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Television Media Technology

Many Analog TV Watchers Aren't Aware of Upcoming Switchover 440

Posted by Zonk
from the it's-coming dept.
A recent poll of TV watchers shows that many Americans aren't aware the end times are coming for analog broadcast signals. "The survey found that the group most affected by the analog cutoff -- those with no cable or satellite service -- are most in the dark about what will happen to their sets: Only one-third of them had heard that their TVs are set to stop receiving programs. Of course, there are solutions. Congress is subsidizing the purchase of digital television receivers. And the cable TV industry is hoping that this will spur the last holdouts to buy pay TV."
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Many Analog TV Watchers Aren't Aware of Upcoming Switchover

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  • Good time.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by therufus (677843) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @07:22AM (#21789518)
    ...to start the family exercising to help beat obesity?

    If TV gets turned off on Americans, maybe it would be a good thing.

    And don't flame me. TV is the major issue with American obesity, particularly in children.
    • Re:Good time.. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by giorgiofr (887762) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @07:52AM (#21789632)
      I disagree. Quite on the contrary, I believe lazy people are attracted to TV, not the other way around. In other words, TV is the consequence, not the cause. I might be wrong, as I have no hard data on this.
      • Re:Good time.. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by bhima (46039) <Bhima,Pandava&gmail,com> on Saturday December 22, 2007 @08:08AM (#21789694) Journal
        I'm not seeing it as one there not the other. I think it's both. Lazy are attracted to TV and the consequence is that they become even more lazy and ensnared in the TV culture / habit.
      • Re:Good time.. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ghakko (261165) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @09:18AM (#21789968)
        There's compelling data suggesting otherwise (at least in children):
        • Children tend to snack on [aappublications.org] nutritionally-unbalanced food when watching television, eat unconsciously [nih.gov] and eat enough to skew [ajcn.org]their daily caloric intake.
        • For some reason, children watching television burn fewer calories [aappublications.org] than they would at just about any other physical activity, including just idly sitting or lying down.
        • Children who were forced to watch less television lost weight [www2.sfu.ca].
    • Re:Good time.. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by LordSnooty (853791) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @08:29AM (#21789778)
      IF TV is a major cause of obesity, then the Internet, computing and videogaming must be contributors too. Perhaps "sedentary lifestyle" would be a better description?
      • by Eternauta3k (680157) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @09:37AM (#21790086) Homepage Journal
        Nah, I spend enough calories just moving the scroll wheel in Slashdot
      • Re:Good time.. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @10:56AM (#21790576)

        IF TV is a major cause of obesity, then the Internet, computing and videogaming must be contributors too. Perhaps "sedentary lifestyle" would be a better description?
        Actually, not necessarily, as someone points out there are studies indicating that during tv watching behaviors which increase the chances of obesity go up and calories burned go down, even compared to just sitting there doing nothing. My guess as to the cause of the last is that unlike videogames, surfing the internet, or other computer activity, watching tv encourages one to suspend all mental activity.
    • Re:Good time.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by drsquare (530038) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @08:38AM (#21789816)

      And don't flame me. TV is the major issue with American obesity, particularly in children.
      I'm pretty sure that eating too much is the major issue with American obesity. You get just as fat sitting at the computer as you do in front of the TV.

      You can exercise all you want, but if you eat a 14" pizza for dinner washed down with ten pints of beer, and have a full fry up every breakfast, combined with KFC for lunch, you'll be obese.
      • You get just as fat sitting at the computer as you do in front of the TV.

        There are advertisements on web pages but most of them are not currently food related. On TV there is at least one or two, and usually more, fast food, beer, soft drink, etc. commercials for every half hour of programing. This type of advertisement is by definition made to make you want to eat.

        You can exercise all you want, but if you eat a 14" pizza for dinner washed down with ten pints of beer, and have a full fry up every breakfast, combined with KFC for lunch, you'll be obese.

        Not sure about the ten pints but I have known people who could eat enough food for two to three people and still stay thin with a combination of their own high metabolism and fanatic workouts.
        But, yeah, for us "nor

      • Re:Good time.. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by KDR_11k (778916) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @10:05AM (#21790242)
        I don't know about you but I avoid eating anything fatty when I'm on the PC because I have to touch the mouse and keyboard and when my fingers are covered in fat I'm not willing to do that. Besides that, I'm not able to eat or drink while playing any videogame because I can't afford taking my hands off the controls for that long (even ignoring the dirty finger issue, just moving stuff to my mouth takes time and might make me vulnerable to attacks in the game).
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by raidfibre (1181749)
        That's why I stick to the 12" pizzas
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Rich: no worries about money, because you have plenty. Poor: no worries about money, because the government will provide for you. Keep watching TV.
  • because they are too busy adjusting their rabbit ears...
  • by Spy Hunter (317220) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @07:32AM (#21789544) Journal
    As soon as TV stations themselves begin to worry about whether they will lose watchers, they will simply run commercials explaining to people how they can get *free* converter boxes from the government. TV is the one of the most effective communication mechanisms ever devised, after all. Problem solved.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by peragrin (659227)
      That's just it. I haven't heard a single word about this any place other than online. not even the local newspaper have had a story on it.

      The people who will be most affected by it, are those who don't use computers, cause they are magical machines, and hard to use.
      • Actually I used to have Cable TV but don't anymore. My wife and I had talked about going Satellite but it's not really worth the money for us.

        I'm probably in the worst position, I live in a border town in Canada. So pretty much 100% of the channels we watch are American but since I don't think the Canadian government is mandating any kind of switch I'm also pretty sure they're not subsidizing the receivers.

        So I'm not sure what we're going to do. We've either got to pay for Satellite, pay for a digital recei
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by evilviper (135110)

        That's just it. I haven't heard a single word about this any place other than online.

        I've seen the "2009 analog switchover" commercial on TV a couple dozen times already, and we're more than a year away, and the voucher program isn't even starting it's earliest stages for a couple more months.

    • by msauve (701917) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @08:22AM (#21789758)
      really?

      I thought basic economics and government courses were requisites in public schools these days.

      Of course, TANSTAAFL. The national government will be taking tax dollars from people, taking an administrative cut, then turning around and giving it back to pay exclusively for converter boxes. The net effect is the US national government is screwing with free markets and funding (mostly overseas) consumer electronics companies.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by vtcodger (957785)
      ***As soon as TV stations themselves begin to worry about whether they will lose watchers, they will simply run commercials explaining to people how they can get *free* converter boxes from the government.***

      Have you seen one of those converter boxes? I haven't and I check every time I go to Best Buy or Circuit City. Not that they can't be built or won't eventually show up. But in adequate numbers? Betcha not.

      If Digital TV in the US were a project and I were in charge of it, I'd probably have my r

      • by Average (648) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @11:11AM (#21790698)
        The converters are nearly impossible to find (I have an older one) because of the federal government. They are implementing a $40 "coupon program" for them, starting in January. The market research decided that very few people were going to spend $60 a piece on a converter box, particularly while analog NTSC was still around. But, they would pay $20, particularly if they thought they were pulling one over on the government. Now, the manufacturers might have been able to sell them at $20 or $30, but wouldn't you rather make $60 or $70? So, they've been holding off on the production. There are hundreds of thousands of them being made in China right now and loaded onto cargo ships to be on your Wal-Mart shelf by February.
  • It's too early. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lpangelrob (714473)
    It's not like people need 14 months to save up for a digital TV. A 'good enough' off-brand 32" TV runs $700 now, and it'll probably be more like $500 later.

    Besides, a few "your TV will black out 1/14/09!" commercials have already starting airing. By January 2009, I'm sure the public at large will be as tired of similar commercials as they will be of general presidential election commercials by Election Day '08.
    • Re:It's too early. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Gordonjcp (186804) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @07:46AM (#21789598) Homepage
      In the UK you can get set-top boxes that plug into your analogue TV or video recorder and give you a DVB-T tuner. They're about 30 quid in any supermarket. Allowing for the UK being slightly more expensive than the US, and the dollar being so low, that's probably still only about $50.
      • by Tony Hoyle (11698)
        30 quid? You're out of date.. [guardian.co.uk]

        They should be about $15 in the US I'd expect.

      • Re:It's too early. (Score:4, Informative)

        by KokorHekkus (986906) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @08:40AM (#21789822)
        More confirmation from here in Sweden which only has digital TV transmissions now. A basic set-top box with analog out costs less than $50... without any subsidies.
      • ... in the UK a lot of houses need upgraded aerials to receive digital TV and digital radio - is the cost of fitting these going to be met by the government / tax payers?
        We didn't need digital TV, or HD, or HD DVD, or Blue Ray, or DRM, or the Spice Girls but somehow the media industry is yanking our chains like this.
        Time for a revolution. Led by Germaine Greer.
        • You don't actually need TV either.

        • by carndearg (696084) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @09:30AM (#21790032) Homepage Journal
          "in the UK a lot of houses need upgraded aerials to receive digital TV and digital radio - is the cost of fitting these going to be met by the government / tax payers?"

          Sort of, but not quite. The government and broadcasters aren't going to pay to upgrade anyone's home antenna but they are going to increase the power of the digital transmissions when the analogue ones have been turned off, so the problem will just go away.
          The fear was that digital transmitters might have caused interference to the existing analogue service so they were all made low power, but with analogue gone that's no longer an issue.
      • by Megane (129182)

        But those boxes are inherently cheaper than US boxes, because they don't decode HD. US boxes must be able to decode HD, even if they don't have an HD output. This means more decoding power and framebuffer RAM are needed. Not to mention that only now are they going to be mass-manufacturing boxes, so most current boxes have been in the $200 and up range, and rarely found in stores. (Best Buy has a $180 HD Samsung model they've been selling, but it's apparently harder to find in stock than a Wii. They'd rath

    • Re:It's too early. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by statemachine (840641) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @07:47AM (#21789604)
      It's not like people need 14 months to save up for a digital TV. A 'good enough' off-brand 32" TV runs $700 now, and it'll probably be more like $500 later.

      That's two or three months rent in many places -- with the matching lower pay.
    • Re:It's too early. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tedrlord (95173) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @07:48AM (#21789616)
      The type of person that can spend $500 on a television set and doesn't have cable/satellite is probably not a big TV watcher.

      And I just want to point out that if Congress has to subsidize receivers to force this change along, it's probably not a good idea in the first place. And let me also point out that F*@& Congress for spending tax money on paying for unnecessary digital upgrades. Next they'll be buying everyone blue ray and HD-DVD players to fund the HD war. It's frustratingly ridiculous.
      • Re:It's too early. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Dhalka226 (559740) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @08:58AM (#21789890)

        And I just want to point out that if Congress has to subsidize receivers to force this change along, it's probably not a good idea in the first place.

        That's because you think it is for the benefit of television viewers, or even broadcasters. It is not. They simply want the spectrum that these broadcasts are currently going out on back, with their relatively long wavelengths, for things like cellular service or long-range (municipal?) wireless networks.

        With the way both of these services are growing, I happen to think it's a good idea for a relatively small cost.

        • Re:It's too early. (Score:5, Informative)

          by Megane (129182) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @09:44AM (#21790124) Homepage

          And it's even better than that, because the digital signal can be used on adjacent channels. With the exception of 6-7 and 13-14, how many analog stations in your area are on adjacent channel numbers? Ever wonder why? Because analog needs channel separation.

          Right now I can tell you that there probably ARE adjacent channels in your area, you just don't know about them because they're in digital, and even if you can receive them, they tell your TV set to show a different channel number.

          So we lose 25% of the channels to the spectrum auction, but can use twice as many of the ones that are left. (That's not exactly true, because 2-6 are apparently not good for digital, so we lose a bit more than 25%.) Digital is also better about geographic distance between transmitters on the same channel.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by NorQue (1000887)
      Erm, you misunderstood. You don't need a "digital" TV as in LCD or Plasma. Any old CRT will do. You'll just need a receiver that's capable of receiving digital television, since the analog one that's built into most old TVs won't work anymore. These are available in any store that sells electronics for a few bucks. Here's [amazon.com] a cheap one from Amazon.
      • That converter is about $50 with delivery; and it is from a third party with a miserable 75% positive rating. For many people in the US, $50 is a substantial amount of money; and a 75% positive rating is the shits.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Jeremy Erwin (2054)
        Good one. That's DVB-T. It won't work here. We use ATSC in the US.

    • You can get SDTV CRT TVs for around $150-200 with ATSC tuners (these aren't HD but they do display the same feeds either scaled down or using an alternative SDTV stream), so there's no necessity to replace your 25" analog with an expensive 32" LCD TV either.
    • It's not like people need 14 months to save up for a digital TV. A 'good enough' off-brand 32" TV runs $700 now, and it'll probably be more like $500 later.

      Not everyone has access to enough disposable income to buy an HDTV. For many people, $200 is too much to spend on a TV. Even on sale a 19" HDTV starts off around $250, and is usually closer to $300. Maybe by the time the changeover comes around they will be down to under $200, but that would still be pushing it for some lower income people.
    • by Secrity (742221)
      For many people, $500 or $700 may as well be $10,000 -- they simply don't have that kind of money to spend on a TV; especially when it is to replace a TV that was perfectly adequate until US government regulations turned it into a vacuum filled brick.

      Will Circuit City and Best Buy be giving away subsidized converters that allow people to view digital signals on their perfectly good, but soon to be obsoleted TVs?
  • There's still another holiday shopping season, and another 'Superbowl'(can I legally say that word anymore?) TV buying season between now and then. I'm sure you'll be seeing lots of advertising starting next November about the upcoming cutoff. No reason to buy a TV now when the one you've got is working, and will continue to receive for the next 14 months.
  • If only... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <jcr@@@mac...com> on Saturday December 22, 2007 @07:42AM (#21789586) Journal
    I wish we'd done away with interlacing when the HD standards were being written.

    -jcr

    • by Megane (129182)
      The reason interlace stayed around was because so many TV stations have cameras which output interlaced video. So get an up-converting TV. It's really rather rare that "venetian blinds" effect is visible.
      • Re:If only... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Overzeetop (214511) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @10:36AM (#21790468) Journal
        The reason interlaced stayed is that the FCC didn't have the backbone and the technical expertise to require that the new standard be done correctly. It's as simple as that. The TV people wanted interlaced, because "that's the way they've always done it" and the computer people couldn't convince the FCC otherwise. The computer people wanted progressive, because it simplifies conversion and eliminates the whole bob/weave/foo that gets done to watch an interlaced signal on a progressive (or full panel or asynchronous) system. It also simplifies upconversion.

        Now, the FCC didn't just screw the pooch, once, but twice. They ignored common technical sense and allowed interlaced to stay, but then bowed to pressure to allow multiple formats for ATSC transmission. 18 of them, to be exact. The industry asked for such "flexibility", and then realized when they had to implement it it was an absolute nightmare. If they had decided that the signal for NA HD was to be 1080p/30, we'd all be done now. What? Did I hear you cry that that would have delayed HD adoption? I've got bad news - 1080p30 is common and can be done with consumer hardware _now_, and we still haven't switched over. I refuse to believe that the professional sector couldn't have completed the process 5 years ago. As a bonus, all the 480p/720p/1080i inconsistency would have been avoided, and the set top boxes would only have to negotiate one format instead of 18.

        No, interlaced is here because the FCC didn't have the balls to do the transition right.
  • The Oddest thing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by edwardpickman (965122) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @08:03AM (#21789680)
    I haven't checked lately but I believe they are still selling analog TVs at a lot of places. I know I saw some over the summer. I'm sure the salesmen aren't exactly pointing out the fact the TV will go dark unless you get an expensive converter box in 18 months. They should have been phased out less than 24 months before the switch over and 36 months would have been better. I can see a sudden influx of TVs into the local landfill with a disturbing number fairly new. It may have been well intended but it's hardly eco friendly making a large number of electronics into very large paperweights overnight.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Da Web Guru (215458)
      Most stores that sell electronics are still selling analog TVs. Most of them have the little cards in front of the TVs warning people about the switchover. Unfortunately, there are still some stores without the warning cards, and even the stores that have the cards only put out a very small sign with very small print. The warnings are easily overlooked by someone not looking for them (but then again, if you are looking for the cards then you already know about the changeover).

      Oddly enough, I've even seen th
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by whoop (194)
      Perhaps you are not aware, but televisions can be used to view things besides OTA signals. Many households (even ones that cannot afford/want cable) have DVD players, VCRs, video game systems, etc. If people buy a new television, the old ones are far more likely to get relegated to such duties well before being tossed into the landfill.

      Hell, the last few times I tried to put some electronic devices (broken dvd player, monitor that would not power on, etc) on the street for garbage pickup, it was snatched
    • There are, they're sold with warning labels though. The FCC is steadily banning the sale of TVs without ATSC tuners based upon screen size - I can't remember what the maximum is now, but I know that you can't legally sell a new 30" TV with only an analog tuner.

    • by Megane (129182)

      Then they better give you a good deal on them, because they're last year's models. Back in March (two years before the broadcast cutoff), the mandate to stop the manufacture of ANY sets with analog-only tuners kicked in. (I think this includes VCRs and DVD recorders too.) I'm sure there are still "monitors" (sets with no tuner at all) being sold, but they're exempt for obvious reasons.

      And like someone else said, there are other things to do with a TV than hook up an antenna. Many people may never notice un

  • I think its the same in other countries, too. People just aren't aware of it...
    • Wikipedia says that Finland switched off analogue TV on 1 September 2007. I guess everyone there is aware of it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by WWWWolf (2428)

        Wikipedia says that Finland switched off analogue TV on 1 September 2007. I guess everyone there is aware of it.

        Were we ever. The switchover to digital was very much promoted over the preceding few years. We certainly didn't have anyone asking "what, we went digital and no one told me?"... =)

        Instead we got quite a few irate but informed people who quit paying for the TV licence because the DVB-T reception sucked where they were living. (The remote areas are always a pain to deal with...) The Finnish national broadcasting company, YLE, gets its funding through the licence fees and was stung pretty badly by the who

  • in Finland (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    We've already converted to digital. Many has cut of their TV contract. I never had one, and I woun't get one. Only crap on telly. Many agree and this worries TV companies as they see people abandoning TV.

    Now is a good time to get rid of the TV.

    m10
  • Big Govt (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Frankie70 (803801)
    Why should the Govt be laying down rules about analog & digital broadcasting?
    What next - govt mandating that photographic shops should stop developing analog
    pictures & accept only customers with a digital camera?
    • It totally sucks that the government regulates things! Air traffic control? Psh. Waste of money. A road system that ensures transcontinental travel is always possible? Where did they get THAT power? Long distance electric transmission lines? Let the flooded cities do without power! They can just rebuild their shit--without power!

      Christ.

      You act like designating sections of the spectrum for certain uses, which is in EVERYONE'S benefit, is some arbitrary intrusion into your bedroom. Digital cameras don'
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by KC9AIC (858812)
      The difference is that analog and digital photographs can coexist in the same world rather easily. The main reason that the government is pushing the switch to digital TV is spectrum conservation. Since DTV uses less radio spectrum than analog, we can have the same number of channels taking up less space, which allows for the big 700 MHz spectrum auction that we've been hearing about (and that Google is interested in).
    • by Rosyna (80334)

      Digital cameras don't transmit high power EM energy across dozens of square miles.


      Uhm, mine do.
  • by ahodgkinson (662233) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @08:38AM (#21789812) Homepage Journal
    I'm not sure how many people remember the wheeling and dealing associated with the first major attempt, in Europe, to sell cable TV. The basic plan was that various media companies attempted to buy up all the Formula One and premier football (i.e. soccer) broadcast rights and then only deliver the programs via cable TV. This was to force people to buy cable TV and set top boxes. In the end it didn't work too well. (Can anyone provide any links to pages that describe this?)

    Now we're having digital TV rammed down our throats. This time with the help of the government. TV and electronic shops are jumping for joy, and of course the cable companies are rubbing their hands in glee. The poor consumer is having to buy lots of new equipment and most likely a more expensive cable subscription too.

    Here in Switzerland the switch over well under way. Terrestrial (air) broadcast of analog signals has stopped, and the cable companies are switching over too. The technique to 'encourage' their customers to switch to digital is to silently remove more and more of the non-major channels from the analog offering, while offering balkanized digital 'packages' that end up a higher monthly cost if you want to duplicate the same selection channels you had before.

    To the yuppies and the technically competent this is probably a relatively small inconvenience. But I wonder about the poor and older generation, who are essentially having a perfectly acceptable analog service taken away from them.

    Compare the introduction of digital TV with that of color TV. Color TV was introduced in the early 60s and you could still use and buy new black and white TVs well into 80s. While I'm not asking for a backwards compatibility, I would appreciate it if a similarly long switch over period would be given.

  • by mikeboone (163222) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @08:57AM (#21789880) Homepage Journal
    I spoke to a couple of my older relatives who were under the impression that everyone had to buy an HDTV because of this switch to digital. I think they were fed this idea by TV salespeople. If that's true, it's dishonest way to sell TVs to people who don't understand the technology.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DarthBart (640519)
      When I went to purchase a new TV a few weeks ago, the salesweenie insisted that I needed to get something that did 1080p because "everyone was going to switch to 1080p in 2009".

      Nevermind the fact that the price between the TV was getting and the cheapest 1080p capable unit was $800. A nice addition to the commission there.

      I didn't even bother with a 1080p capable unit because the sources just aren't there yet.
  • Digital TV sucks (Score:5, Informative)

    by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Saturday December 22, 2007 @09:07AM (#21789924) Homepage Journal
    At least with an analog tv if you have a crappy antenna you get some snow or other interference and the program is still watchable. With Digital TV you get big pixel blocks and sound cut-out that makes the program completely unbearable to watch. That's progress for ya.

    • by PigBoyOhBoy (749359) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @10:03AM (#21790230) Journal
      I don't watch TV, but I just won a cheapo 19" WalMart TV (worth $120) in an office drawing and was startled to realize it supported both analog and digital service. I bought a pair of rabbit ears and set out to see how it would work in my apartment in rural Massachusetts (over 50 miles from Boston). To my utter amazement, I received many digital broadcasts almost perfectly while the analog channels were plagued by snow and interference that made them unbearable. Furthermore, the picture quality was stunning. Even though the set is "SDTV", the difference in quality between analog and digital was huge. All these years I've been fed propaganda telling me that over the air HDTV would require fancy antennas, but it turns out to be a BIG LIE. Between Netflix and broadcast HDTV, why would anyone want cable or satellite TV unless they are literally in the middle of nowhere?

      Of course, there's STILL nothing worth watching. Bah! Humbug!

  • This is what's going to happen when the TV's go blank.
  • I'm seeing alot of people throughing around high prices for TVs. First of all poor people can have TVs too, they may be 10 year old TVs but TVs none the less, TV sets are so commonplace there more or less free, if your not looking for anything fancy. Besides if all those media companies want there customers to keep watching why don't they just send them free converter boxes.
  • Irony (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dystopian Rebel (714995) * on Saturday December 22, 2007 @09:25AM (#21790008) Journal
    Picture quality improves... content degrades.

    Who will be voted off the Island? As long as you keep watching, you are on the Island.
  • We have DirecTV on some sets but as they keep escalating prices, I keep cutting service. Was contemplating dropping them all together. All my TV's are analog but getting digital converters wouldn't be that expensive. I can use the same big air antenna that's already up. So some converter boxes and that should be all there is to the transition.

    The other option would be switching to Free To Air satellite, but that's still pretty complicated.

  • by MrSteveSD (801820) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @10:04AM (#21790238)
    I'd don't know about the US, but here in the UK the digital signals are very weak. It's virtually impossible to get good reception with an indoor aerial and I have tried lots of different types. So is this going to be the end of portable televisions?
  • by Prototerm (762512) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @10:22AM (#21790362)
    Wasn't that something they had back in the late Twentieth Century? You know, before Bit Torrent and the Internet?
  • by Dunkirk (238653) <david@@@davidkrider...com> on Saturday December 22, 2007 @10:38AM (#21790488) Homepage
    Step 1) Create legislation to get rid of low-def TV to get funding from the tech industry
    Step 2) Face political backlash from the masses when the TV "stops working"
    Step 3) Fund yet another huge government handout to make the TV "start working" again
    Step 4) Run your next campaign on how you "saved TV"
    Step 5) Profit

    There are just so many, wonderful things wrong with this situation, I find it hard to begin.

    The Constitution of the United States granted precious few responsibilities for the federal government. Can someone name me one non-trivial aspect of our lives that isn't now covered at the federal level? Because I can't think of an example.

    The longer I live, the more I become disillusioned with the two-party-is-actually-one-party system we have, so I've changed my position. I'm now voting for the libertarian, the independent, and the unknown, in that order. Call it "wasting my vote" if you'd like, but I'll be here when the rest of you come around.
  • by voss (52565) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @11:03AM (#21790626)
    1) People find out in their newspaper their tv wont work after next year
    2) They get the tv converter box for $50
    3) They continue to watch tv on their 20 year old RCA set with their new fangled box
    4) They tell all their friends about how they are able to get 30 channels of digital tv for free!
    5) Lifeline cable customers cancel their packages because they get a better picture from OTA digital than from 10 channel cable
    6) life goes on
  • Shocking (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anita Coney (648748) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @11:25AM (#21790780) Homepage
    Americans are ignorant about technology?! Stop the presses, wake the neighbors, and kill the dog. Damn, this is news.
  • by ml10422 (448562) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @01:05PM (#21791496)
    If only there were a way to let these people know. Perhaps, they could insert some kind of announcement into the middle of the television programs.
  • by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Saturday December 22, 2007 @04:50PM (#21792960) Homepage
    Many people have small, battery-powered analog TVs as part of their emergency gear. I bet a lot of people will forget about those. Maybe one station in each area should be subsidized to keep analog broadcast equipment functional, for use in emergencies.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hawaiian717 (559933)
      What about radio? It seems like radio would have less power demands (no picture to decode and display); in fact you can get radios that are hand cranked so you can recharge the battery with no electricity. I haven't heard anything about plain old AM/FM analog radio going away anytime soon, though I have heard occasional mentions of "HD Radio".

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