The TV Analog Spectrum Spectrum Policy Theory Runs Into Some Fairly Inconvenient Consumer Realities Preston R. Padden The Walt Disney Company February 13, 2005
Spectrum Policy Conventional Wisdom • Greedy & politically powerful broadcasters received a multi-billion spectrum giveaway. • These same broadcasters are delaying the digital transition. • The public interest would be served by setting a “hard date” in the near future to turn off the analog transmitters.
The Reality • Broadcasters did not receive a “spectrum giveaway.” • Broadcasters are not delaying the digital transition. • A “Hard Cut-Off” in the near future would be a disaster for millions of consumers.
No “Giveaway” • Virtually all TV Broadcasters purchased the spectrum they use for analog broadcasting. • The Broadcasters were loaned a second channel to transition to digital. • Broadcasters have invested $ Billions for new towers, digital transmitters, technical equipment and HDTV and multi-cast programming with no economic returns.
Broadcasters Not Delaying • 1,481 stations – covering 99% of the country – have built new digital facilities. • The delay is on the receiving end of broadcasting.
The Receiver Problem • In 1996, Congressman Markey proposed that all new TVs sold after 2000 include digital tuners. • American consumers buy 30 million TVs each year. • If Markey’s amendment had passed, there would be over 100 million digital TVs in consumers’ homes today.
The Receiver Problem • In fact, today only about 2 ½ million consumers, representing approximately 2% of U.S. households, have new TVs capable of receiving an over-the-air digital signal. • That means that if we set an imminent “hard date” to turn off the analog sets, we will turn off the TVs of millions of American consumers.
Spectrum Theory Meets Consumer Reality • Every evening millions of Americans settle into their easy chairs and watch the early evening news from their local broadcasters. • If you turn off their TVs, they are going to be angry.