D* for 10 years and I'm willing to wait for things to happen, but D* needs to really start putting correct information out to us.

    There was a complete lack of any information about the NHL Network. No one know if the sd version would air or just hd channel.

    Then it appears on cable systems and Dish and not one word from D*.

    How hard would it have been to send some information to the different DBS forums and just say " We working on it and we will carry both the sd and hd NHL Network as soon as we can ?" Or put something on channel 215 saying the same thing .

    I think it is in D* best interest to get the correct facts out to us.
  13. Oct 26, 2007 #13 of 2038

    sdk009 Icon

    Jan 19, 2007
    Kihei, Maui, HI
    Thanks for the update. If D*'s CSRs were as informative and knowledgeable as Satelliteracer, they would be much easier to deal with.

    My question is about HD blackouts that may pertain to both NHLCI & NBALP. If the HD telecast carried is from the other team's RSN, will there be a blackout? For instance tonight's Sharks-Wings game will be the FSNDetroit-HD telecast. Will it be blacked out here in Northern California?
  14. Oct 26, 2007 #14 of 2038

    SinBin Legend

    Apr 13, 2007
    One thing I do not understand about dual feeds is why select games are blacked out in the 600's and only available if DirecTV puts them in the 700 range. For example, if the Ducks were playing Dallas and both FSN Prime Ticket (653) & Fox Sports Southwest (643) are covering the game, they should be automatically available to DirecTV customers, right? So why would one feed be blacked out over the other? I believe Dish Network will never blackout a game (unless you're local to the arena) as long as they have the channel. As a matter of fact, Dish will even have 3 feeds of the same game at times by broadcasting a Canadian network such as TSN or Rogers. I'd rather watch a Canadian broadcast than most of the coverage here in the USA. It would be nice if DirecTV would add more dual, even triple feeds to the Center Ice package using Canadian networks and leave open channels in the 600 range.
  15. Oct 26, 2007 #15 of 2038

    tfederov Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    Have you guys considered a mix channel similar to Sunday Ticket or Extra Innings?
  16. Oct 26, 2007 #16 of 2038

    tonyd79 Hall Of Fame

    Jul 24, 2006
    Columbia, MD
    But make it an HD one!
  17. Oct 26, 2007 #17 of 2038

    kaa1954 Legend

    Sep 23, 2006
    Thanks for taking the time to aknowledge our concerns. Here is a scenario that will crop up tommorrow night. The Pens are playing the Canadians in Pittsburgh. FSNP is showing the HD game on 628-1. DirecTV will be broadcasting the game to the local folks on 628-1. NHLCI viewers will most likely have to watch the SD HNIC broadcast. With only 2 other HD games being broadcast, why wouldn’t this HD game be shown as it fits all the criteria you outlined above?

    To put the question another way…Why blackout the RSN’s HD version when a customer has NHLCI & Sportspack subscriptions? It makes no sense since I have paid for both. It’s not like you can’t show the game ever because I do get to watch the RSN’s HD broadcast on some nights.

    Please UNBLOCK the RSN’s for NHLCI subscribers who have Sportspack.
  18. Oct 26, 2007 #18 of 2038

    tfederov Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    Actually with the ability to hide SD channels that might not be a bad idea. If there isn't an HD feed of the game go to the "hidden" SD channel.
  19. Oct 26, 2007 #19 of 2038

    jf222 Cool Member

    Apr 16, 2007
    One problem (eg last night) is that someone forgets to put the "center Ice" authorization on the companion HD transmission to the SD one - last night the NESN SD signal was working for center Ice but the HD signal from NESN was giving message "not available in your area" until late in the thrid period - I called and talked to a CSR and to a Technical rep 10 minutes into the game but nothing was done quickly - there will always be mistakes when something is new, but someone should be available to correct them quickly - CSR should be able to transfer a knowing person to them and then they act. When one of the local stations started HD transmission the station engineer was interested in any problems - even giving a way to call a night number and talk to the duty engineer so that he would know what the actual problem was.
  20. Oct 26, 2007 #20 of 2038

    dgsiiinc AllStar

    Jan 25, 2007
    Music to my ears! All but the Go Ducks part. :rolleyes:

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