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Satellite pirates soon to be a dying breed?

A News.com readers says the phenomenon of satellite-dish users grabbing TV shows from the skies for free is nothing new--and is hardly worth getting worked up over now.


Satellite pirates soon to be a dying breed?

In response to the May 24 article "Net pirates nab TV episodes from the sky":

This story makes a mountain out of a very old and small molehill.

Anyone with a C-band satellite dish can watch network and independent programs (like Disney, 4MC and others) when these are sent to affiliates. Some of these shows are a couple of weeks ahead of scheduled broadcast, some just a few hours. Most of the programs are on a set schedule, same time and day, and except for the daylight-saving time changes can reliably be seen. There is no TV Guide for this and no commercials, either (for the most part; you may get the complete blank air time in which commercials would be added or the programmers show a log of inserts or program run times).

Some networks have gone to the digital satellites, which C-band cannot receive, and others, like ABC, have started to scramble their signals. It is interesting to watch news stories broadcast with raw footage and raw reporter voice-overs. And true, you can get raw live or live, between-commercials audio/visual on many national sporting broadcasts (watching the stadium fill up for two hours before broadcast). It is amazing how many local professional broadcasting teams have negative comments about the home team/players that they would never say on the air. And it was fascinating to find out what MNF broadcaster likes SnackWells all throughout the broadcast.

The expanding use of digital broadcasts makes this a dying technology. I would venture that within five years C-band will be the province of adult programming and small independent and public access-produced programs. Then maybe NASA, or someone, will go up and clear the sky (safely) of these obsolete dinosaurs--probably with the same efficiency as with all the nuclear power plants that are now approaching 40 years old will have to be cleared (mothballed) and deactivated, in the next 10 years, as their containment buildings become too fragile to contain (radiation does that to reinforced concrete).

Who is going to pay for that trillion-dollar job? Probably the same guys who will remove those obsolete geo-sync satellites.

Robert Elliott
Payson, Ariz.