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· Godfather
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310 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A message to DirecTV Finance and Engineering teams:

PLEASE add an OTA channel scan in your next OTA receiver, preferably IN a HD or HD DVR satellite receiver. The H20 has it. It's great!

The HR20 does not. HR21 does not either... and it requires an ADDITIONAL box.
The new H23 does not have an OTA tuner and from what I have read does not even work with the AM21. I don't get the idea of having yet another box in my entertainment center. I already have a bunch of boxes in there already. Hey D*, why not do something BETTER than E* and have a ONE BOX SOLUTION for your consumers?

How much are you saving by leaving this out? $10 per box? Anyone have that figure? It's going to be increasingly clear that leaving out the OTA tuner is stupid once we get used to the digital subchannels. You can't put all the subchannels on the satellite, they take up too much bandwidth. Even if you try, you'll have to overly compress the signals and sacrifice picture quality. There are people that live in between markets that need the OTA scan also.

So, I am PLEADING with you D*, DELIVER A VERSATILE, ONE BOX HD and HD-DVR SATELLITE OTA with channel scan SOLUTION to us. Keep your customers happy by making it simple and versatile.


Thank you.
 

· The Shadow Knows!
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36,634 Posts
I hear you and I know what you're saying. The answer I've heard before, and am repeating to you is, that other television providers do not provide integrated ATSC tuning in their receivers, and 94% (the number I've heard) of subscribers do not use OTA.

While OTA was important in the early days of digital TV, as DIRECTV carried very few HD locals, DIRECTV's plan to cover the country with HD local coverage in the next 12 months will limit the continuing demand for OTA.

I understand that subchannels are important. I understand that many of you want a backup solution for rain fade. However, from what I've been told, integrated OTA support, and OTA scanning, were always envisioned as short term solutions.

Also, remember that there are about 20 million receivers in use now and as people go from SD to HD there is expected to be a huge surge in HD adoption. Let's say that even a quarter of those receivers get upgraded next year. Taking your $10 number at face value, eliminating OTA will save $50,000,000 and 94% of the people will not miss it.
 

· Hall Of Fame
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1,333 Posts
It is significantly easier to implement in the H20 than the the HR2x series. For it to be usable in the HR2x series, you would have to manage 14 days of programming data on channels found on the OTA scan.

It would seem much simpler to watch a channel you found via scan than it would be to manage its future program data. This program data is the key to any usability in a DVR.
 

· Hall Of Fame
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Doug Brott said:
Don't expect a one box solution again. While there are passionate folks here about OTA, the percentage of folks actually using OTA is rather tiny.
As DirecTV expands their HD LIL, I will agree that the number will shrink. I am not sure I agree that it is so small now while so many markets are unserved.
 

· Lifetime Achiever
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gregjones said:
As DirecTV expands their HD LIL, I will agree that the number will shrink. I am not sure I agree that it is so small now while so many markets are unserved.
Perhaps, but those are the facts. I do not know the exact number, just that it is tiny. Maybe in unserved areas the percentage is higher, but over the whole of the country, it is tiny.
 

· Mentor
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49 Posts
I still almost exclusively use OTA for my local channels to receive better picture quality. Once in a while I do use D* HD local channels for something that I don't really care that much about the quality. Also my OTA doesn't get rain fade either.
 

· RIP
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6,203 Posts
I can understand separating out the OTA capabilities and the cost savings. Not having OTA scanning though is a missing feature that would be a nice addition. What issue could there be with guide data...they get it from another source already and they send an awful lot of it to receivers as is...for channels that the customer doesn't subscribe to.
 

· Legend
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164 Posts
Personally I agree with the OP that the one-box solution is a great feature of the HR20s. Not only that, it did play a key role in my decision to stay with DirecTV even though they didn't provide my HD locals as I could fill that hole with an antenna (even with D11 that may still be some time off in my lowly DMA).

Now Stuart made a great point that they could have a huge saving while relatively few would miss the OTA feature, but I'd like to propose a counterpoint:
I currently pay DirecTV around $140/month - perhaps on the high side, so let's say $100 is more typical for an HD viewer. That's $1,200/yr or $6k over 5 years - a typical life-cycle of many products/services. Even if only 100,000 would be subscribers (less than 1% of their current base) chose not to go with DirecTV because of their lack of integrated locals, then that represents a revenue loss of $600 million! Now, of course, that money is used for many other things than free receivers, and OK, maybe these numbers are exaggerations, but with the increase in awareness of digital OTA, I think they're missing a great marketing opportunity by not having this as an option.

Just added this thought... even if D11 (or eventually D12) does provide my locals in HD, it will certainly not provide the ~9 sub channels I currently get OTA - so I'll still need my antenna - and I don't want to be having to switch inputs on my TV, and re-route the 5.1 audio from my TV back to my sound system every time I switch between satellite and antenna!
 

· AllStar
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72 Posts
Why can't they offer it as a choice? The "free" box has no OTA, or you can chose an upgraded box with OTA for $xx. That way they wouldn't be on the hook for something that 94% if people don't use, but they can satisfy the ones that really want it.
 

· Beware the Attack Basset
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26,894 Posts
Doug Brott said:
While there are passionate folks here about OTA, the percentage of folks actually using OTA is rather tiny.
I suspect that this is not backed up with any real numbers.

As more people become acquainted with alternate content available on some of the subchannels, OTA will become more popular, not less. Because most cable systems don't offer subchannels and DIRECTV is getting away from them, subscribers really have no idea what they're missing.
 

· Hall Of Fame
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aa9vi said:
You can't put all the subchannels on the satellite, they take up too much bandwidth.
I'm not sure that's necessarily true. Most of the quotes I've seen about their future abilities to carry x number of HD locals have been based on full HD bandwidth. As each station adds more subchannels, the total bandwidth stays the same... it just sucks bandwidth away from the HD channel.

To play devil's advocate... you could say that it would be BAD for DirecTV, Dish, cable, etc. to carry the subchannels... the fewer eyes the subchannels have, the less marketable they become, and the less likely they will become more commonplace and further degrade HD quality from local broadcasters. From what I've seen, even a full 19Mbps isn't enough for 1080i when it contains lots of motion (ever watched NBC's Olypmic swimming coverage?), strobes, etc. If that continues to be dwindled down, it's just going to get worse.
 

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mitoca said:
Why can't they offer it as a choice? The "free" box has no OTA, or you can chose an upgraded box with OTA for $xx. That way they wouldn't be on the hook for something that 94% if people don't use, but they can satisfy the ones that really want it.
Isn't that exactly the model they're moving towards. Granted, the AM21 doesn't work on the H2x series, on the HR2x.... but they've basically made a "base model" and the OTA is an upgrade for anyone who wants it.

harsh said:
I suspect that this is not backed up with any real numbers.

As more people become acquainted with alternate content available on some of the subchannels, OTA will become more popular, not less. Because most cable systems don't offer subchannels and DIRECTV is getting away from them, subscribers really have no idea what they're missing.
Obviously none of us have "real" numbers. Only DirecTV has those. Given the nature of the relationship between DirecTV & the moderators of this forum, however... When the HR21 first came out Earl stated that DirecTV had hard data as to how many people were utilizing the OTA option. Now Doug and Stuart have both stated that the number of people using OTA is "small".

I take that as a pretty good sign that DirecTV believes (knows?) the number and that it is significantly small enough to justify removing the ATSC tuners.
 

· Cool Member
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That logic is flawed... How much is the HR20 VS the HR21?

The consumer is fronting the disadvantage of no OTA tuner and the advantage of what I assume is a consistent $100 bucks per unit. (that is what I paid...)

D* needs to distribute both OTA boxes and non OTA boxes and let the consumer choose which is right for his/her specific situation. The public is already being educated about digital OTA technologies because of all these government funded commercials about the DTV transition...

Also, I'm waiting for the day when D* has equipped everyone with nonOTA boxes and all of a sudden local HD channels are no longer free... OTA for me, all the way...

Stuart Sweet said:
I hear you and I know what you're saying. The answer I've heard before, and am repeating to you is, that other television providers do not provide integrated ATSC tuning in their receivers, and 94% (the number I've heard) of subscribers do not use OTA.

While OTA was important in the early days of digital TV, as DIRECTV carried very few HD locals, DIRECTV's plan to cover the country with HD local coverage in the next 12 months will limit the continuing demand for OTA.

I understand that subchannels are important. I understand that many of you want a backup solution for rain fade. However, from what I've been told, integrated OTA support, and OTA scanning, were always envisioned as short term solutions.

Also, remember that there are about 20 million receivers in use now and as people go from SD to HD there is expected to be a huge surge in HD adoption. Let's say that even a quarter of those receivers get upgraded next year. Taking your $10 number at face value, eliminating OTA will save $50,000,000 and 94% of the people will not miss it.
 

· Hall Of Fame
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Ken S said:
I can understand separating out the OTA capabilities and the cost savings. Not having OTA scanning though is a missing feature that would be a nice addition. What issue could there be with guide data...they get it from another source already and they send an awful lot of it to receivers as is...for channels that the customer doesn't subscribe to.
The problem is this. The receiver has to know which channels it is seeing. Depending on the effectiveness of the antenna and the atmospheric conditions, it might not be trivial to match the signals received to the guide data out there. Due to the flat land here, people can often pull in signals very far away in other markets. It is fairly simple now because DirecTV controls which possibilities are there. If they have to ascertain which distant 38-1 you are receiving, it gets a lot less simple.
 

· The Shadow Knows!
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36,634 Posts
mitoca said:
Why can't they offer it as a choice? The "free" box has no OTA, or you can chose an upgraded box with OTA for $xx. That way they wouldn't be on the hook for something that 94% if people don't use, but they can satisfy the ones that really want it.
Then they have to spend money on R&D and that would mean a significant difference in price. I have to wonder if it would be worth it.

harsh said:
I suspect that this is not backed up with any real numbers.

As more people become acquainted with alternate content available on some of the subchannels, OTA will become more popular, not less. Because most cable systems don't offer subchannels and DIRECTV is getting away from them, subscribers really have no idea what they're missing.
Actually my sources in the broadcast world all believe that subchannels for commercial television may completely stop in the coming years, as the economic model for them is failing.

bgedney said:
That logic is flawed... How much is the HR20 VS the HR21?
Production costs of HR20 were something like double that of HR21, and that's the more important number.
 

· Hall Of Fame
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Two things come to mind as I read this.

One - I have had an HR10-250, and subsequently other OTA capable receivers (HR20s), for however long the HR10-250 has been around, connected to an OTA antenna. I live in the Minneapolis DMA, so subchannels are prevalent. While I also find OTA a pretty high value thing (for some of the same reasons stated - primarily the quality of OTA feeds and them being more "hardy" in rough weather), I think I have YET to tune to one "sub-channel" beyond the -1 primary feed.

I would venture to guess that of the apparently small-ish percentage of people that utilize OTA, there is an even smaller (maybe MUCH smaller?) percentage of those that even use the additional sub-channels. A percentage of a small percentage is an even much smaller number.

Two - DirecTV is in the Direct Broadcast Satellite business and some people seem to feel they are also obligated to provide the very best of OTA solutions? While I think it's a good thing that they do have OTA solutions, I can't feel they are obligated in any way to make providing that service any kind of priority.

If OTA is THAT important to you, plug the antenna into your HDTV or get an HDTV Tuner (they threw one in free when I bought my HDTV). I wouldn't think that DirecTV should be relied upon for that.
 

· Registered
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JLucPicard said:
Two things come to mind as I read this.

<much snipped>

If OTA is THAT important to you, plug the antenna into your HDTV or get an HDTV Tuner (they threw one in free when I bought my HDTV). I wouldn't think that DirecTV should be relied upon for that.
That doesn't support the recording capability and many of us work during a period when they want to record OTA. A great example was the 18 and then 19 hole playoff of the US Open Golf.

D* is doing fine by me offering the HR21 and AM21. I have both and they do nicely. I need OTA, I want OTA and don't mind paying the HD access fee (which I'm paying anyway) and the additional 50 bucks to get it.

So, yes, OTA is THAT important to some of us. The reasons have been beaten to death. I can't bear to post them yet again, and am not even remotely interested in a discussion of the merits <again>.

We can have both (OTA and DVR) for minimal investment. We asked, D* delivered at a reasonable price. Case closed for me.
 

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Ken S said:
I can understand separating out the OTA capabilities and the cost savings. Not having OTA scanning though is a missing feature that would be a nice addition. What issue could there be with guide data...they get it from another source already and they send an awful lot of it to receivers as is...for channels that the customer doesn't subscribe to.
I agree - add scanning capability.

This thread could devolve once again into an argument about the necessity of OTA and whether or not it should be a one-box solution, but I firmly believe that ship has sailed and nothing will be gained from rehashing the arguments. The scanning capability, however, that's something that's been requested several times in the past, but I don't recall seeing in depth discussions of the merits or lack there of in having it .... so I hope this thread could steer more in that direction ...
 

· Registered
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Drew2k said:
I agree - add scanning capability.

This thread could devolve once again into an argument about the necessity of OTA and whether or not it should be a one-box solution, but I firmly believe that ship has sailed and nothing will be gained from rehashing the arguments. The scanning capability, however, that's something that's been requested several times in the past, but I don't recall seeing in depth discussions of the merits or lack there of in having it .... so I hope this thread could steer more in that direction ...
I should have mentioned that....scanning would be super. It was listed as a feature in the first manuals. I doubt we'll see it. I don't see D* investing one more penny than they already have in OTA. (other than making sure they have at least one model of HD-DVR that can accept the AM21)
 
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