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Cord Cutter
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Well, a given station's ATSC 3.0 feed is actually broadcasting on a separate station license and so the MVPD carriage contract would have to be for that separate station if they wanted the 3.0 feed.
But what does cable carriage of an ATSC 3.0 vs ATSC 1.0 feed even mean? ATSC are OTA broadcast standards, some cable companies take the ATSC 1.0 feed and dump two of them onto a QAM, but they could just as easily take fiber feeds from well before the OTA encoding and transmission process, and do their own encoding, so that they wouldn't be broadcasting either OTA feed, and the whole concept becomes irrelevant. A carriage contract could be contracted for various supersets or subsets of OTA programming depending on what the station and cable company want to do. The only time I'd see it being relevant at a contractual level would be for must-carry stations like PBS, and even then the technical details of OTA broadcasting are largely irrelevant, they'd be carrying a specific set of channels that are broadcast on one license or another, but not necessarily using the encodes for OTA.

Now, all that said, I keep saying that there's really no reason for MVPDs to ever bother specifically licensing 3.0 stations anyhow, because local stations already can and do offer higher quality versions of their main 1.0 feed if they have in agreement in place with MVPDs to do so. During both recent Olympics, in fact, we saw various NBC affiliates offering certain MVPDs, including Comcast and YouTube TV, live 4K feeds! They were NOT sending out 4K on their 3.0 OTA feeds but they were sending it to select MVPDs who had the internal distribution capabilities to offer it to their customers (and who, I'm sure, were paying those NBC affiliates extra $ for the enhanced quality).
Exactly. Or, more likely, the station will send a big, fat 1080i/720p stream via fiber to the MVPD, who will compress the crap out of it, but the compression is more efficient with the higher bitrate feed.

If it does pan out this way, then by the time we get to 2030, who's going to bother with an OTA antenna if all that same content can be streamed, live and on-demand, for free, with equal or better PQ and without reception problems? There will be hardly any US homes by 2030 who don't have broadband service with unlimited data or at least a sufficiently high data cap to allow for all their video viewing.
I disagree about cable. I think it will shrink and partially implode, but it has a lot of inertia, and there are many commercial customers that want live channels, so I think at least a handful of the large, well known channels will continue to have linear channels, even if the main property shifts to OTT. I do agree about antennas though, as they are already largely relegated to some live sports and news. I think we'll still have OTA in a decade, but why invest in a relatively dying medium, unless the goal with ATSC 3.0 is just to load up on subchannels of catalog content and grind out a CPM with advertising. I've always been skeptical of 4k OTA becoming widespread, why would the networks spend the money when they can charge MVPDs money for retrans for them, and later move that to their network's OTT services? I think we may just get stuck at the first phase of the ATSC 3.0 "transition" with the 1.0 stations all staying around, and the room that there is available for the first phase of 3.0 either having a bunch of stations sharing channels, or incomplete offerings in a given market with a bunch of extra subchannels crammed in.
 

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But what does cable carriage of an ATSC 3.0 vs ATSC 1.0 feed even mean? ATSC are OTA broadcast standards
Yes, you're entirely correct. But I do believe that IF an MVPD wanted to distribute a local station's ATSC 3.0 feed --which might be, let's say, in 1080p HDR with Atmos audio and feature certain interactive on-screen elements as well as the AWARN emergency alerting system -- then the MVPD would have to have a specific contract in place with the station to do that. And they would have to agree about which ATSC 3.0 features would be preserved in the bitstream that the MVPD sends over their network to their users' STBs and apps.

But yeah, it still might mean that the MVPD is able to transcode the incoming H.265 stream into a different codec or a more compressed H.265 stream to save bandwidth. Who knows. At the end of the day, it's not really worth discussing because it'll never happen, ha.

I disagree about cable. I think it will shrink and partially implode, but it has a lot of inertia, and there are many commercial customers that want live channels, so I think at least a handful of the large, well known channels will continue to have linear channels, even if the main property shifts to OTT.
Let me see if I can explain this a bit better so you can grasp what I envision. Let's say it's 2026. Comcast and Charter, through their joint Flex streaming platform and its app store, announce that they are no longer selling their traditional cable channel packages with their high prices and outrageous broadcast TV add-on fees, which in many areas are now as much as $30 per month.

"Our customers have spoken," they say "and they overwhelming prefer to subscribe to video through direct-to-consumer apps, allowing them to put together and pay for just the package of content that suits them. And we're proud to offer our customers all the popular subscription and free video apps they could want, with convenient unified billing through the same credit or debit card they use to pay for the broadband service we provide. They can download and immediately subscribe to any of these services right on our Flex box and enjoy a unified watchlist that spans all the apps they use. And many of these apps include those companies' most popular cable channels which can be live streamed inside those apps. Our Flex home screen even has a special area to highlight free local apps that feature live and on-demand local news, weather and sports to keep our customers safe, informed and connected to their communities. Our Flex home screen even features a unified channel guide that shows all the live channels, whether subscription or fee, that the user has access to from the various apps they've installed on Flex!"

So at this point, those Comcast and Charter customers who still have a traditional style MVPD package, with local channels and their broadcast TV fee, plus a bunch of different channels from various media companies -- some from Disney, some from Paramount, some from Warner, etc. -- they'd still be able to keep that service. It just wouldn't be sold to any NEW customers going forward. And if a customer dropped their traditional cable service, they couldn't get it back.

As for the direct-to-consumer apps which would effectively replace the old cable bundle, I suspect there will just be a few. Who knows what sort of mergers will take place in the next few years, but let's hypothetically say that NBCUniversal and Paramount merge; they keep CBS and sell off NBC to Warner Bros. Discovery. So then we have three major SVODs from old Hollywood: Disney+ (which will have absorbed Hulu), The Max (the result of merging HBO Max, Discovery+, and NBC shows and sports), and Paramount+ (which will have absorbed much of Peacock as well as Paramount's own Showtime, BET+ and Noggin). In addition, Disney will have created a handful of ESPN-branded DTC services focusing on different sports, all of which can be mixed and matched together and viewed inside a single ESPN app. Assuming they haven't been acquired by bigger companies, little ol' AMC+ and Starz will also be available. The old RSNs will have been replaced by various apps featuring either specific sports leagues (e.g. MLB, NBA) or teams (e.g. Cubs, Yankees).

Each of those apps will have by this point in time completely cannibalized their sibling linear channels. So, for instance, there won't be any current content airing on any of the Warner Bros. Discovery channels that's not available same-day in The Max. Moreover, The Max will actually include live streams of that company's most popular linear channels, e.g. CNN, HBO, HGTV, TLC, Discovery, etc. (Actually, by this time, HBO might be an optional premium add-on to The Max rather than a core part of the service.)

In addition, other apps offered will of course include Netflix, Prime Video, Apple TV+, YouTube and PBS. And we'll see free ad-supported apps from each of the big three Hollywood players: Paramount's Pluto TV and whatever WBD and Disney call theirs. (I keep thinking Magic is the obvious name for Disney's. As for WBD, IDK. Maybe MiniMax to go alongside The Max? Or maybe they get the rights to the Peacock brand if they acquire NBC and recycle that as the name of their FAST app.) And there will also be Fox's FAST, Tubi. (As for Fox News, it'll be sold through their Fox Nation app, which will at that time have a live stream of the Fox News, Fox Business and Fox Weather channels. I wish I could say it will be dead by then but who are we kidding?)

So I'm not saying that the more popular linear cable channels disappear. They just get absorbed into the DTC SVOD apps. And then whichever streaming OS you use -- whether that's Flex or Apple TV or Google TV or Fire TV or whatever -- will have some kind of live channel grid guide that aggregates all those channels from the various underlying apps together in one place. Most of them already have something like this in place now.

So we're basically just talking about going from the old MVPD model where content from multiple media companies gets packaged together by the middle-man to a new system where it's all going direct from the separate media companies to the consumers, with the middle-men (the app stores/tech platforms) just providing billing services and UIs that aggregate content together in a home screen that's helpful to consumers.

The big loser, here, of course, will be the local broadcast station owners, who will get cut out of those outrageously high retrans fees they charge the MVPDs. Frankly, in the DTC streaming era, the national networks no longer need their local station affiliates as distribution partners. So why keep cutting them in on the money? The local stations understand the relatively low perceived value of their local news content, which is why pretty much all of them already give it away for free through their own apps. All they charge the consumer is a few minutes of their time in the form of unskippable targeted ads.
 

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Yes, you're entirely correct. But I do believe that IF an MVPD wanted to distribute a local station's ATSC 3.0 feed --which might be, let's say, in 1080p HDR with Atmos audio and feature certain interactive on-screen elements as well as the AWARN emergency alerting system -- then the MVPD would have to have a specific contract in place with the station to do that. And they would have to agree about which ATSC 3.0 features would be preserved in the bitstream that the MVPD sends over their network to their users' STBs and apps.
I suppose, but I don't see this as having much to do with ATSC 3.0, as it could just as well cover a 4k feed that's not broadcast, like was done for the Olympics, or a higher bitrate 1080i/720p fiber feed as has been done for years with DirecTV for some stations, and probably cable as well.

So I'm not saying that the more popular linear cable channels disappear. They just get absorbed into the DTC SVOD apps. And then whichever streaming OS you use -- whether that's Flex or Apple TV or Google TV or Fire TV or whatever -- will have some kind of live channel grid guide that aggregates all those channels from the various underlying apps together in one place. Most of them already have something like this in place now.
I think that will basically happen- but there will still be linear channels available, at least via DBS for a long time to come, at least for commercial customers, and probably various rural/RV/boat/whatever users as well. It may only be a few dozen channels, not the 400+ channel mess that's out there now, but there's a big market just in hotels, airports, restaurants, and bars to have channels to mindlessly turn on.

So we're basically just talking about going from the old MVPD model where content from multiple media companies gets packaged together by the middle-man to a new system where it's all going direct from the separate media companies to the consumers, with the middle-men (the app stores/tech platforms) just providing billing services and UIs that aggregate content together in a home screen that's helpful to consumers.
There needs to be some aggregation, but given the choice, I really have to wonder how many people will want Comcast or Charter to be doing this, versus Apple, Roku, Google, etc? The cable companies need a critical mass of users to make this viable, and the way I see things going is that people want to stream how they want to stream, not with some box from Comcast or Charter in the middle.

The big loser, here, of course, will be the local broadcast station owners, who will get cut out of those outrageously high retrans fees they charge the MVPDs. Frankly, in the DTC streaming era, the national networks no longer need their local station affiliates as distribution partners. So why keep cutting them in on the money? The local stations understand the relatively low perceived value of their local news content, which is why pretty much all of them already give it away for free through their own apps. All they charge the consumer is a few minutes of their time in the form of unskippable targeted ads.
Much like the cable channels, they have been too greedy for too long. If they would get the retrans fees under control so that cable companies could offer basic cable for $10/mo along with internet, they would have far more eyeballs on their ads, but they are too greedy to see cable companies as their partners and doing the work of distribution for them, and instead see them as a vessel to try and extra as much money out of as possible. And it's not even the local station owners, it's the networks who are charging outrageous fees to the local station owners, who then have to pass these outrageous costs on to the cable companies.
 

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I think that will basically happen- but there will still be linear channels available, at least via DBS for a long time to come, at least for commercial customers, and probably various rural/RV/boat/whatever users as well. It may only be a few dozen channels, not the 400+ channel mess that's out there now, but there's a big market just in hotels, airports, restaurants, and bars to have channels to mindlessly turn on.
Well, in the scenario I sketch out, I say that traditional-style commingled cable channel bundles will be grandfathered in for existing customers even after they stop being sold to new customers, maybe around 2027. But yeah, the exception to that will be the single remaining DBS service still going at that point (probably branded DISH, but it will be after having merged with DirecTV years earlier). But I think it's iffy as to whether that service will still even be operational past 2030. Maybe a couple years or so into that decade?

And then once we get a few years into the 30s, and everyone is watching both the major networks as well as local news stations via separate streaming apps, then what's the point of keeping OTA spectrum reserved for those local TV stations? I'm not sure the station owners will even want to spend the money on the power bills to light up those towers at that point, given how few of their viewers will even still be futzing around with OTA antennas. Everyone will have broadband and all that content (and WAY more) can just be reliably streamed online. Better for the local station owners just to put that money toward their bandwidth bills to run their local news video servers.

So at that point, the FCC and Congress will move to reclassify that spectrum as 5G/6G. ATSC 1.0 will be dead. (And ATSC 3.0 will have died in the late 20s, never having reached critical mass among consumers or the broadcast networks.) But I do think the US government will set aside a bit of spectrum (the same bit of spectrum nationwide) so that PBS stations can beam out free OTA signals via 5G Broadcast, which will emerge this decade as the global next-generation OTA TV system, capable of reaching any smart phone, TV or any other screen with a 5G radio chip built into it.

There needs to be some aggregation, but given the choice, I really have to wonder how many people will want Comcast or Charter to be doing this, versus Apple, Roku, Google, etc? The cable companies need a critical mass of users to make this viable, and the way I see things going is that people want to stream how they want to stream, not with some box from Comcast or Charter in the middle.
Does it matter? You have to use some software/app store platform "in the middle" between you and your services' video servers. And especially if Comcast and Charter are giving it away for FREE to their broadband customers (who account for nearly 70% of the US market!), then yeah, it'll get used.

"Hey, here's a free 4K Dolby Vision/Atmos streaming box you get with your broadband service! It supports all the apps you want. And if you need more than one, we'll happily rent/sell additional units to you!"

If you're thinking of their Flex platform as a "cable box," you're doing it wrong. It's just another streaming OS/UI/app store, but one that happens to be backed by two of the largest broadband providers in the nation. And it's no longer even just restricted to the equipment that Comcast hands out to their customers. They've already begun deploying it on smart TVs sold at retail under the name "XClass TV." Just as Amazon has done with their Fire TV OS, and Google with their Google TV, and Roku with their Roku OS, all of which power various brands of smart TVs. (Except there have hardly been any Flex-powered XClass TVs sold yet.)


I'll be surprised if we don't see them start selling Flex boxes/sticks at retail too. Why not?

And it's not even the local station owners, it's the networks who are charging outrageous fees to the local station owners, who then have to pass these outrageous costs on to the cable companies.
Eh, it's both. I think I read that the local stations have to pass along somewhere around half of their retrans fees to their network partners in the form of "reverse comp". But let's be honest, between the national networks, with their live sports, primetime shows, and national breaking news, versus the local news stations, which has the higher value content? It's easily the national networks. And they know it. Y'know how in a couple where one of them is way hotter/smarter/more successful than the other, it usually ends up in a break-up? Yeah, that's what's going to happen here too. The global media companies that own the networks are going to break up with their local distribution partners named Sinclair/Nexstar/Scripps/Gray, etc. The divorce is coming and it's unavoidable.
 

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Cord Cutter
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Well, in the scenario I sketch out, I say that traditional-style commingled cable channel bundles will be grandfathered in for existing customers even after they stop being sold to new customers, maybe around 2027.
I could see MSOs phasing cable channel bundles out at some point, I think they will live on in some form via vMVPDs and DBS for commercial and other uses. There needs to be CNN for airports and hotel TVs and ESPN for restaurants and bars. There are various satellite services out there for other types of specialty distribution, whether audio or video, so something will either continue on, or pop up to meet that need. I do think the days of DirecTV offering 400 channels is limited, although DirecTV as a linear pay TV service could live on in a more limited fashion with fewer satellite positions for decades.

And then once we get a few years into the 30s, and everyone is watching both the major networks as well as local news stations via separate streaming apps, then what's the point of keeping OTA spectrum reserved for those local TV stations? I'm not sure the station owners will even want to spend the money on the power bills to light up those towers at that point, given how few of their viewers will even still be futzing around with OTA antennas. Everyone will have broadband and all that content (and WAY more) can just be reliably streamed online. Better for the local station owners just to put that money toward their bandwidth bills to run their local news video servers.
That's a good question. It depends on the legal status of either requiring them to broadcast, or using the broadcast towers as a mechanism for carriage on... well, on what if the marketshare of linear pay TV continues to crater. So it remains an open question.

So at that point, the FCC and Congress will move to reclassify that spectrum as 5G/6G. ATSC 1.0 will be dead.
It may be able to be used for something, but 5G wireless isn't practical much below 600mhz, the antennas for that are already getting comically large. I'm sure someone will find something (or many things) that they want to do with that spectrum.

Does it matter? You have to use some software/app store platform "in the middle" between you and your services' video servers. And especially if Comcast and Charter are giving it away for FREE to their broadband customers (who account for nearly 70% of the US market!), then yeah, it'll get used.
I just don't see most people wanting their cable company providing their streaming box.

If you're thinking of their Flex platform as a "cable box," you're doing it wrong. It's just another streaming OS/UI/app store, but one that happens to be backed by two of the largest broadband providers in the nation.

I'll be surprised if we don't see them start selling Flex boxes/sticks at retail too. Why not?
It's not a cable box, it's a crappy, pathetic, and irrelevant rip-off of a Roku or Google TV. The cable companies have no purpose except to provide a DOCSIS signal and IP address once you get rid of linear TV.

They probably will, it doesn't mean people actually want a crappy overpriced knock-off of a Roku from their cable company that they hate.

Eh, it's both. I think I read that the local stations have to pass along somewhere around half of their retrans fees to their network partners in the form of "reverse comp". But let's be honest, between the national networks, with their live sports, primetime shows, and national breaking news, versus the local news stations, which has the higher value content? It's easily the national networks. And they know it. Y'know how in a couple where one of them is way hotter/smarter/more successful than the other, it usually ends up in a break-up? Yeah, that's what's going to happen here too. The global media companies that own the networks are going to break up with their local distribution partners named Sinclair/Nexstar/Scripps/Gray, etc. The divorce is coming and it's unavoidable.
I saw some numbers, and it's shocking how much of the money went to the networks. I'm not saying that stations themselves haven't gotten a bit greedy, they have, but the fundamental problem here is the networks wanting absolutely outrageous amounts of money. And for what? They keep producing content that gets less viewership, but charging more for it. It's all short-term thinking. They are milking it for all its worth. Maybe it's smart because it can't survive in the long run anyway, so may as well take it down a little faster by milking the cow as hard as possible, but in the process they're hastening the demise of pay TV and even basic cable, which would be viable for a long time to come with a rational model where cable companies paid little to nothing for the content, and in return provided widespread distribution at a reasonable cost.
 

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I could see MSOs phasing cable channel bundles out at some point, I think they will live on in some form via vMVPDs and DBS for commercial and other uses. There needs to be CNN for airports and hotel TVs and ESPN for restaurants and bars. There are various satellite services out there for other types of specialty distribution, whether audio or video, so something will either continue on, or pop up to meet that need.
Hotels are already moving to a variety of streaming TV options for their guests. I see no reason why eventually we won't see all video presented on public screens, such as in bars and restaurants, also be some form of streaming video (either OTT or managed IPTV).

IDK, maybe there's still enough demand for DBS-delivered live video in 2031, whether from commercial establishments or residential customers or a combination of the two, to make the continued operation of a DBS MVPD profitable. But at some point, the potential customer base just shrinks too small to make the business viable. And that may well happen before the last DBS sat (i.e. DirecTV's T16, launched June 2019 with an expected lifespan until at least mid-2034) goes dark. But there should be no question that there is no plausible business rationale even now to pay for any further DBS sats to be built and launched into orbit. As AT&T said, T16 will be the last one.


That's a good question. It depends on the legal status of either requiring them to broadcast, or using the broadcast towers as a mechanism for carriage on... well, on what if the marketshare of linear pay TV continues to crater. So it remains an open question.

It may be able to be used for something, but 5G wireless isn't practical much below 600mhz, the antennas for that are already getting comically large. I'm sure someone will find something (or many things) that they want to do with that spectrum.
Local TV station operators aren't dumb. They'll know if/when they get to a point where they're losing money by continuing to operate their broadcast towers. And if/when that happens, they'll just notify the FCC that they're giving up their broadcast spectrum and taking their tower dark. I'm sure they'll hope to get something for giving up their spectrum because I have to think that all UHF frequencies will continue to hold some value for 5G/6G transmission. Even if receiving devices need antennas larger than what mobile phones can accommodate, I could still see larger TVs, cars, and industrial IoT devices making use of that spectrum. So I predict that in the 2030s, the FCC will monetize that 470-608 MHz spectrum given up by (and/or taken from) ATSC 1.0 stations by auctioning it off to whoever is willing to pay something for it.

I do, however, foresee the FCC preserving a sliver of that spectrum to be used by local PBS stations nationwide to multicast OTA live video channels through 5G Broadcast, which will be receivable by any device with a 5G radio chip in it, which of course will include all phones and perhaps some/most/all TVs by then. PBS stations/spectrum will be charged with operating a next-gen public emergency alerting system too.

I just don't see most people wanting their cable company providing their streaming box.
Were you also one of those folks who thought that a majority of cable TV customers would opt for a TiVo rather than take whatever crappy STB their local operator handed them? Sorry, but never underestimate the power of CHEAP, especially FREE. Comcast gives out one free Flex box to their broadband customers. I don't know why Charter won't do so as well. Given their relatively late start in the streaming platform race, I'm not saying that Flex will ever rank first or second but -- given the huge share of US broadband customers that Comcast and Charter have between them -- I have to think that Flex will have enough market share (in fact, already has enough market share) to ensure its profitability and long-term survival.

It's not a cable box, it's a crappy, pathetic, and irrelevant rip-off of a Roku or Google TV. The cable companies have no purpose except to provide a DOCSIS signal and IP address once you get rid of linear TV.
VHS beat BetaMax. Windows beat Mac. Cable DVRs beat TiVo. Inferior but CHEAPER options beat out the more expensive, superior options they rip off all the time.

I saw some numbers, and it's shocking how much of the money went to the networks. I'm not saying that stations themselves haven't gotten a bit greedy, they have, but the fundamental problem here is the networks wanting absolutely outrageous amounts of money. And for what? They keep producing content that gets less viewership, but charging more for it. It's all short-term thinking. They are milking it for all its worth. Maybe it's smart because it can't survive in the long run anyway, so may as well take it down a little faster by milking the cow as hard as possible, but in the process they're hastening the demise of pay TV and even basic cable, which would be viable for a long time to come with a rational model where cable companies paid little to nothing for the content, and in return provided widespread distribution at a reasonable cost.
Bingo. Milk the dying cow for all it's worth, knowing that you own 100% of the new cow that replaces it. Networks have to share revenues with their local station partners in the original paradigm. In the new DTC streaming paradigm, they do not.
 

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Hotels are already moving to a variety of streaming TV options for their guests. I see no reason why eventually we won't see all video presented on public screens, such as in bars and restaurants, also be some form of streaming video (either OTT or managed IPTV).

IDK, maybe there's still enough demand for DBS-delivered live video in 2031, whether from commercial establishments or residential customers or a combination of the two, to make the continued operation of a DBS MVPD profitable. But at some point, the potential customer base just shrinks too small to make the business viable. And that may well happen before the last DBS sat (i.e. DirecTV's T16, launched June 2019 with an expected lifespan until at least mid-2034) goes dark. But there should be no question that there is no plausible business rationale even now to pay for any further DBS sats to be built and launched into orbit. As AT&T said, T16 will be the last one.
I think there will be a long tail demand for DBS services, but there probably won't be nearly the broad range of content that there is today, requiring less bandwidth. Boats, RVs, commercial uses, etc, add up to a decent number of subs, and there are specialty services operating today for various commercial uses with far smaller subscriber bases. Many hotels/resorts today use DBS for their distribution, and it works very well for that purpose, but they probably only need 40 channels, not 400. I don't know what will happen to HD LiL service, as that is rather bandwidth intensive compared to CONUS. Installing antennas at sites for locals becomes rather problematic, as some sites just don't have any reception, especially the ones where DBS makes the most sense. De-duplicating SD and HD LiLs will help a lot, as everything can move to MPEG-4 HD, but its still a lot of bandwidth.

Local TV station operators aren't dumb. They'll know if/when they get to a point where they're losing money by continuing to operate their broadcast towers. And if/when that happens, they'll just notify the FCC that they're giving up their broadcast spectrum and taking their tower dark. I'm sure they'll hope to get something for giving up their spectrum because I have to think that all UHF frequencies will continue to hold some value for 5G/6G transmission. Even if receiving devices need antennas larger than what mobile phones can accommodate, I could still see larger TVs, cars, and industrial IoT devices making use of that spectrum. So I predict that in the 2030s, the FCC will monetize that 470-608 MHz spectrum given up by (and/or taken from) ATSC 1.0 stations by auctioning it off to whoever is willing to pay something for it.
So there's two different stories here. One is whether broadcast TV as a business model works. I don't foresee the networks giving it up anytime soon, as having broadcast gives them the legal status of being local channels for that DMA. I think they will just turn into a bunch of low-grade crap channels like most of the subchannels are today. Second is whether the spectrum is worth anything. I just don't see the value of it or what TVs, cars, or industrial IoT would actually do with it. The whole IoT thing is sort of a joke, as most of it is done over Wi-Fi, and the applications for cellular connections worked fine on 3G networks, and in many cases 2G networks, and have been the last things to upgrade to newer technologies.

I do, however, foresee the FCC preserving a sliver of that spectrum to be used by local PBS stations nationwide to multicast OTA live video channels through 5G Broadcast, which will be receivable by any device with a 5G radio chip in it, which of course will include all phones and perhaps some/most/all TVs by then. PBS stations/spectrum will be charged with operating a next-gen public emergency alerting system too.
The physics don't work out well for mobile phones, but I suppose some sort of 5G broadcast could replace ATSC 3.0, possibly even before it ever really amounts to much. In that cast, it would functionally be a different underlying technology to do the same thing that ATSC 1.0 and 3.0 do today.

Were you also one of those folks who thought that a majority of cable TV customers would opt for a TiVo rather than take whatever crappy STB their local operator handed them? Sorry, but never underestimate the power of CHEAP, especially FREE. Comcast gives out one free Flex box to their broadband customers. I don't know why Charter won't do so as well. Given their relatively late start in the streaming platform race, I'm not saying that Flex will ever rank first or second but -- given the huge share of US broadband customers that Comcast and Charter have between them -- I have to think that Flex will have enough market share (in fact, already has enough market share) to ensure its profitability and long-term survival.
😁 I don't even remember. I didn't think cord cutting would be a big thing back in 2013, but I failed to see how the content and pricing models would evolve. I was thinking in terms of a direct one-to-one replacement for the same shows, which never made any sense. The best content moved to streaming, and the rest is history. It very well could survive if Comcast wants it to, but I don't think it will ever see the mass adoption that Apple/Google/Amazon/Roku has, especially when virtually every modern TV has built-in smart features, often based on Google/Amazon/Roku platforms.

VHS beat BetaMax. Windows beat Mac. Cable DVRs beat TiVo. Inferior but CHEAPER options beat out the more expensive, superior options they rip off all the time.
I don't disagree with cheaper beating out better, but in this case, if it's $5/mo for a box when a smart TV comes with it for free, or a streaming box costs <$50, then the cheaper argument doesn't work. Plus, people HATE their cable companies. People are lazy and ignorant, so they use the cable company's gateway devices for Wi-Fi, but I really don't think most people want Comcast on their TV if they can avoid it.

Bingo. Milk the dying cow for all it's worth, knowing that you own 100% of the new cow that replaces it. Networks have to share revenues with their local station partners in the original paradigm. In the new DTC streaming paradigm, they do not.
They own a lot of content and some of what replaces it. But they don't own every streaming platform, or all the streaming content. I suppose the shift is coming anyway, so maybe they figure that they may as well put the pedal to the metal on killing pay TV, since it's going to die anyway, and they'll make much larger profits in the meantime by double-dipping with outrageous carriage fees.
 
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