Your assumption is correct. Dish Network does NOT seem in a hurry, and they have made excuses about EVERY single HD channel currently out there. I would love Starz! HD the most out of any of the premium HD services, but Dish just doesn't want anything unless their line-up is completely unique from ANYTHING else.
Dish networks concept of trying to offer something for every imaginable taste, and with a focus on providing more local network feeds, and an ever-expanding menu of
international programming does'nt leave alot of available "bandwidth" for adding more
HD channels........compelling or otherwise. Only adding more satellite capacity or future
compression techniques will likely result in more HDTV programming. I think Charlie is
focused on changing some existing laws that prohibit the re-transmission of "Distant
network feeds" that would enable satellite providers to offer subscribers who cannot
recieve HD OTA signals(customers who live outside metro broadcast locations)
to subscribe to HD network feeds of the four major networks.......similar to what they
are currently doing with CBSHD from New York and Los Angeles, but more people would qualify. If he is successful, that would most likely be the next addition to the HD lineup.
Adding HD networks would mean 7 channels (6 (NBC, ABC, FOX, WB, UPN, PBS) + CBS). But they would need at least east & west channels. That would mean 12 more HD channels capacity. (They already have CBS HD east & west) My understanding is that you can at best fit 3 HD channels per transponder. Thus need ~4 transponders available. These channels could only be offered in less than 15% of population who cannot receive OTA digital stations.
However, they would currently make more money via new & current subscribers offering locals packages to everyone. The FCC is requiring the DBS companies to gear up to offer locals in all 210 DMAs. Dish has about 115 now. Thus they need capacity to still offer 95 more locals markets with at least 475 to 665 local SD channels!!!!!!!
I currently receive my HD channels from the satellites 148 and 110. I live on the west coast. Charlie has several birds orbiting above. I can't understand why he wouldn't want to devote broader bandwidth for HD now by converting. By converting the transponders/spot-beams to HD bandwidth, say a channel or two a month, he would have happier HD customers. More HD and less SD which would make it more appealing for consumers and providers to upgrade sooner. For the few HD channels that are currently available , the monthly rate is high. If HD is going to become the standard, I think that the price should more fairly fit the current SD pricing structure. During Charlie's last chat, he did state that there wasn't much of anything out there for HD that is different (more or less). This also applies to what is available in in SD. SD has lots of channels that are duplications, repeats, and same type programming. If something is in HD, get it to us in HD. Keep the current HD package cost the same, make fewer SD, so by 2006, a fairly priced HD package is standard. For those that still have SD, who don't want to upgrade to HD, can then pay more a month for the remaining SD channels. Also, I think that caution is in order for compression. It sounds like it may be necessary for the HD with the amount of beams available. I'm afraid that like SD the compression of HD will degrade the quality of the picture. More orbiting satellites may be a better solution.