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  • Jun 15th, 2009 @ 11:12am

    Re: Funny story...not.

    This has nothing to do with the broadcast DTV switch, but with Directv moving many of its channels over to a different satellite and using a different video compression technology. Directv has already been phasing out its older HD channels that used the MPEG-2 format, in favor of the more efficient MPEG-4 format. In order to view the MPEG-4 channels, you need an elliptical dish and a newer receiver. HD subscribers have already been getting upgraded, and this sounds like another part of their plan to get as many subscribers onto MPEG-4 receivers as possible.

    Directv's older standard definition feeds still use the less efficient MPEG-2 format. Directv still has millions of subscribers that only subscribe to their standard definition service, but they still want to free up satellite capacity in order to accommodate additional national channels, particularly HD channels.

    The easiest way to free up bandwidth is to eliminate the local MPEG-2 feeds in the smaller markets, switch the local stations over to MPEG-4, and upgrade everybody's equipment in those markets. A local channel in New York takes up the same amount of satellite bandwidth as a local channel serving a small market. It would be cost prohibitive for Directv to upgrade everybody in the New York media market, but not as much so for a smaller market.
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