2006-11-17, 11:14 AM
From today's Globe and Mail:
2006-11-17, 11:14 AM
From today's Globe and Mail:
2006-11-17, 11:31 AM
I can see STAMPEDER screaming NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
2006-11-17, 11:33 AM
It wasn't the best of articles but in a lot of ways I agree. It's a lot of spectrum going to waste for a very small audience.
There must be a better way to manage the spectrum
2006-11-17, 12:43 PM
People shouldn't be generalizing with this issue (saying that "no one" uses OTA).
Let's not forget that at least 20% of Quebecois who still rely on OTA...
Even for an avid TV watcher such as myself, everything I watch besides Fox News or CPAC is available OTA.
2006-11-17, 01:28 PM
I can see STAMPEDER screaming NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!Hee hee :D That's okay, I'm hardened about this topic after reading CTV's and Global's pathetic CRTC submissions on the future of OTA in Canada.
The Globe article is irritating BCE drivel masqueraded as "news analysis". It is built on several very false premises that have already been discussed at length here, as well as the continuing red herring that there is somehow not enough spectrum out there for Canadian consumer electronics goods.
My personal experience with technology research and development is that if you remove boundaries, designers/engineers/programmers will soon fill all that extra space you just gave them. Keep boundaries in place, and you enforce efficiencies.
Industry Canada has discussed paring down Canadian TV spectrum to:
VHF High (Channels 7 through 13)
UHF (Channels 14 through 51)but the biggest problem is how this would work in border areas with the U.S., which the Globe article is sparse on covering.
2006-11-17, 01:30 PM
Who owns the Globe and Mail???
Maybe Bell GlobeMedia ???????????
Its centralized doublespeak. BCE owns 20%...
"Gee,..... if I use commentary in one of my print-media holdings to try and eliminate some of my competition for a different mismanaged BDU holding, it not-so-coincidently frees up another resource, which otherwise I wouldn't have access to for my mismanaged wireless holdings. I can then talk all about how well my mismanaged holdings are doing in my print-media holdings' commentaries."
"...OOPS, I forgot, but would I be forcing my CTV affliates who would no longer be considered "must-carry", on my sat. service out of business?"
"...OOPS, I forgot, small market broadcasters will love the fact that their investment in infrastructure which they probably amortized over 30+ years, will now be get oodles of compensation from the purchasers of the bandwidth (most likely). How much will this cost me - nothing cause I'll just pass the costs on to the customers."
"...OOPS, I forgot, but the 3.2 to 4.2 million (10 ~13 %) Canadians who no longer can get television service, will likely just fade away... No Wait!!!!! I can sign them up for my sat. service and pass the costs of doing all of this ($6B++) on to them!!! - cause I know for sure none of my shareholders are gonna want to pay for it. Wait a second if I do that, then to be fair, I'll have to charge more to my other subs. Gee... I hope they don't switch to *C, cause I can't turn a profit with the millions of subs I already have.... "
"Okay, I'll share the cost with my wireless subs. They'll like that."
Bell GlobeMedia, be careful not to look it the mirror when you use the word "redundant".
2006-11-17, 01:59 PM
Have you noticed that Rogers is completely okay with digital OTA, according to its CRTC submission? To me that says they are fine with it because they know that their broadcast signals (especially HD) are of high enough quality that they don't have much to fear from users abandoning them for digital OTA. They can offer compelling "nice to have" value-added features that make it worthwhile for most consumers.
Now, look at HD on BEV, not to mention the awfully compressed SD signals, and you see why newcomers to OTA from BEV cannot believe the WOW factor when they see programming as it was meant to be seen all along. The value-added features might not be enough to keep a subscriber from cancelling the HD programming and using digital OTA for it and local stations not carried by BEV, while keeping the SD channel packages they prefer. So, just to summarize, BCE knows that OTA can harm their business model.
CanWest Global is also fearful in the same way, but for them it is a matter of wanting to take in the maximum of government-alotted/subsidized income while having to outlay the least amount of their own dollars. That's good business strategy for making widgets, but awful for consumer broadcasting provision.
Again, look at the source. I return to my oft-stated philosophy that the big broadcasting corporations have known all along that their business models are founded on the principle that television broadcasting in Canada takes place OTA, and that if their chosen business models are now failing in the face of technology and consumer wisdom, the big broadcasters must now change their business models. Instead, they want the government to force consumers to use their systems.
P.S. I'm in regular contact with OTA Gear suppliers from around Canada and in U.S. border areas and nobody can keep gear in stock because of the increasing demand from Canadians. To me it is clear that if Canada's TV spectrum was ever jeopardized we'd see millions of Canadians watching U.S. OTA TV in all its digital glory.
2006-11-17, 07:06 PM
I saw this too. Felt compelled to rage against such propaganda. Reading the previous posts all about sums it up. Nuff said.
2006-11-17, 07:26 PM
Once all the analog signals are converted to digital the requirements for spectrum will be reduced for the same amount of OTA. Having said that, I don't think we'll see the same amount of OTA because of the economics of converting to digital. That will push a lot of the smaller stations to cable/satellite resulting in the need for even less spectrum.
2006-11-20, 09:09 AM
I didnt read the article but did get the gist so I wrote an email to the guy and got a reply:
Presumably your are nicely ensconced in your house/condo in your city somewhere, with all the available funds to purchase cable, satellite etc etc. However myself being a pensioner living out in the 98% part of the country that isnt supplied with cable and not having the funds for it either, the airwaves provide me with my TV signal.
Preferably I would rather your cell phone costs increase, oh cell phone signal.... whats that.
Rick: In my judgment, the government would owe you a satellite and signal for life if they took away your TV band reception.
My column took this cost into account.
All best regards. Neil.
2006-11-20, 09:34 AM
Sorry guys but this is the 21st century.
The truth is with digital signals, it's ridiculous to devote such a huge portion of the spectrum for analog television signals when there are so many alternative uses for the airwaves.
We could reduce the amount of spectrum devoted to free to air signals by 50% without sacrificing any stations.
I'd like to see Digital OTA signals continue but we're not in the 1950's anymore and there are plenty of potential uses for the airwaves that may have a lot of social benefits for ALL Canadians.
By simply rejecting the whole notion of rationalizing the use of the airwaves with an idea of making it more efficient, you are being modern day luddites.
2006-11-20, 12:11 PM
I think you'll find a chorus of boos for that "luddite" slur, Hugh.
The entire proposition laid out by that Globe and Mail article is about taking a high technology consumer right that is available to Canadians for free and forcing everyone to subscribe to the sub-standard offerings of corporations. Is that your precious 21st century benefit, that consumers get shafted again not only of money but their rights under the Broadcasting Act in favour of the bottom line of corporations?
The article discusses the selling of OTA TV bandwidth as though it is a fait accompli, but it is based on false and/or unproven assumptions:
Who says it is a lot of spectrum space?
Who says it is being wasted?
Who says we have a crisis of spectrum space in Canada?Well, so far only a big corporation invested in getting subscribers to its substandard service in the face of technologically superior and free digital OTA. The plan with digital OTA all along has been to reduce the OTA TV spectrum once all the Analogues are off the air. This hasn't changed. What has changed is that corporate greed is emerging since business plans devised from the 1960s are now failing and threatened by the realities of that very 21st century being mentioned in this thread. So, who are the Luddites after all? Clearly they are Bell GlobeMedia and all those in the BDU game who fear competitive, and in this case superior, consumer electronics technology of the future.
2006-11-20, 12:42 PM
An unfortunate part of the Canadian geography, is well, its geography. All of the Canadian resources, including infrastructure, distribution, etc., when considered on a whole is underutilized and inefficient when compared to models in countries with a higher population density. Our population density is too low to compare with countries in ventures that dependant on geographic variables as the author does. He states that the high cost of cell phone service is due to lack of bandwidth. Well I propose that might a small part of it and the actual the high cost of service is the cost of building, maintaining and powering networks in remote areas to service a small population but lets the wireless service providers have fantastic looking coverage maps. The article implied that by eliminating OTA, the bandwidth would actually be utilized for other social benefits. Again, perhaps in the higher density areas, but will that entire spectrum be utilized in the remote parts of the country? No, so again the inefficiencies he described will be maintained to a degree.
The author also implied that it will make Canadians a cool $6B. How is that again? It is going to come from foreign investors? Possibly at first, but those investors will eventually recoup those costs from the Canadian consumer. It will come from Canadians that are utilizing the bandwidth (maybe): robbing Peter to pay Paul. So in effect there is no net profit to Canadians. Might as well just tax us.
Would selling off the bandwidth, drive the wireless revolution? Probably. Could the spectrum be better utilized? Definitely, and that will likely occur regardless due to conversion from analog to digital. From what I understand the high UHF range is better suited for vertical polarization anyway (stampeder, please correct if I am wrong about that, but I assume this is the reason IC is looking at reassigning that bandwidth)?
My displeasure with the article, aside from the obvious BCE implications discussed in earlier posts, is that the journalist uses data and research from 2002 – 4 years old!! Why did it take him so long to write his article, (which ironically describes inefficiencies!)? As well, at no place in his article does it suggest that current OTAer’s would get FREE signal for life as he implied in his email response to Tricky. Just a free dish. Is IC going to put the stipulation on sale of the spectrum, that “your BDU can’t charge any subs that are displaced from OTA”?
I agree that there aren't too many channels for the amount of bandwidth in Canada, and I do agree that the number of channel available OTA could be cut down drastically. However let’s wait for analogue to shut down first, please.
I appreciate your argument but I think you’ve ignored the fact that the author, not OTAer’s, proposed
1) to sell off the entire TV spectrum because it is “idle”, and yet in the same article
2) cites an essay out of MIT that says “… airwaves aren’t a finite resource at all, that the more work you give them to do, the more work they are capable of doing”.
……And please don’t call any DHCer’s Luddites. Besides the fact I doubt your advertisers would appreciate it, I don’t think a Luddite would discuss anything digital, particularly via the internet. That is why a lot of us are here at DHC, in the first place.
Edit: scratch my Luddite remarks from the record - stampeder's are better
2006-11-20, 01:01 PM
However letís wait for analogue to shut down first, please. When will this be in Canada? I have never seen the issue even mentioned by the CRTC, never mind a discussion of dates.
2006-11-20, 01:03 PM
Agreed - Analogue shutdown has been completely mishandled. A clear, definitive cutoff date would go a long way to silencing some of the "wasted bandwidth" misconceptions.
2006-11-20, 01:07 PM
This hasn't changed. What has changed is that corporate greed is emerging since business plans devised from the 1960s are now failing and threatened by the realities of that very 21st century being mentioned in this thread. So, who are the Luddites after all? Clearly they are Bell GlobeMedia and all those in the BDU game who fear competitive, and in this case superior, consumer electronics technology of the future.I don't know if this is what you mean, but my view on this is that the business plan of CTV and Global is fundamentally flawed in this day and age as they are just rebroadcasters of content that is available elsewhere. They provide very little of benefit and, IMHO, will disappear over the long run. However, Bell GlobeMedia does have some valuable content such as TSN where most of their highest ranking shows are self-produced. The only problem is that this is unavailable OTA so if you like content such as sports then OTA-only is not really an option, especially since more and more sports are moving away from OTA and towards cable/sat channels - Monday Night Football being the latest example and HNIC being a likely case in the near future.
2006-11-20, 01:09 PM
good queston. On my part it was merely speculation - assuming that the spectrum does not get sold off ;)
The CRTC is holding public meetings starting next Monday, in Gatineau, for a "Review of certain aspects of the regulatory framework for over-the-air television" (http://www.crtc.gc.ca/archive/ENG/Hearings/2006/n2006-5.htm)
It will likely be discussed.
2006-11-20, 04:49 PM
Of course I come to expect this out of our TV/Radio/mobile phone/CATV/NEwspaper conglomerates. After all, the CRTC has given them carte blanche so far.
What I don't understand is, since TV wireless spectrum is jointly managed by the US & Canada, and since most of the Canadian population is close to the US border, how would this work?
Does Canada tell CFTO to stop transmiting, and go cable only, then license VHF TV spectrum to Bell for use in some other application? Wouldn't a US broadcaster in say, Rochester, immediately grab the open TV sprectrum and transmitt somethin on it? If not Rochester, maybe Syracuse or somewhere else up to a few hundred kilometers away? Wouldn't 1,000 kW ERP kinda crap all over any other application?
In order for Canada to shut down OTA TV, the US would have to agree, and the US will never agree to that because while they have some pretty screwed up things there, they still have a competitive broadcast market.
I makes sense that spectrum reallocation frees up wasted space, especially VHF), which can then be shut down, but this is actually one of the major drivers behind the US HD transition.
I wrote a letter to the CRTC pointing out that if they DON'T make Canadian OTA broadcasters keep to their license commitments concerning power output, content, etc., all that will mean is Canadians along the boarder (i.e. most of us) will watch more US OTA.
2006-11-22, 03:15 AM
Typically the vested interests of the present are fixated on stymying the latest new "disruptive technology" lest it cost them the calculated payoff of their business plans.
It seems to me that we are seeing a "disruptive technology" based on an original, old concept leapfrogging the standards of the present with capabilities of the future. Some of the vested interests (Global, CTV, others) are terrified of Digital OTA broadcasting.
I love it! :D
2006-11-22, 08:16 AM
Some of the vested interests (Global, CTV, others) are terrified of Digital OTA broadcasting.I think you're hugely overstating the case. Many of my friends have HD TVs and I have explained OTA to them but they are not interested. If you could get premium channels OTA then it would be a threat but since you can't then OTA will just be for a very small minority of the public,