Some 40% Picks Free DTV after Transition

January 17, 2008

According to a survey made in November 2007 by APTS, but published today, some 43 percent of households will pick free programming in DTV after the transition. The story is also reported by TVNewsDay.

This is good news for over-the-air broadcasters. And APTS President and CEO John Lawson says in a comment “This data indicates that free, over-the-air television may be set for a big comeback,”. He also predicts that DTV may be a new sell for broadcasters, “Many people see broadcasting as a dinosaur technology, but we broadcasters have the opportunity to reposition it as ‘wireless TV’ and reach new audiences.”

This is good news for free programmingover-the-air. I wonder if people know exactly what free content that will be out there due to the possibility for Multcasting. Something few stations have started to actually promote and it is unsure how many will broadcast more channels or more HDTV content.

Few knows why the transition is taking place. The survey finds that 77 percent dont know that the government has ordered the transition. On the other hand, it is not only the government who wants to push for a transition. This is something a whole industry is waiting for to do.

Lawson comments on this saying: “It appears that the government’s positive message regarding the reasons for the transition has fallen on deaf ears,”.

I think this is crucial information. Because in every transition the question of “why” will be the first major information goal to reach. When people get that the whole process will focus on the “How”. A very important phase since a practical “how to”question is much easier to handle and work with. I am very curious if there will be a public debate about the “why” – why should people need to buy new equipment to continue watching TV – when it works.

Anders Bjers


Blogstats Whent Bezerk – Comment Brought Bright Idea

January 2, 2008

This blog soared in viewers on this years first day. I am just as surprised as anyone what happened. But something made people to pour in this way. However, so did a few comments and one of them came from Will in Nashville, that one also brought an insight and maybe a good idea.

But lets start with Wills question.

January 1, 2008 at 3:19 pm

Hi Anders…

Re your recent comment on the NY Times blog, “… more channels than ever for free…”

I’m not sure where you get the “more channels than ever” part. Even the largest TV markets in the U.S. have at most, a dozen or so broadcast TV outlets. While I’m certainly no friend of the Cable industry (quite the contrary – Comcast and I have been battling each other for years) … for most folks no cable means no Comedy Central, no MTV/VH1/BET, no CNNMSNBCFOXNEWS, etc. etc.

But good luck in spreading the digital broadcasting gospel…..

Will Cate
Nashville, TN

And here is my answer and the idea:

Hi Will,
Thank you for reading this blog and making comments. Even if I am unsure that I am spreading a DTV gospel. I try to be both critical and positive but allways clear about how I am commentating on the development of DTV in the U.S. It is in my view a very interesting project since USA is the “home of television” and in the midst of great changes when it comes to the most used media – TV.

Bit lets move on to your point. Most stations have the possibility of multicasting TV when broadcast in digital. For one channel in analog broadcast you can send up to seven in digital quality. Not HDTV – that needs more capacity and you can only send about two channels in HDTV on previous one analog channel. All in all this provides new space and programming for all stations that broadcast in analog over-the-air (OTA). Same principle goes for cable and satellite broadcast in digital.
However, If the stations that today broadcast in analog will choose to multicast is up to the station to choose. So, you need to check your local TV-stations, how and if they will multicast. That in itself brings more channels than ever to viewers that are used watching a dozen channels today on analog TV. But how it will work out in a local perspective is something you need to find out.

I think there should be a online service were you could punch in your city and or zip-code and get a chart that made it easy for you to find out how many channels you have today and what you will be able to see “tomorrow” in digital.

In every country that this far has made a transition to DTV the increase in new TV channels have been one of the greatest forces to “pull” people over to DTV.

I think FCC together with NAB and stakeholders should develop this website that provides a quick and easy overview of multicasting on a local level. To visualize the difference in programming – simply what you have today and what you get in digital broadcast. And also put this in the PR-strategy to talk about what people really get for their money – on a local level, where viewers affected are.

If it follows the trend in other countries the difference should be a doubling in channels. Not too bad is it?

What do you think about that?

From the DTV gospel guy… 🙂

Best/ Anders