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PART EIGHT - What is the Future for TVRO? It seems as though consumer TVRO is at a critical crossroads. In the mid-1990's, the TVRO scene made (for better or for worse) the often uncertain transition into digital satellite reception. This was also the same time period that direct broadcast satellite (DBS) was introduced and became wildly popular. Your "average Joe" couch potato TV viewer saw DBS as the answer to "getting hundreds of channels" with equipment costs lower than those of TVRO, simpler installation, and better picture quality than that of cable television. Not to mention, it is "digital", so it HAS to be good, right? DBS may prove to be a worse adversary to big dish satellite usage than cable television ever was. Although those who know better know the technological cons of DBS, such as the perils of the overuse of digital compression, no choice of programming providers, digital artifacting, rain fade and proprietary technologies, this has little or no meaning to "average Joe" couch potato TV viewer. He (or she, of course! "Jo" for her..) only cares that he gets ESPN, Discovery Channel, CNN, and other popular cable/satellite networks with easy channel surfing. Experimentation, wild feeds, different modes of broadcasting, and programming found nowhere else are foreign concepts to "Joe". DBS, by being smaller and newer than TVRO, along with "being digital" as a popular marketing catch-phrase, works hard to present the image that TVRO is simply "old, outdated satellite TV". This narrow-minded stereotypical TV viewer is becoming the majority and therefore speaks the loudest with his dollars. Cable television is an already entrenched force in influencing what you watch, and the two American DBS companies are not too far behind. Worse, the DBS companies are buddying up with some of the fewer remaining TVRO/C-Band subscription programming suppliers to try to force TVRO viewers to switch to DBS, often using outrageous technological and financial claims, not to mention outright lies. It isn't that large strides haven't been made by the U.S. Government to encourage choice in the source of one's television (and audio) programming, it is simply that big dish satellite has become the unfortunate victim of unfounded notions of being an outdated technology simply one the premise that if it isn't new, it must be outdated. One could argue, using an automotive comparison, that this is like saying that a 2001 Volkswagen Beetle or Chrysler PT Cruiser are "better cars" than a 1966 Ford Mustang or a 1972 Chevrolet Nova simply because they are more modern. Like the TVRO versus DBS debate, this type of oversimplistic comparison does not allow for true analysis of what each is and is not. TVRO is also the victim of being a more involved and complicated to use product than the mass-produced, smaller DBS systems such as DirecTV and DISH Network. Basically, TVRO is becoming more and more for just those with technical and experimental persuasions, not unlike the early days of TVRO. Someday, traditional subscription programming will either disappear from TVRO or simply become more and more expensive like it already is with cable TV programming. More and more equipment is also becoming necessary to get what is still out there, such as 4DTV receivers or sidecars, DVB/MPEG-2 free-to-air receivers and the like. In the future, an investment in even more equipment, such as expensive commercial DVB/MPEG-2 receivers with QPSK, 8PSK, and 16QAM modulation and 4:2:2 screen ratio will be needed just to maintain the level of programming choice TVRO viewers are used to. Although these changes in technology don't discourage diehard TVRO enthusiasts, it has the unfortunate effect of making TVRO an increasingly less attractive consumer product. Luckily, diehard TVRO viewers are a hardy lot and a mostly intelligent group overall. TVRO viewers know the technical advantages of TVRO and the superior choice that they have over cable and DBS. TVRO home theater aficionados couldn't imagine settling for the inferior technical quality of cable or DBS in their home theater setups. Most TVRO owners have been in it for the long haul since the beginning and view their systems as an investment; and with the right information instead of the anti-TVRO misinformation and lies, their investment in TVRO will still be viable into the 21st century.