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SD Channels still needed?

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Programming' started by Juanus, Oct 3, 2013.

  1. Oct 3, 2013 #1 of 61

    Juanus Legend

    Jun 4, 2007
    I am sorry if this has been asked before or if this is the incorrect forum.

    Are SD channels still neccessary if they have an HD equivelent? I would think that freeing up the bandwidth that the duplicate SD channel uses would be a benifit. I would think that odds are that if you have Directv you dont have an SD TV. And if you do... ummmm

  2. Oct 3, 2013 #2 of 61

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

    Feb 14, 2013
    I thought someone posted some numbers that there are still millions of SD only subscribers. Not to mention all the people who have HD but still have one or two old SD sets in use.
  3. Oct 3, 2013 #3 of 61

    gov Legend

    Jan 11, 2013
    Many 'head' type nursing home systems are all SD. I maintain one that has over 35 DirecTV D12 boxes in 2 large equipment racks. Upgrading that to HD would be pricey.

    Although, I can imagine (LOL!!) something like an HR34, only with the hard drive deleted, and 5 ATSC adjacent channel capable modulators in the housing. That would be a neat gadget for upgrading existing systems like that.

  4. Oct 3, 2013 #4 of 61

    dpeters11 Hall Of Fame

    May 30, 2007
    In one of the FCC filings for DirecTV14, they said that 60% of "new" customers had HD. I don't know what they defined as new, but at that point, even if it was new customers in the past two years at that point, that means a lot of SD only.

    Of course some markets are MPEG4, but to do that nationwide would require a lot of receiver swaps.
  5. Oct 3, 2013 #5 of 61

    KyL416 Hall Of Fame

    Nov 10, 2005
    Tobyhanna, PA
    And of those 60%, how many of them have mixed setups with SD and HD.

    Then of course you have people who rather watch shows like Married with Children and Fresh Prince on TBS SD instead of watching it stretched and distorted on the HD feed.
  6. Oct 3, 2013 #6 of 61

    dpeters11 Hall Of Fame

    May 30, 2007
    Exactly. And yes, since those shows were shot to video, that is the proper way to watch them :)
  7. Oct 4, 2013 #7 of 61

    fleckrj Icon

    Sep 4, 2009
    Cary, NC
    The real problem is the number of MPEG2 boxes that would have to be replaced before SD can be dropped. I think the first step would be to stop issuing MPEG2 boxes and to replace dead MPEG2 boxes with MPEG4 boxes, but as far as I know, that has not happened yet. Then, before there could be a switch, all remaing MPEG2 boxes would have to be recalled and replaced with MPEG4 boxes. That will be a very big expense for DirecTV, so I do not see it happening before 2017, if then.
  8. Oct 4, 2013 #8 of 61

    APB101 Icon

    Sep 1, 2010
    Think of when people bough their last standard-definition televisions. If they did so at any point during the decade of the 2000s, the answer is yes.

    I would estimate that it would be by the end of this current decade of the 2010s that nearly all those SD-purchased TVs will be no longer operational. We may to wait until 2020.
  9. Oct 4, 2013 #9 of 61

    JosephB Icon

    Nov 14, 2005
    Birmingham, AL
    The issue isn't how many SD TV sets are out there. HD boxes are capable of downconverting to SD resolutions.

    The issue is how many existing SD/MPEG2 receivers and 101-only dishes are out there.

    I absolutely think that they should be aggressively moving in this direction, but they are still manufacturing SD-only MPEG2 boxes, not even to mention how long the MPEG-2 boxes will last through cycles of refurbishment. Obviously the cost of switching to only MPEG-4 capable boxes is still greater than the savings they would gain or the capacity they would gain.

    When every single new customer gets an HD dish and an MPEG-4 capable box, regardless of whether or not they are actually subscribing to HD or have an HD TV set, then you will know they are starting down that road. It'll be a while, because it has taken them a year or two to phase out the MPG boxes, and that is after years and years of no longer manufacturing them.
  10. Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

    Jun 18, 2006
    I recently heard, and have reason to believe, that roughly 50% of DIRECTV's customers are still SD-only. Even more have some SD receivers. That is a base of millions upon millions of customers who would need free upgrades to get to an all HD state.

    DIRECTV still does plenty of new SD customer activations, often in international packages. I have heard that within just a few years DIRECTV will no longer be activating new SD customers or making contracts that include only SD channels. That's the next step.
  11. JosephB

    JosephB Icon

    Nov 14, 2005
    Birmingham, AL
    I think the tipping point will be when a few more of the very large content providers switch to providing HD-only feeds, and SD simply becomes a letterboxed downconversion (like Fox News, CNN, ESPN, etc).

    Bandwidth, though, isn't such a gigantic issue as it used to be with more and more video being over the internet and not really that many more compelling channels out there. Content costs seem to be the major limiting factor these days.
  12. Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

    Jun 18, 2006
    It wouldn't surprise me if the major content providers stopped offering SD feeds by 2016. DIRECTV and other companies are more than capable of creating their own SD downsamples. i don't think that's going to drive HD conversion. As was said earlier, when DIRECTV no longer sees significant cost savings to offering both HD and SD feeds, they'll stop.
  13. tonyd79

    tonyd79 Hall Of Fame

    Jul 24, 2006
    Columbia, MD
    Aren't they already doing that with many locals and ESPN?
  14. kevinwmsn

    kevinwmsn Hall Of Fame

    Aug 19, 2006
    I would think it would only be a matter of time for all installs to have HD dishes, not necessary SWiM.
  15. trh

    trh This Space for Sale

    Nov 2, 2007
    NE FL
    How much is it going to cost to convert hotels over? Almost all the hotels I stay in have HD TVs, but the signal is SD. I seem to remember reading here that changing the hotels to HD would be a very expensive undertaking.
  16. RVD26

    RVD26 Godfather

    Oct 12, 2007
    I still use the SD channels every now and then when there is severe weather and the HD channel goes out.
  17. gov

    gov Legend

    Jan 11, 2013
    They need a good under $100 QAM/ATSC modulator that can run on adjacent channels. Still, for a 50 channel system, just the modulators would be $5000, and you would need a rack and the labor to install it. Hopefully the combiners and distribution amps would all be fine.

    Upgrading nursing homes, hotels, residential communities with their own CATV systems, etc., would take time, lotsa equipment, and plenty of money.

    Not saying it can't be done, but we would be looking at many years to do the job.

    If asked tomorrow to do another nursing home, hate to say it, but the system would be SD to have a decent number of channels. An HD head with even 24 channels would be staggering $$$$.

    I'd luv to install one though, LOL! Just don't wanna pay for it.
  18. ejbvt

    ejbvt AllStar

    Aug 14, 2011
    I still think that changing the "HD Fee" to "SD fee" would change a lot of minds and fast....
  19. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

    Feb 14, 2013

    Probably will never happen, because the content owners are too worried about piracy resulting from an HDMI/component -> QAM modulator. If anyone tried to make an inexpensive one they'd either find a reason to sue them, or force providers to turn on HDCP on everything and make sure the cheap modulators would only work with unencrypted content.
  20. TheRatPatrol

    TheRatPatrol Hall Of Fame

    Oct 1, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ
    They should have stopped MPEG2 SD installs after the launch of D10. Everything from that point forward should have been MPEG4 only boxes.

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