When will HDTV stop being considered a premium service?
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    jgayman's Avatar
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    When will HDTV stop being considered a premium service?

    Ok I get it. Back when HDTV hit the scene it was a big deal and not everyone had one and not every station was broadcasting in HD. The cable providers charged extra for "HD channels" and a "HD set top box", etc. Local stations even made a big deal about including "HD" on thier on-screen DOG.

    That was then, this is now. Virtually every channel and network broadcasts in HD. I assume 4K will be the next big thing but HD is now pretty much just normal TV. Local stations no longer even mention that they are HD. So when does HD just become TV and the cable providers stop charging a premium for it?

    I am sure when the cable starts pumping out 4K they will charge an even higher premium for it than they do HD.

    Had cable existed back in the days of B&W I'm sure they would have charged extra for "Color" when it became available. Remember all the old TV shows that made a big deal about being in color? I remember the intros to the shows like The FBI back in the early 70's always had "The FBI... in color" for their intro. But then later color became the norm and no one even mentioned it anymore.

    Just a rant and curious.... gotta cut that cord ASAP!
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    ejb69's Avatar
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    Never had cable tv. Had sat for a few years. Canceled it when the kept raising rates. I get 20 or so channels over the air for free. Canít see paying for something that should be free. If there no adds I might be willing to pay for tv.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgayman View Post
    Ok I get it. Back when HDTV hit the scene it was a big deal and not everyone had one and not every station was broadcasting in HD. The cable providers charged extra for "HD channels" and a "HD set top box", etc. Local stations even made a big deal about including "HD" on thier on-screen DOG.

    That was then, this is now. Virtually every channel and network broadcasts in HD. I assume 4K will be the next big thing but HD is now pretty much just normal TV. Local stations no longer even mention that they are HD. So when does HD just become TV and the cable providers stop charging a premium for it?

    I am sure when the cable starts pumping out 4K they will charge an even higher premium for it than they do HD.

    Had cable existed back in the days of B&W I'm sure they would have charged extra for "Color" when it became available. Remember all the old TV shows that made a big deal about being in color? I remember the intros to the shows like The FBI back in the early 70's always had "The FBI... in color" for their intro. But then later color became the norm and no one even mentioned it anymore.

    Just a rant and curious.... gotta cut that cord ASAP!
    HD will likely always be a "premium" service as the fee has more to do with the cable co's being able to recoup costs of maintaining the infrastructure for it than anything else. Plus, consumers are used to paying for it as an add-on fee instead of it being baked into the base service as it keeps the base cost artificially low.

    As far as 4K goes, I don't believe you will EVER see a cable co offer that as part of a wire-connected service - only as part of streaming. Why? because they will not make the infrastructure upgrades required to be able to transmit it.

    Every station that you watch using your set-top box is a digitally transmitted signal. This essentially means that every single channel is a stream already. And, since every single channel is broadcast all of the time, there has to be enough space on the wire to accommodate all of them at once. Here's some simple math to help you see why 4K won't happen:

    Using Netflix as an example, a HD content stream requires about 8Mbps of bandwidth. If you were getting 100 channels from your cable provider that were all HD (not an unreasonable example), and the encoding were done the same way Netflix does it, the total bandwidth requirement on the wire would be about 800Mbps just to support your cable programming (not including what they can offer for extra Internet bandwidth on the same wire). They don't use the same encoding, though. They actually sacrifice more audio and video quality to make the stream smaller. They probably get a HD channel down to somewhere around 4Mbps per channel. This is why watching a HD movie or show on Netflix generally has a nicer picture than on cable, especially on a 4K TV set.

    For 4K content, you need around 15Mbps per channel/show with the better encoding, and maybe around 8-9Mbps using cable's encoding of today. So, the same 100 channels in 4K would be anywhere from about 800Mbps to 1.5Gbps (1500Mbps) of throughput needed at all times, just for programming!

    Internet providers want you to pay for what you download, including content streams. The higher the quality the stream, the more data you have to download to watch it. So, pushing you over to a stream-based service is in their best interest because they can throttle the speeds (remember, net neutrality is gone - Internet providers can stomp on whatever traffic they want) or block you completely from reaching streaming providers other than themselves, AND they can charge you a per-byte fee to actually watch the content, too.

    Over-the-air (OTA) signals are NOT compressed, and HD is capable of using the entire 19.2Mbps transmission rate if there is no channel sharing going on with the particular station. And the picture looks WAY better than cable OR streaming because there is no compression.

    I have a Plex Media Server with a lifetime Plex Pass. I have four 6 Terabyte hard drives available to store content, with three of them being my ripped DVD collection of movies and TV Shows. The other drive is mostly used to store what I record off of my HD antenna using a couple of HDHomeRun tuner devices.

    My complete setup looks something like this: Linux server with Plex installed, two HDHomeRun devices consisting of a total of six active tuners connected to a HD UHF/VHF antenna, and the Plex app installed on my smart TV's and my iPad. The server cost me nothing as I had it lying around. The hard drives cost me about $700. The antenna was $200. The two HDHR boxes were $225. The lifetime Plex Pass was $120. Aside from the electricity each month to run the server, I have zero recurring expenses for my own "DVR" capable of recording up to six stations at once. Total out of pocket was about $1250. If you wanted to build this purely as a DVR for recording TV shows, you could do it for about $700 (assuming you had to buy a PC to use and didn't have one lying around).

    On top of my media system, I will be dropping DirecTV and moving to a $50/month streaming service for the channels that I can't get OTA.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejb69 View Post
    Never had cable tv. Had sat for a few years. Canceled it when the kept raising rates. I get 20 or so channels over the air for free. Canít see paying for something that should be free. If there no adds I might be willing to pay for tv.
    This - I refuse to pay for TV that has ads.

    I donít have any remote chance of OTA TV. I will not subscribe to cable or satellite - paying for the privelage to see ads. So all my TV is streaming with Netflix, Hulu, and CBS All Access. I pay a small premium (~$2) for them to be totally commercial free.

    I believe I am watching HD on them all. At least to me the picture is fantastic on my likely antiquated 1080p TV. So for around $33 per month I am watching HD TV with much more content than I could ever keep up with. Hulu has just about everything new but just is available 1 day after the original airing. Itís not like I need to see the stuff the day it airs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by coaltrain View Post
    This - I refuse to pay for TV that has ads.

    I donít have any remote chance of OTA TV. I will not subscribe to cable or satellite - paying for the privelage to see ads. So all my TV is streaming with Netflix, Hulu, and CBS All Access. I pay a small premium (~$2) for them to be totally commercial free.

    I believe I am watching HD on them all. At least to me the picture is fantastic on my likely antiquated 1080p TV. So for around $33 per month I am watching HD TV with much more content than I could ever keep up with. Hulu has just about everything new but just is available 1 day after the original airing. Itís not like I need to see the stuff the day it airs.
    Given that so many people have gotten used to recording a show specifically to skip the commercials, the expectation is already there that you aren't going to see it "live." And a few extra dollars to Hulu for a commercial-free experience is pretty reasonable (IMHO), but it doesn't apply to all of the networks / shows.
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    Quote Originally Posted by meburdick View Post
    HD will likely always be a "premium" service as the fee has more to do with the cable co's being able to recoup costs of maintaining the infrastructure for it than anything else. Plus, consumers are used to paying for it as an add-on fee instead of it being baked into the base service as it keeps the base cost artificially low.

    As far as 4K goes, I don't believe you will EVER see a cable co offer that as part of a wire-connected service - only as part of streaming. Why? because they will not make the infrastructure upgrades required to be able to transmit it.
    When you say "wire-connected" I assume you mean the current allocated broadband spectrum. If so, perhaps but I still think there will be technology to squeeze more out of that conductor - at least until it all transitions to optical. They will certainly upgrade the infrastructure... again... and again... and again. There were those who said cable HD would never happen. It's technology and technology never stops and you can never say never. Even 4K is just a baby step to where display technology and resolution will eventually be. Maybe not with the current equipment but they had to change equipment for HD and they will change it again for 4K, 8K, 100K, whatever. Broadband as we know it will change. Whatever it ends up being called there will be a "wire" or optic coming into your house from the "content provider" and that medium will carry all of your content. And they will charge more for 8K than they will for 4K. :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by meburdick View Post
    Given that so many people have gotten used to recording a show specifically to skip the commercials, the expectation is already there that you aren't going to see it "live." And a few extra dollars to Hulu for a commercial-free experience is pretty reasonable (IMHO), but it doesn't apply to all of the networks / shows.
    How long do you think that commercial free experience will last? Remember, in the beginning cable was commercial free. Just like movies at the theater used to be commercial free. Commercials are coming.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgayman View Post
    When you say "wire-connected" I assume you mean the current allocated broadband spectrum. If so, perhaps but I still think there will be technology to squeeze more out of that conductor - at least until it all transitions to optical. They will certainly upgrade the infrastructure... again... and again... and again. There were those who said cable HD would never happen. It's technology and technology never stops and you can never say never. Even 4K is just a baby step to where display technology and resolution will eventually be. Maybe not with the current equipment but they had to change equipment for HD and they will change it again for 4K, 8K, 100K, whatever. Broadband as we know it will change. Whatever it ends up being called there will be a "wire" or optic coming into your house from the "content provider" and that medium will carry all of your content. And they will charge more for 8K than they will for 4K. :-)



    How long do you think that commercial free experience will last? Remember, in the beginning cable was commercial free. Just like movies at the theater used to be commercial free. Commercials are coming.
    The one thing you aren't accounting for with regard to there "always" being a cable is that there won't always be a cable. 5G is being developed and is the primary reason that Google stopped installing fiber in the largest cities. Wireless connectivity is going to eliminate the need for cabled connectivity. And it will be slower / have less total bandwidth that the wired counterpart for the foreseeable future.

    Hulu has commercials. They offer you an option to REMOVE those commercials for an additional fee. Some shows and networks explicitly prohibit this and Hulu can not remove commercials from those streams. It will remain an option as long as the various content streams don't expressly prohibit it or make it cost-prohibitive for Hulu to remove the commercials.
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    And, since every single channel is broadcast all of the time, there has to be enough space on the wire to accommodate all of them at once.


    Not any more... cable companies are improving their transmission technologies, too (which also helps them rent proprietary equipment)...

    Switched digital video uses a different delivery system. Instead of combining all channels into one programming stream throughout the network, the cable company selects only the most popular channels for a network-wide stream. For less popular programming, the company responds to individual customer demands as the customer tunes in to that channel. In other words, the service provider sends only the channels customers are actually trying to watch. Because the system only sends customer-demanded channels, there's a lot of spare bandwidth left over for other services. (https://electronics.howstuffworks.co...ideo-works.htm)

    I agree about Cable companies' arcane charges and accounting systems, though. Until they learn how to treat their customers, cable companies should be very afraid of smart homes using devices such as Alexa, Google Home, Harmony Hub, etc. "Unplugging" is easier than ever!
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    Quote Originally Posted by RodW View Post


    Not any more... cable companies are improving their transmission technologies, too (which also helps them rent proprietary equipment)...

    Switched digital video uses a different delivery system. Instead of combining all channels into one programming stream throughout the network, the cable company selects only the most popular channels for a network-wide stream. For less popular programming, the company responds to individual customer demands as the customer tunes in to that channel. In other words, the service provider sends only the channels customers are actually trying to watch. Because the system only sends customer-demanded channels, there's a lot of spare bandwidth left over for other services. (https://electronics.howstuffworks.co...ideo-works.htm)

    I agree about Cable companies' arcane charges and accounting systems, though. Until they learn how to treat their customers, cable companies should be very afraid of smart homes using devices such as Alexa, Google Home, Harmony Hub, etc. "Unplugging" is easier than ever!
    While SDV is a means to reduce bandwidth consumption at the individual homeowner level, it does not have the same "amount" of reduction in the neighborhood or further back. In fact, the closer to the source of the transmissions you get, the less savings there is because every channel needs to be transmitted in some capacity.

    Further, SDC is only just now starting to be implemented in some markets by some providers. It requires different equipment in the home and will take time to fully implement. By the time it "finishes", the actual need for it might be gone because of how many people will have switched to streaming services anyhow (or dumped TV altogether).
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    I've been a cord cutter going on 3 years and I use the OTA antennae and get over 30 something channels that are clear if not clearer than when I had satellite and paying for HD content . I watch Hulu barely with my crappy dsl internet but it's a whole lot cheaper than when I had Hughes satellite internet and they suck big time . But I like saving the so more funds for the .
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