I hope some of the modifications to the SHVIA Act in 2004 will allow satellite companies to provide the same DMA markets that cable can in that cable companies can deliver channels not only within the DMA but from a neighboring DMA as well.
There is so much to be said about this topic it would take me pages to say it all. I'll address two things only for now.
I believe there will be a change in that both cable and satellite companies will be mandated to provide all State stations even if you are not in that DMA. So in, say Connecticut if you live in the New York DMA you will get the Connecticut stations. Weather you still get your DMA stations in this type of situation I have no idea. I am not saying this is a good or bad idea, just that I think it will happen. If there are more than one of each network stations in the State, then the closet one to you would be provided. Along with this I unfortunatly expect the networks to get together and make it so you cannot get distant nets if satellite carries your locals.
What should happen, is for there to be an avenue to get distants no matter your reception of locals. Seems to me this would be possible. If say Dish wanted to continue to provide the several distants they do now, or even add some, why not have it work like this: First, you must subscribe to the locals of your DMA (or State) if available Second, then be given the choice to get other distants (as many as you want) Third, built into the cost of getting each distant, is a fee to your locals to make up for the lost advertising to you. (Which they say is why they do not want you to get distants) If they just think about this a little, they may actually make money. You may watch some advertising especially around news time and buy the product or go to that store, while the station is getting that fee they otherwise would not have. And if you have to pay the fee for each distant station, again that is income they would no be getting. I have posted many times (first in DBSTALK) about this subject. It really bothers me that it is mandated you cannot get any station you want even if a provider is willing to give it to you. I understand the economics of it, that is why I suggested the above. Just for good measure, I will also say I am very much against AM radio going digital. This is one of the few ways to hear what is going on in other parts of the Country, to get the flavor of other regions. Going digital will take away signals bouncing off the atmosphere allowing you to hear distant radio stations. Sorry, I'm done now.
I believe that the offering of the same DMA's that cable can offer will be brought up by Dish Network and/or DirecTV and also the distant networks will not be allowed to be purchased if you can receive your local networks unless they do come up with something as Tampa8 mentioned.