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Comments on news posted 2007-09-12 11:40:50: [att=1214406,r]The cable industry won some and lost some at yesterday's FCC meeting, which was delayed some eleven hours until 9PM due to the industry haggling with the commission. ..



Hall
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-28
Germantown, OH
kudos:2

Contradicting rulings ?

I already posted this same question over at AVS but here goes:

As part of the FCC's analog shutoff, it's my understanding that cable companies can't "degrade" the digital OTA signals, i.e. compress them to use less bandwidth, change the resolution (in turn reducing bandwidth). Yet this ruling says they can convert a digital signal to an analog signal and that's not considered a degradation ?? Without reading the full details, does this 3-year timeframe give them a "waiver" until 2012 ?

I always thought the cable companies would try and go all-digital right around the same time as broadcast and just use the FCC's ruling as an excuse.



FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

1 edit

Key to Analog decision is who pays

The ruling:

The FCC’s ruling today allows cable operators to comply with the viewability requirement by choosing to either: (1) carry the digital signal in analog format, or (2) carry the signal only in digital format, provided that all subscribers have the necessary equipment to view the broadcast content.
What the ruling doesn't say is who pays for this. If cable companies put in new headend equipment or continue to maintain existing outdated DACs to convert digital to analog, the increased cost is borne by all the company's subscribers.

If they choose option 2, then they must provide digital STBs with analog outputs(like the DCT700) to all their customers that don't currently have a STB. Comcast has been giving up to 2 of these away for free to existing analog customers, but they can charge for this if they want to. This choice is obviously better for cable companies since it gets these old analog customers access to things like OnDemand which can generate new revenues. Also, the law allows a certain amount of subsidized money for these boxes.

So my guess is that the cable companies will choose option 2 almost for sure. It is better for them for future revenue opportunities, gets some subsidized money from the taxpayers, and lessens the cost impact on existing digital customers.

Comcast has already anticipated this ruling by aggressively rolling out the new cheapie digital STBs and are already on their way to easily meeting the deadline. I suspect the other cable companies will do likewise.
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FFH
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Tavistock NJ
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2 edits
reply to Hall

Re: Contradicting rulings ?

said by Hall:

I already posted this same question over at AVS but here goes:

As part of the FCC's analog shutoff, it's my understanding that cable companies can't "degrade" the digital OTA signals, i.e. compress them to use less bandwidth, change the resolution (in turn reducing bandwidth).
That interpretation is not completely accurate. The key to the ruling is the phrase "material degradation". That doesn't mean that no compression can take place. It only means that the visual result can't be materially degraded. The question then becomes who determines if it has been materially degraded? The cable company or the broadcaster and then who decides if they disagree. My guess is that compression will happen and the cable company will force the broadcaster to file a FCC complaint if they don't like it.

Here is what FCC Commissioner McDowell had to say on this subject:
We do not adopt the “all content bits” proposal upon which we sought comment. In my opinion, our decision strikes the appropriate balance between ensuring that broadcast signals are not materially degraded and permitting cable operators to use their technology efficiently to produce both high quality video and highspeed broadband offerings for consumers. The standard we reaffirm today will permit cable operators to take advantage of technological innovations, such as switched digital and advanced compression technologies, to continue providing service to consumers with greater efficiency.

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hottboiinnc
ME

join:2003-10-15
Cleveland, OH

TWC Spin off?

Didn't Time Warner spin off Time Warner Cable to their own separate company a while back and just allow them to keep the TW name?

Which if they did wouldn't that void Martin's plans on exclusive deals since they're not the same company. Just one is leasing the other's name.


Bobcat79
Premium
join:2001-02-04
reply to Hall

Re: Contradicting rulings ?

said by Hall:

I always thought the cable companies would try and go all-digital right around the same time as broadcast and just use the FCC's ruling as an excuse.
Nope. There are a lot of us people receiving cable TV without boxes. I get approx 70 analog channels. If my cable company makes me pay for a box, I might as well switch to FIOS!

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cypherstream
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join:2004-12-02
Reading, PA
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reply to Hall

Another contradiction is that the FCC granted set top waiver requests to some MSO's who guaranteed to go all digital by 2009. Now they are saying that MSO's must still provide the Must Carry channels in an analog format? Ok, which will it be FCC?

Anyway, in most area's there are only 20 or less must carry channels. 20 Analogs sure take a lot less space than the 77 or so we are carrying today.



FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5
reply to Bobcat79

said by Bobcat79:

said by Hall:

I always thought the cable companies would try and go all-digital right around the same time as broadcast and just use the FCC's ruling as an excuse.
Nope. There are a lot of us people receiving cable TV without boxes. I get approx 70 analog channels. If my cable company makes me pay for a box, I might as well switch to FIOS!

Well that is going to end. And if you have 6 TVs, they are not going to give you 6 free STBs. A couple of them tops for free. After that you pay. Don't like it, go to Fios - but you will still pay extra for extra TVs.
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Bobcat79
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join:2001-02-04

said by FFH:

said by Bobcat79:

said by Hall:

I always thought the cable companies would try and go all-digital right around the same time as broadcast and just use the FCC's ruling as an excuse.
Nope. There are a lot of us people receiving cable TV without boxes. I get approx 70 analog channels. If my cable company makes me pay for a box, I might as well switch to FIOS!

Well that is going to end. And if you have 6 TVs, they are not going to give you 6 free STBs. A couple of them tops for free.
Cablevision never gave anyone anything for free. Their company policy is to screw their customers.
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FFH
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Tavistock NJ
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1 edit
reply to cypherstream

said by cypherstream:

Now they are saying that MSO's must still provide the Must Carry channels in an analog format? Ok, which will it be FCC?
Actually, they are not saying that. They are saying they must take care of analog customers. See my earlier post on this topic for an explanation:
»Key to Analog decision is who pays
See option no 2.--
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Sammer

join:2005-12-22
Canonsburg, PA
reply to hottboiinnc

Re: TWC Spin off?

While Time Warner technically spun off Time Warner Cable (some stock is publicly traded) it still holds the controlling interest.


hottboiinnc
ME

join:2003-10-15
Cleveland, OH

but wouldn't that still give heads up to TWC? Since technically the company is spun off just TW owns controlling interest doesnt make them the same company.


SD6

join:2005-03-26
reply to FFH

Re: Contradicting rulings ?

said by FFH:

said by cypherstream:

Now they are saying that MSO's must still provide the Must Carry channels in an analog format? Ok, which will it be FCC?
Actually, they are not saying that. They are saying they must take care of analog customers. See my earlier post on this topic for an explanation:
»Key to Analog decision is who pays
See option no 2.
I agree, the news item appears to incorrectly state that both analog and digital must be carried, when that is not the case.

whocares0
Premium
join:2003-07-26
..
reply to Hall

Re: heres more

New FCC ruling: No need for a new digital TV yet

WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission approved rules Tuesday night that it says will ensure that millions of cable subscribers will still be able to watch broadcast programming after the digital television transition in 2009.
The FCC says approximately 40 million households are analog-only cable subscribers. Tuesday's ruling will require cable operators to guarantee analog cable customers will receive broadcast channels until February 2012.
Meanwhile, on the sixth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, the commission also approved new rules that will allow police and firefighters to better locate cell phone callers who dial 911 in an emergency.
The meeting, originally scheduled for 8:30 a.m. CDT, was delayed for more than 11 hours as commissioners and staff hammered out compromises to the cable order and other items.
While the greatest impact of the digital television transition will be on viewers of non-digital televisions who receive their signals over the air, non-digital cable subscribers have also been a concern to the commission.
Beginning Feb. 18, 2009, broadcasters will stop transmitting old-style analog signals to over-the-air customers and to cable companies. Over-the-air customers will have to buy a converter box.
As for the nation's analog cable subscribers, cable operators must either convert the digital signal to analog at the point where the cable signal originates or supply customers with a "down converter" device that will change digital signals to analog at the TV set.
The cable industry pledged to do this voluntarily and launched a $200 million advertising campaign last week to reassure subscribers. The new FCC rules make compliance mandatory.
The FCC will also allow for certain smaller cable systems to request a waiver.
In other action, the agency voted to force cell phone companies to employ a much stricter geographic standard when testing the ability of rescue workers to locate callers in distress.
People who call 911 from a wired telephone can be traced to specific addresses. That's not the case with cell phones.
Carriers are required to test their location systems and be able to pinpoint callers within certain distances. But they have been allowed to test their equipment over their entire national service areas, meaning good results in one region may skew the average.
The Association of Public Safety Communications Officials International has lobbied the agency to force carriers to measure location accuracy at the community level or "public safety answering point" level.
In the face of stiff opposition from cell carriers, the commission opted to phase in the new requirement over the next five years.

hou paper

i'am glad i have always had satellite tv
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matcarl
Premium
join:2007-03-09
Franklin Square, NY
reply to Hall

Re: Contradicting rulings ?

said by Hall:

I already posted this same question over at AVS but here goes:
As part of the FCC's analog shutoff, it's my understanding that cable companies can't "degrade" the digital OTA signals, i.e. compress them to use less bandwidth, change the resolution (in turn reducing bandwidth). Yet this ruling says they can convert a digital signal to an analog signal and that's not considered a degradation ?? Without reading the full details, does this 3-year timeframe give them a "waiver" until 2012 ?
It's the "high definition" signal they are talking about, not the standard ones

Sammer

join:2005-12-22
Canonsburg, PA
reply to hottboiinnc

Re: TWC Spin off?

Perhaps but I don't think the ruling is really aimed at Time Warner. Time Warner makes it money by selling its channels to multiple operators so they don't really have any incentive for exclusive deals with Time Warner Cable. The ruling is more like a shot across the bow for Cablevision and Comcast.



dvd536
as Mr. Pink as they come
Premium
join:2001-04-27
Phoenix, AZ
kudos:4
reply to Hall

Re: Contradicting rulings ?

said by Hall:

As part of the FCC's analog shutoff, it's my understanding that cable companies can't "degrade" the digital OTA signals, i.e. compress them to use less bandwidth, change the resolution (in turn reducing bandwidth).
LOL!
know anyone with DTV? that is digital and both overcompressed and downrezzed.
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dvd536
as Mr. Pink as they come
Premium
join:2001-04-27
Phoenix, AZ
kudos:4
reply to Bobcat79

said by Bobcat79:

said by Hall:

I always thought the cable companies would try and go all-digital right around the same time as broadcast and just use the FCC's ruling as an excuse.
Nope. There are a lot of us people receiving cable TV without boxes. I get approx 70 analog channels. If my cable company makes me pay for a box, I might as well switch to FIOS!
FIOS is available to you and you don't have it?
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You can never be too rich, too thin or have too much Bandwidth


Old_Grouch
Don't just sit there silly DO something
Premium
join:2004-05-26
Greenwood, IN
kudos:1

Is it cable or cable?

I admit I have not read the ruling or synopsis...I've had all the forked-tongue I can manage for one week and there are still days to go.

Can anyone tell whether the rule applies only to the traditional cable companies or will it affect SBCatt's U-wish service too?

Just trying to keep track of how much you can get by having the right whine to serve.
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Hall
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-28
Germantown, OH
kudos:2
reply to matcarl

Re: Contradicting rulings ?

said by matcarl:

It's the "high definition" signal they are talking about, not the standard ones
No, it's not. The FCC doesn't get involved in anything HD related. They deal with analog vs digital only.

hottboiinnc
ME

join:2003-10-15
Cleveland, OH
reply to Sammer

Re: TWC Spin off?

Maybe. But I don't see how it would be targeted toward just Cablevision and or Comcast. They both offer their channels to other providers. I get both channels from Comcast and Cablevision on my Time Warner cable.



matcarl
Premium
join:2007-03-09
Franklin Square, NY

1 edit
reply to Hall

Re: Contradicting rulings ?

said by Hall:

said by matcarl:

It's the "high definition" signal they are talking about, not the standard ones
No, it's not. The FCC doesn't get involved in anything HD related. They deal with analog vs digital only.
Here's the quote from the FCC, it's the HD signal like I said. They are talking about local broadcast "HD" signals!

While the item provides cable operators with flexibility, the FCC reaffirmed the requirement that cable systems must carry high definition (“HD”) broadcast signals in HD format and reaffirmed its current material degradation standard. Cable operators must carry broadcast signals so that the picture quality is at least as good as the quality of any other programming carried on the system.

Bobcat79
Premium
join:2001-02-04

1 edit
reply to dvd536

said by dvd536:

said by Bobcat79:

said by Hall:

I always thought the cable companies would try and go all-digital right around the same time as broadcast and just use the FCC's ruling as an excuse.
Nope. There are a lot of us people receiving cable TV without boxes. I get approx 70 analog channels. If my cable company makes me pay for a box, I might as well switch to FIOS!
FIOS is available to you and you don't have it?
No, it's not available. And I probably wouldn't switch unless it was cheaper than my $48 analog cable with no boxes. I'd keep my POTS, DSL, and cable unless it would reduce my bills.

ncbill
Premium
join:2007-01-23
Winston Salem, NC
Reviews:
·AT&T Southeast
reply to FFH

Re: Key to Analog decision is who pays

Given this ruling I very much doubt cable companies will be allowed to charge broadcast channel subscribers for a STB - that would double most basic cable bills.

I wonder if at the end of that 3 year period we will see the FCC require broadcast channels to be transmitted clear QAM?


Sammer

join:2005-12-22
Canonsburg, PA
reply to hottboiinnc

Re: TWC Spin off?

AFAIK the practice has never occurred on the the national level but has on the regional level. Comcast continues the practice with Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia (legally grandfathered) but otherwise seems to have ceased the practice. Cablevision continues to refuse to sell at least some of its channels to at least one competitive provider in the NYC metropolitan area.


hottboiinnc
ME

join:2003-10-15
Cleveland, OH

from what I have seen with Cablevision is they refuse to sell some of their channels to VZ who I see is the only one besides RCN they compete with really. Other wise TWC and Cablevision have their own markets of NYC