Monday, December 6, 2010

Someone finally notices the orphan technology

As I mentioned before, over-the-air broadcasting has been a conspicuous hole in any number of media stories, probably due to the demographics of that market and the lack of interested parties pushing the story. Eventually though, once the market included enough young, photogenic professionals, the New York Times did pick up on the story (from this Sunday):
Many pay TV customers are making the same decision. From April to September, cable and satellite companies had a net loss of about 330,000 customers. Craig Moffett, a longtime cable analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein, said the consensus of the industry executives he had talked to was that most of these so-called cord-cutters were turning to over-the-air TV. “It looks like they’re leaving for the antenna,” he said.
The article has its problems. There are factually challenged passages like this:

The new antennas do pull in more programs than your grandfather’s rabbit ears, because of new channels that broadcasters added during the transition to digital signals. The broadcasters can fit multiple digital channels into the same frequencies that used to carry one analog channel.

In St. Paul, for example, where Ms. Bayerl lives, there are extra channels from ABC and NBC with local news and weather, four public television channels and a music video channel. Big markets like Los Angeles have 40 or more channels, according to Nielsen.

(I live in LA county and, according to my digital converter I get 114 channels. There are at least a half dozen more I could get if I wanted to invest in a better antenna set-up. When you're off by a factor of three, "or more" just doesn't cut it.)

The article also completely overlooks the role that the Hispanic market plays in the over-the-air broadcasting story which is a bit like ignoring the role commuters play in the NPR audience.

Still, compared to what we've seen up till now, this account is almost cutting edge.


While picking up a printer cartridge this morning I fact-checked the following passage from the NYT story:
Modern antennas, which cost $25 to $150, pick up high-definition signals that can actually be crisper than the cable or satellite version of the same program, because the pay TV companies compress the video data.
Actually HDTV compatible antennas the one I use for my 114 channels are available at Target start at $10.98.

No comments:

Post a Comment