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Supreme Court decsion may effect Tivo?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by eboydog, Apr 21, 2014.

  1. Apr 24, 2014 #61 of 323
    JosephB

    JosephB Member

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    They already do this in cities that the local affiliate is network owned and operated. That's why CBS was pulled from TWC/BHN, but not all cities, when there was the dispute between TWC and CBS.

    The retrans agreement is between the station owners and the MVPDs, not between the network and the MVPDs.

    I've heard this argument several times. Supposedly it's not possible to pick up a signal with that small of an antenna, that many working together is "technically" "one" antenna. I'm not an RF engineer so who knows.
     
  2. Apr 24, 2014 #62 of 323
    telemark

    telemark New Member

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    The most interesting thing to me was there was a brief by "small and independent broadcasters" (including WKRP) in support of Aereo.

    It opens:
    "Contrary to Petitioners’ assertions, not all broadcasters oppose Aereo’s platform for enabling individual audience members to use an antenna to initiate their own recording and reception of over-the-air programming for personal viewing. In fact, many small and independent broadcasters (SIBs) depend heavily on such user-friendly viewing technologies to reach their audiences, esp. audiences that cannot afford home viewing equipment, cable, or satellite television, audiences who only watch broadcast content via mobile networks or the Internet, or audiences who may not be technologically sophisticated enough to set up their own antenna, digital receiver, or DVR, and configure their own mobile devices."

    This to me represents those who should be on the public air waves, those who want their stuff watched without asking for additional payment and restrictions.

    The more I think about it, this does not have effect for in-home Tivo's but, Tivo wants to be a cloud DVR provider next and the Cablevision DVR ruling could easily relate to that.
     
  3. Apr 24, 2014 #63 of 323
    aadam101

    aadam101 Tell me a joke

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    I am very doubtful they are profitable. I don't believe it was ever their intention to make a profit. Barry Diller is throwing money at this because he wants to see some change in the TV industry. Some kind of change will come out of this.
     
  4. Apr 24, 2014 #64 of 323
    Diana Collins

    Diana Collins Well-Known Member TCF Club

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    I think that is exactly what he is saying. As someone who has tried to receive OTA broadcasts in Long Island City, I can tell you that you need a highly directional antenna to reject the reflections from buildings in Manhattan and the RFK and Queensboro bridges. I suspect that there are, indeed, some big antennas in use and those thumbnail units are, at best, just picking up a repeated signal.
     
  5. Apr 24, 2014 #65 of 323
    CuriousMark

    CuriousMark Forum Denizen

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    Well from their video it is clear their receiving antennas have good line of sight with little chance of powerful reflections. Antenna placement is a location, location, location kind of thing. Also TV signals are quite strong when you are withing 5 to 10 miles of the towers.

    On one hand I can imagine that those little things are not the entire antenna structure. They may be soldered to longer circuit board traces that act as collector elements. If that is the case, then those little pieces may be more like individual RF pick-offs from those elements than actual full-on antennas. On the other hand, cell phones do just fine with tiny internal antennas. And cell phone signal power is tiny in comparison to what comes off a TV transmitter. So there is plenty of precedent for them actually being individual antennas. With good line of sight and a close distance to the source, power is more than sufficient to allow for a small collection area to work.

    One thing is certain, there is no need for a repeater, and it is clear that there isn't one there between the antenna boxes and the windows.
     
  6. Apr 24, 2014 #66 of 323
    JosephB

    JosephB Member

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    It was explained to me by an RF guy on another forum that those little elements, by themselves, are physically too small to pick up the frequencies they are supposedly picking up. And he also didn't have any idea how the "electronically tuned to only pick up one specific channel" thing worked.

    I take Aereo at their word that each antenna is "independent" but I wonder if one of those little things, by itself, would actually work the way they work when they're in a large array like that.
     
  7. Apr 25, 2014 #67 of 323
    dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    The tiny antennas are a matter of curiosity since it usually takes a much larger one. However even a paper clip is picking up a tiny response from every signal in the air. If the signal-to-noise is adequate an amplifier can make the signal large enough to detect. I don't see any puzzle about electronic tuning. The tuner circuits in most TV's, radios and in TiVo's are electronically tuned. Still the actual engineering to make these small elements work would be interesting to see.

    Antenna arrays, in which a collection of smaller elements act as one large antenna, require the elements to either (1) have mutual electronic inter-connections or (2) have all the individual responses input to a signal processor that phase-shifts and combines them. I doubt this is what Aereo is doing -- at least they are implying otherwise IMO.

    I think the RF guy was thinking of tuned antennas where the length needs to be some fraction (e.g., 1/4 th) of the wavelength for maximum coupling to a rather narrow frequency band -- commonly used in HAM radio for example. But this concept doesn't apply well to the TV band where frequencies span a wide band from 54 MHz to 890 MHz, or wavelengths from 5.55 m to 0.34 m.
     
  8. Apr 25, 2014 #68 of 323
    HarperVision

    HarperVision TiVo's Italian Cuz!

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    They're not doing it "JUST" to get around the law, they're doing it to "COMPLY" with the law, which makes it 100% legal in my humble opinion. NAB is just pissed they didn't think of it so they could rake in the profits from said idea.
     
  9. Apr 25, 2014 #69 of 323
    dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    FYI the oral arguments in SCOTUS wil be on one of the C-SPAN channels tonight (Friday) at 8 pm EDT.
     
  10. Apr 25, 2014 #70 of 323
    dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    I agree -- Aereo didn't make the law. It's a dumb law that is just designed as a favor to NAB members -- a typical example of how special interests manipulate the government.
     
  11. Apr 25, 2014 #71 of 323
    HarperVision

    HarperVision TiVo's Italian Cuz!

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    The size of an antenna can be "tuned" electronically using inductance (coils) and capacitance to make them look like any size that's a multiple of the original, as mentioned about 1/4, 1/2 wavelengths, etc. (for optimum performance). We used to do just that using HF probe antennas on the ends of the wings of the SAC Looking Glass aircraft, making it seem like the approx 4' long probe antenna was as much as an 800+ foot long trailing wire antenna. We also did the same type of thing with both horizontal and vertical trailing wire antennas used for broadcasting HF and MF (AM) transmissions from the Commando Solo airborne TV and radio broadcast aircraft. Those put out about 56 KW ERP (effective radiated power) with 10KW amplifiers, so all Aereo is doing is the reverse concept of receiving milliwatt TV signals, so I'm certainly sure based on what I know at least, that those tiny antennas "should" be able to be tuned electronically using the same design with caps and coils.

    The key is knowing the freqs, which Aereo would in each given area, and then tuning them in for the best possible S/N ratio and bandwidth rejection characteristics. This is similar to what I mentioned above, but in reverse, re: broadcasting while I was in the USAF and we tuned transmission antennas based on VSWR (voltage standing wave ratio, i.e - signal reflection) back into the amps.
     
  12. Apr 25, 2014 #72 of 323
    dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    More than one poster has pointed out that the Aereo approach is not "scalable". I'm not so sure of that. Lets say the cost of setting up a tiny antenna and tuning circuit is $500 and make the worst case assumption that there actually has to be one antenna per subscirber. Say the cost of maintaining the equipment and the cloud support costs $4/mo. per sub. That leaves $4/mo to amortize the antenna/tuner cost, or $48/year. That is almost a 10% return on the $500 investment, which is quite attractive.

    My numbers are pulled out of the air but even if they are way off, the potential for profitable scalability seems to be there.
     
  13. Apr 25, 2014 #73 of 323
    JosephB

    JosephB Member

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    Yeah, you are probably right, like I said I'm not an RF or antenna guy, just things I've heard chatter about. I'm inclined to believe Aereo because while there are a lot of shady people in the world, I don't think they'd have been able to raise the money they've raised if it was a scam.
     
  14. Apr 25, 2014 #74 of 323
    Grakthis

    Grakthis New Member

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    Hahahaha what? This is maybe the most nonsensical thing I've ever heard.

    Do you think the Mob is anti-capitalism? If you don't think capitalists will come to your door with guns, what about with chemicals they dumped into your water supply, like in Charleston WV? Or soot illegally vented to the air, like at KU energy in KY? Or what about with illegal anti-competitive hiring practices, like at Google/Apple/etc? Or maybe they will just mess up your life with rent seeking behaviors, like banning direct sales of Tesla motor's cars?

    Your gibberish about capitalists being innocuous shows an incredibly naivety on many fronts. Capitalism is by definition a self-serving enterprise, and frequently results in zero-sum wealth distribution outcomes.
     
  15. Apr 25, 2014 #75 of 323
    lessd

    lessd Active Member

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    It's the money that counts, if you and your neighbor share a OTA antenna and don't charge money that called reception, no problem, put up a community antenna and charge money for re-transmission, that what the Court has to decide.
     
  16. Apr 25, 2014 #76 of 323
    dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Actually your examples are what are nonsensical. Your first three examples are all illegal, and you labeled two of them as such. Government is supposed to protect us from illegal actions. You choose to view these examples as the primary results of capitalism, or free enterprise, which is just a smear job.

    Banning direct sales of Tesla can only be done by government action so it's not an example of capitalism or free enterprise. Rather, if it succeeds, it's an example of government interfering with free enterprise to the detriment of consumers. With so much government control of everything, special interests (in this case the other car dealers) will lobby to rig the law in their favor. This only happens because lawmakers allow it, and they are only that kind of lawmaker because those who elect them are too apathetic to pay attention to what they do. It's terrible but do you know a better system?

    Your examples of course represent instances of human nature. People in any situation try to pursue their self interests at the expense of others -- most of the time, although they sometimes fool themselves into thinking otherwise. Government provides many opportunities for this. If you think only capitalists have this impulse or indulge in it, **you** are the one being naive. Capitalists are subject to the law while government **is** the law. I'm a lot more afraid of the results of human nature among government members than of those of capitalists.

    The USSR had a government that was defined as controlling everything to the benefit of the people. And on paper it did that right to the bitter end. What actually happened there was massive corruption and a failing economy. A popular saying then was "We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us".
     
  17. Apr 25, 2014 #77 of 323
    aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    Really?

    Here is a link to an article that has a video that shows their antenna farm and what the individual antennas look like. As well as discussing the process of one antenna for each individual and the equipment involved in the process.

    http://www.zatznotfunny.com/2014-04/inside-aereos-boston-rooftop-antenna-farm/#comments
     
  18. Apr 25, 2014 #78 of 323
    unitron

    unitron Active Member

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    No, it takes that RF signal and demodulates it, extracting the information and only recording the information onto the hard drive, discarding the carrier wave.

    If it wants to send it back out as RF, it would have to generate a carrier locally and re-modulate it with the information.

    Which, when cable companies do it, is called re-transmission.

    It's also what S1s and S2s (and VCRS) did, putting out a channel 3 or channel 4 NTSC signal for TVs that didn't have line inputs.
     
  19. Apr 25, 2014 #79 of 323
    unitron

    unitron Active Member

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    Why can't it be both a unique and innovative use of technology and a gimmick?

    And if there is no legal definition of re-transmission, then how can the broadcasters claim they're owed money because the cable companies are doing it?


    And unlike any other copyright question, this involves broadcasters getting to use the public airwaves, supposedly "in the public interest".
     
  20. Apr 25, 2014 #80 of 323
    dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Thanks -- very interesting. No details about the circuits that make the antennas work but there is a statement that they are actively tuned, presumably by switching in/out circuit elements (capacitance, inductance etc). I assume further details are proprietary.
    +1
    Is SCOTUS going to be forced to define re-transmission to decide this case? I bet they cringe at that.
     

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