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post #1 of 72 (permalink) Old 2005-12-27, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
 
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Movie Channels and DD5.1, OAR Discussion

Edit by 57. See post 66 (link below) for the feedback on this issue directly from Astral - they always request OAR and DD5.1.

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/show...474#post312474

I was dissapointed to find that Hellboy is airing in HD on MCHD, but not in 5.1. It's airing in 5.1 on MC and Adrenaline Drive, but not on MCHD. That just sucks! I recorded it hoping to really sit back and have a nice theatre experience. BAH!

Last edited by 57; 2006-01-05 at 11:01 AM.
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post #2 of 72 (permalink) Old 2005-12-28, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by htimst
I was dissapointed to find that Hellboy is airing in HD on MCHD, but not in 5.1. It's airing in 5.1 on MC and Adrenaline Drive, but not on MCHD. That just sucks! I recorded it hoping to really sit back and have a nice theatre experience. BAH!
I believe it was the same thing on the last rotation of Hellboy.

Too bad nobody at Movie Central is willing to take 5 minutes and contact the supplier and say "Send us the proper master with 5.1"

Until the government monopoly on these channels is broken, we can expect to see quality-related problems like this since there's little disincentive when a channel like Movie Central drops the ball on something.
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post #3 of 72 (permalink) Old 2005-12-28, 06:00 PM
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Be aware that sometimes the studio will not send the DD5.1 HD version, even when MC/TMN requests it.

My contact at TMN-HD says they always request the OAR and DD5.1 version, but often cannot get it.

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post #4 of 72 (permalink) Old 2005-12-28, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by 57
Be aware that sometimes the studio will not send the DD5.1 HD version, even when MC/TMN requests it.

My contact at TMN-HD says they always request the OAR and DD5.1 version, but often cannot get it.
I'm aware, but it's still baloney that they take the insufficient response as acceptable. If they sent the Spanish track instead of English it would be corrected. If they sent the wrong movie it would be corrected. It seems like MC and TMN are just too lazy or weak to follow through on this.

There's a hundred ways to deal with such a situation, and personally I'd love to be brought in to troubleshoot it. What I'd probably do is slip a clause in the agreement that says if the proper requested audio is not provided, then payment won't be either.

After 2 or 3 times the studio realizes they aren't receiving payment due to the laziness of some worker, someone in the management structure will be held accountable. That person will either take steps to make sure it never happens again, or whomever replaces them will know that's the reason their predecessor was fired.

Consumers can't just tell MC that "yeah I know you requested full payment this month but I'm going to send you some reduced version of my payment..." so why should MC be allowed to provide a half-*** version? And why should the studio be allowed to?

It all comes down to accountability. A problem like this happens when 2 parties aren't held accountable (1-the studio for sending the wrong master and 2-MC for accepting the wrong master)
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post #5 of 72 (permalink) Old 2005-12-29, 01:56 AM
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The studios originally had copyright concerns regarding HD video sent "off-shore" (Canada was so considered). Once we explained that we were not some third world country, they did start sending more and more DD5.1 HD movies.

Unfortunately we are such a small market that we have little leverage and if we don't want to play by "their" rules, then they'll simply not play...

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post #6 of 72 (permalink) Old 2005-12-29, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by 57
The studios originally had copyright concerns regarding HD video sent "off-shore" (Canada was so considered). Once we explained that we were not some third world country, they did start sending more and more DD5.1 HD movies.

Unfortunately we are such a small market that we have little leverage and if we don't want to play by "their" rules, then they'll simply not play...
This is pure speculation that doesn't hold up to a common sense check. If the studios supposedly had these concerns about HD video coming to Canada, then why are they happily sending the proper video but not audio? And why are they happy to send proper 5.1 audio with the low def versions?

I see this as a case of trying to invent a complex excuse for something that really doesn't deserve one.

Furthermore, despite the nature of many Canadians' smug self-satisfied attitude towards Americans, there is no way we had to explain to them that we're not an off-shore third world country. Americans are far smarter than you give them credit for. And when it comes to this subject matter, Hollywood is acutely aware of Canada.

I'm also going to ask you back up your claim that the studios would boycott Canada if we "don't wan't to play by their rules". Just tell us ONE (or more if know them) American studio release that hasn't come into Canada because of this.

If you are indeed passing along the attitude of your friend at TMN, it perfectly explains why we continue getting slipshod service from them. If their own employees have pre-conceived notions that the problem can't be fixed, well it's no wonder the problem isn't being fixed. They obviously aren't even trying, having expended most of their effort coming up with creative excuses why such a simple problem is actually impossible to solve.
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post #7 of 72 (permalink) Old 2005-12-29, 03:56 PM
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This issue has been discussed in several previous threads, some of which go back years. I have the following comments:

1. It's not speculation on my part - it is information that I received from a high level at TMN (Astral), granted that was a while ago, but it was reconfirmed relatively recently. I do not believe it was speculation on TMN's part since I have seen "changes" in the amount of HD and DD5.1 content as time has gone on and studios have become comfortable with "us".

2. It was not "US bashing". I was simply relaying information.

3. The US often supplies a different product to Canada - for example, the recent "Island" DVD didn't have a DD5.1 track for English...which they will rectify due to tremendous customer feedback.

4. Sometimes you'll see something similar in US channel programming where they will air a 16:9 HD movie, even though an OAR version of a 2.35:1 movie is available.

5. I'm not going to "fight" you on this. I was simply trying to pass on some information I thought you'd find useful.

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post #8 of 72 (permalink) Old 2005-12-29, 08:30 PM
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I'm not fighting either, just pointing out to the readers there are certain companies that put WAY more effort into excuse-finding than they do into solution-finding.

If influential people like yourself are content to sit back and be complacent, that helps make a totally unnecessary problem like this go on for several years as it has.

The answer is as simple as a Fedex of the proper master from the source to Movie Central. It's a $20 fix!

What's needed to get the $20 fix to happen is commitment and accountability on the part of Movie Central.

As for the bashing, let me quote you: "Once we explained that we were not some third world country, they did start sending more and more DD5.1 HD movies." That is considered a bash to the 99.9% of Americans that know Canada is not an offshore third world country.
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post #9 of 72 (permalink) Old 2005-12-29, 11:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Neild
What's needed to get the $20 fix to happen is commitment and accountability on the part of Movie Central.
Except that until recently the studios refused to allow BOTH HD AND 5.1 content outside of the US. It was usually one or the other. It wasn't a matter of someone not asking the right questions, it was simply a case of the provider not allowing the content outside of the US. It was a very standard policy instigated by fear of piracy and what someone outside of their 'collective' might do with the information on the tapes. Our providers, whether they're MC or TMN cannot be held accountable for this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neild
"Once we explained that we were not some third world country, they did start sending more and more DD5.1 HD movies." That is considered a bash to the 99.9% of Americans that know Canada is not an offshore third world country.
You put far too much faith in American corporations. And speaking as someone who deals with them on a regular basis, I'm not talking out of my ass. (and given that I have more than a few close American relatives, it's definately not US bashing either)

I don't personally consider 57's comments US bashing in the least, it was a very accurate analogy of how certain US corporations view Canadian companies. I love America, and I love the contacts I have in America, but their view of Canada in general is misguided at best, and completely absurd at worst. If I had a nickel for every time I get questioned whether or not it's snowing where I am...in the middle of the summer, I could quite easily pay all of Hugh's expenses on this site.

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post #10 of 72 (permalink) Old 2005-12-30, 08:07 AM
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Except that until recently the studios refused to allow BOTH HD AND 5.1 content outside of the US. It was usually one or the other.....
...... It was a very standard policy instigated by fear of piracy and what someone outside of their 'collective' might do with the information on the tapes.
Do you have any validation for this, because I think you may just be repeating some false internet forum lore. I've read that too, but it's always just some random dude on an internet board, never from an official source. Who is this 'collective'?

I've been keeping a close eye on the HD movie scene in Canada for over two years and your comments do not hold true at least during the last 2+ years. Are you speaking about something prior to mid-2003? Is this 'very standard policy' documented somewhere?

Just do a search on dhc and you'll find 57 commenting on HD films with 5.1 back in 2003. For myself, I personally recall some of the first HD films I saw in 2003 were Gangs of New York and View From the Top, both with 5.1 DD. Since then, the majority of HD films shown have been 5.1. It's for that reason that it stands out when MC blows it and broadcasts a DD 2.0 film instead. Are you suggesting that the US studios have been violating their own policy 85% of the time?

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Originally Posted by nathan
speaking as someone who deals with them on a regular basis, I'm not talking out of my ass..........

.........If I had a nickel for every time I get questioned whether or not it's snowing where I am...in the middle of the summer
??? I have to wonder who in the USA you are dealing with. I deal extensively with a great many US companies and there would be zero instances like that. I also have several dozen close acquaintances state-side, and again the instance of people being that stupid is 0%.

Besides, we're talking about 57 and his dealings with Hollywood studios. The film industry in Canada is a major issue with Hollywood, both from an economic standpoint and from a competitive standpoint. Half of Hollywood uses Canadian locations to save money and the other half decries filmmaking in Canada as a threat to their domestic film industry. But both halves are extremely well aware of our locations, seasons, weather, labor rates, tax incentives, and intellectual property laws.

When I hear a claim tossed out that cable movie channel in Canada was the one to educate Hollywood that Canada is not a offshore third world country, well that is just not believable. But it does play into the "We're so much smarter than those dumb 'mericans" sentiment that you apparently agree with yourself. And in the end this myth allows TMN and MC an easy yet totally unverifiable excuse why they can't get their content right.

I don't mean to come off strong here, but there's too many contradictions and holes in your theory. And unfortunately if no one challenges it, others will just keep repeating it making it that much harder for consumers to know the truth.
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post #11 of 72 (permalink) Old 2005-12-30, 10:21 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Neild
Do you have any validation for this, because I think you may just be repeating some false internet forum lore. I've read that too, but it's always just some random dude on an internet board, never from an official source. Who is this 'collective'?
It was repeated by aquantences I used to have within Astral and Rogers. (obviously the former has more relevance to the situation)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neild
Is this 'very standard policy' documented somewhere?
Who on Astral or MC is going to document a policy that looks bad for them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neild
For myself, I personally recall some of the first HD films I saw in 2003 were Gangs of New York and View From the Top, both with 5.1 DD.
But both of those films were Miramax flms, and I believe were distributed in Canada by Aliance-Atlantis, a Canadian company. On top of that, since neither were huge box office hits ($15 million and $77 million domestic take respectively) the studios are generally much more inclined to allow something that will never be a huge draw for piracy outside of their borders. Now, Hellboy only made $59 million at the box office domestically, but it did very well on video, and given that a sequel is in the works, Sony is probably holding the reigns a bit closer on this one.

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Originally Posted by Neild
I have to wonder who in the USA you are dealing with. I deal extensively with a great many US companies and there would be zero instances like that. I also have several dozen close acquaintances state-side, and again the instance of people being that stupid is 0%.
Dell, HP, IBM/Lenovo, Lexmark...and quite a few smaller ones than that. Since you can form a rational argument, it stands to reason that your close aquantences would be on the intelligent side and might actually take a close look at the world around them. Some of my contacts are higher up, and they have a pretty good understanding of Canada, since some of them have actually visited Toronto. But the majority of the lower/middle-class people I deal with have absolutely zero knowledge of anything outside their borders.

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Originally Posted by Neild
But both halves are extremely well aware of our locations, seasons, weather, labor rates, tax incentives, and intellectual property laws.
How does that come into play in the discussion of them allowing HD/5.1 movies outside of their borders? Knowing our laws gives them no ability to enforce them. Keeping it 'in the family' as-it-were is simply far easier for them.

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Originally Posted by Neild
But it does play into the "We're so much smarter than those dumb 'mericans" sentiment that you apparently agree with yourself.
In general, we *ARE* better educated than Americans. I don't think they're dumb, but our education system on the whole is far better than America's. We consistently rank far higher than them on quality of living and education benchmarks.

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Originally Posted by Neild
I don't mean to come off strong here, but there's too many contradictions and holes in your theory.
Which holes would those be? Other than simply saying that 57 and I are wrong, and pointing out that a Canadian company distributes it's movies in Canada in HD/5.1...I fail to see any real holes except for your refusal to accept that what 57 and myself have been saying is true. Since there's absolutely no way for either of us to prove this to you, or apparently change your mind, what's the point of arguing it?

Edit: Actually, I shouldn't call the people I talked with 'aquaintences', as I didn't have more than a passing conversation with them, and I wouldn't want to imply that I had any more inside information than 57 or anyone else, but it was definately stated that certain american studios as a general rule do not allow OAR 5.1 HD movies outside of the continental US. This is, however, changing, albeit a bit more slowly than one would like.

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Last edited by nathan; 2005-12-30 at 10:53 AM.
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post #12 of 72 (permalink) Old 2005-12-30, 03:35 PM
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Who on Astral or MC is going to document a policy that looks bad for them?
Companies of this size always document their policies and procedures. Their auditors & BOD would have a fit if they didn't. The fact you heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend is exactly my point. It's pure speculation, passed along as an internet myth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nathan
since neither were huge box office hits ($15 million and $77 million domestic take respectively) the studios are generally much more inclined to allow something that will never be a huge draw for piracy outside of their borders. Now, Hellboy only made $59 million at the box office domestically, but it did very well on video, and given that a sequel is in the works, Sony is probably holding the reigns a bit closer on this one.
OK, let me get this straight, now you are modifying the 'very standard policy' to include fudge factors like some arbitrary assessment of whether something is a "huge box office hit", and/or some inclusion of a domestic take versus video sales ratio? That doesn't sound like a 'very standard policy' at all. The Alliance-Atlantis rumor doesn't hold either because Sony also has Canadian distributor. How would you explain away Lord of the Rings movies then? They'd presumably qualify as box office hits wouldn't they?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nathan
Dell, HP, IBM/Lenovo, Lexmark...and quite a few smaller ones than that.
OK if you're talking about calling these companies for tech support, be aware you may not even necessarily be talking to someone in the USA. Many companies have outsourced around the world. In some cases the rep you speak to will be trained to very accurately mimic US accents and it's also in their job duties to say they are "Bill from Georgia" even when they are actually a person from India. Someone that far removed from North America is going to naturally be less aware of the similarities between USA & Canada.

If indeed it's US citizens staffing the tech support, be aware that is often an extremely entry level job, often stationed in the poorest of communities and employing some of the country's least educated. It's not a true indicator of average US education levels.

And steering this back on topic, you are claiming Hollywood executives are the ones that needed the geography and social studies lesson from 57 and his colleagues. Do you seriously think a studio executive who is responsible for international carriage agreements would have the same scope and level of knowledge about Canada's entertainment market as a Dell tech rep from Bangladesh?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nathan
In general, we *ARE* better educated than Americans. I don't think they're dumb, but our education system on the whole is far better than America's. We consistently rank far higher than them on quality of living and education benchmarks.
The point about this alleged low degree of education in the US is 57's rumor - and your spreading of it - would have us believe top studio executives thought Canada was a third world offshore country until they were educated by TMN. Until there's something more than a rumor, nobody rational could believe that. People don't get those jobs with a 50 IQ.

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Originally Posted by nathan
Since there's absolutely no way for either of us to prove this to you, or apparently change your mind,
Actually there's loads of ways you could prove it, that is if there were a shred of truth. But there probably isn't, so yeah you're pretty much hooped.

The movie business and technology are written about extensively, especially on the internet. Break out a search engine and you ought to be able to find dozens or hundreds of media sources that have mentioned this 'very standard policy' of supplying HD video OR audio, but not both. I'll settle if you can find even just one that's been verified according to typical standards of journalism.

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Originally Posted by nathan
what's the point of arguing it?
The point - as I already stated - is to make sure people know the truth and don't give lazy companies like Movie Central and TMN a free pass on doing their jobs properly.

57 is a respected and influential person in this subject arena. Typically if he says something, it will be repeated by dozens of people and newbies alike as Gospel. That's typically great and good information can be shared that way. But if he says something false, that false information will also be spread.

This is not a question of opinion, but fact. Is there truly a policy at major Hollywood studios to distribute HD video but not 5.1 audio in Canada?

The end result is people like you read it and assume it must be true. When challenged, such people invent all sorts of policies, theories, and back stories to explain the parts that crumble in the face of fact and logic. Without critical and factual analysis, TMN and MC can continue sloughing their duties because customers assume TMN would be perfect if not for the secret 'collective' working behind the scenes to degrade the quality of TV broadcasting in Canada.
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post #13 of 72 (permalink) Old 2005-12-30, 04:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Neild
Companies of this size always document their policies and procedures. Their auditors & BOD would have a fit if they didn't.
Yes, but what policies are explained to the public are different than ones kept internal. Rogers has a policy of squeezing too many of some of their digital SD channels into one of the analogue bands to save money, thereby making the channels look less than optimum, but do you think they'll ever state this to the public? No.

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Originally Posted by Neild
The fact you heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend is exactly my point. It's pure speculation, passed along as an internet myth.
Please go ahead and quote where i heard it 'from a friend who heard it from a friend', stop putting words in my mouth, I heard it from an Astral employee, I specifically brought it up to him as I had just subscribed to TMN-HD, and was less than enthused about the broadcast of movies.

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Originally Posted by Neild
The Alliance-Atlantis rumor doesn't hold either because Sony also has Canadian distributor. How would you explain away Lord of the Rings movies then? They'd presumably qualify as box office hits wouldn't they?
And I've never said it's an arbitrary rule, just a general rule of thumb. Up until recently, american studios have been very reluctant to allow OAR 5.1 HD movies outside of their borders. This is changing. Alliance-Atlantis has much greater pull with a smallish company like Miramax than Sony's canadian distribution has over Sony of America. Or Warner, or anyone. How you can dispute this is way beyond me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neild
OK if you're talking about calling these companies for tech support, be aware you may not even necessarily be talking to someone in the USA. Many companies have outsourced around the world. In some cases the rep you speak to will be trained to very accurately mimic US accents and it's also in their job duties to say they are "Bill from Georgia" even when they are actually a person from India. Someone that far removed from North America is going to naturally be less aware of the similarities between USA & Canada.
Really? I had *NO* idea. Thanks for that input. Having been in the IT industry for over a decade now, I'm pretty sure I know who I'm talking to. I rarely deal with tech support people.

There's obviously no arguing with you, since your argument is 'you don't know', when in fact, I do.

As for the comment about newbies, I've been viewing this board since almost it's inception, been a member since March 2004, and have had my HDTV for about 5.5 years now. I don't generally spread what I hear from anyone as fact, and I'm certainly more than willing to admit when I'm wrong.

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post #14 of 72 (permalink) Old 2005-12-30, 05:01 PM
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I'd like to clarify a few things.

1. In the early days of TMN-HD, the only DD5.1 programmes we got on TMN-HD were either Canadian, or from HBO. I'm not going looking for the original post where this was documented, but that's the way it was.

2. I asked my senior contact at TMN-HD about this and we already know his explanation - the studios didn't trust "countries outside the US". Whether this is the ultimate truth or not, we'll probably never know, although my contact has been very trustworthy and worked tirelessly on our behalf when bandwidth was an issue on TMN-HD.

He has also listened to us when we have requested OAR and DD5.1 and he states that their purchasing department has directives to "ask" for these, although they don't always "receive" what they ask for. BTW, these cost more, but TMN asks for them anyway. I know this because I brought up the issue of cost and my contact stated that cost was NOT the issue when we don't get DD5.1 movies (another reason I trust my source)

3. Interestingly, when we were not getting DD5.1 was around the same time that Canadian courts ruled that Canadians could download (music) without repercussions, while in the US, a similar court case went the other way. I don't recall the exact instances, however, it was well publicized in Canada and in the US.

4. I'm sorry I ever used the "third world country" phrase. I used it for "effect" and I, of course, realize that Americans don't think we are "third world", however, they do think of us as being quite different - more liberal, etc. This could lead to actions/directives by senior executives limiting what gets sent, especially originally.

5. As for the education of Americans, their eduction is often quite different from ours. They learn much more about the US and much less about the rest of the world and that is a simple fact. I'm not saying it's better or worse, but it is different.

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post #15 of 72 (permalink) Old 2005-12-30, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by 57
I'd like to clarify a few things....
OK, I credit you with clarifying and retracting on some of the earlier things you said.

What I'm not understanding is that if the studios don't trust HD/5.1 outside of USA, how do you explain how over three quarters of the movies on Movie Central are HD/5.1? It's been that way through much of 2004 and 2005, although I'd have to say 5.1 has increase from somewhere in the 70% range to the 80% range. Is there a policy or isn't there?

It's almost sounding as if you, as a subscriber to TMN, are getting much less 5.1 content than I'm getting as a subscriber to MC. That is another factor strongly suggesting the 5.1 issue is NOT studio related, but rests with TMN/MC. How do explain that MC shows films in 5.1 that TMN shows in 2.0? Would the studio truly have a policy to give the 5.1 to MC but not to TMN? Based on what logic?

I'm sure your contact is a decent and trustworthy individual, however it may be he's just repeating incorrect information and speculation the same way we all do.

Nathan said "It was repeated by aquantences I used to have within Astral and Rogers", so by his own admission, he's gotten at best, third-hand.

If there were any truth to it, some news or media source would have surely substantiated it in the past 5 years. But they haven't, and that's my point.

I don't want to do the America vs Canada thing. It's clear I have a higher regard for American intelligence than you and Nathan, but that's down to opinion I suppose.

On topic, the level of knowledge in question is that of studio executives with direct accountability for international film distribution. I contend that such individuals would most likely be extremely well aware of the geographic and social demographic differences between the two countries, if not by education but by virtue of the fact they are immersed in the subject matter 50 hours a week. You disagree?

Last edited by 57; 2005-12-30 at 06:28 PM.
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