[mythtv-users] Some readers may find the following UK events of interest was US Pay-TV loses subscribers for the first time ever
anothersname at googlemail.com
Wed Aug 25 06:58:24 UTC 2010
In the UK there are a number but linkable events happening that may
well change the shape of TV delivery.
To give people a frame of reference though a little bit of background
may be useful.
In the UK TV delivery can be broken down into 5 current delivery mechanisms.
1. Analogue TV Delivery via your antenna. This will be phased out by
2012 under what's known as Digital Switch Over (DSO). Certain TV
networks in the UK (BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five) have a 'public service'
remit and in return for that remit they are 'gifted' certain frequency
allocation in return for guaranteeing a certain amount of their
programming is news, documentaries etc....
This was historically the dominant form of TV delivery in the UK.
2. Freeview via your antenna. Freeview will replace analogue by 2012
and provides about 30 'real' and then a further slug of infomercial/TV
Selling, Community, specialist channels. Freeview will also deliver 5
HD channels under DVB-T2. The vast majority of Freeview programming
is non chargeable however via either TopUp-TV or ESPN you can also buy
extra sports or general entertainment channels. Freeview will be
available to over 90% of the population by the time of DSO completion.
3. Freesat via satellite dish. Mostly the same channels that are
available via Freeview above. This stations are mostly sent FTA and
are for individuals who for whatever reason cannot get Freeview.
4. Virgin Media Cable.
Currently has about 3.6m subscribers, in reality currently the only
cable delivery service in the UK. Cost for basic service and Cable
Broadband delivery is about £60 ($90) per month for a full service
delivery of a 20Mb Fibre Optic connection, phone line with unlimited
evening and weekend calls to national landlines and 160+ Digital TV
Channels including HD channels. To add the main Sports Channels look
to add about £20 ($30) per month.
5. Sky Satellite TV
Currently has about 9m subscribers (although this is a bit of a fudged
number). They also own a Broadband ISP delivery company.
Costs for TV only with a full package of Movie and Sport channels is
about £60 ($90) per month, if you take phone and ISP bundles look to
bump the price up to about £80 ($120) per month. Sky again have an
effective monopoly of TV delivery in the UK, they are Murdoch
Sky aggressively control both the delivery platform and Sports rights
to a large amount of UK sport, they in effect use Sports Rights to
force consumers to buy their total package. However due to recent
rulings Sky are now being forced to offer those Sports rights to
competitors at fixed prices.
The change that's happening comes in two parts.
1. Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) and Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) will
be rolled out by British Telecom (BT) over the next 3-4 years. This
will allow the majority of households to access Broadband speeds of
between 40 and 100 Mbps. BT may well be forced to offer the
infrastructure to other providers at a fixed cost so consumers even
using a different ISP will have access to the technology.
2. Project Canvas will be a new TV delivery platform using the
Internet for IPTV delivery services, it could (and likely should) be
argued that project canvas is an attempt by the non-Sky TV companies
to break Sky's hold on the TV delivery infrastructure. With bandwidth
of 40Mbps you could deliver 4-5 HD channels simultaneously using H264.
So it's possible that from say 2012 there will start to be in place a
new national TV delivery mechanism in the UK. Now whether this will
affect pricing remains to be seen, however it will allow content
providers another route to market rather then the dominant
mechanism(s) currently provided only by Virgin Media and Sky.
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