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Patents Media Television The Almighty Buck

US DTV Patent Royalties Are $24–$40 262

shiroobi writes "Wow! $24-40 USD a pop? This would seem to mean that every TV is already marked up with this cost now that ATSC tuners are required. Looks like Vizio is fighting something like this already against Funai."
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US DTV Patent Royalties Are $24–$40

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  • Re:Somewhat dubious. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chabo ( 880571 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @07:42PM (#28189759) Homepage Journal

    ATSC added to the already large sum of patent royalties required. ATSC is under the "Mpeg2" header, since MPEG-2 is part of the ATSC standard. the "MPEG-LA" header is for all other licenses owned by the Licensing Authority that are required in DTVs.

    There's a thing that has nothing to do with ATSC called Wi-LAN in there too.

    Look at the chart -- Wi-LAN charges $0.65 per TV to put in a V-Chip, which is federally mandated in all new TVs.

  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @07:45PM (#28189771)
    The difference is that its not mandated by the FCC. If I want to create Bluetooth internet rather than use Wi-Fi thats perfectly fine (so long as my signal limits are good), however if I want to broadcast TV I only have one thing that I can pick from. I used to be able to choose a public-domain one (NTSC) but now it requires a patent to do the same thing. If the FCC didn't mandate that all stations (save for low-powered ones) use it, it would be a non-issue, but they do require it.
  • by tweak13 ( 1171627 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @07:56PM (#28189889)
    If you think DTV is bad, you should check out HD Radio. Rather than use one of several much more open standards available to them, the FCC requires that digital radio be in ibiquity's crappy format.

    Want to transmit in digital? You need to use ibiquity's software, there is no other option. Oh, and you owe them a few grand per year per transmitter as well. Building a receiver? You get the decoder chips from them, and pay them fees. I hear they've finally let some other companies start building chips since they've been too inept to make one that will work in a portable device.

    It's too bad, I think digital radio could be pretty valuable as far as keeping radio relevant, but the FCC decided to screw everyone instead.
  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @08:13PM (#28190047)
    That would be perfectly fine if The FCC required switching it would be a non-issue if stations could still use the NTSC standard, but the problem is they can't. When there is an open alternative available that does the same thing it should be up to the stations, not the government to decide which method to broadcast in. What this ruling has done is made anyone dependent on traditional NTSC broadcasts to put $24 or more into the hands of these patentholders at either the expense of taxpayers (with the cards) or their paycheck without it.

    If you want the government to keep a patented thing as a standard it is only fair to allow stations the economic freedom and basic right of choosing which standard to broadcast in or whether to dual-broadcast in both standards. A government should listen to the people and not mandate a standard that requires patent fees to be paid, sure, standardize it but don't mandate it whenever a viable alternative is available.
  • by binarylarry ( 1338699 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @08:14PM (#28190055)

    Are you sure you don't need to license bandwidth in that spectrum?

    Weren't google, verizon, etc. all squabbling over the freed up portion last year?

  • by dada21 ( 163177 ) <> on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @08:15PM (#28190069) Homepage Journal

    All it takes is ONE manufacturer seeing their sales slip to cut their profits. Then the rest follow.

    I've been in the wholesale, retail AND manufacturing businesses, and I can tell you that profit margins are flexible in things such as this. The moment one company does it, while still being profitable overall, they all do it.

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

    by fahrvergnugen ( 228539 ) <> on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @08:29PM (#28190181) Homepage

    DVD licensing fees are STILL quite high, and all the money goes to Toshiba, who own the patents. Toshiba's patent trolling is why blu-ray exists.

    Toshiba built HD-DVD on top of their existing patent portfolio, and unilaterally altered the rules of the trade association charged with helming DVD's future, the DVD Forum, in order to push through adoption of their arguably-inferior standard over Sony's more advanced, more open, less expensive competing proposal.

    Sony, Panasonic, and several other key players walked rather than spend another hardware generation paying through the nose to Toshiba, and formed their own standards body to back Sony's proposed spec.

    Thus the format war was born: Toshiba's standard was named HD-DVD, and Sony's Blu-Ray. For once, Sony was the company that had the widely supported, more open standard. This is why you only saw Toshiba HD-DVD players, while dozens of companies were making blu-ray players.

    Mind you, they're both closed formats, but of the two, HD-DVD was way more evil. The lesser evil definitely won in that case.

  • Re:Early adopters (Score:3, Informative)

    by socsoc ( 1116769 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @08:43PM (#28190305)

    These are fees on new televisions, so your cable subscription reference isn't relevant. Next you're gonna claim that an Electronic Waste Disposal fee that many municipalities charge on new TVs doesn't affect using your old TV with cable. No shit it doesn't...

  • by Brian Gordon ( 987471 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @08:52PM (#28190379)
    I think you're right; you can't just build a cell tower on your roof and run your own interfering service. You do need an FCC license.
  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @08:54PM (#28190399) Journal

    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.

  • by SteeldrivingJon ( 842919 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @09:09PM (#28190495) Homepage Journal

    The first US color TVs in 1954 cost the equivalent of nearly $8000 in today's money, for a 14" screen.

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @09:29PM (#28190609) Journal

    >>>After June 12, you may find that you are able to receive more channels.

    Bzzzz. I've already examined the pre and post-transition stations. NONE of my stations are boosting their levels. In fact, one of them (WBAL-DT) is actually going to a lower level such that they will disappear completely from my screen. So my channel count's going to drop even further than I indicated previously.

    Also I'm not the only one in that boat. According to's report and computer simulation, the average American home will lose 3 stations when analog stops, and about 3 million people will lose their television reception completely (no channels). For whatever reason digital is harder to receive than the old analog signal.

    Thanks Congress.

  • Re:Early adopters (Score:3, Informative)

    by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <> on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @10:16PM (#28190977) Journal

    I can see the difference in quality.

    I can't see installing Windows, and a bunch of proprietary crapware, and a new monitor, and losing all my nice mplayer keyboard shortcuts (skip 10 seconds, skip 1 minute, skip 10 minutes), then paying $30-40 a disc, and losing the ability to watch the movie if I scratch the disc, or can't find space to pack it when going on a trip...

    Contrast this to:

    I can rent a DVD for a few dollars, pop it in, rip it, return the disc, and watch it when I have time. I can rip five or ten movies and take my laptop on vacation -- which I'm sure the video store would prefer to me actually physically taking them with me, probably scratching them... I can watch them on Linux, with mplayer, with those nice keyboard shortcuts -- find my place in under a minute, and far more accurately than the appropriate "chapter".

    Or, I can get all the same features, and a beautiful high def picture, with a torrent, with the added bonus that I don't have to leave the house.

    So yeah, the other disadvantage of the cutting edge is that the DRM hasn't been completely obliterated the way it has with DVD.

  • by digitalunity ( 19107 ) <digitalunity&yahoo,com> on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @11:01PM (#28191269) Homepage

    Not exactly, regarding the stopping at the borders thing.

    US Customs does stop counterfeit product shipments, meaning products that bear the name of a registered trademark but were not produced under license or agreement with the trademark holder. This has important public safety implications. For example, and I choose this one because it happens frequently, an Asian manufacturer produces an electrical cable under the trade name of a popular cable manufacturer and ships it to the US. Unbeknown to the buyer, it might actually not meet the standards for safety for that product, such as inadequate insulation thickness leading to shock hazards in appliances.

    However, US Customs does not hold products manufactured without the required patent licenses without an injunction. For instance, a Chinese DVD player manufacturer might not have contacted the DVDCCA to license the patents. A DVDCCA representative in the US would have to go to court to get an injunction barring that company from shipping products into the US, and further, they would have to contact US Customs to enforce the injunction.

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian