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Broadcast, cable cos fight over downconverting


The Big Four networks appealed to Congress to stop a law that would allow cable companies to downgrade their HDTV signal to DTV. In an apparent switch from their previous stance against any converting of signals, the broadcast companies now appear willing to let cable companies convert DTV to analog after the OTA switchover for customers without digital cable converters. However, they are against allowing cable downconversion because they apparently fear cable companies would offer only DTV versions of their HDTV broadcast, and highlight cable stations high definition channels. More disturbing to us are their unspecified oppositions to what they call "broad" exceptions to the broadcast flag.

All in all, we can probably look forward to more turmoil and delays before a digital switchover occurs. Still, we don't understand why the cable companies would want to downrez HDTV to DTV and not provide HD signals, but they've done sillier things (*cough* overcompression *cough*) before.

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