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JPL
Premium
join:2007-04-04
Downingtown, PA
kudos:4
reply to nlk10010

Re: October is here.. Are those dozen HD channels coming?!?!

I really don't think that's it. I think their plan from the start was eventually to get to IP. And that QAM was a stop-gap until they got there. I don't doubt that they thought they planned adequately to get through that stop-gap and that IP would be rocking and rolling by now.

Others mentioned the migration to mpeg-4, which they can do, and I'm not trying to give Verizon a pass here, but if you look across providers, they're all pretty much in a holding pattern. I don't see massive HD adds by anyone. Oh, there were massive adds to get systems up to where they are now, and yeah, some of those systems have surpassed Verizon's HD channel total for now, but name for me any system which is going gangbusters to set the new standard for HD channels in their lineup. None of them are. In fact, you're more likely to see a system drop channels than add them at this point. I think the issue is cost.

I've heard different takes on whether adding an HD feed really does cost more. I don't know if it does, but I think it stands to reason that there are some not-insignificant costs associated with upping the bandwidth. for example, take mpeg-4. While they could pass it on for channels that they currently receive as mpeg-4, taking old channels and upgrading them to mpeg-4 would require a pretty significant swap out of equipment in the field. Imagine taking a chunk of channels that are fairly heavily viewed, and converting them to mpeg-4. How many STBs and DVRs would need to be swapped out to handle it? Couple that with the fact that there's been a shortage of DVRs... and you're not only creating a significant cost, but your supply probably can't keep up with that kind of switch-over at this point.

Again, I'm not trying to defend Verizon in this, but at a time when pay tv rates continue to climb, especially while the economy continues to barely tread water, these companies have to be careful not to push people over the edge in terms of cost. It's expensive enough for this stuff. I really think all of these providers are trying to manage that balance. Investment in all sorts of things, across the board, are on hold. Not just in this industry, but across most industries. Companies simply are not spending money. I think until the economy really turns around, I wouldn't expect massive changes from any of these providers. I think they're all in pretty much of a holding pattern at this point.

nlk10010

join:2007-06-27
Great Neck, NY
I think your argument is fair, although I still believe that Verizon's intention was to let people believe that FIOS meant virtually unlimited HD channel capacity, or at least more than the competition could provide. I mean, is Verizon the only provider who could implement IP? And others have already got MPEG-4.

Of course preferences differ, but the reason much of the competiton isn't making huge HD adds is because there aren't many new HD channels to add. They've already got most/virtually all of them. There are many HD channels FIOS doesn't have that others do, that's why some here are complaining. It's not the rate of addition of HD channels that is the bone of contention, it's the quantity of HD channels. Again, many may feel they don't need or want the HD channels FIOS doesn't have, but many do.

JPL
Premium
join:2007-04-04
Downingtown, PA
kudos:4
Oh, no argument from me on this point. Clearly they sell the concept of fiber as being THE thing that gives them an advantage over other providers.

I just don't think that they're intentionally withholding HD channels just because. I think there are cost drivers at play, and plans change. I'm sure if someone pulled up some charts of what FiOS would look like at this point, and those charts were made up at the time that FiOS was proposed, things would look VERY different from current reality.

I also disagree that the reason you're not seeing more HD adds by other providers is because they have virtually all of them. That's just not true. Look at DirecTV's line-up... or Dish's. Heck, even most of the cable companies that have alot of HD don't have all of those channels in every part of their footprint (Comcast in southern DE looks VERY different from Comcast around here, e.g.).

Architectural changes were made by all these providers to play catch-up with DirecTV. But now that they're all at this point... I really wouldn't expect massive HD adds by anyone.

One final point - on the fact that there are no new HD channels being created... first, that's not really true. There are. But more than that, as DirecTV showed, if you build it, they will come. Most of the HD channels that they added in their massive HD build up didn't even exist when they first proposed their expansion. They went to these providers and said 'create an HD feed for us.' These providers did because there was a system out there which hit millions of customers who was willing to make the investment to get their HD feeds into homes. There are still a number of SD only stations out there that I think would make the same leap if some large provider came forward with the same request. While it's true that the HD ramp-up has ebbed from 5 years ago, it hasn't stopped. In fact, I think the ebbing has as much to do with the service providers hitting their bandwidth limits as much as anything.

nlk10010

join:2007-06-27
Great Neck, NY
Well, I agree with you that Verizon isn't withholding channels "just because", they're withholding them because they don't have the capacity. Do you really think (you may, just asking) that if MPEG-4 all of a sudden was put in place Verizon wouldn't start adding HD? I think they're champing at the bit.

In the end, it's really an academic argument: no one is going to stay with a service because they feel sorry for them. If I feel that another provider offers a better package of TV/Internet/Phone or whatever, I'll switch. So would anyone else. I just have to have FIOS internet and I want to bundle. That may change in the future, we'll see.


celticpride

@verizon.net
I"M disappointed in verizon in that when i signed up 3 years ago i was led to believe that they would carrry more HD channels than any one, which is why i signed up,Yet they still only carry 1 HD channel for nba league pass!! On top of that i just read an article where directv said they hope to carry ALL HD CHANNELS ONLY by 2016 NO MORE SD CHANNELS!!!

JPL
Premium
join:2007-04-04
Downingtown, PA
kudos:4
reply to nlk10010
I think if they had the equipment everywhere, then yeah, I think they would start migrating to mpeg-4, and start adding HD. You're right - this is all pure speculation. And you're also right that you pick a provider that gives you the most of what you're looking for. I've been very happy with FiOS, and they carry just about all the channels that I want in HD (there are a couple that I would really love to see added), but they're certainly no worse than any other provider around here on that front - no matter who I went with I could make the same claim (they carry most of what I want). Their service has been really reliable, and I even like the guide. The only thing that's been giving me pause is the price. It seems like all these providers have pricing pressures that are creating issues for many subscribers. Coupled with the state of the economy, I'd be lying if I didn't say I wasn't considering dropping TV service altogether. We're not at that point, yet, but a couple more significant price increases, and we may be there.

In light of that, I'm glad that these companies are more or less in a holding pattern. I really don't want to get to the point where I'm priced out. Although I'm more likely to drop phone service first.

fishacura

join:2008-01-25
Phoenixville, PA
said by JPL:

And you're also right that you pick a provider that gives you the most of what you're looking for. I've been very happy with FiOS, and they carry just about all the channels that I want in HD

Very fair statement. I believe the same thing and anyone who tells you that another provider's offer is "substantially better" is just kidding themselves. There are a ton of variables and they all have different areas where they excel and/or fall short.

That being said, what I will say (which I believe to be a fair statement) is that FIOS has not done enough to stay ahead of the pack. Five years ago I think it was clear they were at the top in both service and value. I think others have really caught up and Verizon has not done much to stay ahead. I'm not saying they've done this intentionally or with malice...it could be a cost/systematic constraint. However, they certainly haven't done much to stay at the head of the race IMHO.
--
People who don't get good service on average tell 10 others while people who do get good service on average tell 1.


ITALIAN926

join:2003-08-16
kudos:2
reply to JPL
Is MPEG4 even necessary?. Program the least viewed HD channels to start up as an IPTV streaming channel. It would take a second to start, it wont be instantaneous, but THESE are the less popular channels afterall.


rantanamo

@verizon.net
Implementing Mpeg-4 and swapping out box is tons easier on the company and customers than having to swap out boxes, giving everyone the extra tuner modules. Not to mention implementing a whole new system to lower your picture quality to do IPTV.

I think Mpeg-4 vs IPTV is misunderstood here. Just like Mpeg-2(most channels now) its just a compression codec. Its newer than Mpeg-2 and simply more efficient. It can match Mpeg-2 picture quality while using lesser space/bandwidth. It needs boxes than can decode it, but its not a very system to implement from the customer to the provider. IPTV on the other hand is basically switching groups of channels on as you tune into or record them. If you've ever used it, you know channel changing is slower and it often suffers from less than stellar picture. With Fiber to the door that FiOS has, it can probably do better with the picture quality, but you likely lose the capability of using alternate systems like Tivo or WMC and are at the mercy of having maybe 4 streams for the whole house. Perhaps FiOS can do a much better job than current implementations, but I'm not impressed.


Greg2600

join:2008-05-20
Belleville, NJ
reply to ITALIAN926
said by ITALIAN926:

Is MPEG4 even necessary?. Program the least viewed HD channels to start up as an IPTV streaming channel. It would take a second to start, it wont be instantaneous, but THESE are the less popular channels afterall.

The problem is no provider has been able to implement an IPTV scheme at high video quality in a large scale.

tnsprin

join:2003-07-23
Bradenton, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to ITALIAN926
said by ITALIAN926:

Is MPEG4 even necessary?. Program the least viewed HD channels to start up as an IPTV streaming channel. It would take a second to start, it wont be instantaneous, but THESE are the less popular channels afterall.

Mpeg-4 is how a large number of channels are already being delivered to Verizon. Switching for those would eliminate any signal degradation occurring because of the conversion, eliminate the cost of running equipment currently handling the conversion, and free up space for more programs. The negative is that currently only the Motorola 7xxx series and Cisco boxes handle them so Fios would need to start doing switch outs. Note some models of customer owned boxes such as TiVo's can handle it.

Mac973

join:2009-05-18
West Orange, NJ
reply to celticpride
said by celticpride :

On top of that i just read an article where directv said they hope to carry ALL HD CHANNELS ONLY by 2016 NO MORE SD CHANNELS!!!

Good luck watching them. With signal loss every time it rains there is no way I would go back to satellite. I was at my uncle's house a couple weeks ago and a thunderstorm rolled in. They lost service for at least 15-20 minutes until the storm passed, and that was in the middle of a football game. No thanks.


nottrue

@verizon.net
reply to tnsprin
these days satellite receivers that content providers like ESPN give to operators like verizon or comcast include a MPEG4 to MPEG2 trancoder built in so there is no extra equipment that handles conversion that u speak of.

said by tnsprin:

said by ITALIAN926:

Is MPEG4 even necessary?. Program the least viewed HD channels to start up as an IPTV streaming channel. It would take a second to start, it wont be instantaneous, but THESE are the less popular channels afterall.

Mpeg-4 is how a large number of channels are already being delivered to Verizon. Switching for those would eliminate any signal degradation occurring because of the conversion, eliminate the cost of running equipment currently handling the conversion, and free up space for more programs. The negative is that currently only the Motorola 7xxx series and Cisco boxes handle them so Fios would need to start doing switch outs. Note some models of customer owned boxes such as TiVo's can handle it.


Strommy

join:2010-04-23
King Of Prussia, PA
reply to Mac973
said by Mac973:

said by celticpride :

On top of that i just read an article where directv said they hope to carry ALL HD CHANNELS ONLY by 2016 NO MORE SD CHANNELS!!!

Good luck watching them. With signal loss every time it rains there is no way I would go back to satellite. I was at my uncle's house a couple weeks ago and a thunderstorm rolled in. They lost service for at least 15-20 minutes until the storm passed, and that was in the middle of a football game. No thanks.

I gotta agree with this. We had the DISH in my fathers house in Maine and every single solitary time (and I do mean every time) it rained half the satellite signals would drop and if it was really bad (i.e. thunderstorm) ALL would drop.
--
Verizon is becoming the new Comcast

Those .tv channels have got to go!!!!!!!!!!

bsangs

join:2002-08-21
Montclair, NJ
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to Mac973
said by Mac973:

Good luck watching them. With signal loss every time it rains there is no way I would go back to satellite. I was at my uncle's house a couple weeks ago and a thunderstorm rolled in. They lost service for at least 15-20 minutes until the storm passed, and that was in the middle of a football game. No thanks.

I'm really starting to think it's a NJ thing. I know people that swear they never get signal loss from D*, yet the two times I've had it, the HD has been terribly effected by rain fade. I switched back to it for a short while last year (because I prefer pretty much everything about D* on the TV-side) after being led to believe it was a thing of the past. Took me less than two weeks to realize my mistake and went back to FiOS.

JPL
Premium
join:2007-04-04
Downingtown, PA
kudos:4
reply to ITALIAN926
said by ITALIAN926:

Is MPEG4 even necessary?. Program the least viewed HD channels to start up as an IPTV streaming channel. It would take a second to start, it wont be instantaneous, but THESE are the less popular channels afterall.

It wouldn't be necessary... if they would go IP. I think that's the issue. Verizon is out of bandwidth for TV. They need to do SOMETHING to increase bandwidth if they want to add more channels. Their plan all along, I believe, has been IP. If they were to migrate channels to IP, then yes, they would free up bandwidth for new channels. But that plan got shelved, for some reason.

So, what's left? There are a couple options:

1) Higher mpeg-2 compression on some channels. They tried this and it got such negative response that the quashed the idea.

2) MPEG-4 conversion. Since mpeg-4 is so much more efficient than MPEG-2 at compression, and since Verizon is already getting some feeds in as MPEG-4, they can send out those feeds in MPEG-4, without affecting PQ at all, and free up some 50% of the bandwidth.

3) GHz QAM. This is a possiblity too, although, given the limitations of the hardware that they're using, I have to think this is probably the most expensive option (basically they would have to replace all the STBs/DVRs out there, as well as ONTs, and if they're going to replace all STBs/DVRs anyway... why not just go with option 2 - mpeg-4?

So, yeah, if they went IP they wouldn't need MPEG-4, but since they seem to be reluctant to go IP... their other options are limited if they want to expand bandwidth.


nycdave
Premium,MVM
join:1999-11-16
Melville, NY
kudos:17
1GHz RF plant isn't even being discussed.....

JPL
Premium
join:2007-04-04
Downingtown, PA
kudos:4
said by nycdave:

1GHz RF plant isn't even being discussed.....

Yes, I realize that it's not. I just put it out there as one of the options that are available if they want to expand bandwidth without going IP. My point is - their options are limited, to answer the question that Italian asked, which is: why do you need mpeg-4 if you have IP? My answer was: you don't need MPEG-4... but if you also shelve the idea of IP... what else is there? So I listed them. There are probably a couple others, I guess. For one thing, they could 'cable-ize' their channel line-up, and scrap the idea of a common channel foot-print across all markets. That would allow some markets to use QAM that's currently off limits because it's reserved for things like locals and RSNs for a particular market. I don't see that as realistic either, nor do I see it as desirable.

MPEG-4 is mentioned so consistently because it's probably the biggest bang for your buck, in terms of options. Much of the equipment in the market can already handle it. That seems to be the most obvious next move for Verizon, again if they want to expand bandwidth for TV.


Nezmo
The name's Bond. James Bond.
Premium,MVM
join:2004-11-10
Coppell, TX
kudos:1
reply to bsangs
said by bsangs:

said by Mac973:

Good luck watching them. With signal loss every time it rains there is no way I would go back to satellite. I was at my uncle's house a couple weeks ago and a thunderstorm rolled in. They lost service for at least 15-20 minutes until the storm passed, and that was in the middle of a football game. No thanks.

I'm really starting to think it's a NJ thing. I know people that swear they never get signal loss from D*, yet the two times I've had it, the HD has been terribly effected by rain fade. I switched back to it for a short while last year (because I prefer pretty much everything about D* on the TV-side) after being led to believe it was a thing of the past. Took me less than two weeks to realize my mistake and went back to FiOS.

I believe the north east and north west parts of the country are on the fringes of the satellite footprints. Perhaps you are more susceptible to rain fade as a result?

I live in north central TX but I still got it bad when I had DTV years ago.
--
My Gallery
Formerly Nezmo

UnnDunn
Premium
join:2005-12-21
Brooklyn, NY
reply to Mac973
said by Mac973:

said by celticpride :

On top of that i just read an article where directv said they hope to carry ALL HD CHANNELS ONLY by 2016 NO MORE SD CHANNELS!!!

Good luck watching them. With signal loss every time it rains there is no way I would go back to satellite. I was at my uncle's house a couple weeks ago and a thunderstorm rolled in. They lost service for at least 15-20 minutes until the storm passed, and that was in the middle of a football game. No thanks.
[/BQUOTE

Then the dish was aimed improperly. Yes, DirecTV is susceptible to weather, but in West Orange, a properly-aimed dish should get good signal (assuming relatively calm winds) though all but the heaviest rainstorms.


KCrimson
Premium
join:2001-02-25
Brooklyn, NY
kudos:1
said by UnnDunn:

Then the dish was aimed improperly. Yes, DirecTV is susceptible to weather, but in West Orange, a properly-aimed dish should get good signal (assuming relatively calm winds) though all but the heaviest rainstorms.

Bad weather and sporting events often occur simultaneously, as do opportune times to watch TV - when you're indoors finding alternate entertainment due to those inclement conditions. Outages tend to be noticed. I know they were during the years when my family had a professionally installed and serviced DirecTV system.

Strommy

join:2010-04-23
King Of Prussia, PA
reply to UnnDunn
said by UnnDunn:

said by Mac973:

said by celticpride :

On top of that i just read an article where directv said they hope to carry ALL HD CHANNELS ONLY by 2016 NO MORE SD CHANNELS!!!

Good luck watching them. With signal loss every time it rains there is no way I would go back to satellite. I was at my uncle's house a couple weeks ago and a thunderstorm rolled in. They lost service for at least 15-20 minutes until the storm passed, and that was in the middle of a football game. No thanks.
[/BQUOTE

Then the dish was aimed improperly. Yes, DirecTV is susceptible to weather, but in West Orange, a properly-aimed dish should get good signal (assuming relatively calm winds) though all but the heaviest rainstorms.

We had the DISH people out at TWICE to correct the problem and they never did fix it. And of course they charged us for each visit. It was professionally installed and calibrated (aimed or whatever you want to call it) and the problem was only fixed by getting rid of them. I'll never ever go back.
--
Verizon is becoming the new Comcast

Those .tv channels have got to go!!!!!!!!!!

tnsprin

join:2003-07-23
Bradenton, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to nottrue
"ESPN supplied Motorola DSR-6100 integrated receiver/decoders to eligible affiliates." FIOS may or may not been eligable, and may have chosen to use another solution (they had other channels to convert as well and using lots of different equipment costs. And it costs to install and operate them. The ongoing operating costs is not necessarily negligable.