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Open Mike

Broadcasters Should Promote Antennas

Editor: While I'm not one of the twenty-somethings described in Jennifer J. Yarter's Airtime op-ed piece (“What Happens When Nobody Needs a TV?” Feb. 18), like them, I have high-speed Internet but pass on cable and satellite. I watch my local broadcasters using an antenna connected to a digital television and an HD DVR, and supplement that programming with content from the Internet.

It's a combination that is convenient, flexible and highly cost-effective—and my local broadcasters are key to that, since they have the best shows and the best picture quality that can be found.

Where Ms. Yarter sees a threat to local television stations, I see an opportunity.

Far from fearing the viewers who dump cable and satellite services in favor of high-speed Internet, broadcasters need to aggressively market to them. Yes, this means a strong online presence—but it also means that you promote your off-air signal like crazy. Make sure that viewers know your signal is free and easily receivable with an inexpensive antenna. Do everything that you can to encourage those high-speed Internet viewers to add an antenna to their list of gear. While you're at it, encourage those who still take cable or satellite services to dump those services in favor of the combination of an antenna and high-speed Internet.

Yes, video over the Internet is growing fast. But it's a replacement to cable and satellite far more than it is to free local television. If broadcasters embrace this trend and respond appropriately, broadcast television will continue to thrive, and it will be cable and satellite that are left behind.

Thomas Desmond

Plano, Texas

Strike Effect Still Coming

Editor: As a member of the new paradigm of Internet Protocol (IPTV) broadcasters, I wholeheartedly concur with your assessment that a longer strike would have brought about a positive change (Ben Grossman's Left Coast Bias column, “Why the Strike Was Too Short,” Feb. 18).

However, to say that “we will never know” is rather hasty. That the market correction was averted this year is not surprising. Old paradigms die hard. But these are the last gasps of a dying man. The [strike settlement] was merely a Band-Aid.

Technology and cost reductions are lowering barriers to entry. Non-union spec work for broadband TV goes on round-the-clock all year long. Rapid consumer migration to new consumption venues is devaluing the traditional television experience. And because of the writers' strike, advertisers have sunk their toes deeper into the IPTV pool. The shakeout will come. It will be soon. And it may very well bring more pronounced pain than was averted this year.

Nicholas A. Psaltos

CEO and Founder

The Horror Channel

Guttenberg, N.J.