Author Topic: HDTV, Comcast and You  (Read 3032 times)

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92UrS4

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HDTV, Comcast and You
« on: January 04, 2007, 06:47:09 PM »
Well we got our first HDTV. It was a Christmas present from my parents. A 26" Toshiba Regza with built in DVD player for our bedroom. At first I thought we were going to have to get a box and pay more to Comcast to get the local HD stations, but they come across the able as is. Which is nice. I still would like to have some of the other channels in HD, but until we get a new TV for the basement (entertainment area) we are going to hold out on upgrading with Comcast.

Now I have been reading and posting in a thread on PassatWorld about HDTV. Another local Passsat owner (who doesn't post on here...gasp!) had some good info.

I found that I got all these extra channels as well as audio/music channels as well. Like now I have NFL network (woot).

I also found that I tend to get folks on demand/PPV movies. Two nights ago it was You, Me and Dupree (which I skipped) and last night I got to see The DaVinci Code.

Anyway, if you have just regular Comcast basic cable or extended basic and were wanting to take the leap into HD, go for it. I get all the locals in HD, it's just a matter of having that prog being broadcast in HD. Most primetime shows are.

For reference here is the thread on PW I was talking about:

http://www.passatworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=229241

coveredbytheblood

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Re: HDTV, Comcast and You
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2007, 06:59:41 PM »
I love my job and the company that I work for.  It's Comcastic!
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Re: HDTV, Comcast and You
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2007, 06:59:41 PM »

jfrahm

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Re: HDTV, Comcast and You
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2007, 07:14:04 PM »
Yes, I found the on demand channels a while back.  Lots of on demand movies and TV shows, and sometimes there is pr0n.  It can be pretty funny when you see people pause and rewind scenes that do not immediately strike you as scenes worth watching twice.  To each thier own.  I have not looked in a while, I saw part of a movie once and the person who ordered it gave up halfway through.  Annoying.

If you have kids you should make sure the ratings work or the channels are blocked though.

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03Indigo

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Re: HDTV, Comcast and You
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2007, 07:37:52 PM »
good to know.  We want a big screen HD, but not in the cards right now.  Some more landscaping, trees, and some other home improvements and a trip to Antigua is in the works first, but after that, the HDTV is on the list :)

92UrS4

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Re: HDTV, Comcast and You
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2007, 07:52:31 PM »
Quote from: "coveredbytheblood";p="54085"
I love my job and the company that I work for.  It's Comcastic!


Work on more channels and al a cart packages...tell them that!

jayryan

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Re: HDTV, Comcast and You
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2007, 07:57:13 PM »
I love my High Defintion TV :) Both of them ;)

Most people don't realize it, but High Definition was originally developed for over-the-air enhance (such as your local channels)- also designed to be free. Pay-TV caught on to it pretty quick though.

Most programs may be broadcast in HD, but they we're filmed in HD and there's definately a difference. There's not much of an quality increase IMO if it's broadcast, but not shot in HD. That's my biggest frustration out of the whole deal.

Eventually though, EVERYTHING is going to be HD- it's just too cost prohibitive still for alot of production houses and networks. The quantity of original HD programming (as in filmed) has been steadily increasing about 50% a year since 2002. The technology is still very young. The demand for original HD programming is also very high- again though, many companies can't afford to shoot in HD- logistical hurdels such as storage a common problem.

New methods of distribution are driving program costs down since networks can't rely as heavily on advertisting to fund which means they don't pay production houses as much so they in turn can't always pay for the new tech like HD.

...however, this big huge post probably wasn't even necessary...hell, I'm not even a Comcast subscriber so I really probably don't have anything relevant to add ;) Sorry.
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03Indigo

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Re: HDTV, Comcast and You
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2007, 10:41:42 PM »
LOL JR....sounded like an intro to a thesis or something ;)

You make great points.  You should also mention that the cost of the consumer technology is dropping rapidly....which is why I am ok waiting for a year or 2 to upgrade our 36 inch to a 52 inch if it will fit.

coveredbytheblood

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Re: HDTV, Comcast and You
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2007, 11:43:09 AM »
Quote from: "03Indigo";p="54098"
LOL JR....sounded like an intro to a thesis or something ;)

You make great points.  You should also mention that the cost of the consumer technology is dropping rapidly....which is why I am ok waiting for a year or 2 to upgrade our 36 inch to a 52 inch if it will fit.


If you mod it, it will fit.  :roll:

Jay, to your earlier comments, my realm is actually the Digital Voice service or telephony realm.  I wish I had some say or even a remotely small sphere of influence over what we did with our Video product.  I know there is a method to the madness and cost has a lot to do with why things are packaged the way that they are.  Both for the consumer and the company.  I can assume that all of that will change eventually.  
Right now, "I want more channels in HD."  (sounds remotely similar to a song I heard once)  I want my M T ....
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jayryan

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Re: HDTV, Comcast and You
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2007, 01:31:56 PM »
Quote from: "03Indigo";p="54098"
LOL JR....sounded like an intro to a thesis or something ;)

You make great points.  You should also mention that the cost of the consumer technology is dropping rapidly....which is why I am ok waiting for a year or 2 to upgrade our 36 inch to a 52 inch if it will fit.


Yeah, sorry  :oops:
HUGE Price drops! With it becoming more affordable, programming will increase...production equipment is still VERY spendy.

I bought my 32" for $150 less than everywhere else for something in the same size and $350 less than a 27" I tried out last year. My 20" in the bedroom was pocket change too (thanks to Thanksgiving and Best Buy)- I still want to get two more...but will have to wait.

Asthetically, flat panels are the BOMB! It opens up so many design options it's not funny, because you're not designing around a 16 sqft. entertainment center anymore! Every room can be a theatre! :lol:

...and I do HIGHLY recommend Microcenter for LCD/Plasma TVs. Of course, I'd probably recommend them for potato chips too if they sold them :lol:
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92UrS4

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Re: HDTV, Comcast and You
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2007, 01:55:42 PM »
We found out recently we can get pretty good deals on these TVs through my Dad and his contacts. So I expect a purchase of a 42" for the basement in the near future. Waiting for my medical claims to clear insurance first.

As for Comcast and HD programming, if Comcast would let me select a handful of channels, mainly HD that are already offered in other packages, and let me pay $x for it Iwould probably be more than happy to do it. I don't need the HBO's or anything like that, but I wouldn't mind HD ESPN, Discovery, channels like that. I dn't need more "new" channels brought in HD, I just want access to some existing ones without paying another $40/ month.

coveredbytheblood

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Re: HDTV, Comcast and You
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2007, 03:56:52 PM »
Quote from: "gietl";p="54105"
We found out recently we can get pretty good deals on these TVs through my Dad and his contacts. So I expect a purchase of a 42" for the basement in the near future. Waiting for my medical claims to clear insurance first.

As for Comcast and HD programming, if Comcast would let me select a handful of channels, mainly HD that are already offered in other packages, and let me pay $x for it Iwould probably be more than happy to do it. I don't need the HBO's or anything like that, but I wouldn't mind HD ESPN, Discovery, channels like that. I dn't need more "new" channels brought in HD, I just want access to some existing ones without paying another $40/ month.


An extra 40.00 a month? EEEEKKK!!  Thank you for putting my free service back into perspective for me.  All employess, get free cable and high speed internet.  Need a job?
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hotani

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Re: HDTV, Comcast and You
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2007, 03:58:47 PM »
It would be really nice; the a la carte programming plan sounds great in theory..... wait for it.... BUT, I think by the time comcast (no offense intended to anyone employed by them!) finishes with the 'good idea' it will be no better than the current packaged offerings as far as price goes.

Example: I would like to have whatever channel is showing the following: Heroes, Lost, BSG, and any version of Stargate. With the option to add another later. Crap, just get rid of everything else on those channels and only charge me for the shows I'm watching. Then my cable bill will be $5 because that's about how much I'm using in relation to the '$40 for a gablazillion shows I'll never watch' plan, right? Nope. I'm predicting the a la carte system (if we ever see it) to be more like this: "each channel is ONLY $9.99!" Four channels later I'm wondering how this is a benefit...

Now, if you ask me (what? you didn't? can't hear you!), a system I'd go for would work like so:

1- you get a cable box from the cable company for a fair price per month ($10?)
2- This box has everything: movies, recent tv shows, movie previews, etc.
3- You pay something for a show, say $1 (less? more?), more for a movie - how about $2? previews would be free of course.
4- Since we're PAYING FOR CONTENT, there would be NO ADS.
5- There would be an "all you can eat" option for $50 or less that would give you access to any content

And that's when I woke up! :lol:
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92UrS4

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Re: HDTV, Comcast and You
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2007, 04:23:44 PM »
I was thinking more along the lines of I'd be willing to pay an extra $5 - $10 / month to get the HD versions of the stations I already get on my basic cable. I shouldn't need a box for those. Hell I get other people's PPV and on demand shows now as well as NFL network. So I don't need a box. Just like a handful more channels.

hotani

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Re: HDTV, Comcast and You
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2007, 04:51:11 PM »
I wanted to do the same thing (HD-ify my basic service), and in order to do so (as I'm sure you well know), I would have had to go from basic to digital (box) with HD. And what good is all that without a DVR, which would have been another $10/month. So my already-high cable bill ($60) for intertubes and basic cable would have broken the $100 mark. It doesn't seem worth it.

Guess I'm in a bit of a different spot since my TV doesn't have a built-in tuner, so I would need something external anyway. Currently any HD content I watch comes in via the mininova network. :)

The box idea above is sort of a DRM'd compromise I would be willing to make with the content provider, since any solution over the computer would most likely be unusable since I'm not using IE+Windows.
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jayryan

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Re: HDTV, Comcast and You
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2007, 05:17:01 PM »
The online option is getting alot bigger. But most people don't have the storage for more than 30minutes of HD content without compressing it all to hell.

There's some cool online stuff out there and I have to admit Charles, that your setup is pretty cool, but without monster hardrives and really nice front end interface, it's not for everybody. If you start going the download route, look for better product placement in your shows  8) It's one of the only ways to get any sort of on-demand paid for if it's by itself...unless of course it's backed by someone filthy rich.

I personally, think it's the wave of the future...
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hotani

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Re: HDTV, Comcast and You
« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2007, 05:26:35 PM »
Well, my ad-free wet dream is based on the assumption that the money we pay for content actually makes it to the people producing the shows, thus removing the need for ad-based funding.

quick edit: let me add to that, because I see the flaw in my statement above which is future shows that haven't been produced yet. Maybe the companies in the middle, the content producers who are providing the means of viewing this stuff, would fund some of it up front, then recover the expenses after the show runs a bit and peeps pay for the viewing. Just a thought.

Have I mentioned that I hate commercials? ;)
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jfrahm

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Re: HDTV, Comcast and You
« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2007, 08:28:42 PM »
Yes, I wonder how much it would cost per viewer to get ad-free versions of popular shows.  If it cost me $1 per episode of BSG, I'd probably pay it.  How does that compare to the net amount a company makes after showing me ads and then seeing if I go buy their stuff?  I have no idea.  It would also be interesting to divest the production of TV shows from the ad market, which can be scared off by some shows due to content.

As for funding the shows, one assumes it would be similar to movies.  Investors pay up front hoping to recoup on ticket and DVD sales.  

With the potential for quality low budget fare, foriegn made stuff, etc. if we had the ability to pay for and view more shows easily, the market might expand quickly.

I'll bet Netflix has greatly increased the number of foreign films and shows available in the US market too BTW.  Without them I'd never have seen MI-5 (great show!)  Top Gear I have to download.  But removing the cost of pressing a DVD and packaging it would make getting a show to the US market a lot easier both for overseas producers and small-scale producers here at home.

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jayryan

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Re: HDTV, Comcast and You
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2007, 12:50:18 PM »
Well, damn, this is a long post- previewed and was like...shoooot dog! Anyway, TV shows operate under a slightly different business model...

TV shows are primarily funded in production by the networks. Generally, only the pilot show is paid for by the production company- if the network thinks it'll get good ratings, then it's picked up and all staff and productions costs are paid for by the network. If it doesn't go over well, it's dropped. This most recent season, it's been Invasion, Smith and a couple others you can probably name. The network will recoup their costs through the sales of advertising slots- better shows make better money.

Now, this is for major network shows- only 3-5 in about 20-25 treatments get asked for a pilot and only one of those could get picked up. For cable/satellite/pay-tv networks it's get a bit different. The can pay for a show, but it's unlikey that they pay production for all their shows- although many, they do. The difference is made up by things like, sponserhips, product-placement, and certain amounts of federal money are granted to a network if plays a percentage of a certain kind of content ie. educational. Additionally, it can take more of a film model and paid for by private investors in return paid back through money made in distribution.

There lies the problem of on-demand, comm-free programming. Who pays for it? Typical production costs for even a mildly independent piece will run upwards of a couple hundred thousand dollars for something like a two hour special. A 13 (1 season) episode show can run close to $100K an episode if ambitiously produced.

If you don't have anything to sell, how are you going to pay for this? Subscription costs for the on-line distributor would be outrageous if you have more than one show and you would need a per-episode buying rate of almost 50,000-100,000. That's a hard number to hit when you have tech and operating costs on top of paying the production staff.

There are a few solutions. I'm working on a two-hour piece pushing $160K. I don't have this kind of money and I don't think I could get enough returns in a distribution to make the investors happy. So I'm working on having the show undewritten by an advertiser. In simplified form, they're going to have a two-hour commercial. However, no return except new forms of exposure is expected by them. My responsibilty as a producer is to provide that to their expectations. Why is this?

Simple, the show is paid for. You're not limited to major networks, amount of money you need to bring in and so forth. I have LOTS more flexibilty in distribution- the largest of these? Downloading- it's the wave of the future man! You could essentially download it for free all day long. Maybe a small subscription fee for the distributor, but it doesn't have to be anything heavy since they only need to pay for the service. So this form is beneficial to the viewer as well as everyone involved in the process. Company's get their message out, and the audience isn't hindered by complicated distribution contracts and limited outlets and the production gets paid for.

Yes, you can say it's a new form of advertising, but that's where the creativity comes in and frankly, there's no way around it. How many times have you seen Red Bull or Go Fast in the background, in a hand, on a shirt etc.? Used to be, producers asked for permission, now though, producers ask for pay and it's working.

Distribution and customer demand is changing. The business models need to change too if shows are going to keep being produced. Many of the UK's networks now including the BBC have product placement departments and if they don't, they hire firms that specialize in it.

...and for a fun fact, you think a network pays for Survivor? or the Apprentice? Nope. It's almost entirely product placement ;)

EDIT: saw something in Frahm's post I wanted to hit real quick on market expansion. I'm no expert by any means on predicting the future, but it may not expand as quickly as one might think.

The emerging Techs are HD and online distribution. For reasons previously mentioned, HD is expensive and there's still alot of different models on how to pay for production with on-demand distribution (commercials FF'd, skipped etc.) HD is also alot more expensive (equipment) and inherently alot of data to store so that flies in the face of cheap download options (how many compaines can pay for 20 or so 500TB drives?).

The two technologies seem to pull at each other at the moment. You might see alot of downloadable content, but it probably won't be quality, at least at first. I think HD is going to remain predominately on the larger networks until a real working business model is created that doesn't rely on "spot-placement" advertising but doesn't come across as one big commercial. This is all depending that producers start really wanting to work with advertisers.
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