Sunset for C-band? Naaah!

Two C-band dishes against a sunset sky

Two backyard C-band dishes

There’s a thread over at DBSTalk that references a SkyReport note that says that a guy at National Programming Services said that Motorola said that they’d stop providing pay-TV programming to C-band viewers. (And I’ll send a prize to the first person to correctly diagram that sentence.)

This note revived the recurring theme that this is The End for C-band dishes. Previous versions of The End came when ESPN left and when NFL Sunday Ticket left. And if you really rely on C-band for your pay-TV programming, it would change everything if Motorola really shuts down its authorization stream.

But other posters in the thread claim that it’s all a ploy by NPS to convert its customers to Dish Network and pocket the referral fees. Other C-band programming vendors such as Skyvision are still offering annual contracts. So we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

From a FTA perspective, if you’re not a C-band subscriber, this isn’t so bad. Remember that C-band is where FTA got started, in the days when everything was unscrambled. Then C-band dishes sprouted in back yards, then cable TV operators began getting annoyed; they persuaded the senders to scramble most signals. Viewers eventually shifted to cable or small-dish pay-TV, and the C-band dishes shriveled (ok, rusted) away until only a small fraction of them remained in operation.

Perhaps as a result, now there’s an amazing array of sports feeds and other stuff on C-band if you’ve got a capable HD FTA receiver. You can visit Ricks Satellite Forum to see what’s been available in recent weeks. For regular channels in the clear, there’s always the great C-band list at Global Communications.

Maybe when pay-TV subscriptions on C-band finally pass away, a few more dishes will come down. (Which will be more used C-band dishes on the market. They’re already pretty cheap.) Maybe it will also mean that broadcasters and cable systems will worry less about the dishes that stay up. And then maybe we’ll see more and more content in the clear on C-band.