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post #1 of 163 Old 07-29-2015, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Over the many decades the physical bandwidth for OTA TV keeps shrinking.

Over the many decades the physical bandwidth for over the air broadcast television keeps shrinking as the FCC keeps auctioning off the spectrum. In the future perhaps one day the entire over the air broadcast television spectrum might be completely auctioned off. The new ATSC 3.0 system will increase the virtual bandwidth but not the physical bandwidth. ATSC 3.0 will have better audio quality, Ultra HD resolution support, and HDR. However, consumers and broadcasters keep losing the physical bandwidth for free over the air broadcast television

Perhaps one day the FCC might decide to auction off some of the FM and AM radio physical bandwidth and use HD Radio to increase the virtual bandwidth.

QUOTE

“The amount of spectrum devoted to TV broadcasters is shrinking—from a peak of 486 MHz before 1983 to 294 MHz today. The incentive auction could easily reduce that to 210 MHz or less. How will broadcasters be able to deliver the same variety of programs and offer new services over the air with less spectrum? I don’t see any option but to make the move to ATSC 3.0, as difficult as that may be.”

http://www.tvtechnology.com/resources/0006/getting-ready-for-atsc-30/276660
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post #2 of 163 Old 07-29-2015, 11:05 AM
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As the Pay TV monster took the stronghold, you would be surprised of the many who have been brainwashed by the pay TV industry & refuse to believe OTA TV even still exists.

After all, if you are paying for something, it must be "better"... correct?

& they are willing to pay more too!
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post #3 of 163 Old 07-29-2015, 11:29 AM
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OTA will be obsolete in a decade or two.
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post #4 of 163 Old 07-29-2015, 02:21 PM
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^^^^^ probably. But until then, I'll continue to use OTA/streaming and not be sucked into any sort of cable/sat trap. OTA is not for everyone but where I live I get near prefect HDTV regardless of environmental conditions all of the time.
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post #5 of 163 Old 07-29-2015, 02:29 PM
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As do I for OTA reception. No problems at all.

I don't stream. Enjoy OTA while it lasts.
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post #6 of 163 Old 07-29-2015, 06:30 PM
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I have been OTA for more than 50 years.All this OTA R.I.P. talk is getting me agitated.Go ahead and kill OTA,it would be a blessing in disguise,because I watch way to much TV.I would NEVER pay the cable company to continue my TV addiction.
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post #7 of 163 Old 07-30-2015, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowrench View Post
I have been OTA for more than 50 years.All this OTA R.I.P. talk is getting me agitated.Go ahead and kill OTA,it would be a blessing in disguise,because I watch way to much TV.I would NEVER pay the cable company to continue my TV addiction.
My HOA refuses to maintain the common OTA antennas, citing OTA no longer existed after June of '09 via the flyers the Pay TV industry sent out in the months just prior to that.

Clear uncompressed signals, wireless & free of charge, now gee who actually would want such a thing?? (even if it still exists anymore)

The masses prefer to pay for TV, it's true, they really do!
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post #8 of 163 Old 07-30-2015, 11:03 AM
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Sure OTA had lots of bandwidth for lots of years and what did they do with it? Not all that much! They fought any newer technology. There was little growth of channels in my area--maybe 8 at the most ever on the air, so here we only needed about 60 MHz out of the spectrum.
Up at the translator site I help out with, I can see dozens of active channels, but even that is maybe 150 MHz worth of bandwidth.
Cable would laugh at the idea of only 8 channels, as would satellite based TV.


The OTA stations could promote the allocation of ultra-ultra high freq band--maybe up around 50GHz or so where they could get 500 MHz for the asking if they develop the tech to use it. Just as the satellite TV industry got gigahertz wide spectrum for up and down links because they developed the tech to use it and launched the satellites (sure NASA gave them a good launch price and the idea was that satellite TV would have some stuff free after a number of years but OTA TV fought against that too).
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post #9 of 163 Old 07-30-2015, 11:28 AM
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OTA definitely has challenges in some markets and as soon as the FCC adopts ATSC 3.0 those challenges will become a bit more difficult for those markets. I guess it all depends on what you want out of your "idiot box" as my parents used to call television. It's all about choices and priorities. Personally, I get all of my tv needs from the dozen or so HDTV channels that we can receive and watch on a regular basis. We receive about 60 stations and most of which we don't care to watch, much like cable or sat. As long as I don't have to pay ever escalating costs and over-compression of the signal we're happy. Sure, someday we'll have to join the masses and pay but until then, I'll enjoy what I have for free. If tv is boring, we can always stream or watch a blu-ray.
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post #10 of 163 Old 07-30-2015, 11:44 AM
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Putting on my grampa hat... "back in the old days"

In 2002:
We had two or three stations providing digital in HD. Cable and satellite were scrambling to play "catch up".
Pristine. The Olympics were wonderful!
Then, OTA adds a crap load of subchannels at the expense of the quality of the primary channel.

OTOH... it's still free.
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post #11 of 163 Old 07-30-2015, 12:27 PM
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^^^^ I hear ya. However, I think part of that is the market served. In our area, the network stations that we watch have maybe only 1 or 2 sub-channels so the pq is consistently very good for the most part. Source is a big issue so the transmission is only as good as its source.
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post #12 of 163 Old 08-03-2015, 08:19 PM
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I suppose ATSC 3.0 would help with the bandwidth/pq issue. Really, any system that uses a more modern digital video codex would do the trick, but ATSC 3.0 is targeting the latest and greatest, H.265. That said, I think the Advanced Television Standards Committee still harbors delusions of replacing QAM on pay TV. I kinda doubt, even with H.265, that 4k could fit in a 6MHz ATSC channel. Maybe with H.266 or some other not-yet-existent H.26x series standard, though I could be wrong. (To it's credit, ATSC 3.0 is being designed in such a way that they could change the codex later. It would break receiver compatibility, sure, but it wouldn't require a major rewrite of the standard or the rest of the stack.)
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post #13 of 163 Old 08-04-2015, 11:30 AM
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Au Contraire.....Netflix recommends at least 15 Mbps Internet Service for their "4K" Streams and ATSC 3.0 OTA Test in Cleveland is using a very generous 15.7 Mbps for "4K" Transmission plus some other Programs...out of a Total of 26 Mbps. As H.265 "4K" Encoder/Decoders improve, the required Data Rate for the same PQ will slowly come down over time. Bear in mind that when tested a few years ago, H.265/HVEC was about TWICE as efficient as H.264/MPEG4...which in turn is about TWICE as efficient as MPEG2.....so we're looking at about 4:1 Efficiency improvement....and probably TWO "4K" Programs in a single 6 MHz Bandwidth Channel as the Encoder/Decoders and HVEC compatible StatMuxes improve:
http://www.tvtechnology.com/broadcas...on-test/276567
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post #14 of 163 Old 08-05-2015, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post
Au Contraire.....Netflix recommends at least 15 Mbps Internet Service for their "4K" Streams and ATSC 3.0 OTA Test in Cleveland is using a very generous 15.7 Mbps for "4K" Transmission plus some other Programs...out of a Total of 26 Mbps. As H.265 "4K" Encoder/Decoders improve, the required Data Rate for the same PQ will slowly come down over time. Bear in mind that when tested a few years ago, H.265/HVEC was about TWICE as efficient as H.264/MPEG4...which in turn is about TWICE as efficient as MPEG2.....so we're looking at about 4:1 Efficiency improvement....and probably TWO "4K" Programs in a single 6 MHz Bandwidth Channel as the Encoder/Decoders and HVEC compatible StatMuxes improve:
http://www.tvtechnology.com/broadcas...on-test/276567
For bitrate comparisons :

The BBC UHD tests last summer using DVB-T2 modulation were carrying 30+Mbs 2160/59.94p and 2160/50p HEVC encoded video in a 40.25Mbs 8MHz T2 mux. The Astra 2 UHD demo I can tune on my UHD set via the built in DVB-S2 tuner is quite optimised but running with a video bitrate of around 23Mbs for 2160/50p 10bit.

This compares to around 8-15Mbs being used for 1080i and 720p streams using H264 in Europe (often dropping lower or undemanding material if statmuxing used) UHD is carrying 8 times the picture content of HD (ignoring 8-10 bit issues) :

UHD 2160/50p = 414,720,000 pixels per second (3840x2160x50)
HD 1080/50i = 51,840,000 pixels per second (1/8th UHD rate) (1920x1080x25 if you think in frames or 1920x540x50 if you think in fields)
HD 720/50p = 46,080,000 pixels per second (1/9th UHD rate) (1280x720x50)

(UHD 2160/24p = 199,065,600 pixels per second - this is what Netflix carries)

So you have to carry 8 or 9 times the picture information of an HD signal to deliver an equivalent UHD signal. H264 should offer around 2:1 efficiency over MPEG2, and HEVC should offer around 2:1 efficiency over H264, though I'm not sure we're there yet.

So you should be able to carry an HEVC signal of the same format in 1/4 the bandwidth of an equivalent MPEG2 signal. So you're looking at around twice the bandwith for UHD in HEVC over HD in MPEG2? (8 times the content but carried 4 times more efficiently) ? There is probably an argument that you can reduce the differential because you may not need twice the bitrate to go from 50i to 50p?

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post #15 of 163 Old 08-12-2015, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Ratman View Post
OTA adds a crap load of subchannels at the expense of the quality of the primary channel.

OTOH... it's still free.
I find myself watching the subs now more than the main OTA channel, TV ain't what it used to be.... reality shows are the lowest common denominator.
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post #16 of 163 Old 08-12-2015, 11:48 AM
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Totally agree. A decade later (after the "novelty" has worn off), I prefer the content over the "picture quality" now. IMHO, I don't think Bluray is "knock your socks off" vs. DVD either.
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post #17 of 163 Old 08-13-2015, 10:58 AM
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Totally agree. A decade later (after the "novelty" has worn off), I prefer the content over the "picture quality" now. IMHO, I don't think Bluray is "knock your socks off" vs. DVD either.
I really miss the "This" movie sub that moved a couple counties downstate to a low powered station that does not cover the actual DMA anymore. As I watch a lot during overnight hours, the sub networks are usually void of informertials that even the cable networks carry.

I don't think from my vantage point (& my eyesight) a 40" screen at 10 feet I can tell much difference between BRD & DVD myself depending on the transfer. I recently reviewed some old SCTV seasons from the Shout Factory DVD collection & was quite disappointed in them on the LCD, though they still look great on my 20" CRT (probably better than I remember).

As I have a few DVD movies & would like to exchange off for the Bluray versions, I really don't think it's worth it, a few movies had a nice impact on BluRay, though a few (Christmas Vacation), was a total disappointment. I find Bluray to be slow loading, clunky, & the intrusions of intermixing the internet for upgrades on the player totally annoying.... oh yes though, there are a few movies i found 2001, Flash Gordon (1980), & the first Star Wars trilogy to be superior on Bluray.

But than again, I still occasionally watch content on VHS, so what do I know?
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post #18 of 163 Old 08-13-2015, 01:24 PM
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Not sure, if greater OTA bandwidth is added, it would aid PQ or diversity that much--until newer codecs are tapped. Just noticed, as an all-fiber (FIOS) subscriber, that non-OTA networks are claiming remarkable 1-80 Gbps projects underway. They're also saying I don't want or need multiple-gigabit (billion-bit) capabilities! That's while, akin to OTA stations adding more sub-channels, they're squeezing more HD sources into 256QAMs--cable's delivery technique--diminishing its PQ, too.


Enjoy HD's and Blu-ray's somewhat enhanced PQ, and find it's still superb ~8 ft. from a 65" 1080p Panny pro-plasma; yes, the prescribed ~33-degree-wide images. Lots of PBS stations this summer are re-airing "The Forsyte Saga", a 2002 WGBH (Boston) co-production with the UK's Granada TV. Looks excellent on my plasma, perhaps with a fiber feed from N.J's PBS source to Verizon. On some heavily sub-channeled stations it might not look so nice. (Someone at WGBH I phoned yesterday said he'll forward my forum request for a Blu-ray version up the line.) Despite viewing mostly HD content, factoring in up-converted '1080p', still sometimes view special movies, etc., starting at SD, such as, a few years back, Antonioni's "The Passenger" (1975)--while still awaiting a Blu-ray version. (Own very few Blu-rays, BTW.) -- John

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post #19 of 163 Old 08-14-2015, 08:25 AM
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They are/were doing ATSC3 testing on Channel 31 (Fox 8's old pre transition transmitter) here over the past few months, where the real problem lies in my area is on VHF which is an area of the band no one wants & likely is here to stay on OTA.

Apparently the testing went well though, are they lopping the band @ 30, 36 or 39?
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post #20 of 163 Old 08-14-2015, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post
Totally agree. A decade later (after the "novelty" has worn off), I prefer the content over the "picture quality" now. IMHO, I don't think Bluray is "knock your socks off" vs. DVD either.
My father-in-law shares your opinion on Blu-ray.

It completely blows my mind when I hear someone say they don't think Blu-ray isn't that great compared to DVD or that they really can't tell much difference. It is so irrefutably night and day difference to me.

Mind-blown!
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post #21 of 163 Old 08-14-2015, 09:41 AM
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Why is OTA TV bandwidth shrinking? Easy, because we don't need it anymore. These days a physical link (either optical or electrical) can carry far more bandwidth over a very large distance than an OTA signal (the opposite was true 30 years ago), and these links are ubiquitous enough (because they are the internet) that we can use them for TV. And there's almost no limit to the amount of physical links you can pack into a single pipe, OTA bandwidth is very limited.

OTA bandwidth should be reserved for things where a physical link is impractical or impossible, like mobile devices (not necessarily phones).

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post #22 of 163 Old 08-14-2015, 10:30 AM
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My father-in-law shares your opinion on Blu-ray.

It completely blows my mind when I hear someone say they don't think Blu-ray isn't that great compared to DVD or that they really can't tell much difference. It is so irrefutably night and day difference to me.

Mind-blown!
I've been through the whole maturity from VTR, to VCR, to LD, DVD, HD-DVD and Bluray. I just don't see, as I said, a "knock your socks off" difference. There is a difference, but not worth the increased cost whether purchased or rented IMHO. Especially when with most Bluray's, a DVD is included. That doesn't make sense to me. But... whatever. Just enjoy.
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post #23 of 163 Old 08-15-2015, 08:15 AM
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Why is OTA TV bandwidth shrinking? Easy, because we don't need it anymore. These days a physical link (either optical or electrical) can carry far more bandwidth over a very large distance than an OTA signal (the opposite was true 30 years ago), and these links are ubiquitous enough (because they are the internet) that we can use them for TV. And there's almost no limit to the amount of physical links you can pack into a single pipe, OTA bandwidth is very limited.

OTA bandwidth should be reserved for things where a physical link is impractical or impossible, like mobile devices (not necessarily phones).
Does everyone in the US have a physical connection fast enough to carry OTA HDTV quality video though? And if you are using Unicast then it becomes a lot trickier to serve millions of people acceptably.

There is a counterargument that RF spectrum is very efficient for providing the same content to everyone, and very inefficient for providing bespoke content to lots of different people. Using RF spectrum for a connection to a single person is not very efficient when the same spectrum can send content to 9 million people simultaneously? So cabled connections are optimal for unicast stuff like VOD, Netflix, web surfing etc., but OTA is optimal for broadcast/multicast linear TV and live TV?
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post #24 of 163 Old 08-15-2015, 01:26 PM
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So, TV should move to a system more like what NPR does these days. They send files in IP over satellite. The stations then pull in the files they need to air and do so at times that they wish (assuming the content provider did not specify a time slot specifically). Think about it--most networks buy lots of satellite time, the folks at home could pick up a satellite signal too and store digitally for when they want to see it, the local stations could pipe the local news to the network for distributions as well. Rather than hundreds of stations on the air with the same shows, they are put up on satellite a couple of times a day--net savings in OTA bandwidth of hundreds of megas. Sure they might have to do some OTA for local ads, but they could put them out at night (isn't the big thing at home to watch on-demand and skip commercials?--shouldn't that be possible?--wouldn't it make TV easy to get even if you are in remote site?)
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post #25 of 163 Old 08-15-2015, 03:42 PM
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So, TV should move to a system more like what NPR does these days. They send files in IP over satellite. The stations then pull in the files they need to air and do so at times that they wish (assuming the content provider did not specify a time slot specifically). Think about it--most networks buy lots of satellite time, the folks at home could pick up a satellite signal too and store digitally for when they want to see it, the local stations could pipe the local news to the network for distributions as well. Rather than hundreds of stations on the air with the same shows, they are put up on satellite a couple of times a day--net savings in OTA bandwidth of hundreds of megas. Sure they might have to do some OTA for local ads, but they could put them out at night (isn't the big thing at home to watch on-demand and skip commercials?--shouldn't that be possible?--wouldn't it make TV easy to get even if you are in remote site?)
If you are able to receive satellite that's fine. There are quite a few people who can't - either for geographical or planning reasons. Plenty of houses in the UK are barred from having satellite dishes on them (historical houses etc.) and in some cases it isn't possible to see satellites from some locations (think about living near the base of a steep cliff)

By the way - what you suggest already happens in the UK. Sky (the major pay-TV satellite operator here) have just started delivering adverts to their set top boxes via IP to allow bespoke adverts to be inserted into satellite streams to customise what ads are seen by which people.

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post #26 of 163 Old 08-16-2015, 01:06 PM
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Does everyone in the US have a physical connection fast enough to carry OTA HDTV quality video though?
No, but that's only because ISPs in America provide terrible service. In a list of countries ranked by average home (not business) internet speed, America came 12th in 2014 and 33rd in 2013. The technology to stream 1080p60 content at near-bluray quality to every household is available and is already being widely deployed in some countries. South Korea's average internet speed is like 25Mbit/s.

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There is a counterargument that RF spectrum is very efficient for providing the same content to everyone, and very inefficient for providing bespoke content to lots of different people. Using RF spectrum for a connection to a single person is not very efficient when the same spectrum can send content to 9 million people simultaneously? So cabled connections are optimal for unicast stuff like VOD, Netflix, web surfing etc., but OTA is optimal for broadcast/multicast linear TV and live TV?
That is actually an excellent point, I didn't think of that, however I think the portability advantage of RF spectrum devices (whether viewing TV or otherwise) outweighs that counterarguement in a majority of scenarios, but not all.

Plus I think TV in general is moving more towards a more netflix-like (on-demand) model rather than live broadcast, which (as you said) favors individual physical connections. The only major exception is sporting and political events which many people will want to watch 'live'. Even content that is currently broadcast OTA, many people will TiVo (or similar) because the particular timeslot is not convenient for them, on-demand service avoids the problem altogether.

So I see an ideal future where a small amount of RF spectrum is kept for live sports and news/weather, but everything else is served on-demand over the internet netflix-style. The free RF spectrum could be used for city-wide (or even state-wide) free wifi or something.
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post #27 of 163 Old 08-17-2015, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Ormy View Post
Plus I think TV in general is moving more towards a more netflix-like (on-demand) model rather than live broadcast, which (as you said) favors individual physical connections. The only major exception is sporting and political events which many people will want to watch 'live'. Even content that is currently broadcast OTA, many people will TiVo (or similar) because the particular timeslot is not convenient for them, on-demand service avoids the problem altogether.

So I see an ideal future where a small amount of RF spectrum is kept for live sports and news/weather, but everything else is served on-demand over the internet netflix-style. The free RF spectrum could be used for city-wide (or even state-wide) free wifi or something.
I think that might be a slightly US-centric view of the world though. Sport and News may be the big live shows in the US, but in parts of Europe, live entertainment shows are also huge 'event viewing' drivers for 'shared experiences'. Arguably the rise in twitter and other forms of social media second-screening has made these 'event' programmes even more important to watch live.

I have a feeling this is less marked in the US because of the multiple time-zone issues. Viewers in the US don't usually see the same show simultaneously, and there is less of a culture of 'live tv' than in Europe as a result. (Even if it is live on the East Coast, it isn't live on the West Coast...)

Here in Europe an interactive entertainment show can include performances, viewer voting by app, SMS, phone etc. and the result can be announced, all fully live. That makes an event that the whole country can watch simultaneously. It isn't just sport and news, entertainment, and even baking competitions. The Great British Bake Off just re-started here and peaked at over 10million viewers, averaging 9.6m across the hour. And that is only viewers watching live, not via catch-up. The show is huge on Twitter, and for that to work you really need to watch it at the same time as the rest of the audience...

Catch Up TV is a significant factor, but I think the main shows that are being watched via VoD rather than live are usually dramas, or more niche genres.
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post #28 of 163 Old 08-17-2015, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by sneals2000 View Post
The Great British Bake Off just re-started here and peaked at over 10million viewers, averaging 9.6m across the hour. And that is only viewers watching live, not via catch-up. The show is huge on Twitter, and for that to work you really need to watch it at the same time as the rest of the audience...

Catch Up TV is a significant factor, but I think the main shows that are being watched via VoD rather than live are usually dramas, or more niche genres.
I'm from the UK, I guess I forgot about reality TV because I despise it so much, it can all burn and die. Would the viewer numbers really drop so much if the baking show was on netflix instead? Twits (tweeters? twitterers? twits sounds about right lol) can always organise a more convenient time to watch it amongst themselves rather than be dictated to by the BBC's scheduling.

So in the ideal world I described before, sports and news are OTA, reality TV and everyone who makes it dies a slow and painful death, everything else goes on Netflix (possibly including a video of the reality tv people dieing slowly and painfully).

I still think the big dramas and sci-fi shows have enough of a viewership majority (between them all) to make it worthwhile switching to on-demand for nearly everything else, even in Europe.
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post #29 of 163 Old 08-18-2015, 10:38 AM
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Still thinking about how one might use satellite file feeds to suppliment OTA--how about encrypting the files and send out the key just as the show would air. Maybe do product tie-ins--buy a car and get a network or two for a year. Buy three candy bars and get code for two hours or a movie. The keys might be made available after week or so access for those who paid up-front.

As for no satellite--I would think any single family home area would be able to get satellite signals (ignoring HOA rules)--so that covers all rural, small town and suburbs. For big city, they might do something like cell towers do--lots of low power transmitters at a frequency that lets them have access--maybe the uplink freq for one of the satellite bands could be used.
I'm thinking if one shuts off most of the existing OTA band, they will have to start thinking outside the box.
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post #30 of 163 Old 08-18-2015, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Ormy View Post
I'm from the UK, I guess I forgot about reality TV because I despise it so much, it can all burn and die. Would the viewer numbers really drop so much if the baking show was on netflix instead?
Definitely. Only around 12% of UK households subscribe to Netflix. 97% of UK households have a digital TV service of some sort. You don't get 10 million people simultaneously watching anything on Netflix in the UK.

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Twits (tweeters? twitterers? twits sounds about right lol) can always organise a more convenient time to watch it amongst themselves rather than be dictated to by the BBC's scheduling.
You're missing the point - it's not about people on Twitter deciding to watch a TV show, it's about people watching the TV show sharing the experience. They are using Twitter, Facebook and other platforms to do this by second screening. They aren't Twitter enthusiasts who have decided to watch a show, they are fans of the show enjoying a shared experience. The same goes for Strictly (aka DWTS), X Factor, BGT etc...

Quote:
So in the ideal world I described before, sports and news are OTA, reality TV and everyone who makes it dies a slow and painful death, everything else goes on Netflix (possibly including a video of the reality tv people dieing slowly and painfully).

I still think the big dramas and sci-fi shows have enough of a viewership majority (between them all) to make it worthwhile switching to on-demand for nearly everything else, even in Europe.
Except that the most watched shows in Europe aren't those shows... High-end drama and Sci Fi doesn't get huge audiences.

Also on-demand services, whilst playing a role, are still not proving as popular as curated linear channels...
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