Rant of the day

2old4this

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#1
European providers in adopting proprietary formats and prohibiting sale of subscriptions/services outside their respective national boundaries are in clear breach of at least the spirit if not the word of two pieces of European legislation:
(1) the Treaty of Rome, which guarantees free availability of the media, and
(2) EEC commerce laws guaranteeing freedom of movement of goods/services within the EU.

It is absurd that providers can continue with impunity to blatently flout those laws, and ironic that they should at the same time be seeking to criminilise any activity aimed at circurmventing their illegally imposed restrictions.
How would EEC citizens & politicians react if, for example, the French were forbidden from purchasing Volkswagen cars, or the Dutch from listening to Beatles records, or the British from staying in Spanish hotels? These are all cross-border EEC trading issues, just as the provision of Satellite services is.

Sky is the worst offender of the lot. While claiming to be acting in the best interests of their customers, they have actually succeeded in cutting them off from any other (comnpeting...) satellite service now or in the future. This they have achieved by virtue of their total control on encryption technology, software & hardware design, sales, distribution & installation of systems.

It would be now almost impossible for any other satellite service to compete in the UK market - even if they were prepared to give away the box & dish.

First, a competing service would need to use the same orbital slot since (a) the Sky "minidish" is unsuitable for multiple-LNB reception, and is even too small for reliable reception of any single beams other than those of the high-power Astra2 transponders; and (:cool: UK legislation forbids the erection of multiple dishes without planning permission.

Second, since most Sky Digital viewers apparently find it too much trouble even to switch from Digibox to analogue TV for ITV, they are hardly likely to embrace having to switch to a different satellite receiver for another provider's service. But they would have no choice, since Sky refuses to make their Digiboxes capable of handling multiple encryption systems... they have wilfully and cynically designed their hardware to be incompatible with other services. Even non-EPG FTA channels are enabled merely as an afterthought in the woefully inadequate "other channels" feature. What's more, to complete the stranglehold, they have set up their service to be incompatible with other hardware. In order to watch Sky Digital one has no choice but to purchase bespoke Sky Digital hardware (from Sky!).

In fact, even a provider which dutifully transmits from the right (Astra2) satellite, and contrives to stay within those parameters that the Digibox can cope with (multiplexed ku-band signal, restricted symbol-rates, restricted FEC, Videoguard encryption, etc.) will still find that they are relegated to the unwieldy "other channels" facility unless they also pay large sums of money to Sky for inclusion in their EPG. And pay even larger amounts of money if they want to have any specific particular number in the EPG (perhaps desirable to avoid disappearing into obscurity somewhere near the bottom - especially given that digibox offers no facilty to the customer for re-sequencing the channels to personal preference).

I am constantly astonished that the UK government, with grand bodies and legislation designed to break down monopolies, has allowed this situation to arise, and indeed that the European Monopolies Commission has turned a blind eye to it too.

The only reason Sky or any other provider gets away with such a cavalier attitude is that no-one has yet had the resources or political will to challenge them (they are large, powerful corporations).

But the process may be starting. Several countries have now forced providers to adopt more open/interoperable standards for their transmissions & boxes - the parallel in the UK would be that Sky be forced to relinquish their proprietary rights on the encryption & hardware, so that consumers wanting to access other non-Sky satellite services would not be forced to use multiple receivers.
After all, DVB and Common Interface standards were created in the first place not as an intellectual exercise, but to harmonise (and therefore safeguard) the industry - for the benefit of both providers AND customers.

Anyone still having difficulty seeing the issue here should imagine what would happen were each terrestrial broadcaster to adopt their own unique transmission format. In order to receive the five or six domestic channels most countries enjoy, each viewer would need five or six different types of TV.
Few people would find that an acceptable state of affairs, and indeed to my knowledge it has never been allowed to arise.

Why then do so many of us accept so readily exactly the same fragmented and exclusive situation with respect to the satellite industry?

And why are so many consumer organisations across Europe, who normally need very little excuse to kick up a rumpuss, silent on this issue?

Your thoughts?
 
V

ViperSan

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#2
Nice Rant....
and entirely justified methinks...
I agree with all the points you make so passionately...and yes Im inclined to think we Brits are entirely too insular and made more-so by the impositions you mentioned,both by the powers that be ....and the multinational companies...whos job it seems is to protect our morals and exposure to those 'pesky foreigners'...
Personally I want it to be my decision as to what equipment I buy,whether or not I wish to view continental programming material....and if I find the sight of a couple engaging in what is after all a perfectly normal act...morally disturbing and upsetting...
You would think as the UK is dragged kicking and screaming further into Europe with the iminent conversion of currency and the ever thinning boudries between ourselves and European counterparts...that the govt would be encouraging our exposure to other cultures and 'ways of life'..
but it seems ,I, like many others need protecting and are not yet ready to think for ourselves..
c'est la vie
sarcastically
ViperSan
 

rolfw

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#3
Crumbs........I'm glad I didn't get in your bad books today 2old. :)

I heartily agree with every word you say and am only upset that I couldn't have put it so eloquently.

When you look at the political history, Murdoch and his media organs actively supported the conservative party when the system was proposed, he then miraculously changed horses when it looked like the labour party were in the ascendent at the election before last. Speaks for itself I feel.

Rolf
 

w hole

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#4
Hello OM

As I said to you on another forum recently, this *is* a political question.

Rolf has the answer as to how it came about.

I read somewhere that KRM was one of the first people to get in to No. 11 after the recent elections.

There is a further 'opportunity' on the horizon for them, if they can now force ONDigital out of the picture, in the way that they throttled the Square Aerial people.

The answer as far as what can be done about it is a lot more difficult.

Those people at Sky are very cunning, very farsighted, and are never to be underestimated, in essence they are very good at their job.

They do nothing without a reason, and nothing that has not been thought out many steps ahead. - I don't play chess nowadays, but I guess they would be up there with the champions.

You are quite right to 'Rant Rant against the closing of *this* day'.


Kind regards


W Hole


PS I was a bit worried last night to see Bayeriches on 11837 came up as 'scrambled' on my set. It seems to be OK again now, anyone know what happened?
 
G

geo

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#5
wow....thats one hell of a rantI hope you dont mind but ive posted your "summing up" on sathackro msg board. the more people that read it the better.....regards geo
 

2old4this

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#6
Do not go gentle into that subscription,
Rage, rage against the rising of encryption.

2old
PS Throttled the squarial people? Shome mishtake shurely. British Satellite Broadcasting and Sky merged as equals to become BSkyB.
PPS: did you know squarials are still produced and marketed as high-tech stuff?
 

w hole

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#7
Hello OM

I'm not to sure how serious you are regarding the Square chappies, but if there had been some Govmt. intervention or support at the time, KRM would not have been able to secure his private monopoly of the Clarke Belt(UK).

I put this down to that Govmt. (Blue), who wanted the support of his gutter paper at that time.

Later on the emerging 'new' party sold out to him to get the support of that same gutter.

Remember that strange journey that Mr B. made to Aussie to meet with him? No one could quite make out why at the time.

If you want to go back even further, who was it who allowed him to break the rules of the day to get control of the Times AND the Sun.

This is a very involved argument, and it depends which angle you are looking at it from, but in esseence it is a Power Game, and the customers/viewer is only a pawn.

I must say that I have great admiration for the German system, it is free to view all over the continent (fortunatley including GB/UK) carries a wide variety of programming, much of which is actually enlightening, which is far more than can be said of most of the output from E28 (including the BBC at the moment I'm sorry to say)(Perhaps Mr Dyke will offer some hope - perhaps not).

I do feel pessimistic overal about the future, and it is my belief that even the Internet will eventually become controlled by the 'few'.

Not as it exists at the moment, because I belive that it genuinley caught 'them' by surprise, but the 'broadband' aspect will I fear become 'controlled'.

It is probably a case of enjoy what you have while you are lucky enough to have it.

I know this is a pessimistic outlook, but with 4:2:2 becoming more widespread, we are loosing many of those great feeds we have be lucky enough to see, and the outlook for 'broadcast' TV is not really much more encouraging.

We do need to RAGE and RAGE and RAGE, but will that be enough?

Perhaps we need to go off into the mountains and prepare ourselves for combat, but in this electronic age, where are the mountains?

I'm afraid you have raised a very red flag in front of this bull, but I doubt that a full head on charge will be the most effective course of action.

Now that's two of us who have had a chance to get it off our chest, are we alone?

Kind regards and 73s

W Hole
 

BarMoo

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#8
I was offline when you first wrote your rant; however, I'm back.

In short, there will be a day (through legislation hopefully) that people owning a DVB box and, I mean any DVB box, will be able to insert their Videoguard CAM and card and recieve the SKY bucket and all that comes with it.

It gives the consumer the choice of receiver, in the same way that we enjoy buying a TV set and, at the same time, enables us to subscribe to the channel/bouquet that we want.

Sorry. Just woken-up.

Why do I have a Nokia MM9800 with an embedded cam for something (as yet) I can't subscribe to.

My belated rant will continue. I have to pop out now, but, I shall return.

Have Fun,

MARK.
 

w hole

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#9
Hello Mark

My guess is that you and I will also be 2OLD by the time that this happens.

Hope I am wrong.

Regards

W Hole
 
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