Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

US DTV Patent Royalties Are $24–$40

Comments Filter:
  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @07:37PM (#28189707)
    If the FCC mandates that all television must be broadcast in digital they either A) Need to remove that requirement, B) Have someone invalidate the patent or C) Buy the patent and release it to the public. This is nothing more than government assisted extortion.
  • Somewhat dubious. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @07:37PM (#28189709)
    MPEG is counted twice. There's a thing that has nothing to do with ATSC called Wi-LAN in there too. Wonder how useful the table is in practice?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @07:47PM (#28189795)

    Those are all "optional" services and technologies. Over-the-air television is completely different.

    This is what happens when money-grubbing for-profit entities dictate what becomes "standards". For that amount of 'control' over the process, the patent holders should've been required to give the patents to the public.

  • by TinBromide (921574) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @07:49PM (#28189821)
    1) Develop semi-public transmission protocol and patent it
    2) Convince/Lobby/Bribe FCC to require your protocol/device to be sole method of data transmission for a widely used and veeery popular (populous?) medium
    3) Profit!

    Oh Sorry, I forgot the ??? Step, guess there isn't one in this corrupt equation.
  • um what? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @07:54PM (#28189859)
    This has to be the worst summary I've seen on slashdot. I'm sure if I had any clue wtf it was talking about it might be alright, but that's not the point of a summary now is it?
  • by Obfuscant (592200) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @07:54PM (#28189861)
    Those are all "optional" services and technologies. Over-the-air television is completely different.

    How is watching over-the-air TV anything BUT optional?

    OTH, how do you use 3g technology without paying some "money grubbing for-profit" enterprise?

  • by pete-classic (75983) <hutnick@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @07:54PM (#28189871) Homepage Journal

    Buy the patent and release it to the public.

    Can you elaborate a bit on how this is better than the current licensing scheme? Perhaps there would be some economy of scale, giving the public a better overall price. But it's even less fair in the sense that the cost would have to be borne equally (as tax burden) by someone who buys many ATSC tuners and someone who buys none!

    This is nothing more than government assisted extortion.

    But buying patents with Federal funds is preferable?

    -Peter

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @07:56PM (#28189887)

    If the FCC mandates that all television must be broadcast in digital they either A) Need to remove that requirement, B) Have someone invalidate the patent or C) Buy the patent and release it to the public. This is nothing more than government assisted extortion.

    Or require that the patent be licensed on reasonable & non-discriminatory terms. Which seems to be the case.

  • by iamacat (583406) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @08:04PM (#28189965)

    It is well established that public airwaves are subject to strict regulation, for example to exclude obscenity. It doesn't make sense to allow private entities to charge fees of their choosing to anyone who wants to receive these airwaves. It would be fine to patent one particular implementation of the decoder, but not all or most realistic implementations. The standard should have been chosen with royalty-free interoperability in mind. Now that the die is cast, the patents involved should be nationalized under eminent domain and owner compensated for development expenses and risks, but not $25 for every TV in America.

  • Early adopters (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fermion (181285) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @08:06PM (#28189979) Homepage Journal
    This was, I recall, the situation with DVD. IIRC, there was a time when the licensing fees were high, and combined with the fact it was new techology, these things were quite expensive. Then quite suddenly, they became cheap. Now everyone wants us to buy the expensive HDTV and Bluray. People even say a computer is junk without a bluray, and as a toy it probably is.

    I don't know if there is a real issue here. I don't know if the converter boxes have to pay the license fee, if they do it is certainly at the low end. I don't suspect you have to pay the fee to cable companies to use your old tv. This seems to be the case of early adopters paying to adopt early.

  • by ragefan (267937) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @08:11PM (#28190037)

    And if the gov't does remove these license fees, which of the following do you think is more likely to happen? Every manufacturer lowers the cost of their products by $25 to $40, or just pockets the money and the consumer continues paying the same amount for the TV as though nothing changed.

  • by retchdog (1319261) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @08:17PM (#28190085) Journal

    They could try to keep the money, but they'll change their tune quick when the flood of cheap Chinese knockoffs for $40 cheaper shows up.

    Under patent laws, such imports are (in principle) stopped at the border.

    I think the consumer would find a differential fairly quickly.

  • Re:Early adopters (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Archon V2.0 (782634) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @08:27PM (#28190163)

    People even say a computer is junk without a bluray, and as a toy it probably is.

    Show me these people. I wish to mock them. Seriously, a Blu-ray drive is about seven times the cost of a plain ol' DVD drive, and doesn't really come with a lot of advantages. Sure, you can play a Blu-ray disk. Except for this one fellow I know who found that his drive could only play SOME disks. Solution? Wait for a firmware upgrade. And wait. And wait. At least he hadn't bought an HD-DVD drive, right?

    The prime disadvantage of the cutting edge is that sometimes you get cut. Once Blu-ray gets cheap and the drive quality levels out more, it might be worth it. But even then, some people just can't see any difference in quality and thus no reason to go Blu-ray. And then there's people like me, who use their DVD drives for burning data disks only.

  • by Eil (82413) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @08:30PM (#28190201) Homepage Journal

    If the FCC mandates that all television must be broadcast in digital they either A) Need to remove that requirement, B) Have someone invalidate the patent or C) Buy the patent and release it to the public. This is nothing more than government assisted extortion.

    Yes, and it's a shame that practically nobody realized this until these systems were already rolled out.

    Europe, Russia, India, Australia, and China have been using DVB-T for their digital broadcast television. Support for DVB hardware in free operating systems like Linux is already in-place and also covers digital satellite and digital cable (DVB-S and DVB-C, respectively) because the standards are so similar.

    I guess using existing, deployed, open standards would have just made too much sense.

  • by westlake (615356) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @08:32PM (#28190211)

    I used to be able to choose a public-domain one (NTSC) but now it requires a patent to do the same thing.

    NTSC is RCA television - and remained RCA through the introduction of color. There were significant bit players like DuMont in the early days, of course. But Sarnoff held all the cards which mattered. You can call NTSC "public domain" if you like, but the realities of patents, tech, politics and power were perfectly clear at the time.

  • by dgatwood (11270) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @08:33PM (#28190225) Journal

    HD radio is not mandated. It is approved. There's no phase-out of analog AM or FM planned, and the non-hybrid HD radio has not been approved, AFAIK. Also, there are dozens of approved FM sideband formats out there, from traffic radio to pagers, and there's nothing stopping you from proposing a competing digital radio sideband standard. For that matter, I think you can already use the the FMeXtra standard as an alternative (at least on the FM band), but I'm not positive about that.

    Either way, the HD radio story is a far cry from mandating that the old standard must go away by a particular date so everyone is forced to buy the hardware in question. There's still plenty of time to come up with a better digital radio standard.

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @08:36PM (#28190247) Journal

    Number of stations I received via analog: 25 (across three markets - Baltimore, Harrisburg, Philly)

    Number of stations with digital: 12

    I basically lost half my entertainment. Yes some of the analog signals may have degraded to black-and-white over 80 miles distance, but at least I could still catch the football or baseball game, whereas with digital I merely see a blank screen! :-( Thanks FCC and Congress for giving me less variety. This could easily be fixed if they boosted the digital signal to match the power level of analog signals (basically twice current DTV levels), but they won't bother to do that.

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @08:43PM (#28190303)
    But today in 2009 NTSC is effectively public domain especially when compared to DTV. Also NTSC was really the only standard* for TV at the time it was created, whereas stations now are being forced to convert to DTV when NTSC which costs less for everyone is available.

    *NTSC was really about the only color TV standard at the time, both PAL and SECAM were still being developed
  • Re:Early adopters (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @08:44PM (#28190313)

    This was, I recall, the situation with DVD. IIRC, there was a time when the licensing fees were high, and combined with the fact it was new techology, these things were quite expensive.

    The prices didn't really come down until very recently. [dvd6cla.com] The 4C (DRM) and 6C (various DVD stuff) and MPEG-LA patents still aren't terribly cheap. What happened is that the chinese manufacturers ignored the patents. Because part of the patent licensing agreements is enforcement of anti-consumer stuff (like non-skippable advertisements, upscaling without DRM, etc) these chinese players also dumped the anti-consumer parts too, making the cheapest players on the market also the most functional.

  • by RubberDogBone (851604) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @08:49PM (#28190353)

    Do a rescan on June 12 when all of them go to full digital and begin DTV broadcasts on new frequencies and higher power levels. After June 12, you may find that you are able to receive more channels.

    If not, try a better antenna. If that doesn't work, then get upset. But at least wait until June 12 to write it off.

    FWIW, I used to live in Baltimore but WDCA-20 was what we watched, with rabbit ears and and old UHF loop antenna. It may have had snow and static but we liked it better than channel 45. Fun memories.

    It's kinda sad that kids coming up now won't know about those experiences. First TVs came with blue screens to politely mask the static and hidden faint signals, and now, there won't really be any faint signals. No more catching the show on the distant TV station because your local one won't carry it. It's a shame.

  • by Miseph (979059) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @09:01PM (#28190439) Journal

    You are incorrect. A radio tower able to do 3g strength broadcast over 100 acres will almost certainly need an FCC license to be legal. I suppose that if you live far enough into the sticks, were very careful not to cause any sort of interference on on local radio transmissions (including any local HAMs) and simply neglected to tell anyone about it you might be able to fly under the radar, but that doesn't make it legal, just difficult to regulate.

    Anyway, provided you DID have the proper FCC licenses to operate a large range broadband broadcast tower, there wouldn't be any FCC regulation with regard to whether you used CDMA, GSM, iDEN, WiMax, or shoe polish to broadcast it... so long as you didn't broadcast outside of your allotted frequency or power range.

  • by SteeldrivingJon (842919) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @09:03PM (#28190463) Homepage Journal

    "This is what happens when money-grubbing for-profit entities dictate what becomes "standards". For that amount of 'control' over the process, the patent holders should've been required to give the patents to the public."

    They developed it, they deserve to profit. Some giant electronics company who wants to make TVs doesn't deserve to profit from another company's engineering without compensating the original developer.

    Sorry, that's just how it is.

  • by Shatrat (855151) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @09:08PM (#28190485)
    Mod parent up.
    I think the slashdot crowd is so used to talking about monopolistic markets they've forgotten how most commodity markets with actual competition work.
  • Re:Makes Sense Now (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SteeldrivingJon (842919) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @09:29PM (#28190603) Homepage Journal

    "I suspect that has more to do with VHS being a legacy tech then the license fees. Try buying a dvd recorder or a DVR without an ATSC tuner."

    Hell, try finding a VHS tape storage rack. I've been looking for one to organize bare SATA drives, but they're nowhere to be found.

  • by Keys1337 (1002612) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @09:31PM (#28190619)

    The government is footing the bill for the patent fees. The consumer then pays the actual cost of the device.

    This kind of retarded thinking is sadly much too common. The question of how all this gov't idiocy actually gets funded seems to escape most people.

  • by mwooldri (696068) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @09:44PM (#28190725)
    If the FCC standard chosen actually worked for VHF then that would be true. Low VHF (i.e. between channels 2 and 6 inclusive) is actually not very good for the 8-VSB modulation method. The complaints I hear are from TV DX reception enthusiasts and they're talking about their LOCAL stations... TV DX enthusiasts are more than likely to have decent receiving equipment and antenna installations, and they're having problems with the low-VHF signals. High VHF is better but is still more susceptible to interference compared to a UHF signal.

    The main advantage to ATSC is its power requirements - i.e. more bang for the watt.

    DVB-T has a nice capability that ATSC doesn't and that is its design to use different modulation techniques - QPSK, 16-QAM or 64-QAM. This allows a broadcaster to choose between a more robust signal with a lower bitrate, or a higher bitrate with more programming but a more sensitive signal. Also DVB-T can support single-frequency networks, which ATSC cannot. However DVB-T has been improved and there's DVB-T2, along with Mpeg4 will allow for 3 HD channels to be broadcast on a 8Mhz TV frequency.
  • by N!NJA (1437175) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @09:45PM (#28190747)

    the "consumer" and the "taxpayer" are the same entity. therefore, the consumer *is* paying for the patents.

  • by barzok (26681) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @09:50PM (#28190777)

    Your B&W TV (or radio) didn't quit working because color TVs came out.

    On June 12 (unless it's delayed again), your analog OTA TV receiver becomes a brick.

  • by SteeldrivingJon (842919) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @09:52PM (#28190807) Homepage Journal

    "On June 12 (unless it's delayed again), your analog OTA TV receiver becomes a brick."

    Most people have cable. That remains an option if you want to keep your old TV and not buy a digital tuner.

  • by moosesocks (264553) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @11:50PM (#28191567) Homepage

    DVB-T wouldn't work properly in the mostly-rural U.S. The standard chosen by the FCC can broadcast 100-150 miles (via VHF) with about half the power requirement of DVB.

    Argentina, Uruguay, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Norway, Russia, Sweden, Australia, New Zeland, Saudi Arabia, and Namibia all have a lower population density than the continental United States, and have adopted DVB-T for broadcasting.

    We can expand this list further if we include areas that have a slightly higher density than the US. We can expand this list way further if we exclude areas that are virtually uninhabited (less than 0.5 people per square mile).

    The "most of the US is rural" argument is complete and total bullshit. I can't get good TV reception (NTSC or ATSC) or good cellular service in New Jersey, which is *far* more densely populated than any European nation.* It took an age and a half for us to get decent broadband as well.

    *Excluding micronations. In fact, the only nations that are larger than 1,000km^2 (roughly the size of New York City) and more dense than New Jersey are Bangladesh, Taiwan, Mauritius, and South Korea.

  • by CrashNBrn (1143981) on Wednesday June 03, 2009 @12:54AM (#28191981)
    Perhaps, but all this patent nonsense - whenever and wherever it comes up - reminds me of a documentary I seen on the creator of Pong and video game consoles in the 70s and early 80s.

    It was mentioned numerous times about "knock-offs" flooding the market, so then the company in question would do the crazy thing and "innovate" to release something better.

    In todays day and age, they just sue the knock-offs.
  • by westlake (615356) on Wednesday June 03, 2009 @01:37AM (#28192183)

    And when "RCA television" was adopted, it was market driven.

    Market driven?

    What the heck does that mean?

    There had been experimental broadcasts of mechanical television when Harding was President. All-electronic television takes recognizable shape with Philo Farnsworth in the mid-thirties.

    But if you are talking about a driving - relentless - force to get radio and TV into every American home, to define the standards for radio and TV broadcasting - in technology and in content - you are talking about RCA and NBC.

    From 1954 to 1965 the color TV set was an RCA TV set. The only network with a regular schedule of color broadcasts, NBC.

  • by hplus (1310833) on Wednesday June 03, 2009 @02:02AM (#28192295)
    Public notices are often transmitted via OTA TV, which has lead to it being considered non-optional. I don't think that all of these notices (school closings, weather warnings, etc)are even broadcast via radio anymore, making TV or the internet the only way to receive them.

After an instrument has been assembled, extra components will be found on the bench.

Working...