DIRECTV SD / HD Changes coming (7 Viewers)

Scott Greczkowski

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Within the next month, SD-only customers and Mixed Household customers (customers having both SD and HD equipment on the same account) will receive communications (via email) to offer them an upgrade to all HD equipment at no additional cost.

In the email to customers, it states that if they choose not to upgrade, their SD equipment will still work; however, starting on July 13th, 2021, they will lose the following 8 SD channels:

  • Channel 214 – MAVTV
  • Channel 233 – GSN
  • Channel 305 – ION (east)
  • Channel 328 – TV ONE
  • Channel 339 – Fuse
  • Channel 345 – RFD TV
  • Channel 361 – AccuWeather
  • Channel 372 – Trinity Broadcasting Network
These customers will also see an OSD prompting them to upgrade from June 15 – August 15, 2021 (30 days before and after the channels are removed).

If the customer upgrades to HD equipment, these channels will be viewable in HD.

Why this happening & how it will improve the customer experience:

Signal reliability remains a top call driver and a top issue negatively impacting the customer experience.

Because HD channels on the KA band are more likely to encounter signal degradation from rain fade than channels on the KU band, there is an effort to move the top 5 HD channels over to the KU band to improve the signal reliability of those channels.

This change is expected to greatly improve the customer experience, reduce churn, and reduce the number of 771 events.

Top 5 HD Channels to move to KU band in September 2021:

  • 202 – CNN
  • 360 – FOX News
  • 312 – Hallmark
  • 229 – HGTV
  • 356 – MSNBC
 
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slice1900

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Kinda surprised that ESPN isn't one of the top 5.

Also surprised that it is really necessary to convert 8 MPEG2 SD channels to MPEG4 SD to make room for a single DVB-S2/MPEG4 transponder on 101. Why not just compress the hundreds of existing MPEG2 SD channels more?

Incentivize people to upgrade to HD by compressing them more and more until they're entirely unwatchable :)
 

HoTat2

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... Also surprised that it is really necessary to convert 8 MPEG2 SD channels to MPEG4 SD to make room for a single DVB-S2/MPEG4 transponder on 101. Why not just compress the hundreds of existing MPEG2 SD channels more?

Incentivize people to upgrade to HD by compressing them more and more until they're entirely unwatchable :)

Considering that all these SD channels have HD versions as well.

I think what DIRECTV is going to do is simply discontinue the Ku band MPEG-2 SD versions of these feeds to create the necessary bandwidth on Ku for the 5 MPEG-4 based HD channels moving down from the Ka band.



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Joe The Dragon

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Gotta say, people would be a lot happier if these weren't three of the most popular channels on TV.
well I think you can't just have CNN as then fox will be mad and you have fox and cnn then nbc will want there one there as well. But why not ESPN?? Don't have the space for ESPN / ESPN 2 / ESPN others? and they will not want just ESPN there?
 

Joe The Dragon

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Considering that all these SD channels have HD versions as well.

I think what DIRECTV is going to do is simply discontinue the Ku band MPEG-2 SD versions of these feeds to create the necessary bandwidth on Ku for the 5 MPEG-4 based HD channels moving down from the Ka band.



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They are slowly killing MPEG-2 but how many big contracts are still on the old systems? Do they have the hardware / techs to hit 75%-100% of SD subs? and no additional cost but need 2 year re-up?
 

ncted

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well I think you can't just have CNN as then fox will be mad and you have fox and cnn then nbc will want there one there as well. But why not ESPN?? Don't have the space for ESPN / ESPN 2 / ESPN others? and they will not want just ESPN there?
I just think people would be happier if they watched more ESPN, or other sports/entertainment channels, than cable "news" all the time.
 
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Inclined Orbit

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Kinda surprised that ESPN isn't one of the top 5.

Also surprised that it is really necessary to convert 8 MPEG2 SD channels to MPEG4 SD to make room for a single DVB-S2/MPEG4 transponder on 101. Why not just compress the hundreds of existing MPEG2 SD channels more?

Incentivize people to upgrade to HD by compressing them more and more until they're entirely unwatchable :)
I don't know how many SD or HD channels DTV is sticking on each transponder today but 5yrs ago they were fitting 5 HD channels on a 36MHz wide Ka transponder. The Ku transponders are narrower, around 27Mhz so you can't fit the same 5 HD channels on Ku without some serious degradation. Loosing the SD counterparts will make some room for all this to work.
 

slice1900

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Considering that all these SD channels have HD versions as well.

I think what DIRECTV is going to do is simply discontinue the Ku band MPEG-2 SD versions of these feeds to create the necessary bandwidth on Ku for the 5 MPEG-4 based HD channels moving down from the Ka band.

Yes that's obvious, what I'm asking is why? They wouldn't have to crank up the compression much to fit the existing 26 transponders worth of MPEG2 SD channels into 25 transponders, freeing one up for these five HD channels.

Sending out a notice "upgrade or you'll lose these channels that hardly anyone watches" seems silly, unless this is the first of many such notices over time. If so, it seems a strange way to migrate off MPEG2 SD.
 

slice1900

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I don't know how many SD or HD channels DTV is sticking on each transponder today but 5yrs ago they were fitting 5 HD channels on a 36MHz wide Ka transponder. The Ku transponders are narrower, around 27Mhz so you can't fit the same 5 HD channels on Ku without some serious degradation. Loosing the SD counterparts will make some room for all this to work.

The Ka transponders are 36 MHz wide, 30 MHz usable and with their typical QPSK 2/3 come out to 40 Mbps. The Ku transponders are 24 MHz wide, 20 MHz usable and with their typical QPSK 6/7 (the highest setting DSS allows) comes out to 34.3 Mbps.

I think a lot of Ka transponders have 6 HD channels these days, so they are probably figuring about 6.5 Mbps per HD channel these days.
 

HoTat2

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I don't know how many SD or HD channels DTV is sticking on each transponder today but 5yrs ago they were fitting 5 HD channels on a 36MHz wide Ka transponder. The Ku transponders are narrower, around 27Mhz so you can't fit the same 5 HD channels on Ku without some serious degradation. Loosing the SD counterparts will make some room for all this to work.
Yeah ...

The Ku DBS transponders are actually only 24 MHz wide. ...

But what I assume they'll do is use the MPEG-4 based "A3" format of course, with 8-PSK modulation. Same as they formally did for years on the now retired T7S (D7S) satellite at 119W on tp. 24 to carry four Spanish HD channels on one Ku band tp.

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HoTat2

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The Ka transponders are 36 MHz wide, 30 MHz usable and with their typical QPSK 2/3 come out to 40 Mbps. The Ku transponders are 24 MHz wide, 20 MHz usable and with their typical QPSK 6/7 (the highest setting DSS allows) comes out to 34.3 Mbps.

I think a lot of Ka transponders have 6 HD channels these days, so they are probably figuring about 6.5 Mbps per HD channel these days.
But would using 8-PSK modulation cut the required 6.5 mb/s HD data rate roughly in half or some similar?

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Inclined Orbit

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But would using 8-PSK modulation cut the required 6.5 mb/s HD data rate roughly in half or some similar?

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I kind of remember HD ran in the 8mb/s range before I retired with five channels per 36MHz Ka transponder and I thought they were running 8-PSK back then. I have the data somewhere but I'm sure many here have old and new rates if they have changed.
 

slice1900

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But would using 8-PSK modulation cut the required 6.5 mb/s HD data rate roughly in half or some similar?

The modulation raises the bitrate of the transponder, it doesn't cut the bit rate for a given HD channel - it lets you fit more channels in the transponder.

They use 8PSK 2/3 on a few Ka spotbeams, that bumps the bit rate up from 40 Mbps to 60 Mbps. You pay for it with a lower signal margin (i.e. it would show up with a lower number in the "signal strength" screen than if it was configured as QPSK 2/3) so rain fade would affect that transponder before one using QPSK 2/3.

Unless things have changed, they have always used QPSK 2/3 on all Ka transponders. There has only ever been one DVB-S2 Ku transponder (on 119) so I don't know we can use that as a guide for what modulation they'd use. They can't use QPSK 6/7 since that isn't part of the DVB-S2 spec.

If they used 8PSK 2/3 on that Ku transponder they'd get the same 40 Mbps the Ka transponders have. It would be affected by rain fade a little earlier than the DSS/MPEG2 transponders but still be more resistant to rain fade than Ka transponders. IF (and its a big if) they plan on adding more DVB-S2/MPEG4 transponders to 101 that would make the most sense, as their Ka and Ku transponders would have the exact same data rate and effectively be interchangeable.
 

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