Broadcasters Rip Cable on DTV Dilution
David K. Rehr, CEO of the NAB, warned that cable operators are planning to downconvert high-definition broadcast channels to standard-def. This "broadcast discrimination," he said, would give cable-owned HD channels an unfair advantage, undermining the billions spent by TV-station owners to upgrade their signals to HDTV.
Cable operators are also planning to strip out multicast channels that broadcasters piggyback onto their main channels, said Rehr. Broadcasters view these extra channels as potential sources of new revenue; cable operators see them as an uncompensated use of finite channel capacity.
Declared Rehr: "They are, in effect, stripping. They are ripping out programming." He urged broadcasters to lobby Congress and the Federal Communications Commission to protect these new "slices" of programming.