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No Business Case for HDTV?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the dire-just-means-higher-prices-for-consumers dept.

Television 525

Lev13than writes "The head of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation argues that there is no business model for HDTV. Speaking at a regulatory hearing being held by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), CBC president Robert Rabinovitch noted that 'There's no evidence either in Canada or the United States that we have found for advertisers willing to pay a premium for a program that's in HD.' In order to cope with infrastructure and programming costs that are roughly 25 per cent higher, Rabinovitch proposes that the CBC start charging cable and satellite companies to carry their signal, and to limit over-the-air transmission. HDTV — good for Best Buy, bad for broadcasters?"

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525 comments

Hooray for sanity (4, Funny)

TodMinuit (1026042) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010432)

Canadialand is the Nintendo of countries: Graphics simply do not matter.

Funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17010484)

Oh, I know this will initially be modded flame bait or troll, but it's oh-so-funny!

Re:Hooray for sanity (5, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010554)

Thank God for that. If it was the Sony of countries, the polar bears would be exploding in HD color.

Re:Hooray for sanity (0, Offtopic)

interiot (50685) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010642)

Graphics simply do not matter.

That's the misstatement of the year. Do you really intend to suggest that everyone does their work on a cell-phone screen?

No, graphics do matter, they're just not the only thing that matters (or even the most important thing).

No business case for TV (4, Interesting)

xQx (5744) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010688)

Having decomissioned my TV a number of years ago in favor of a computer running emule, and now having the free upgrade to BitTorrent that allows me to get my american TV shows add-free 2 weeks ahead of the Australian commercial-infected air-date rather than 1 week ahead.. TV Execs should be asking themselves Is there actually a business case for traditional TV?

Now, as for HD-TV...

I just witnessed a 277-run ashes victory against in full SD Digital TV, and the step up from shadowed fuzzy PAL broadcast was unbelievable.

I can't wait to see us beat the Poms in 1080p full color :) I recon' I'd even pay to see that...

I wonder how long it'll take the sports ground owners to start sueing broadcasters for loss of revinue because you get a better view of the game at home than you do with 10x binoculars from front-row seats?

Re:No business case for TV (5, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010770)

I can't wait to see us beat the Poms in 1080p full color :)

I totally don't know what that means, but I want it.

KFG

Re:No business case for TV (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17010836)

ZOMG! Didn't you hear the news? "Pirates" who download television episodes from the interweb help fund ter'rists!

Re:No business case for TV (1, Troll)

Dorceon (928997) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010898)

There's no business case for theft.

no common sense case (4, Interesting)

yagu (721525) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010438)

Good gosh, HDTV would fly by itself if the industry practiced a little common sense about the rollout. I remember in 1998 a sales guy trying to talk me into buying a sexy looking HDTV on demo on the floor. Yeah, I was drooling.

This unit came sans tuner, and the universe as we know it was still pretty much standard definition tv, i.e., if you could find any HD content, it was for eye candy only, nobody was broadcasting HD anywhere on anything remotely regular.

I told him I'd wait for the prices to come down, and the for some content to show up -- he shook his finger at me, "These prices [$10,000 for the unit I was looking at] won't come down and might go up! And, there's more and more new HD content available every day"

Prices went way down (though still way too high) and content eventually showed up. The problem? Way too many ways to set up for HD with way too many ways to find out your setup isn't correct after spending big bucks.

The minefield that is setting up for HD is too confusing, too expensive, and yeah, if I were an advertiser I'd find it a tough sell to pay any extra for an uncertain market.

It's too bad, I eventually settled on a Samsung 50" DLP a 2 years ago, absolutely LOVE it, but no thanks to any help I got from anyone anywhere! Freak, even the Comcast HD cable box is still a piece of garbage that regularly freezes, never behaves, and offers a very limited range of HD (not entirely their fault, come on networks!).

Toss in the confusing choices and still uncertain future of HD on DVD, sheesh, it's a wonder the market is as penetrated as it is.

Hey, and toss in the $50 HDMI cable lots of people have to buy, they didn't even know about it until "after". Yeah, and what about the almost non-existent HD On Demand (another unfulfilled promise... aside from incredibly poor selection, Comcast's On Demand movies have only a few HD, and all of them (HD and standard) are so compressed, it hurts to watch on a good TV). Oh, and don't forget, or don't forget to plan for, DRM. Don't assume what's true today will still be true by the time you set up your system, but assume if it's not the same it's going to be more restrictive.

Shit, the more I prattle, the less I like about HD. I'm in as deep as I want for what the market has offered so far, but am not chomping at the byte for any more investment until the industry sorts itself out.

Re:no common sense case (1)

cymen (8178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010504)

So you're not using OTA at all? OTA HDTV is probably the best bet for semi-decent HDTV. It's still going to be compressed a bit too much as the broadcasters are squeezing in extra SD channels but it's better than cable and DBS.

Re:no common sense case (1)

e9th (652576) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010608)

Unfortunately, one of the proposals the broadcasters are floating is to greatly reduce or even eliminate OTA HDTV broadcasts, on the grounds that "80 or 90 percent" of households are already cable/satellite sunscribers.

Re:no common sense case (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010812)

"Unfortunately, one of the proposals the broadcasters are floating is to greatly reduce or even eliminate OTA HDTV broadcasts, on the grounds that "80 or 90 percent" of households are already cable/satellite sunscribers."

This would suck if in the US. Once I get time to get OTA up and running...I'm probably planning on dropping cable/satellite. Get the local and sports stuff in HD. The rest of the things I like are often available for download over the net.

Re:no common sense case (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010638)

I would LOVE to get OTA HDTV into my current theater set up - in fact, it's part of the reason I put together a new setup recently.

My problem is that the set top boxes are all 200$ +. And that's if I want to get one with a warranty. In addition, every review I've read of any available set-top box talks of difficulties changing channels etc...

I have a PC integrated into the theater, and I may just crumble and get an HD card for it; but I'd much much MUCH rather have a solid set-top box that doesn't have to rely on the PC being there. For similar reasons, I bought a DVD player for the set-up so I don't have to wait for the PC to power up etc.

Gets more out of the WAF, too....

Re:no common sense case (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010686)

Re:no common sense case (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010780)

Athlon 2600+ (socket A) - Don't think that cuts the requirements, unfortunately:

Minimum processor recommended:

2.2 GHz P4 or 1.8 GHz Centrino or equivalent (minimum).
2.8 GHz processor for analog TV recording with MPEG-2 (minimum).

It would probably work; however, I still want an independant system. Even though I like using computers as PVRs (Have one doing the job currently) I want this to be simpler.

Re:no common sense case (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17010820)

Hauppage has a $99 USB tuner- just add a computer to your setup.

I take it you didn't read beyond the first sentence?

Re:no common sense case (5, Informative)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010852)

"I have a PC integrated into the theater, and I may just crumble and get an HD card for it; but I'd much much MUCH rather have a solid set-top box that doesn't have to rely on the PC being there. For similar reasons, I bought a DVD player for the set-up so I don't have to wait for the PC to power up etc."

Think of it another way....do the PC, and use it to tune your HD, to play your DVD's and CD's and everything. You could get rid of settop box and cd/dvd player...hell. put MythTv [mythtv.org] on it, and get rid of the TIVO too. Get a wireless card in it..and download all you want from the net onto it...

Wait for it to power on?? Why would you turn it off? I don't turn off any of my computers around the house.....

Re:no common sense case (5, Informative)

DA-MAN (17442) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010534)

Hey, and toss in the $50 HDMI cable lots of people have to buy

Digital either works or it doesn't. A five dollar hdmi cable will work as good as the fifty dollar hdmi cable. Monster may help on analog audio, but doesn't do jack for digital.

This is a myth.

Re:no common sense case (5, Funny)

jmv (93421) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010692)

I see you're not a real connoisseur. My 500$ digital video cable makes the red, green and blue so much richer. It also makes the programs I'm watching subtly more entertaining. You see, that's because the bits are happier when traveling an expensive cable.

no common levels. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17010760)

"Digital either works or it doesn't."

Never seen a compression artifact have you? Or higher error rates on an ethernet segment? Just because digital is binary doesn't mean the results are.

Re:no common levels. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17010794)

Never seen a compression artifact have you?

The transmission media has nothing to do with compression artifacts.

Or higher error rates on an ethernet segment?

I've never seen any where the network was set up competently, no. A $5 HDMI cable would have to be really crappy to not have a 0% error rate between two systems that are only a few feet apart.

Re:no common levels. (2, Insightful)

kimvette (919543) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010932)

Agreed. when you want to run 20'-100' HDMI cable spend the big bucks on good HDMI cable. Otherwise? Save your money. If you want to spend it, buy a better receiver. Even when it comes to speaker cable, don't waste your money on monster cable. Buy generic OFC in bulk and make your own since you probably can't even measure let alone hear any difference.

Re:no common sense case (2, Informative)

Aadain2001 (684036) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010806)

I just did a quick search on Amazon.com (so I by no means have a complete list with prices), shows the first HDMI cable (not a male-to-male or converter) going for around $40. This is not a monster cable, just a no-name brand. The monster cable was $100+.

My point? HDMI cables cost A LOT, even at the low end. And most stores that I've checked (again, not a complete list) don't care more than one or two brands, usually the $75 to $100 versions.

Re:no common sense case (3, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010876)

I guess you need to shop elsewhere for your cables. Cables For Less [cablesforless.com] has HDMI Cables for $12 (3 foot) and $16 (6 foot). Just because the big retailers charge tons for cables, doesn't mean you have to pay those prices.

Re:no common sense case (5, Informative)

HTTP Error 403 403.9 (628865) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010882)

I just did a quick search on Amazon.com (so I by no means have a complete list with prices), shows the first HDMI cable (not a male-to-male or converter) going for around $40. This is not a monster cable, just a no-name brand. The monster cable was $100+.

My point? HDMI cables cost A LOT, even at the low end. And most stores that I've checked (again, not a complete list) don't care more than one or two brands, usually the $75 to $100 versions.

Monoprice.com - 15 foot HDMI cable M/M $8.07 - cheap price but quality cables.

Re:no common sense case (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010548)

My biggest problem with HDTV is that it just means my cable bill is bigger at the end of every month. I already spend $50 on cable TV. I don't think having a High Def picture is worth the extra per month cost. Sure, if I could get a nice TV and be done with it, then maybe I could buy into HDTV, but digital cable has already made my cable bill expensive enough.

Re:no common sense case (1)

homer_ca (144738) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010552)

even the Comcast HD cable box is still a piece of garbage that regularly freezes, never behaves, and offers a very limited range of HD

My off-the-air tuner isn't much better. I bought an ATSC tuner from Radio Shack. It worked fine for a while, getting most local HD channels with just an indoor antenna. It's broken now though. It's stuck on channel 4 and freeze when I try changing the channel. I even unplugged it to clear the memory, but it still remembers it's on channel 4.

Re:no common sense case (1)

tcc3 (958644) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010624)

You think the fact that you got it as Radio Shack has anything to do with it? They arent known for quality electronics.

Which is a shame, they used to be quite good yet affordable.

Re:no common sense case (5, Funny)

gantzm (212617) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010944)

> Which is a shame, they used to be quite good yet affordable.

History of Radio Shack:

Early Years:

Q: Do you have any 2N222s?
A: Fourth panel, third from the top, second from the left.

Now :
Q: Do you have any 2N222s?
A: Is that the new Razor?

Like all trips, it was good while it lasted.

Pornography is the Driver of Video (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17010570)

The fact of the matter is that pornography drove the commerical development of the VCR in the 1970s. In the 1990s, pornography drove the commercial development of the Internet.

In the first decade of the 21st century, pornography will drive the commercial development of the high-definition television. If you doubt what I am saying, then ask yourself what is the #1 video image that you want to see in absolute clarity and in shockingly graphic detail.

The Canadians are prudes and just refuse to say what the facts are.

Re:Pornography is the Driver of Video (5, Funny)

BSarp (222084) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010676)

I don't know about you, but unless I'm watching exclusively girl-on-girl porn (and even then), there are some things I absolutely do NOT need to see in all their HD glory.

Zits and t*ts (2, Insightful)

Latent Heat (558884) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010694)

Um, don't you think there is an upper bound on the resolution you want on some images? When you start seeing every pimple, hair, and pore, I would think it stops being fantasy-enhancing and starts becoming a clinical rotation in urology or perhaps skin lesions.

Re:Zits and t*ts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17010748)

Real women are "high definition" too. If you can't stand seeing pores you're never going to get a girlfriend.

Re:GOVERNMENT is the Driver of HDTV (2, Interesting)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010708)

And since pornography isn't doing it, the Government in the United States stepped in and mandated it. Nobody wanted it otherwise.

Thus the original article is correct- there's no business case for it, that's why the FCC mandated it.

no common sense case-A pretty web. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17010586)

"Shit, the more I prattle, the less I like about HD. I'm in as deep as I want for what the market has offered so far, but am not chomping at the byte for any more investment until the industry sorts itself out."

But look at how good WebTV looks.

Re:no common sense case (2, Insightful)

pivo (11957) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010640)

For some reason I have no desire for an HDTV. I don't look at my current $200 TV and think that I wish the picture were better, I don't want to spend $1000 or more on a TV, and I think a lot of the "content" I've seen on HDTV looks pixelated and that bothers me. So HDTV doesn't sell itself to me.

Re:no common sense case (1)

AC5398 (651967) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010684)

Hell with the $50 hdmi cable, what about the $150 'clean' power supply the tv needs? Jeeze, that was one helluva surprise.

And what about for the consumer? (2, Insightful)

pturpin (801430) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010444)

Or do they not matter in all this?

Re:And what about for the consumer? (4, Insightful)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010516)

That's exactly the problem ... nobody realizes that the consumer is who needs to make the decision

Another problem is that the television networks are looking for traditional ways to exploit HDTV rather than innovate. It should come as no surprise that advertisers wouldn't pay more for regular commercials during HDTV broadcasts ... a viewer can change the channel in the middle of an HDTV commercial just as easily as any other.

Broadcasters fail to willingly recognize two driving factors for HDTV:
  • The public now demands it, so they don't really have a choice (other than beg the government to force carriers to give the networks kickbacks)
  • The technology and vastly improved resolution will allow greater integration of programs with the internet. This would allow viewers to seamlessly interact with game shows via a remote, or to purchase clothing that their favorite soap stars might be wearing. Advertisers are willing to pay HUGE sums of money for interactive content and online purchasing.
Where I do agree with the networks is their argument for dropping traditional HDTV radio wave broadcasts. It's ridiculous for the government to mandate that HDTV be receivable via antenna, let the networks use public demand as a gauge for where and how to best deliver hi-def.

Re:And what about for the consumer? (1)

AC5398 (651967) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010626)

I disagree. HDTV over the air is a cleaner, sharper picture than the same HD channel received via cable, for far less money. And if the money ever gets tight, I can cancel the cable subscription and not have an expensive monitor sitting in the living room.

Re:And what about for the consumer? (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010874)


I disagree. HDTV over the air is a cleaner, sharper picture than the same HD channel received via cable, for far less money. And if the money ever gets tight, I can cancel the cable subscription and not have an expensive monitor sitting in the living room.


Well, it could be, if your cable company implements rate shaping. Some systems do not and simply pass on the same bistream you'd receieve over the air, although I understand that most companies do strip out the programming guide information you'd see OTA (or perhaps it can't be transmitted for some technical reason over clear QAM).

Re:And what about for the consumer? (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010858)

One thing that should have the advertisers salivating though, is product placement. The much higher resolution of HD makes it easier for viewers to be able to read the label of that box of product X that happens to be sitting on the shelf behind the actors, etc.

Re:And what about for the consumer? (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010578)

Only when they bend down for the privilige.

Re:And what about for the consumer? (1)

Total_Wimp (564548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010612)

You're right. It is the consumer. For example, the consumer prefers high-quality entertainment, so the TV stations spend more money for better scripts and directors. The consumer wants thier local team to win, so the teams spend more money on talent.

You could argue that consumers spend more (buying more goods that are advertised or spending more for tickets) and that justifies the expense, but the reverse is as much of a motivator. If you have bad shows or crappy teams, less people are going to waste their time with you.

So, the motivator for TV visual quality? If you want to keep your station relevant, you're going to have to spend money to have high-quality HD content. Charge more? Get real. If you don't have it for the same cost, we'll just leave.

TW

BTW, some of you may argue that there are great shows that were/are made in SD. True. There are also terrific black and white shows, and some awesome silent films as well. I love the old stuff, but most of the new stuff really needs to be, well, new.

Re:And what about for the consumer? (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010704)

The consumer is waiting for prices to come down, because he can't justify spending a month's pay on a TV set.

No, the consumer does not matter! (1, Interesting)

gillbates (106458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010766)

No, the consumer does not matter!

HD isn't about the consumer. It's about profiteering on the backs of the consumer.

HD represents the interests of the media companies.

HD represents the interests of the electronics companies - albeit to a lesser extent.

But it does not represent the interests of the consumer. It was specifically designed to leave the consumer out in the cold:

  • It comes with draconian DRM schemes. You need a special, expensive cable to hook it up.
  • You can't record HD tv shows and movies.
  • You can't afford an HD set without talking to a banker or maxing out your credit card.

With the exception of the resolution, 20 years ago a tv with a vcr was more enjoyable and offered more features than will be present in even the highest end HD systems. And it cost less in terms of real dollars.

No, HD isn't for the consumer; it's for the electronics and movie industries. And it's lack of adoption isn't a technical problem; it's a social problem. People want new features, not restrictions.

In the UK (1)

solevita (967690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010454)

People love [reghardware.co.uk] HD TV. I am not a marketing exec, but I can see that paying to advertise on these services could end in profit.

That's because..... (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010532)

The RealWorld is completely suck in the UK. Crap weather, crap beaches, crap everything. No wonder they want to lose themselves in a little HD world.

smart move (1)

thrillseeker (518224) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010456)

The entrenched content providers, with their legislatively protected markets, have long rested on their laurels at providing (actually) improved service - as opposed to market-speak improved ("ooh look - 100 more channels of stuff you don't care about but we can charge you more for"). The consumer has a difficult time insisting on improvement in any market when the amount of competition is so lacking - hence the need for regulation to encourage competition and improvement among the entrenched parties.

CBC hasn't got the right... (0, Troll)

topham (32406) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010458)


The only money the CBC makes is on the backs of the Canadian Tax payer; in the unlikely event they actually have a show that makes money they cancel it.

If it wins awards, but doesn't win over advertisers they run it for years. All 3 audience members appreciate it.

CBC is nothing but a profiteering organization. They aren't about producing good television, they are about justifying their existence and salaries.

Re:CBC hasn't got the right... (1)

Superpants (930409) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010870)

Wow, and to think that all those ads have generated no revenue whatsoever. Somebody must be sucking some serious dick.

Re:CBC hasn't got the right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17010942)

They aren't about producing good television, they are about justifying their existence and salaries.


Right, and this is unlike CTV and Global how, exactly? Neither network produces any Canadian content worth talking about (except maybe Corner Gas). They basically just rerun US shows with Canadian commercials. At least the CBC gives a shit about employing Canadian actors and Canadian producers.

HDTV (1)

McFortner (881162) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010462)

HDTV is a solution in search of a problem. If it is so darn good, why phase out the old broadcast standard? Only so we all have to buy new TVs and converters for the old. The makers get rich and fat off of a bought FCC and the consumer gets screwed. Only Canada had the balls to call it as they saw it.

McF

Re:HDTV (1)

cymen (8178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010562)

HDTV for me means crystal clear video 35-40 miles from the broadcast towers. Even my parents only miles from the transmitters have all kinds of feedback in their picture. My upgrade to HDTV was dropping a couple of $40 Air2PC PCI cards into my PVR. Sure, it's still feeding a plain old 4:3 27" TV but the picture quality is excellent. I'm waiting a little while longer to upgrade the display.

Re:HDTV (1)

Skye16 (685048) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010662)

... or so that part of the spectrum can be resold off to other companies for "phat loots", as it were?

The FCC isn't pushing HDTV for Sony and Samsung, they're pushing it because they're positively salivating at all the loads of cash they expect to get from Cingular and Verizon.

Re:HDTV (1)

Nate B. (2907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010842)

I completely agree. Right now I'm watching Monday night Football via DirecTV and my 13 year old Zenith 25" TV. It looks good enough for me, but I'm getting old and jaded and less enthused by whiz-bang stuff every day. I do notice that ESPN's HD programming seems sharper and clearer than other content which probably has more to do with improved camera and production technology at the head end of the broadcast than anything I could do here. An HDTV set won't improve a lousy signal fed to it.

For example, my dad's TV started going flakely a week or so ago by losing the green tint (that looked weird), so I was in Wal*Mart today and looked at their meager selection of SDTV sets. It didn't look impressive and they are really hawking flat panel sets. For the price they're asking, I'm going to pass.

Since I'm not into movies, for the most part, and I only watch a subset of sports, I'm not really sure how HD benefits me.

Chicken and Egg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17010928)

Why would anyone produce HDTV content if there are no sets?
Why would anyone buy an HDTV if there was no content?

Someone has to get the ball rolling.
And yes, I realize it's not a given that anyone *should* get the ball rolling.

-J

Pull your head out of your ass before talking (3, Interesting)

DannyBoy (12682) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010470)

1) I much prefer to watch HD programming. Especially sports. I will not watch SD football

2) All of the HDTV I watch is over the air.

3) I'm still in a bad mood since my local PBS station decided to only broadcast about 4 hours of HD programming each day.

That said, I'm not saying that HD commands higher ad rates - but it should. Too bad HD programming usually has SD commercials.

Commercials (1)

wasted (94866) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010660)

...Too bad HD programming usually has SD commercials.


When I was getting HDTV off air, there were a few instances where the program was SD and some of the commercials aired were HD. If those advertisers spent the extra money to make HD commercials, even if they were shown on SD programs, they must be willing to pay at least some premium for HD.

Either that, or there was a big mix-up, and the HD commercials were shown during the SD shows, and the SD commercials were shown during the HD shows.

Re:Pull your head out of your ass before talking (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010680)

" I'm not saying that HD commands higher ad rates - but it should"

Why?
If an advertiser makes a million dollars from advertising on SD, or a million dollars advertising on HD, why would they want to pay more?

The picture change is not high enough to attract more customers. When TV went color, that was enough change where your producted advertised in color would get more eyes, and more talk around the cooler, then it made sense to charge more.

Even broadcasters can not charge more then there market will bear, and survuve.

Re:Pull your head out of your ass before talking (1)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010886)

...why would they want to pay more?

Well, they wouldn't want to pay more, they need to pay more to offset the cost of broadcasting.

30-40+ years ago, an advertiser could sponsor 30 minutes of airtime just by having the host state the plug for the product or service.

Your family of concerned parent felt that local celebrities were being created by local businesses and sponsored advertising was creating a monster and untrue product endorsements. This would be your local weatherman issuing a plug for a Chevrolet from the local dealer or your news anchor plugging a gallon of milk and ice cream from the local dairy.

So this stopped local sponsorship and forced advertisers to have commercials to be produced at a much higher cost than a 30 minute sponsored time. Add airtime to that and you get the idea.

There was no need to inject the cost of production of a 30 second spot when a 30 minute sponsored time was cheaper.

There is a real cost to the broadcaster to broadcast HD content so it only makes sense that the advertiser should pay.

The advertiser's dillema is that the cost of an HD spot will cost more than an SD spot and still reach the same demographic.
If the advertiser chooses to only advertise on the last SD station in the market, then that is their choice.

Re:Pull your head out of your ass before talking (1)

OSS_ilation (922367) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010762)

If ever the phrase 'take your own advice before talking' was something worth following, that time is probably now.

Just who the hell is Robert Rabinovitch? (1)

whoppers (307299) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010476)

Doesn't he know who he represents? How the hell are these companies supposed to make a profit, keep the stockholders happy and keep their executives in luxurious vacation homes.

Seriously thought, hooray for Canada (don't tell anyone I said that) and hooray for common sense!

It's just the beginning... (4, Insightful)

grogdamighty (884570) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010478)

At this point HDTV's development, it's still a costly technology. It's not an early adopter device any more, but it hasn't even come close to reaching critical mass in the general populace yet. Despite this, it's very clear where the future of technology is, and any television station that waits till HDTV is the standard will pay for that in lost revenue in the future.

Not going HD would be like cable companies saying "No need for us to build high speed infrastructure - everybody likes dial-up."

Because what consumers want isn't important (1)

Krater76 (810350) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010500)

What is important is money for big corporations.

Why should we use television technology that hasn't been updated in over half a century?

Sure I can watch sports in the current non-HD and like it but I like it more in HD. I would still watch whether it's HD or not though so of course the networks can't charge advertisers more. Suck it up and improve your equipment because if TV looks better won't consumers possibly watch MORE?

CBC better figure out how to lower their costs... (1)

Jennifer York (1021509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010502)

25%? CBC sure is bloated if HD content is 25% more expensive to produce, and braodcast. I'm not seing it.

What contributes to this cost? More expensive cameras? More bandwidth in the braodcast? More disk space in the digital production?

Re:CBC better figure out how to lower their costs. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17010598)

New cameras, modulators, multiplexers, etc...
To give you an idea, you need 1 ATSC modulator per channel per transmittion tower. Each modulator is in the range of $10000. So we're talking hundreds of millions to convert.

Re:CBC better figure out how to lower their costs. (1)

RelaxedTension (914174) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010752)

That's what I wonder as well. You'd think it should mean 4 years at 25% greater cost while they upgrade the infrastructure. After the upgrades are done, does it take a lot more electricity to run it, or cost that much more for the the extra writeable dvd's for backups?

Re:CBC better figure out how to lower their costs. (1)

sys_mast (452486) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010854)

Yes those add to cost, as well as HD qualified production gear. Although apple has come out with some decent HD production gear and a shop can get in buisness for $20k(for the editor) then at least $10k for a decent HD camera. Not that those costs are giant, but depending on where they are in their upgrade cycle it can really hurt the bottom line. In addition to that and what you brought up there is the matter of the additional man hours to make the content look good, as in you can get away with some shots and edits in SD that you just can't in HD. So my point is, depending on the shop 25% more is not that unreasonable.

-----------
spelling and grammar errors are intentional

It's not just HDTV, it's TV in general! (2, Insightful)

ampmouse (761827) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010512)

The number of people who actually watch tv is falling [slashdot.org] . Thanks to the internet, we don't need tv, so why would we need HDTV?

Re:It's not just HDTV, it's TV in general! (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010650)

Because no one told the marketing department that the TV is dead, dead and dead. Besides, you don't want all those Canadian TV people holding a "Will work for food!" sign on the American border?

Re:It's not just HDTV, it's TV in general! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17010764)

you don't want all those Canadian TV people holding a "Will work for food!" sign on the American border?

I think you misread the sign. It said, "Will for for HBO!"

There is currently no legal way to get HBO in Canada.

Why even bother with broadcast television? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17010518)

Seriously, if you have the money to buy an HDTV then why would broadcast television even be a concern for you? Someone who cares about their viewing experience enough to shell out the cash for a hi def set is going to be buying DVDs, downloading hi def content, playing video game consoles in hi def or subscribing to premium cable/satellite for specialized needs (if they're so into football that are willing to buy a HDTV to see it in hi-def, then they probably already have premium stations like NFL Ticket).

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation worrying about HD broadcasts is like Sony worrying about how they're going to sell $9.99 walkmans to people who want $500 mp3 players... It's just plain irrelevant.

Re:Why even bother with broadcast television? (1)

Sparohok (318277) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010958)

Broadcast TV is quite relevant to HDTV. For years now, HDTV early adopters have been depending on terrestrial broadcast. That's because premium cable and satellite providers weren't particularly interested in HDTV, for a variety of reasons. Terrestrial broadcasters weren't interested in HDTV either, but the FCC forced them to broadcast in HD anyway. Which, of course, is what the Canadian authorities should do with CBC.

As for DVDs and downloaded content, those are generally standard definition or lower.

no business case/value for unprecedented evile (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17010520)

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TIMECUBE n/t (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17010728)

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Revealed preferences (1)

Maniakes (216039) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010526)

People will pay a heck of a lot more for HDTV sets. The main benefit of having an HD set is the ability to watch HD programming at full resolution. Therefore, people are willing to pay more to watch HD programming.

Re:Revealed preferences (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010630)

Given the draconian methods of the FCC, I'd be damned happy with a SD set and an ATSC tuner in 13" or less at a $99 price point.

Re:Revealed preferences (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010930)

The main benefit of having an HD set is the ability to watch HD programming at full resolution.

Actually, given the scarcity of HD programming (there's usually only about 1 HD show per week that I actually want to watch), the main benefit of my HDTV has been its line doubler that deinterlaces SDTV content (along with the associated filters that clean up most of the NTSC color subcarrier artifacts). From my vantage point back on the couch, the line doubler alone provides a bigger step up from normal SDTV than HDTV provides over line-doubled SDTV anyway.

there was no business case for TV at all (3, Interesting)

swschrad (312009) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010560)

RCA pushed it because they could. that's what RCA did in those days, late 30s and post-war and the early 50s.

HDTV is the same thing. the manufacturers have an interest. it's a paradigm shift for broadcasters, and it will cannabilize their existing businesses, just like TV did, and color TV was just a gawd-awful money eater for stations in the 1960s.

but the FCC wants to sell those juicy frequencies near the cell phone bands, and congress spent the money a thousand times over, so your present TV system (NTSC, PAL, SECAM, doesn't matter) is headed down the dumper for HDTV versions.

that's how the future works. you can go into your back room and play your edison cylinders now... at least, the ones that aren't all fuzzy black mold by now. most folks eventually fall for pretty pictures and better sounds.

Wow, good idea.... (1)

Hap76 (995519) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010568)

So, to pay for HD, Canadian broadcasters want to charge the people who carry their signal. They do realize that the only reason people to advertise on their stations is because they have a large pool of people to whom they can advertise - if they charge companies to carry their signal, some of them will stop carrying it, which lowers the reach of their advertising and thus their ad revenue. In addition, the HD crowd probably has a fair amount of money to spend and would be a desirable target for their advertisers, which might mean they could get more money from advertisers in return for access to an audience with more money.

As a side note, one might also ask what the broadcasters been doing with their money - considering the shift to HDTV has been in the works for years, one might have thought that they could have either saved money to buy the new equipment and/or gotten money from the gov't to buy it. Why aren't they prepared for it now?

Whinge whinge whinge (2, Interesting)

bernywork (57298) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010576)

Yep, fair call, nobody wants to pay more for it, suprise suprise suprise.

Do it the way that everyone else does it when they are financially constrained, buy HD when the life cycles end. So the cameras and other stuff that CBC would normally replace every 2 years (Provided they act like the other TV stations I know), go HD then. The video editing suite, that will eventually need to be upgraded (Usually happens every 4 - 5 years), do it then. Most people that do digital content creation pay for themselves (Make a profit) anyway, so just tell them they need to HD and then go back to playing golf.

Yes, there are financial constraints to going HD, but then there are financial constraints to running a business too. Over the next few years everyone else will be replacing kit, and they will be buying HD which means that sooner or later, everything that CBC gets given for broadcast is going to be HD.

25%, quite possibly now, that's fine, but in the future, everything is going to be HD and CBC aren't going to have an option as few people will be providing SD equipment to purchase. IF it's there, it will cost more money and won't be standard with the rest of the kit.

Really, this is a null and void arguement that they make that everyone else is going through.

Upgrading kit and increasing the quality of the standard broadcast costs a LOT of money, I know this all too well. Considering however that a major overhaul like this hasn't gone through the industry for 30 years in most countries, the amount of expenditure up front to move now is scaring people. It's the same with Vista and Office 2007 and everything else.

It's all about the money (1)

Slimnaper (971797) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010602)

This is simply the broadcast networks way of getting permission to charge the cable companies for their channel. What is a cable company going to do if regulators allow the networks to charge them a fee, not carry them? They have to pay up. I doubt it will fly, but why not test the waters in Canada first....

It will happen, but perhaps not that soon. (1)

LordZardoz (155141) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010604)

There may well be no business model at present for HD Broadcasting, since few advertisers would want to pay the premium to advertise their crap.

But, it will not be broadcasters and advertisers that drive demand. The demand will come from consumers who want to watch their favorite TV shows in HD.

Now, it is entirely possible that even this sort of demand still wont quite be enough to justify the current sort of business model. That does not mean some new business model will come about which will allow those who wish to watch HD content to receive it. I could easily imagine an on demand business model for HD content where people pay to subscribe to an entire season and download episodes as they become available. Its not exactly broadcasting, but it may work.

HD is starting to catch on, and given the choice, people would prefer to watch their prefered shows in HD instead of standard-def. But it may still be a while before HD becomes the norm. Unlike DVD's which caught on over night, it is not yet clear what the best way to do HD content is. DVD just replaced VHS. The business model stayed the same, but just became more profitable. But HD content may require the studios to abandon the business model of the 30 second commercial spot.

END COMMUNICATION

I pay extra already (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010606)

Well actually I don't, my dad pays extra for HDTV channels in canada (ontario, cogeco cable), my GF on rogers cable has the option to pay more for HDTV channels, and if I were so inclined I could as well. What's the problem? I pay more to get high def, if the CBC isn't getting a cut of that they should take it up with rogers, aliant, cogeco et al.

Rather obviously HDTV is more expensive, the makeup, cameras etc... cost more, the bandwidth costs more, the addition of a great many new channels costs more, and correspondingly, we have the option of paying more for it (about 7 bucks a month, which is about 15% of a monthly cable bill, to get half a dozen channels of HD of 60 total).

Now, I can believe that this does not help so much with the added costs of producing in HD, but it is a chicken and an egg problem. If everyone has an HD tv, they would, insofar as possible then prefer to watch in HD, so long as the cost is not unreasonable, if enough people are watching HD or regular Def than the competition for that ad space will drive the cost up. Unfortunately, at the moment not enough people have HD TV's, nor are the HD channels accessable or particularly useful (yes, you too can watch the canadian version of CSpan in high def, go you!)

In Europe one of the big sellers of HDTV's was the world cup, and if you weren't airing high def, people would turn in to someone who was. I suspect (though do not know for sure), that HDTV's are still largely relegated to the realm of the tech savy, and hardcore TV fans. Provide programming in HD that no one else is, that appeals to the market of HD owners and it will pay for itself. This isn't hard. In canada, if you're airing high def stanley cup, and no one else is, you'll capture the HD sports market.

No business case for SDTV. (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010610)

Not "bad for broadcasters," just a necessary change. Sure, they could stick with SD equipment for a while, but if they do, other companies will come in and replace them. They may think they can't afford HD, but what they really can't afford is to stay SD. It's no different from the change from B&W to color 50 years ago.

Now it may be true that the advertisers are not willing to pay a premium to air on HD channels or during HD broadcasts, however it is certainly true that they will pay more to reach more eyeballs. As HD becomes more ubiquitous and viewers have the choice between SD and HD programming, they will favor the latter. Some people will say they don't care, as long as the show is good, but it's all relative. Mono recordings worked just fine for a hundred years, but once stereo became readily available, there was no turning back. My HDTV is "only" 720p, and the difference is so remarkable that I'll go out of my way to spend 10+ hours downloading a 10-20G version of something in HD rather than watch it in SD or highly compressed HD. BBC's "Planet Earth," for example, should be the flagship HDTV content displayed on every showroom floor. Even downscaled from 1080 to 720, it's breathtaking, and a DVD looks like garbage after that.

So feel free to try to stick with SD. It may work for a year, or maybe two, but if you want to stay in the business of broadcasting, your content had better be good enough, or niche enough (like the AM audience), to keep its market. That's entirely possible for networks like CBC I suppose, but in the US, the networks just can't afford to lag behind. So quit your whining and move to HD, because other networks will, and they'll take your viewers with them.

HDTV is 1970's TV of the Future (1)

straponego (521991) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010636)

Given that they're not likely to be able to pull off such a major forced upgrade to a new technology more than once every 20 years or so, they should have thought about what features would be really meaningful.

Higher resolution and better frame rates are nice. But it would have been much better to add internet type functionality. Picture HDTV with a Wii type remote and out of band information. If you're watching a sporting event, you can look up stats on the players and teams. If you're watching a movie, you can get IMDB type information. If you might want to buy a product that's on-screen, you point at it. It wouldn't take much extra bandwidth to have bounding boxes embedded on the linked objects in the scene-- it doesn't have to be good enough for an FPS shooter, after all. The purchasing option alone would generate enough revenue that it'd be a no-brainer to subsidize the hardware and networks. You could also easily switch between subtitle languages, closed captioning, etc., and none of these things would have to be embedded in the picture in any particular way. The client decides how to render the information. Kind of like a web browser.

HDTV as it stands is just not a compelling upgrade, and attempts to add this functionality now would be very hackish-- especially given that the companies involved, the television, movie, and media industries, still don't understand the benefits of open standards. I'd say the best bet now is Tivo type devices... but unless they standardize, the features will be too expensive and poorly supported to go far.

Idiot (2, Interesting)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010648)

What a pantload this guy is. Sales of HDTV's to consumer illustrate quite strongly that they are willing to pay for HD content. People like me who have HDTV's avoid watching SD because of the poor picture quality.

Many cable and stellite companies charge extra for HD channels - and people pay up. So if he wants to charge delivery companies extra for HD programming, well there is your friggen business case, on a silver platter.

DOH.

Broadcast...get HD or die! (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010658)

seriously, the business case for broadcasters is to get HD or die! I'm sitting watching HD Fox right now, and it BLOWS AWAY any satellite I've seen. Even SD digital broadcasts are 200% clearer than analog... better than my standard definition satellite. One of my local stations runs a 24 hour weather channel as their sideband...that will be GREAT when the snowstorms start. Another runs CW as it's sideband... a first without cable. If broadcasters DON'T upgrade their 50 year-old tech then they will be left behind. HDTV puts broadcasters on nearly equal technical footing with Cable... they get channel guides, better tech stations, multiple sidebands for dedicated weather, news, or even cartoons for the kids. The current broadcasters that merely feed the big networks and expect big advertising payoffs business are over...but that was happening WITHOUT HD... I bet I spent nearly 2 years watching 0 network TV shows when The-n, Sci-fi and WB were on a roll. on the other hand, the ones that look for new networks, new content, local talents. etc have all new ways to flourish... Technology doesn't GUARANTEE ANY business profits... but it does give them a chance to find some.

so where is the HD porn? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17010698)

I keep hearing pundits say that porn is the driving force behind the adoption of new technology, so where is the HD porn?

If there is one thing that will make technogeeks shell out thousands to upgrade, it's higher quality T&A!

I have a simple solution ;-) (1)

McNihil (612243) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010716)

Apart from CBC being owned by us the people (and we will foot the ultimate bill so why he is complanining is just a load of bull...)

How about showing two commercial side by side now that it is 1920x1080... heck we could even have 4 commercials going at once.

Thats 4 times the money from commercials.

OR how about this... instead of having commercial spots being 30 seconds make them 23 seconds for the same money.

If there is a will there is always a WAY.

Poor economics? Maybe not... (1)

NereusRen (811533) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010738)

"There's no evidence either in Canada or the United States that we have found for advertisers willing to pay a premium for a program that's in HD," Mr. Rabinovich said. "So basically they're saying if you want to shoot in HD, that's your business, we're not going to pay you more."
I was going to blast this guy for not understanding the economics of... well... any sort of competition really. The reason to go HD is to appeal to consumers, because advertisers will pay more if you've captured more of the market thanks to your superior picture quality.

But then I realized he was arguing for government intervention, or less government intervention, or both. I sort of stopped paying attention at that point. Government regulation has such a warping effect on markets that his statement, which most people here should see as ludicrous in a normal context, actually makes sense.

Also:
CRTC commissioners questioned CBC executives over whether the networks were using the fee concept as a way to get the regulator to "skate them back onside" in terms of profitability.
Only in Canada would a hockey analogy be helpful in explaining the concept of using the government to go unprofitable back to profitable!

More "Let the market sort it out" - bullshit. (1, Insightful)

zerofoo (262795) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010746)

When is our government going to figure out that what is best for big business is not necessarily best for THE PEOPLE OF THEIR COUNTRY!

If safety was left to the "market" cars would not have air-bags, seat-belts, crumple zones, and average fuel economy would be around 9 MPG.

It's time the US government started treating all communications (data, voice, broadcast) like roads. Make them a vital part of our infrastructure and let private companies compete to provide services to the public. (Just like private companies compete to build and maintain the roads).

I'm not usually an Eminent Domain supporter, but I would support taking the physical network monopoly from companies that have abandoned their stewardship of these networks.

Some people might not like the road analogy, but in a world where I have the choice of one broadband provider and one cable company (that raises its rates monthly) I'm not happy. I'm tired of the crappy customer service and price gouging.

I've been a free market guy my whole life, but what we have right now is not a free market.

-ted

Am I the only one? (1)

gordgekko (574109) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010798)

Am I the only one who would rather have higher quality content than a higher quality picture? Other than sports, I'm really not interested in paying a premium so I can watch the same crap except now I get to see all the facial blemishes of the talent.

Cable HDTV free in USA, and ads in HD (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010800)

Here in the USA, most (all?) cable providers that provide HD locals provide them in the clear, and any tuner that supports QAM can decode them (many new TVs, probably the TiVo Series 3, some PCI/USB tuners). There's no need for paying for digital cable if you want the locals in high definition and have the proper equipment.

Of course, digital cable will get you more HD channels.

I have noticed an increase in ads in HD in the past month or so. At one point it was common to see a few during an hour of prime time programming; now I see a few every break. I used to be able to know when to hit play on the DVR when the picture filled up the entire screen again. I specifically remember Chase, American Express, and Best Buy commercials in HD.

FOX network promos are usually in HD here, as are the FOX affiliate's newscasts.

Business Mumbo Jumbo (3, Insightful)

Orestesx (629343) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010824)

Show me a major network that refuses to broadcast in HD and I will show you a network that will be irrelevant in 5 years.

Only impressive under good conditions = failure (2, Insightful)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010864)

An improved technology isn't going to take off unless the _average_ consumer, buying _average_ equipment, and setting it up without special expertise, gets results that are so dramatic that everyone who sees it says "Wow!"

Color TV was that way, even with all the problems initially. Circa 1960, color TVs were fabulously expensive, persnickety, tricky to set up, had to be set up again if you moved them to a different location within the house, were tricky to tune, tended to shift color from one program to another, etc. But if you had a friend who was rich enough to afford one, you took one look at it and you said "Wow! I wannit I wannit I wannit!" So what if Dinah Shore's face changed from greenish to magentaish as she walked across the stage?

Of course, it didn't really take off until prices came down and they had solid-state circuits that didn't drift and could fudge the colors a bit so that anything close to flesh was displayed as flesh...

Technologies that are only impressive under good conditions usually fail. Right now, that's the state HDTV is in.

In other news... (1)

ebyrob (165903) | more than 7 years ago | (#17010880)

Dinosaur marketing executives claim there is "no business model" in climbing out of the la brea tar pits.

Right. Let's see how long they survive without HDTV... Advertisers pay per eyeball, not depending on the medium. Getting enough eyeballs is up to the broadcaster. Presumably HDTV helps with that at some point.

Expecting advertisers to *pay extra* for HDTV commercials is a little like expecting customers to pay full price for copies they don't own... Oh wait I guess this'll fly after all. Hello DMCA and further regulation. Goodbye competition.
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