8 Responses to “Inside LA’s TV channel sharing trial: Can broadcasters part with their airwaves?”

  1. The only thing new here are the legalities. Namely, the idea of sharing a channel allotment between a commercial and non-commercial station, holding each licensee responsible for only the streams identified with their channel, and enforcing must-carry as if they were on separate transmitters. There are already broadcasters running dual HD streams. There are already broadcasters combining different virtual channel numbers on the same stream. There’s even KAXT-LP in San Francisco that seems to be intent on stuffing as many low quality streams as possible on one 6MHz channel.

  2. Tad Peckish

    Congratulations Kevin, you’re just as clueless as FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. Just like you, he thought (according to reports) that the point of the KLCS/KJLA tests is to prove stations can put multiple program streams on one 6 MHz. ATSC TV channel. But that’s not the point – broadcasters have been transmitting multiple programs since practically the beginning of digital over-the-air broadcasting. Each of these streams has been identified with a major channel number (say 26) and individual minor channel numbers (.1, .2, .3) As of today, all of the streams on a single physical channel have had the same major channel number (for example 26.1, 26.2, etc.). The point of the test in LA is to broadcast multiple streams on one physical channel that have different major channel numbers (58.1 for KLCS and 57.1 for KJLA, plus sub-channels) and to determine if viewers’ TV sets will be able to receive both of the stations. If this doesn’t work with all of the TV sets, the goal of packing multiple current channels into one physical channel will be very problematic.


      I thought the point of the LA test was to put 2 HD channels in 1 6 MHz channel. It’s already common knowledge that you can put two different major channel number together in the same 6 MHz channel.

  3. I think the claim that broadcasters need to keep their spectrum for 4K is just a smokescreen. There is just no way broadcasters are going to offer up their best content free OTA for anyone to record and redistribute. This isn’t 2009, the options available to broadcasters have changed. I think the consumer future of 4K is all IP, locked down from end-to-end. I’d be surprised if they even allow it to be recorded on DVRs. It seems like a prime opportunity to force people over to on demand.

      • There’s more market forces at work here than you imply. The major broadcasters continue to demonstrate that they would rather people consume their content behind a paywall, look at the continual movement in that direction with their online offerings. Further, the transition to 4K TVs is not likely to be fast, nor does it necessarily follow that people will be demanding 4K broadcasts. DVD sales continue to outpace Blu-ray, so the whole quality argument probably isn’t that important, and those who care about quality are likely to pay up to get behind the pay-wall. The transition would likely be just as messy as last time, with lots of people requiring converter boxes. I really don’t think 4K has a future in OTA for these reasons. Demand will be next to non-existent and keeping the most valuable versions of content behind a pay-wall is too profitable not too exploit. Other countries have different dynamics, but in the US at least I just do not see 4K broadcasts becoming a reality.

        • Tad Peckish

          All of your points are valid for premium content. I just don’t think that 4K will always = premium content, even if it does now. When there’s no price premium for building a 4K facility vs. an HD (or even SD) production facility they’ll do informercials in 4K. And the broadcaster that can offer infomercial (or other) advertisers a 4K path to the customer will be able to charge more for their time.

        • As far as 4K goes, I see it as unlikely as 3D. Only junk programmers are going to put out content in pure form and allow it to be stolen by the Megauploader’s of the future.

          House of Cards proves that people want it cheap, and the story line trumps the technical quality.

          Broadcasting is dead anyway, because it’s a regulated industry, run by mostly idiots. – They can’t compete with internet, because OTA TV is not an on-demand service.