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DirecTV Plans 1500 HiDef Channels by End of 2007

CowboyNeal posted more than 9 years ago | from the infomercials-and-bad-movies dept.

Television 295

doormat writes "DirecTV plans on launching four Ka-band satellites by 2007. This means local HiDef channels over satellite for the biggest markets by the end of 2005, with room for 500 HD channels. Plus 1000 more HD local channels and 150 national HD channels by the end of 2007. Thats a total bandwidth of 34Gbit/s, which is about 10 times the bandwidth they currently have in the Ku band (the band they use now for direct-to-home TV service). The bandwidth crunch for satellite providers is over, and the Ka band is the answer."

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Ka? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10209934)

Oh no. My radar detector is going to catch fire.

Re:Ka? (1, Funny)

Unnngh! (731758) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210017)

Oh no. My radar detector is going to catch fire.

Sure, announce it to the world why don't you? Now every cop around here will start carrying a cable broadcast satellite in the back of the patrol car just to stop people like us. Way to go!

Re:Ka? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10210293)

Invest in a better radar detector.

I reccomend the "Escort Passport 8500 X50" with "ZR3 Laser Shifter". Ooooh yeah.

Check it - http://www.speedzones.com/ for a detailed review of the X50 and http://www.radartest.com/ for a detailed review of the ZR3. Both basically "win" each of their respective reviews.

Valentine One and the K40 Difuser Plus both rate close to the escort products, and are very highly reccomended as an alternative.

Screw DirecTV (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10210358)

There is no way I would ever sign up for this. They SUE THEIR CUSTOMERS! [directvdefense.org] They are an evil company. If you read the link, you'll agree with me.
I am posting Anonymous because they scare the living crap out of me, and I don't want to anger them any more than I did for owning a smartcard reader. I can't afford to fork over money to them, and I don't want to have to defend myself in court.

1st? (-1, Offtopic)

marshmeli (122728) | more than 9 years ago | (#10209938)

1st reply?

Re:1st? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10209960)

No. And Scranton sucks ass. Had you gone to a real school, you might have gotten a fp.

first (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10209940)

first

Ahat about (-1, Offtopic)

u-238 (515248) | more than 9 years ago | (#10209941)

locals?

34Gbps (1, Funny)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 9 years ago | (#10209950)

How much pr0n is that?

Re:34Gbps (1)

duggie (787162) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210156)

Enough to make your palms hairy in seconds

Re:34Gbps (1)

Rip Van Winkle (18386) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210164)

mmmm...... 34Gbps of p0rn.... *drool*

Re:34Gbps (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210242)

Well, at that speed, I'd say get it all in Hi-Def, so from the story:
500 HD channels. Plus 1000 more HD local channels and 150 national HD
about 1650 HD channels. That's a lot of porn!

DirectTV HDTV (-1, Troll)

regressiontest (811202) | more than 9 years ago | (#10209952)

I signed up for DirectTV HDTV about two months ago. I was an existing directTV customer but I still talked them into selling me the equipment for 99.00 (normally 399.00). The equipment consists of a Samsung HD DTV receiver and a new dish to pick up the HD channels. (also picks up all the international channels DTV offers)

Channel Lineup:
ESPN
Discovery HD
HDMovies (Movie channel showing various movies from classics to recent favorites)
HDNet - pretty much a worthless channel showing repeats of recent Nascar Races, Horse, Races, and concerts. They also have some original series on it (I think).

CBSHD - I live in Utah and they allow me to pick up the CBS HD feed from LA. This is great because I can watch my shows an hour later in HD without needing the off air ant.

If you subcribe:
HBOHD - The regular HBO in HD.
SHOWTime HD - The regular showtime in HD.

Cost: Basis HD is 10.95 a month. HBO is 12.00 a month and Showtime is 10.00 a month.

Is it worth it?

Hmm.... I can tell you this. I am a big fan of Sopranos and Deadwood (HBO series) and love watching them in HD. I also enjoy watching Golf in High def on the weekends. You can tell a HUGE DIFFERENCE between the shows in HD and regular shows. People come over and just say WOW to the sporting events. Movies are not that much different.

So, its worth the money (10.95 a month) to me just to get golf in HD on CBS on the weekends. Basketball playoffs are also great. Its hard to watch golf/basketball in non-hd now.

Cons:
No STINKING TIVO!!!!!! I can't wait for the HDTivo to be affordable.

Just my .02
--
9034685

Re:DirectTV HDTV (1)

silentbozo (542534) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210027)

Basis HD is 10.95 a month.

Wait. Are you telling me I can get hidef programming for $11 a month, after I buy a receiver and a dish? Or do I have to subscribe to the regular package on top of that?

Re:DirectTV HDTV (3, Informative)

Wavicle (181176) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210126)

I believe $11 gets you the HDTV channels - there aren't a lot of them. I think you'll need another subscription to get everything else. The DirecTV page for their HDTV package is here. [directv.com]

60 year celebration of 1st foray of US soldiers... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10210052)

... into the 3rd Reich:

The small town of Wallendorf (on the right wing ), located across the Luxembourg-German border on the confluence point of the Sûre (Sauer) and Our rivers, made the headlines in the wire services and the press, when shortly after the first U.S. troops had reached the borders of the "Third Reich" on September 11, 1944 [nat-military-museum.lu] , strong elements of CCR (Combat Command R) of the 5th U.S. Armored Division , supported by sub units of the 112th [911dispatch.com] Infantry Regiment (28th U.S. Infantry Division), pierced the "Siegfried" line and pushed in direction of Bitburg (Germany), capturing a number of villages, as of September 14, 1944.

Re:DirectTV HDTV (2, Informative)

ckelly5 (688986) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210173)

fyi Bravo HD also just started broadcasting on dtv and I believe is part of the HD package.

also, if you are an NFL Sunday Ticket subscriber, you get access to over 100 HD football games this year, even if you don't subscribe to the HD package.

Re:DirectTV HDTV (5, Interesting)

charyou-tree (774046) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210350)

It's been a few months (April) since I've been able to watch the DirecTV HD package. Has it improved at all?

At that time,

ESPN
Sucked. 90% of their programming was SD upconverts. Worse, they streeeeetched the image to 16:9 which distorted the picture and made it physically painful to watch. They had some nicely done Sunday night football games last year.

Discovery HD
Nice, but incredibly repetitive. The channel was on a 4 hour loop most of the time.

HDMovies (Movie channel showing various movies from classics to recent favorites)
Sucked in a major way. 90%+ old retread movies. Sure, "Endless Summer" was cool to watch, the first of the 7,312 times they broadcast it.

HDNet - pretty much a worthless channel showing repeats of recent Nascar Races, Horse, Races, and concerts. They also have some original series on it (I think).
Good for MLS games, if you're into that, which I am.

Now they've added BravoHD to the $10.99 HD package, which was part of a deal they had with NBC over the Olympics. Rumor has it they're going to push some SciFi channel programming onto Bravo, which would be cool.

CBSHD - I live in Utah and they allow me to pick up the CBS HD feed from LA. This is great because I can watch my shows an hour later in HD without needing the off air ant.
Don't knock OTA antennas, if you can get a signal. A one-time expense of under $100 and a few hours installing an antenna in my attic got me perfect recepton of ABC, CBS, and NBC digital broadcast. The picture from local stations is typically compressed less than DBS signals, and it's free.

It's too bad that getting a waiver from a local station, even if you can't get their signal, is a nightmare most places. I can't get Fox, at all, and I'm not real hopeful about being able to get it over DirecTV, even when they start offering it.

I also enjoy watching Golf in High def on the weekends. You can tell a HUGE DIFFERENCE between the shows in HD and regular shows. People come over and just say WOW to the sporting events. Movies are not that much different.
I agree, HD is incredible. I could watch paint dry in HD, but I'm not sure if I could make myself watch golf. :-)

Cons:
No STINKING TIVO!!!!!! I can't wait for the HDTivo to be affordable.

Agreed. They need a standalone HD DVR model that doesn't force us to hock our existing HD STBs on eBay.

C-Band forever (1, Interesting)

Hansele (579672) | more than 9 years ago | (#10209953)

Well until then I'll keep using my C-Band/4DTV/MPEG2/DVB rig. I get a lot of cool stuff with this, lots of unedited goodies too.

Rain Fade (4, Insightful)

composer777 (175489) | more than 9 years ago | (#10209954)

I hope they've figured out how to adequately solve the problem of rain fade on the Ka Band. From what little I understand of satellite transmission, rain fade is an even bigger problem on the Ka Band than it is on the current Ku Band that Directv uses. It's not a problem at all on the C Band (big dish) satellites. Do they plan on getting around this by using more power? Or, do they think that more rain fade is an acceptable trade-off for the extra bandwidth?

Re:Rain Fade (3, Interesting)

the_denman (800425) | more than 9 years ago | (#10209994)

my understanding is that they will do it in the same way that they get away with using the little dishes, pumping a huge amount of power out.

DIRECTV 10 and DIRECTV 11, to be built by Boeing, will be among the largest and most powerful Ka-band satellites ever launched.

Re:Rain Fade (1)

CityZen (464761) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210053)

Hmm, and if you haven't got your tinfoil hat to protect you from all those high-power Ku DBS transmissions, now you'll have yet another thing to worry about?

Is it really good to be irradiating everyone like this with more and more RF energy? Just wondering...

Re:Rain Fade (2, Informative)

stuktongue (140376) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210220)

The power levels seen at the Earth's surface are exceedingly low, hence the need for highly sensitive low-noise amplifiers to retrieve the signals. Not a cause for concern.

Re:Rain Fade (5, Interesting)

dougmc (70836) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210097)

my understanding is that they will do it in the same way that they get away with using the little dishes, pumping a huge amount of power out.
It's a satellite. Powered by solar cells. As much as they'd probably love to pump a `huge amount of power out', they don't have a huge amount of power to pump with. According to this link [nasa.gov] , the solar cells (which are huge!) of this satellite put out 4.3 kW of power. Which is a lot, but I imagine that's peak power, and the satellite cannot be in the sun all the time, so it's got to charge batteries for night time use, and it's transmitters are not 100% efficient ...

All in all, I doubt it can put out 1000 watts of RF power 24/7. Compare that to your local FM station that probably broadcasts with 100,000 watts and only serves an area with an 60 mile or so radius. At high frequencies, you don't need a large dish for high gain (doubling the frequency generally doubles the gain), so the little dishes do the job.

Still, that's pretty impressive. 4.3 kW of power for a satellite? And the new ones are likely to be even bigger. (For comparison, Voyager broadcasts with 13 watts of power. Of course, it's power source is probably nuclear.)

With 4.3 kW of power coming in at peak (and never mind that solar cells aren't very efficient, so there's several times that amount of heat being collected by the solar cells), I wonder how they keep it cool. In space, you can't just tack on a big fan ... you need to radiate your heat into space.

Re:Rain Fade (5, Informative)

Elrond, Duke of URL (2657) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210158)

Let's not forget that these sats are geosynchronous, which puts them out at roughly 25K miles. The shadow cast by the Earth is much smaller than near the Earth. And, of course, these sats won't necessarily be in the path of that shadow at all.

So, I think it's fair to assume that they spend most of their time in the light soaking up power. Also, solar cell panels on large expensive satellites are usually computer guided. They deploy and then track the Sun so they'll get most of the power most of the time.

The link you gave only mentions the three existing satellites. They generate 4.3kW of power. Those sats, however, are almost 10 years old now. The article doesn't say, but I would guess that these new sats generate even more power (more efficient and/or bigger cells).

Re:Rain Fade (2, Interesting)

dougmc (70836) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210269)

Let's not forget that these sats are geosynchronous, which puts them out at roughly 25K miles. The shadow cast by the Earth is much smaller than near the Earth. And, of course, these sats won't necessarily be in the path of that shadow at all.
I guess I hadn't taken that into consideration. I was thinking that since it rotated along with the Earth (being geosynchronous and all) that it got 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night. Obviously wrong, considering how far it is from the Earth.

Obviously, they must stay in the sun almost all the time -- which is good, because no battery would survive being charged for 12 hours and then discharged for 12 hours, day in and day out, for 10 years.

Still, impressive that they can make it generate and put out that much power. We've come a long way from Sputnik ...

Re:Rain Fade (1)

Bill_Royle (639563) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210379)

Excellent thread. Nothing to add really, but the parent threads provide good, clear insight that I'd never thought about.

Just thought I'd throw out a thanks for the insight!

Re:Rain Fade (2, Informative)

NialScorva (213763) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210294)

well, the Earth's shadow is pretty much the same size as the Earth, since sunlight is a rather pretty close to parallel by the time it travels the 93 million miles to get here. It's just that the orbital radius is 5 times the radius of the earth, so it flies through the dark area pretty quickly.

Re:Rain Fade (4, Interesting)

dougmc (70836) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210166)

I found another link [geek.com] which isn't what I'd call authoritative, but suggests that the (newer? Boeing 701 vs Boeing 601?) DTV satellites put out 3.5 kW of RF power. Which is still a lot, but still nothing compared to a single FM radio station. Of course, it helps not having to go through buildings, trees, etc. And having an antenna with a nice bit of gain over a simple dipole (if you're lucky) for the FM band.

I believe the systems used to talk to submarines using the extremely low frequency bands (ELF) use something like three megawatts of power ...

Re:Rain Fade (2, Interesting)

Wavicle (181176) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210176)

Which is a lot, but I imagine that's peak power, and the satellite cannot be in the sun all the time, so it's got to charge batteries for night time use

It is true that the satellites need battery power for when the earth eclipses its access to the sun. Fortunately the batteries never need to last much more than an hour, and this is only for a few weeks on either side of each equinox. Access to the sun isn't a huge problem for these satellites until the quality of the batteries declines from too many charging cycles.

I would think it reasonable to expect well over 1kW of power output 24/7.

Re:Rain Fade (5, Informative)

stuktongue (140376) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210332)

Solar cells are small. They are arrayed to create solar arrays, or solar panels. These can be quite large, depending on the power requirements of the satellite.

Nominal power ratings for satellites assume sun-normal orientation of the solar arrays, which is actively maintained by the satellite. The satellite receives 100% illumination by the sun during most of the year, the exceptions being the spring and fall eclipse seasons, when the satellite transits the Earth's penumbral and umbral regions for up to a couple of hours per day. During these events, solar array power is augmented with battery power. Bus voltage drops and current draws increase, but transmitted powers generally stay the same. Yes, over the life of the satellite (10-15+ years) batteries degrade somewhat, though battery reconditioning techniques are employed to mitigate this. With today's designs, running out of fuel is usually what limits mission life.

The reason terrestrial radio stations require the power levels they do is that they typically transmit more or less omni-directionally (or at least toroidally), as opposed to how geo satellites use highly-directional (high gain) antennas for CONUS (or whatever) coverage. The effect of the differences between these two antenna types (tens of dB in gain) far outweighs the 20 dB power difference you mention (1 kW vs. 100 kW). The high gain antennas for DBS allow multiple channels of high bandwidth at reduced power vs. their terrestrial brethren. They're really two totally different kettles of fish.

Finally, thermal management is an important part of modern satellite design. Heat pipes, thermal radiators (mirrors), finishes, and other techniques are all used to collect, distribute, and reject heat. The effectiveness of these techniques can limit a design, and how capable a company is at dealing with thermal problems can determine the capabilities of its offerings relative to those of its competitors.

BTW, the current commercial satellite models offered by Boeing are based on the 702 bus, which supercedes the 601. Both of these designs were the product of Hughes Space and Communications Co. (part of the old Hughes Aircraft Company), now Boeing Satellite Systems (Boeing bought HSC in 2000).

Re:Rain Fade (3, Interesting)

Cramer (69040) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210065)

C band hardware doesn't have a problem with rain fade because the dish is over a meter wide. If you aimed a 1.8m dish at one of the DTV birds, you wouldn't have a problem with rain fade either. (you'd have a bigger problem keeping it properly aimed, btw.)

Re:Rain Fade (5, Informative)

stuktongue (140376) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210198)

C band hardware doesn't have a problem with rain fade because the dish is over a meter wide.

Actually, the primary reason for C band's superior performance w.r.t. rain fade is the reduced atmospheric attenuation associated with lower frequencies, in general, and, in particular, with C band's frequencies vs. K band's frequencies. The atmosphere has different effects at different frequencies. The reduced attenuation at C band allows for greater link margin and, therefore, greater link robustness vs. rain.

The gains of a 1.8m dish at C band and a DirecTV dish at K band are similar. (Higher frequencies require smaller dishes for the same gain.)

If you aimed a 1.8m dish at one of the DTV birds, you wouldn't have a problem with rain fade either. (you'd have a bigger problem keeping it properly aimed, btw.)

Very true. Of course, the dish (antenna, in general) would have to be designed to operate at K band frequencies. It's not a given that you can just swap reflectors around. Antenna design at microwave frequencies is complex.

Re:Rain Fade (4, Informative)

Cramer (69040) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210246)

I was gonna mention that (Ka/Ku is close to the vibration frequency of H2O, add in the scatter from lots of water droplets...) but I didn't want to get overly technical :-) I'll add, C band signals are encoded different than (DTV) K band stuff.

(DTV/DISH dishes larger than 18" are available -- up to 35" as I recall. But the aiming sensitivity makes them less desirable for general use.)

Yes but ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10209955)

... what about the KuKu and KaKa bands?

Re:Yes but ... (1)

DaedalusLogic (449896) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210109)

They only show non-stop commercials for the cereal Trix.

Silly Coward!

Re:Yes but ... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10210135)

and the KKK band? That's the one carrying FOX news, of course.

We've heard this before... (3, Funny)

nuclear305 (674185) | more than 9 years ago | (#10209956)

"The bandwidth crunch for satellite providers is over, and the Ka band is the answer."

Such little insight...

Of course, next week we'll be hearing about KBv6 (Ka-Band v6)

Re:We've heard this before... (1)

radio.cgt (582917) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210035)

"The bandwidth crunch for satellite providers is over, and the Ka band is the answer."

Nor does it sound like someones copied and pasted the entire 'geek' section of the advertising blurb and posted it to be news.

But? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10209963)

Does the Ka Band run linux???

1500 channels and nothing to watch (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10209970)

1500 channels sounds good, but what are they going to do for content? If the crap airing now is any indication, there's going to be a lot of dead air in 2007. Maybe they can use the equipment for satellite internet.

Re:1500 channels and nothing to watch (1)

ac3boy (638979) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210041)

It will not be 1500 channels for everyone. By law DirecTV and Dish and every other SAT provider have to provide all the locals to all the folks. Meaning if they offer locals to Atlanta then they have to offer all the locals to every other city they beam too. So this means they have to carry even the crap networks that are available via an antenna. 1500 channels quickly pair down to 5-10 locals for each city they provide locals too. This is one reason they created the spot beam tech. They can use the same transponder to beam Atlanta locals to Atlanta and refocus a new feed to Alabama cities.

This is a crude explanation but I am drunk right now and am to tired to explain further.

Cheers, John.

Re:1500 channels and nothing to watch (5, Interesting)

TGK (262438) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210089)

Bullshit. I work for Dish, we have 100 or so local markets but to say that we need to provide locals to everyone if we provide locals to Atlanta doesn't make any sense.

Plain and simple, there are people out there who don't get local channels. There are people out there who do get local channels. As no action has been taken, we can only assume you to be wrong on this point.

What you probably meant is that if Dish provides NBC, ABC, CBS etc for the Atlanta area, they have to make the same pricing scheme available to other local channels in the Atlanta area. They can't just carry the big names and shut the little guy out. They also can't charge lower interest channels a premium rate to be uplinked.

That does make for ugly bandwidth problems, but remember this is directional. Dish (for example) has satelites at the following orbital locations 119 110 61.5 148 121 105. The doubleing capacity attainable by opening up another band there is huge. More to the point though, is that those low demand channels aren't on the valuable realestate (119 110), they get shunted over to the wings (148, 61.5). There's not as much of a crunch as you think...

Re:1500 channels and nothing to watch (1)

CityZen (464761) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210141)

I believe it's the case that if they rebroadcast 1 channel from a given local market, they have to rebroadcast all the channels from that market (all the channels that meet or exceed a certain transmission power).

This does make for ugly bandwidth problems, which are mostly being solved by satellites with multiple "spotbeam" transponders. Still, every spotbeam requires an uplink, so it's still not the most elegant solution. I wonder how big Echostar's and DirecTV's satellite farms are these days?

Re:1500 channels and nothing to watch (1)

CityZen (464761) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210160)

Oh, regarding putting channels on the "wings": Congress was trying to force Dish (and other satellite broadcasters) to keep all the channels for a given local market on a single dish. How's that legislation coming along?

Re:1500 channels and nothing to watch (1)

huxrules (649822) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210280)

I don't know how the legislation is going- but the newer single dish setup from dish network picks up two sats on one dish. These new dishes have a funny shape and have two pickups. Take a look around town- the usually have a "dish pro" stamp on the front of them.

Re:1500 channels and nothing to watch (1)

CityZen (464761) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210309)

That "newer" dish has been standard fare for several years now (it's called "Dish 500", vs. "Dish 300" for the original single-satellite dish).

Dish's latest attempt to increase bandwidth into one dish is called "SuperDish". There are two versions, but each picks up one Ku FSS satellite plus the DBS satellites at 110 & 119 W longitude.

However, since it's 3' wide (Ku FSS satellites are much lower power than DBS satellites, and hence require a larger dish), it's not that popular. Dish seems to keep changing its mind about how it's going to expand its capacity.

Re:1500 channels and nothing to watch (1)

TGK (262438) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210302)

Congress didn't get to terribly involved, at least not that I'm aware of. The FCC laied down the law, however, and required that, if Dish was going to pull that wing trick, we had to provide a 2nd dish (to get the wing stations) free of charge.

The official company policy is that we have to mention the channels you'd be missing if you don't get the 2nd dish, but that we shouldn't encourage customers to get this dish. ("Well Sir, you'll be getting all your local channels except a UPN station and a few independents which would require a 2nd dish to pick up. We'll install that dish for free if you want us to, but it will necessitate you staying home for a 4 - 5 hour span and some additional hardware tacked onto your house").

Incidently, we charge customers who want to get international channels almost $100 for the same dish pointing in the same direction with the same installation. We can't encourage those who want to get that 2nd dish for free to go the locals route, but if they figure that out on their own....

Re:1500 channels and nothing to watch (5, Funny)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210347)

"1500 channels sounds good, but what are they going to do for content?"

The Star Trek Channel, the A Team Channel, the Quantum Leap Channel, the Will and Grace Channel, the Cowboy Neal Channel....

1500 channels and STILL nothing on... (5, Funny)

penginkun (585807) | more than 9 years ago | (#10209973)

I shudder to think how they're going to fill 1500 channels.

The Survivor Channel. The Paris Hilton Sex Tape Channel. The Dixon-Ticonderoga #2 Pencil Channel. The Slashdot Channel.

Etc, etc...

Re:1500 channels and STILL nothing on... (1)

DarkHelmet (120004) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210026)

The Slashdot Channel

Cowboyneal in hot grits? Those sick, sick bastards!

Re:1500 channels and STILL nothing on... (1)

CityZen (464761) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210044)

Easy. Rebroadcasts of local HD channels. It's not like all those channels will be broadcast everywhere.

Re:1500 channels and STILL nothing on... (2, Insightful)

ac3boy (638979) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210050)

It will not be 1500 channels for everyone. By law DirecTV and Dish and every other SAT provider have to provide all the locals to all the folks. Meaning if they offer locals to Atlanta then they have to offer all the locals to every other city they beam too. So this means they have to carry even the crap networks that are available via an antenna. 1500 channels quickly pair down to 5-10 locals for each city they provide locals too. This is one reason they created the spot beam tech. They can use the same transponder to beam Atlanta locals to Atlanta and refocus a new feed to Alabama cities. This is a crude explanation but I am drunk right now and am to tired to explain further. Cheers, John.

Re:1500 channels and STILL nothing on... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10210060)

You forgot the Lincoln Moneyshot Channel.

DirecTV will compress the hell out of them (5, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 9 years ago | (#10209974)

Even today DirecTV is compressing their HD signals to fit more channels in the same bandwidth. They OUGHT to be maxing out the 19.8Mbps that ATSC allocates because for some scenes, 19.8Mbps isn't quite enough to fully resolve high-motion without ugly macro-blocking.

But, HD shows on DirecTV (and a lot of the other satellight providers) are being squished down into 14Mbps or less. It's like they don't get it - HDTV is about the HIGH DEFINITION not the LSTCTV (lots of stupid channels tv). People who pay for high def want the best possible picture quality, not the most possible crappy looking channels.

Leave the crappy picture quality to the standard def channels where people have already given up on ever getting it look good again (once upon a tv, early in the mini-dish era, the standard-def channels had so much bandwidth available that they often looked at least as good as DVD and lots of times they would even look better, but it hasn't been like that for years).

Re:DirecTV will compress the hell out of them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10210029)


But, HD shows on DirecTV (and a lot of the other satellight providers) are being squished down into 14Mbps or less. It's like they don't get it - HDTV is about the HIGH DEFINITION not the LSTCTV (lots of stupid channels tv). People who pay for high def want the best possible picture quality, not the most possible crappy looking channels.

No, the fucking idiots of society want high def to keep up with the Jones' hidef. They're feeding the composite output into a modulator to feed thier shitty Magnavox TV. Or maybe they have money, so they're feeding it into that 800x600 plasma TV they paid $3000 for. 800x600*, I mean, WTF?

* I know 800x600 is not a standard plasma TV resolution. There is a resolution in that ballpack (?x576 maybe?). Whatever, it seems like a ripoff to pay $3000 for that crap.

the early days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10210101)

All SD channels on DirecTV are 480x480. DVD is 720x480.

SD channels on DirecTV may have looked better at one time than they do now, but they were never anything like DVD, they have barely over half the pixels.

Also, 14mbps is a ton. Many local ATSC channels divide their signal between an SD and an HD channel. They aren't giving much more than 14mbps to the HD channel, and they look great.

I have OTA ATSC HD, and I have DTV HD. And I often have the same content on both systems. Rarely is there any blockiness on the DTV feeds (or the other). Yes, I can tell the difference sometimes, but not often. I would say the fact that HBOHD usually airs DVDs blown up to HD and pan & scanned to 16:9 hurts my HD experience more than a few missing megabits.

Re:DirecTV will compress the hell out of them (4, Informative)

RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210116)

DirecTV won't have to recompress the channels at all. The 2 new SPACEWAY sats can easily deliver every current local HD channel, with plenty of room for expansion.

Estimates put the total capacity for SPACEWAY at around 500 full-bitrate HD channels. Multiply by two satellites (the third is a spare), and that's 1000 HD channels (note that this figure is based on a 25/75 mix of 720p to 1080i).

There are around 1800 channels in the country, but at least half of those (religous channels, shopping channels, etc.) have no plans to broadcast HD in the immediate future.

Re:DirecTV will compress the hell out of them (1)

PatJensen (170806) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210298)

stat-muxing is not compression. that is all.

But classic syndicated shows aren't in HD, so.... (5, Insightful)

Dzimas (547818) | more than 9 years ago | (#10209981)

Wow. 1700 channels. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome from changing the channel! The only problem is that there are relatively few good shows on at any one time, and none old the "classics" are HD. So the fancy 16:9 GasChromatographBlueLED flat-panel is going serve up 800+ channels of crummy-looking 4:3 interlaced NTSC or PAL "classics" like Mork & Mindy.

Re:But classic syndicated shows aren't in HD, so.. (1)

CityZen (464761) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210077)

Probably most of the channels will be rebroadcast local HD stations, so everyone won't be able to see everything.

Re:But classic syndicated shows aren't in HD, so.. (4, Funny)

bitingduck (810730) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210127)

My mom already thinks her digital cable is like a time machine, because nearly everything she's ever watched is still on.

With 1700 channels, everything that was ever shown on TV could be rebroadcast on a regular basis-- there could even be multiple Love Boat channels, a channel for each Star Trek season, one for the good Star Trek movies, and one for the bad...

Re:But classic syndicated shows aren't in HD, so.. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10210315)

going serve up 800+ channels of crummy-looking 4:3 interlaced NTSC or PAL "classics" like Mork & Mindy

Well, first of all, Mork & Mindy is a classic. ;-)

Second, aren't some of the really old shows actually recorded on film? There was a day before they could record on videotape. In theory anything recorded on film could be transferred straight to digital for potentially higher quality.

That's great actually (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210360)

Why? Because then there's more chance of what I want to watch being available. I'm all for channel overload, they'll just need a box that's smart enough to let you categorize (which shouldn't be a problem).

For example I'm a Law and Order nut. It's my favourite show and I can watch the espiodes over and over. I would love a Law and Order channel, that just showed it 24/7. Then, whenever I decided I wanted to see it, I could sit down and do so.

You are right that as the number of channels go up, the crap will as well, but that's fine so long as they make a good way to find what you want (and they'll have to for it to succede). The Internet is a great example of that working. The Internet has a staggering amount of information, and most of it is utter shit. Yet I still love it. Why? Well because there is tons of good stuff too, and a way for me to find it.

The other side is, of course, that what I think is shit isn't true of all people. I happen to think that "reality" TV is retarded. It just doesn't do it for me. Well, there are lots of people that don't agree, and like it. So while I would consider 10 channels of reality TV to be "crap" others would consider it to be awesome.

The only thing that would make me happer is on demand TV, where I just tell it what I want and get it, but I realise that's not happening any time soon for a number of reasons. In the interm, a ton of channels will be nice. It's not like I have to watch the ones I don't want.

Ka-Band Report (4, Informative)

NEOtaku17 (679902) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210007)

# They will lead to a fundamental restructuring of the world's communications satellite industry and lead to the development of global satellite operators with integrated L-band, C-band, Ku-band and Ka-band systems, using geostationary and low and middle earth orbits.

# This will reinforce the dominance of the United States in the provision of space and ground infrastructure, information technology and services.

# It looks likely that either low earth or middle earth orbiting satellite systems will have a major competitive advantage over geostationary systems. Such Ka-band networks will, in the long run, be integrated with Big LEO mobile satellite networks.

# Geostationary Ka-band satellites will be ineffective in providing a platform for ATM services because of the time delay in a signal being transmitted from one ground station to another through such a satellite. The problem is likely to be addressed by using low or medium earth orbit satellites.

# Current regional or major domestic satellite operators will only survive in this market if they tie closely to the dominant global operators. Use of inter-satellite links will facilitate this.

# If they do not cooperate, they are faced with the option of getting into the US marketplace or getting out of the satcoms business altogether.

# There is no one clearly identified "killer application" for Ka-band satellites but provision of high speed Internet and associated services is likely to be a major short to medium term lead market. Ka-band satellites can provide the cheapest and most quickly available of all options (high speed cable modems, ADSL and ISDN) in providing such high speed access.

# Ka-band satellites are likely to find a role in the mass consumer markets with "Home-use VSAT" sales running into, perhaps, millions per year. Consumers are also likely to be offered combined Ku-band/Ka-band dishes capable of receiving digital satellite television services and providing two-way services.

# Ka-band satellites will offer the best of 21st Century communications services to underdeveloped regions of the world.

# The policy and regulatory issues behind Ka-band satellites are far more complex and demanding than those that have hitherto faced any form of satellite communications including DTH and DBS TV, VSATs and PCS mobile communications satellites.

# The United States is arm twisting the rest of the world to open up the global telecommunications market place to allow Ka-band satellite operators to compete with local telecoms and satellite interests.

# The Ka-band Report contradicts the conventional wisdom that Ka-band satellites will come later rather than sooner. Behind closed door developments facilitating Ka-band communications are happening right now - with the satellite operators, the

# European Commission, the World Trade organisation and elsewhere.

# The first orders for broadband Ka-band satellites are likely to be placed this year.

# There will be a considerable shakeout of the current number of plans for Ka-band satellite systems with only the stronger or more entrepreneurial projects surviving. Even so, some major satellite operators remain woefully unprepared for the Ka-band era.

# The world's satellite operators should be looking to Ka-band services, not digital satellite television, as their next great market opportunity.

# They will need to develop new marketing policies and customer bases and cultivate new partners both amongst existing and new telecoms operators.

# Europe remains way behind the United States in developing the appropriate satellite technology (on-board processing, switching, antennas) and ground stations (phased array antennas) needed for the Ka-band environment.

Source: http://www.mindbranch.com

I hope there’s not a market for these new cha (5, Insightful)

AssProphet (757870) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210011)

Consider the cost involved in production of programming for television channels, and then add the cost of businesses paying for the marketing to pay for that programming. Now add all the people who are watching television because there is "nothing better to do."

It just saddens me to see such an investment in entertainment. Especially since entertainment doesn't have any kind of economic return for the individual. I'll agree that entertainment is necessary for humans to enjoy life, but 1500 channels is beyond excessive.

Ah! (5, Informative)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210021)

I still haven't bought a satellite or digital cable subscription. Partly because I am cheap, but also in large part because MPEG fragments drive me up the wall. I mean, I'll deal with it when it's a uhh... legally downloaded movie I'm watching on my computer, but when I'm watching shows on my TV, I don't want them to be skimping on the bandwidth. If I can tell that you're using compression, then your bitrate is too low! Lord help the people with HDTVs, paying a boatload more for a better TV and HDTV channels and still getting MPEG fragments? Come on people, it's 2004.

Re:Ah! (1)

Rosonowski (250492) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210288)

No kidding. Whenever I go over to my freind's house, we might be watching one of the more "obscure" channels (in that very few people watch them) and there's times where the audio will drop to tinny crap, or the signal would just skip kind of like a scratched CD.

Slam Dunk for Mark Cuban (3, Funny)

loid_void (740416) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210022)

I guess Mark Cuban was right, founding HDNet [pcworld.com] , the first national HD network to broadcast all of its programming in 1080i resolution, the highest-quality format of high-definition. And isn't it a coincidence that there is a Ku band?

Re:Slam Dunk for Mark Cuban (1)

wankledot (712148) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210244)

There is some debate about 1080i vs. 720p and which one is really the higher quality sigal.

I just wish there was more content in HD right now. It's pretty sad how little there is, but those 5 channels sure are nice.

Re:Slam Dunk for Mark Cuban (1)

loid_void (740416) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210289)

Yes that's so right. The point I tried to make was really his aptitude to see where it's going... and, I also failed to include that he has a hell of a lot of fun while he's doing it. =)

Ku ___ band (-1, Offtopic)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210033)

I'm not sure how to work it in, but there has to be some joke you can make about calling the "Ku band" the "ku klux band" or something.

The Future is TiVo (2, Interesting)

Beller0ph1 (812228) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210034)

Sure there will be stuff on 1700 channels 24/7, but who is going to watch it? I bet the most views they will get will be from PVRs; either in people's computers, TiVos, or the combination thereof. Heck, even with regular digital cable, I wish I had a Tivo...who knew Law and Order was on at least 4 times a day. And that's only on 1 channel.

Then comes the fact that everyone will need to buy different equipment. And the manufacturers will either make a killing on it, or it will be a commodity, giving it away for free.

I would like to see dynamic pricing based on how much and what you watch. But then the networks wouldn't have the funding for the 1650 other channels nobody watches.

Playboy in Hi-Def...... (3, Funny)

theneb (732287) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210036)

.......cant wait!

Re:Playboy in Hi-Def...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10210157)

I'm perfectly happy to watch my women in 16:9 when the TV is only 4:3. I like big butts, my name is Sir Mix-a-Lot.

Re:Playboy in Hi-Def...... (2, Informative)

Temsi (452609) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210329)

Forget Playboy... it's softcore (read: boring).

When will we get Hustler TV? Or SCORE TV? A real, no holes barred, hardcore porn channel with closeups, penetration and moneyshots?
How about a 24hr Pussyman marathon?
Why is it that a $10 PPV version of a porno shows almost nothing, when a $3 rented dvd version of the same porno is a full blown version that shows everything?
Since when do the FCC decency regulations apply to closed circuit PAID TV? And on that subject, who's idea of decency is the gold standard? What happened to the 1st Amendment?
What's wrong with these people?

If I want to watch boring softcore crap, I can turn on Cinemax...

Big numbers (2, Funny)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210064)

I think whenever there's a really big number used in an article write-up we should just abandon metric prefixes. I mean, c'mon, which number looks bigger (and thus cooler)? 34Gbit/s or 36,507,222,016bits/s? This could also be extended further for data rates by not writing them per second. How about 131,425,999,257,600 per hour? 3,154,223,982,182,400 bits per day? etc.

The possibilities are endless.

Re:Big numbers (4, Funny)

aduzik (705453) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210333)

Do we have to say it? 1500 channels and nothing on.

Don't know if people said this... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10210084)

But the 1500 HD channels is going have a majority of the channels devoted to local channels that you will only get in your respective local area. So, you won't have 1500 channels show up on your program guide, only the local channels all broadcast in HD plus the 200+ satellite-only HD channels.

This will be the killer application for satellite (5, Interesting)

barfy (256323) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210102)

First TiVo just works better with satellite than over the air, because it just copies the satellites digital signal rather than recompressing the stream.

Second, HD looks GREAT on a SD TV. I have been a satellite subscriber since day one because local cable was aweful. It used to have a great picture, but the channel squeeze forced bit rates down so low it was like watching a good streaming internet image (crappy).

But I now have HDTiVo hooked up to a very nice SD set (XBR2) and a very nice HD projector (NEC HT1000). The projector is great for movies, but is just too big for watching TV. But HD channels on the SD set are some of the best quality TV around.

This will benefit all subscribers by getting high enough bandwidth for all stations, and more HD than will be provided by my local provider. I am just disappointed it is going to take 3 years to get up and running.

They already have football in HD (3, Interesting)

weedenbc (719416) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210118)

This year Fox and CBS are carrying several games each week in glorious HD. If you are a HD subscriber and a Sunday Ticket subscriber you get several of those games in HD each, plus every game in SD, plus the Sunday night ESPN games.

I'm drooling already waiting for Sunday.

All the channels and only commercials to watch (4, Insightful)

Malc (1751) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210125)

Who cares how many channels it can support? Those are just marketing gimics. I have 70 channels on basic cable and I can flip through them all and find only crap or commercials. TV was better back in the UK with just four channels. There was either really good stuff on, or it didn't take long to discover cricket and horse racing only. More channels != better TV. More channels == dilution and lower quality.

Police radar (0, Offtopic)

LittleLebowskiUrbanA (619114) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210139)

Any correlation between this and KA band police radar? Because I'd sure hate for police to move from the easily detectable KA band to Lidar laser detection.

Re:Police radar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10210320)

Sorry to double post this (I posted this in reply to the crappy funny modded post above), but there are laser jammers commercially available. Escort ZR3 and K40 Diffuser Plus are both very highly regarded. (And the ZR3 can be Shift+Link to a Passport 8500 X50 radar detector).

I'd welcome the move to laser.

More HD! Who’s complaining?! I’m not. (1)

RazorX90 (700941) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210162)

Look, I doubt they will have that many HD channels, but at least it (should) mean a decent new chunk of HD, and HD is just cool period. I'm looking on the positive side, as long as they don't raise the bill, I'm very excited about this news.

Scientific Satellite Interference (4, Interesting)

bleckywelcky (518520) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210177)

I've worked on scientific satellite designs and the Ka band is quite frequently used for downloading data from satellites to Earth. I would like to know what specific ranges of the Ka band Direct TV will be allowed to use, the article does not mention this information. If media content providers are allowed to move in on frequencies that are typically used for scientific satellites (or even close enough to cause interference), costs for obtaining this data and processing it could increase immensely. Or even worse, communication time could be reduced or even eliminated. Hopefully Direct TV will be constained enough that they don't impinge on these scientific efforts.

Re:Scientific Satellite Interference (4, Informative)

stuktongue (140376) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210383)

Years ago, I processed reports from an organization known as the IFRB, which I seem to remember as the International Frequency Registration Board, or something like that. This organization received, circulated, and arbitrated RFCs for frequency bands made by the various satellite providers/manufacturers around the world. The purpose was to avoid interference between new systems and existing systems.

Many techniques exist for reducing or eliminating interference, not just frequency separation. Polarization schemes are a big part of the solution, but there are others (spatial isolation, of course, and coding schemes with digital systems).

If your data transmission is at all on the radar, so to speak, I think it'd be safe to say people are designing new systems to be compatible. Or so we think. :-)

Oh great..... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10210209)

Now I can watch Die Hard on channel 550 from 3-5, channel 551 from 5-7, channel 552 from 7-9, and channel 553 from 9-11. 1700 Channels and there still won't be anything on.

No No NO! (-1, Flamebait)

rattler14 (459782) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210210)

Please. 1500 channels? There is absolutely no need for this many channels, except for the cable/satellite channels to bundle them all together for "value" and keep prices artificially high. I live in Boston and subscribe for comcast cable. If I had the option, I would only turn on 15 of these channels.

Another key point, is increasing the number of channels does not mean there will be an increase in quality programming. This will only dilute the few good shows and force them to piss off customers with "I have 1500 options and they all suck!" syndrome. Oh great, more local cable access channels that no one will watch.

Ugh. Just give me the daily show with jon stewart, aqua teen, and family guy (summer 2005 baby!) and i'll be happy. And it sure as hell doesn't need to be in high def.

Yey, more television I'm not going to be watching (1)

ThatWeasel (113982) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210223)

I just hope they are going to broadcast the G4 network in Hi Definition. I absolutely need to see the latest cheats for Half Life 2 in Hi Definition so I can frag noobs super ultra fast.

Re:Yey, more television I'm not going to be watchi (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10210326)

you know what cowboyneal always says about that?

"one ded niggers as good as the next"

Re:Yey, more television I'm not going to be watchi (-1, Offtopic)

ThatWeasel (113982) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210344)

What's cowboyneal always say about that?

Oh wait, that was what he says about it right there, riiiiiiggggghhhhhtttttt. I think cowboyneal should speak better English when he is fraggin noobs after getting the cheat off of G4 television.

500+ Channels of HDTV all sitting idle (2, Interesting)

wg0350 (753504) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210229)

Being a student, HDTV is a small part of that somewhat distant dream of a futuristic geek friendly home.

Yes there are those of us who regard the number of TV channels we can receive as a mark of our success. But there is one fairly obvious question: What are they going to show on all these channels?

1) Thousands of new, good quality, entertaining TV programs. - I should stop dreaming here.

2) Go the way of digital telivision and show repeats or shopping channels 24/7. - Nice idea, but there are two problems with this. Firstly the old classics will look just as good on standard analogue terestrial TV. Why would anyone pay the extra to get them on channel 1476 in HDTV. Secondly, there are only so many times you can watch a repeat of a Jerry Springer show. (Do they still show that on ITV2?)

3) More movies and more sport. These are two big success areas. But again, why HDTV? Won't the quality be the same (for 90% of things shown) on standard DVB.

I live in the UK where I make do with 5 TV channels. Even then, we are shown numerous repeats. Good programs are hard to find. Until they can give me a reason (GOOD TV) to pay for something with more channels, i'll stick with the 5 I've got.

I'll say it now... (4, Funny)

kubrick (27291) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210271)

so people can quote me in the future as an example of how misguided our thinking was in the past.

34 Gbps should be enough for anyone.

Excellent FreeIpods.com Conga Lines!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10210322)

Check out http://freehosting.hostrave.com/b/ipodconga/forums /index.php [hostrave.com]
for superb freeipods, freeflatscreens and freecomputer conga lines!

Four satellites and still nothing (1)

ThatWeasel (113982) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210349)

Four satellites and there is still nothing good to watch on television except Hi Definition Pr0n.

1500 channels... (-1, Flamebait)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210381)

and I bet there still wont be anything on.

1500 channels: the Romans called it... (1)

nusratt (751548) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210390)

..."panem et circenses".
Or, in more contemporary terms, it's Neo's red-pill / blue-pill choice.

Preliminary Advertisement Carpet Bombing Figures (1)

brainiac (90448) | more than 9 years ago | (#10210394)

Hi,

I know that DirectTV has some (relatively) advertisement free premium channels, but ignoring those the initial figures come out as follows assuming a 33% Commercial Carpet Bombing Factor:

Non Commercial Programming: 22.678 GB/sec
Commercials: 11.322 GB/sec

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