Freeview and cable

Discussion in 'Freeview & YouView' started by Steve J Davies, Mar 22, 2004.

  1. Steve J Davies

    Steve J Davies
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    Sorry of this is old hat but I have looked and goten nowhere.
    Freeview (BBCS channels) are paid for by licence fee.
    BBC site tells me that as a Cable customer I will always be able to get :-
    BBC Channels
    BBC ONE
    BBC TWO
    BBC THREE
    BBC FOUR
    CBBC
    CBeebies
    BBC News 24
    BBC Parliament

    Of course I don't get these as I get analogue cable (okay I know, don't shout at me. I bought a widesctreen set with built in 5 speaker surround sound when they first hit about six years ago. Had no reason to upgradearde since then really. I am sure it will happen one day though <g>).
    From my simple pov I think these Freeview channels should be being piped to all cable customers whether analogue or not.
    My cable is digital after all. and I am paying for the Freeview channels through the license fee.
    It looks like cable cos using freeview as a marketing aid for themselves. Talk about a misuse of licence fees.
    Anyone know what the obligations of the cable cos are in this regards. Am I way off base with my thinking ?
    All info greatfully received.



    TIA

    Steve
     
  2. Starburst

    Starburst
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    I believe last year NTL asked for permission to carry the BBC digital only channels on it's analogue network, it was rejected.
    Quite rightly in my opinion, the digital only channels exist to encourage analogue viewers to switch to digital and bring about the birth of all digital broadcasting in the UK.
    Cable companies who can't be arsed to spend money to upgrade all their antiquated analogue networks and supply new digital STB's to their customers can not be allowed to encourage customers to stay analogue.

    Totally understand why you are not happy paying the license fee but can not get all the BBC channels but then again many millions are not covered by DTT or cable and while satellite covers all of the UK many can not or do not want a dish.
    Personally I can get all the BBC channels on both DTT and Dsat but would be quite happy to keep the £116 and not have them:)
     
  3. Steve J Davies

    Steve J Davies
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    Thanks for the speedy response. I don't follow the stb box point. Cable co doesn't need to give me one of those. Just needs to DAC the signal at their end and feed the channels down the spare ones on my existing box. My cable is optical so its a digital signal under the covers so its nothing new for them. So no big outlay for cable co to do this. Also providing digital to analogue cabel sutomers would be moving the customer base forward to digital tv so would still be in the interest of those that want us digital.

    Interesting about them asking to show the digital channels over analogue. Do you have a reference for that ? Not that I mistrust you its just that ntl could have phrased the question to suit itself - heaven forbid !

    The bbc website telling me I should always be able to get those channels flies in the face of ntl's response being from the BBC. But then again its just a web page.
    But it is a BBC web page....

    Call me suspicious but I still suspect the cable cos of playing this one to their own advantage . So would love full details on that NTL question.


    Steve
     
  4. Starburst

    Starburst
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    To supply channels that are exclusive to a digital network the cable companies would have to remove the analogue component of their network which means millions spent in new digital STB's.
    SKY took that step, absorbed the billion pound plus it cost them and did the switch over in two years, cable has seriously dragged it's feet:)
    However if they were allowed to convert the digital channels to analogue they would save millions and give their existing analogue customers even less reason to switch to digital which would kinda defeat the point of digital only channels promoting the switchover to digital:)


    I'll do a little spade work, sure I can find the NTL story somewhere:)
     
  5. Starburst

    Starburst
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    Well that was easier than I thought it would be.
    Couple of PDF documents that give a broad overview.

    Bugger links not working, hang on:)

    .
    .
    .



    Letter From NTL

    Second Letter
     
  6. Steve J Davies

    Steve J Davies
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    That is interesting - NTL making the same point I was. Where are the replies I wonder ?
    I still don't follow your digitalinvestment' point about the supplier. To provide these channels the cable does not require to upgrade its network at all.
    And the billion debt absorbed by Sky wasn't absored by the company at all. Its just a loan extracted (without agreement) from their customers who they will force to pay for it. Sky get increased capitilisation, gearing, intrinsic value and have guaranteed repayment. and they get a new network thrown in.
    They are just building up their business using someone else's money. Good business practice for them, not too great for the customers though.

    But that's off my original point. Any ideas where I can look up more information on this ? I think I may have to write to the beeb to find out but that will need as much info as I can get up front.

    Steve
     
  7. Starburst

    Starburst
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    Ok, lets clarify this:)
    To supply ALL their TV subscribers with the Digital only channels will cost NTL millions, they would need new STB's for all existing analogue customers for a start.
    If NTL could convert the Digtial only channels to analogue they could be broadcast on existing infrastructure with little cost except that they would be making a mockery of the industry and government wide desire of turning analogue off and having all digital broadcasting in the UK.
    It would be a joke if broadcasters and other companies invested in digital TV and the pathetic excuse for sound business practice that are the cable companies in the UK get to share in the benefits thereby protecting their TV subscription income and subscriber base while not spending anything to support the move to full digital.


    As for SKY, well if the 3million analogue subscribers had on mass refused to upgrade to the digital platform then SKY would have had egg on their faces and a huge debt that wasn't going to get paid off by generating over 4 million new subscriptions over the next 5 years.


    I found those two bit sof info using Google, it's a wonderful resource when you have a few points to start searching from, I am sure you can find more info if you dig:)
    Might also be worth looking into the broadcasting license terms for the BBC digital only channels and how they were awarded in relation to boosting the take up of digital TV.
     
  8. Steve J Davies

    Steve J Davies
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    "To supply ALL their TV subscribers with the Digital only channels will cost NTL millions, they would need new STB's for all existing analogue customers for a start."

    Agreed - but thats not my point. My point is about the BBC channels that I listed. The ones that the beeb themselves say should always be available to cable customers.
    This in line with the BBC policy as mentioned in the last paragraph of the Aug 15th letter from NTL.



    "If NTL could convert the Digtial only channels to analogue they could be broadcast on existing infrastructure with little cost except that they would be making a mockery of the industry and government wide desire of turning analogue off and having all digital broadcasting in the UK."

    Agreed again - but again thats not my point.

    "As for SKY, well if the 3million analogue subscribers had on mass refused to upgrade to the digital platform then SKY would have had egg on their faces and a huge debt that wasn't going to get paid off by generating over 4 million new subscriptions over the next 5 years."

    Agreed - but check out the 'force migrate' quotes in the NTL letters. Sky have more leverage over customer base than you are giving them credit for.


    "I found those two bit sof info using Google, it's a wonderful resource when you have a few points to start searching from, I am sure you can find more info if you dig:)"

    The interent has a lot of information on thats for sure - but how much if its is accurate, actually indexed correctly and is retrievable is open to debate.
    And has been for years. Have a look a Stoll's 'Silicon Snake Oil' which describes it quite well without going into all that Information theory/IT architecture and design gubbins.
    Good,accurate wll maintain information on the net is very rare - and mostly a costed service.
    Also Google is especially well known as a non-tranaparent search engine.

    "Might also be worth looking into the broadcasting license terms for the BBC"

    Agreed again - universality paragraph applies again.
    It is the Beebs own information from its own website that started this off. Finding the real detail behind that is my quest.

    I think we (noisily) agreeing here. Just different ends of the same stick.
     
  9. idhutt

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    The BBC license fee is not a fee to watch a TV channel package, its a tax that pays for the BBC, irrespective of whether you watch BBC or not. If you watch or record any TV programme, you pay the tax. Its a bit like living in a borough/county and not using the school facilities, you still pay the tax on them, or drive to the shops but still pay to fund the motorways. At present, the BBC is a public service, and as such, the cost is spread amongst the public. Anyone says that by watching Sky you shouldn't have to pay the BBC should realise that the BBC funded the training of many Sky staff before they were poached 10-15 years or so ago, and much of the technology you use today was developed by/in conjunction with the BBC.

    -Ian
    Cue the abuse...
     

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