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DTV Coupon Program Out of Money

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the time-to-nelson-laugh-at-the-government dept.

Television 591

Thelasko writes "It appears that the US Government's digital converter box program is running out of money. If you sign up after the program runs out of money, you will receive your voucher if the program receives more funding. Older analog televisions will no longer work without a converter box after February 17."

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yaay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26344005)

pork pork pork needs more pork ^_^

captcha: retyping

Re:yaay (3, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344031)

They probably spent half the money on that spiffy website anyway.

Re:yaay (0, Troll)

Francais Troll (1442059) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344101)

C'est parce que vous êtes tous un tas de grands homosexuels. Sucer mon goutte à goutte pénis flasque coq cahin-caha pédés!

Re:yaay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26344395)

Translated from the Babelfish:

C' is because you are a whole the large heap homosexual ones. To suck my drop by drop flask penis cock cahin-caha fags

Re:yaay (4, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344103)

Don't forget the approx 20,000,000,000 commercials.

Not like it matters. The program will get whatever extra money it needs. No way will the feds deprive Joe Bob of his basic right to free programming. Panem et circenses for the 21st century.

Re:yaay (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344197)

Not really a surprise. Voting against TV would be, politically, about as sensible as voting for the "Islamopedophile encouragement and anti-jesus act of 2009".

Re:yaay (4, Funny)

Majik Sheff (930627) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344349)

I'd love to compare the current U.S. to the faltering Roman empire but there's a football game on. Has anyone seen my welfare check?

Re:yaay (2, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344367)

No way will the feds deprive Joe Bob of his basic right to free programming.

I'm not really a big defender of pork in general, but I will defend this program. The government made a lot of money selling that bandwidth, and I don't really see why it end up coming out of the pockets of people with old TVs. That just would amount to a tax.

Why is the government even subsidizing this? (1, Insightful)

Jason Quinn (1281884) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344009)

New TVs are not that expensive. Even pensioners could buy a new one. I don't think the government should be paying for any of this.

Re:Why is the government even subsidizing this? (3, Insightful)

DanWS6 (1248650) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344057)

Why do I need a new TV if my current one works just fine? Seems wasteful to me.

Re:Why is the government even subsidizing this? (1, Troll)

revlayle (964221) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344105)

It won't work fine after February, WILL IT???

Re:Why is the government even subsidizing this? (3, Insightful)

fataugie (89032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344169)

Actually, it will work just fine...you just can't watch a digital signal without a converter. DVD's, VHS tapes, game consoles will all work just as before. The TV itself is fine...it's just YOU that's shit outta luck.

Collect some cans along the road and turn them in to buy your converter.

Re:Why is the government even subsidizing this? (4, Funny)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344515)

Collect some cans along the road and turn them in to buy your converter.

I'd rather collect some TVs along the road and turn them into a sculpture of a triceratops.

Re:Why is the government even subsidizing this? (5, Insightful)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344333)

No it won't. Because of something the government did.

If the US government decided all of a sudden to change from driving on the right hand side to the left hand side of the road, don't you think people would be rightfully pissed about having to buy a new car, or get theirs converted?
(Look! A car analogy that works!!)

This is the entertainment equivalent of that. Everybody's old TVs that work fine are being obsoleted, not by the market, but by the government saying, essentially, "Your old TV is now illegal."

Certain things you can get away with doing that, if it doesn't affect a majority of people. You can restrict handgun calibers to 0.30 and lower, and most people will say "Well, what do those gun freaks need all those .38 and .44 guns for, anyway?" and the government gets away with it.
Try to do it with TV or cars, and the 90+ percent of the population that's affected will be rather annoyed, to say the least.

Re:Why is the government even subsidizing this? (1)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344549)

This is the entertainment equivalent of that. Everybody's old TVs that work fine are being obsoleted, not by the market, but by the government saying, essentially, "Your old TV is now illegal."

This isn't the first time the government has mandated new tech. They did it with color TV, and they did it with FM radio. The difference is that they did it without breaking the older standards (monochrome TV and AM radio). Also, color TV and FM radio were superior to their predecessors in almost every way. Digital TV is inferior in one important way-it doesn't degrade gracefully. Signal reception is also a bit more prone to multi-path interference. All and all, the ATSC standard could have been a lot better...

Re:Why is the government even subsidizing this? (2, Insightful)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344577)

If the US government decided all of a sudden to change from driving on the right hand side to the left hand side of the road, don't you think people would be rightfully pissed about having to buy a new car, or get theirs converted?
(Look! A car analogy that works!!)

No, it doesn't. You don't need to convert your car (or add any converters to the car) in order to drive in the left lane, as evidenced by multi-lane one-way streets and passing lanes not requiring on-demand reconfiguration of the car.

Re:Why is the government even subsidizing this? (2, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344099)

The converter boxes are $50 at most places that sell this stuff. *shrug*

It could be difficult for someone on a fixed income, but generally, I agree. The target, though, is senior citizens on a fixed income...they figured most everyone else would have cable or satellite and thus the converter boxes would be a non-issue.

I have cable and won't be getting rid of it anytime soon, so this is a total non-issue for me.

Re:Why is the government even subsidizing this? (4, Insightful)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344587)

I have satellite. When reception gets bad, I switch over to antenna since I'm close to a major city. Hard to get the blizzard forecast when your receiver can't see the satellite through the cloud cover.

So, paying for another mode of reception doesn't insulate you from the DTV switch.

Re:Why is the government even subsidizing this? (2, Insightful)

Stubtify (610318) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344117)

The government sold off the old channelspace and made billions. I believe the auction netted $19B and the coupon program is budgeted around $1.3B.

Re:Why is the government even subsidizing this? (1)

NeoTerra (986979) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344193)

The government sold off the old channelspace and made billions. I believe the auction netted $19B and the coupon program is budgeted around $1.3B.

This is the concept of profit.

Re:Why is the government even subsidizing this? (1)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344261)

This is the concept of profit.

I am intrigued by this concept, "profit". How may I subscribe to your newsletter?

Re:Why is the government even subsidizing this? (3, Funny)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344381)

1. Subscribe to newsletter
2. Read newsletter
3. ????
4. Profit!

Re:Why is the government even subsidizing this? (1)

ozamosi (615254) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344361)

The government sold off the old channelspace and made billions. I believe the auction netted $19B and the coupon program is budgeted around $1.3B.

This is the concept of profit.

Your confusing this with the private sector.

This is the concept of overhead.

Re:Why is the government even subsidizing this? (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344567)

The government is not a for profit entity, especially when we're talking about "profit" gained by selling a public property.

Re:Why is the government even subsidizing this? (0, Offtopic)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344281)

The rest goes to Dick Cheney's lawyer hunting reserve.

Re:Why is the government even subsidizing this? (1)

CRiMSON (3495) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344453)

But you forget that the other 17 odd billion need to go to the War in iraq... Or is this one to the auto-makers? I can't remember..

Re:Why is the government even subsidizing this? (2, Interesting)

NixieBunny (859050) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344141)

Because the health of the economy is dependent on people watching TV and wanting to buy stuff. Didn't they teach you that in Economics 101?

Re:Why is the government even subsidizing this? (1)

BForrester (946915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344287)

Exactly. How else is Joe Sixpack supposed to find out what he needs to buy and who the bad guys are?

Broadcast television is a significant cog in the capitalist machine.

Maybe not expensive to you (4, Informative)

cromar (1103585) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344155)

New TVs are not that expensive.

New TVs are expensive. If you're living on less than $800 a month, that $100+ is going to be felt. Trust me. This is obvious to anyone who hasn't had money supplied to them by their parents for their entire lives...

Re:Maybe not expensive to you (1, Interesting)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344489)

It will be felt, but they'll forget about it after they sit in front of their brand new TV.

I mentor a 11 year old girl who's the second youngest of five children (brother, sister, half sister, step sister), these kids are fed McDonalds or delivered pizza every night. Her mom/step-mom/not-any-of-the-above-because-they're-not-married sits at home and plays MMOs all day. Her dad works 12 hours a day at an auto-shop. They recently (over the summer) had their electricity turned off because they hadn't paid the bills...

but, they bought a 42 inch plamsa TV which is connected to their high definition DVR from the cable company. The last thing the lower class will give up is their TV and cable, I've seen this first hand.

Re:Maybe not expensive to you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26344551)

Worse if you're aiming for a not-already-outdated TV. Unless you stick to used SDTVs or are really really lucky with deals, that $100+ figure starts looking far more towards the "+" end, to the tune of around $300-$400 for low-end stuff. I make a decent amount of money, and even that makes me wince a bit when this sort of technology's been around for years now.

Re:Why is the government even subsidizing this? (5, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344209)

New TVs are not that expensive

WTF are you talking about? I paid a thousand dollars for mine! And not only that, throwing away a perfectly good TV is immorally wasteful, even if it's only a nineteen incher you paid a hundred bucks for.

The government is paying to fix a problem that THEY caused. You and your wife's $60k incomes togather may make a thousand bucks "chicken feed" but my forty grand and no wife can't afford to replace an otherwise perfectly good television.

Ask Gumby whose employer is being subsidized by the government by its giving Gumby a LINK card (making it possible to pay Gumby less; food stamps are a handout to the poor's employers) if he can easily afford that forty dollar converter box.

Its amazing how ignorant the upper middle class can be.

Re:Why is the government even subsidizing this? (1)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344491)

I paid a thousand dollars for mine!

What did you buy? A 60" LCD? Here's a nice one for $115. [walmart.com] It's even an RCA.

Re:Why is the government even subsidizing this? (3, Interesting)

mcsqueak (1043736) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344247)

New TVs are not that expensive. Even pensioners could buy a new one. I don't think the government should be paying for any of this.

The Government, along with the major media conglomerates, would very much like to continue their effective propaganda campaign against US citizens. An easy way to do this is to is to continue providing lazy Americans with free TV in their house, ensuring that the message delivery system that is piped directly into homes stays intact.

It's quite brilliant, really. I am not a tinfoil hatter (don't even get me started on those "contrails kill!!" idiots) but I believe this.

Re:Why is the government even subsidizing this? (1)

youngdev (1238812) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344271)

it would have been fine if the government had not also mandated that content be converted to all digital by X date.

Re:Why is the government even subsidizing this? (5, Insightful)

seeker_1us (1203072) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344319)

New TVs are not that expensive. Even pensioners could buy a new one. I don't think the government should be paying for any of this.

It's very simple. Go back to the reasons for the "digital only" conversion. First, strike out the myth that it's to give HD. Digital HD. Second, remember that the market was not demanding digital TV.

So what's left? Two things. First, the government wanted to sell off the bandwidth that normal TV uses. Second, the *AA lobbies loved the idea of digital because they could put their "broadcast flag" in it and implement DRM.

Neither of these two reasons are in the public interest, and again, the market did not demand the conversion to digital TV. The Bush admin controlled FCC knew that they would have a lot of pissed off people if they forced people to buy new TV's so they came up with this converter box to pay for their hidden agendas.

Re:Why is the government even subsidizing this? (4, Interesting)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344371)

It probably has something to do with the massive amount of lead and various other environmentally hazardous material found in televisions: the gov't doesn't want it all in landfills. Especially, for that matter, right away: when TVs all stop working at once, everyone is going to dispose of their old ones immediately (not leave them laying around). Such a thing could overwhelm sanitation services (due to the weight of the things) temporarily.

Also, there are a LOT of people out there who don't like throwing things out. So there are still quite a few 30+ year old TVs out there with the analog 19 channel dials.

Re:Why is the government even subsidizing this? (0, Redundant)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344401)

I don't think the government should be paying for any of this.

Well, then they should give back the billions that they made selling the frequencies. The government is still coming out waaaay ahead on this deal.

At least (1, Interesting)

Killer Orca (1373645) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344013)

The converter boxes aren't that expensive, about as much as a new game, sure it sucks to be forced to buy new equipment but there are other things one can do besides watch TV if they are so unwilling to suffer the cost of the boxes.

Depends on how "entitled" you are (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344041)

The converter boxes aren't that expensive, about as much as a new game

Tell that to someone living on $500 a month.

Re:Depends on how "entitled" you are (0, Troll)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344123)

Tell that to someone living on $500 a month.

Is someone living on $500 a month "entitled" to watch television for free? If so, why?

Re:Depends on how "entitled" you are (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26344161)

Is someone living on $500 a month "entitled" to watch television for free? If so, why?

Because of this silly notion that "the people" own the airwaves...

Re:Depends on how "entitled" you are (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26344285)

Doesn't mean the government is required to support obselete equipment forever. Seems about as sensible as me demanding that the government build a bunch of hitching posts at the side of the road to support my horse and buggy. You know, since the people own the roads and all.

I figured, this being slashdot, that a car-based analogy would help.

Re:Depends on how "entitled" you are (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26344215)

Who's watching television for free? Tell me where I can find a free television and your post won't be completely worthless.

Re:Depends on how "entitled" you are (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344385)

The trash. Go out looking on trash days in the mornings. When I was in college I got 3 free almost new Tv's (1 was a 52" projection tv that simply needed a bulb), 2 free VCR's and later in life a free 40 foot tower and free Tv antennas and 120 feet of RG6 coax.

Tv is 100% free, you just gotta get off your ass and put some effort into going to get the free tv.

if you're a part of the snooty types then freecycle will have a few free tv's floating around. In fact almost EVERYTHING is free if you look for it. Before the scrap metal sun that we have recently I could have found free cars as well. my first car was free. got the car free, got a engine for it for free, got a transmission for it for free, got seats free, got tires free.. and I put it all together for free.

Re:Depends on how "entitled" you are (0, Troll)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344555)

The trash. Go out looking on trash days in the mornings. When I was in college I got 3 free almost new Tv's (1 was a 52" projection tv that simply needed a bulb), 2 free VCR's and later in life a free 40 foot tower and free Tv antennas and 120 feet of RG6 coax.

Tv is 100% free, you just gotta get off your ass and put some effort into going to get the free tv.

if you're a part of the snooty types then freecycle will have a few free tv's floating around. In fact almost EVERYTHING is free if you look for it. Before the scrap metal sun that we have recently I could have found free cars as well. my first car was free. got the car free, got a engine for it for free, got a transmission for it for free, got seats free, got tires free.. and I put it all together for free.

So, your time is free too?

Re:Depends on how "entitled" you are (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344427)

I'll answer your question with a question...

Is the government "entitled" to take away the free television so that they could sell the spectrum?

Re:Depends on how "entitled" you are (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26344125)

I'd tell him to get a damn job before watching TV!

Re:Depends on how "entitled" you are (2, Insightful)

Ian Alexander (997430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344127)

Someone living on $500 a month has bigger things to deal with than television.

Re:Depends on how "entitled" you are (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344301)

Not to mention that someone living on $500 a month probably doesn't have time to watch TV. And if they do, they probably could be living on more than $500 a month if they didn't watch TV...

I live on more than $500 a month and I don't OWN a TV.

Re:Depends on how "entitled" you are (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344477)

right... senior citizens and disabled people don't exist in your world?

Re:Depends on how "entitled" you are (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344597)

They do, I wasn't talking about them though. I was assuming we were talking about those that are working for their money, not the "special cases" for lack of a better term.

Re:Depends on how "entitled" you are (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344387)

"There was a great segment on the news about a new place that's hiring people in my field at great wages, but since the government stole my TV signal, I didn't get to see it, so I'm still working part time at this gas station for minimum wage."

Remind you of any commercials you've seen lately?

Re:Depends on how "entitled" you are (1)

revlayle (964221) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344129)

In-person... or will an email do?

Re:Depends on how "entitled" you are (2, Insightful)

corporal_clegg (547755) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344139)

Tell that to someone living on $500 a month.

If you really *are* living on $500 a month and TV is your biggest concern, then you have a priority problem.

Re:Depends on how "entitled" you are (3, Insightful)

flitty (981864) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344487)

So, an elderly person who, when they were working, saved up and got a perfectly good working television, now on a fixed income of $500 is told, "well, on top of the fact that you barely have enough money to feed yourself and your mobility problems keep you from hiking up the mountain or visiting the outdoors, we're now going to take your sole source of companionship, Your TV. Tough luck that you don't have the money to buy the latest and greatest television. Too bad your children are too busy commenting on Slashdot to actually visit you so you wouldn't need that television. I think you have a priority problem and you should get back to work, you lazy slob."

Hidden Cost & Annoyances (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344135)

The converter boxes aren't that expensive, about as much as a new game, sure it sucks to be forced to buy new equipment but there are other things one can do besides watch TV if they are so unwilling to suffer the cost of the boxes.

This is true, my grandmother bought one for $30. Not too expensive. However, when I came home for Christmas, she asked me to hook the box up. She needed the TV to record soap operas on her VCR while she was at work. That is all she used it for (we're talking technologically inept middle of nowhere country folk here). Ok, so I run the coaxial cable into the back of the converter, then put the RCA cables into the input on the back of the VCR (which then turned into a coaxial cable to the back of her TV as her TV is 20 years old and that's all it has). Everything is working fine but as a side result, she can't program different channels because the converter box determines the channels. Ok, not a big deal to her.

But then we record something and I notice a very peculiar thing with the color. I seem to recall that if you had put a DVD signal through a VCR, the color would modulate so that people couldn't dupe videos (or maybe there is a technical restriction). Anyway, she said she would put up with it but after watching 10 minutes of TV I wanted to throw the damned thing through the window.

So tell me, how do you record on these things to a VCR with no color modulation ... I tried a few other VCRs at my parent's house and they all seem to do it.

Re:Hidden Cost & Annoyances (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344293)

If it's using Macrovision, you can buy little boxes that sit inline to remove this, I think they're normally called macrovision removers or somesuch.

Re:Hidden Cost & Annoyances (4, Informative)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344397)

Sounds like they put macrovision on it. You can buy devices that remove the macrovision, they are pretty cheap, here is an example of such a product. They are called video stabilizers, you might be able to find one at you local electronics store, usually with the camcorders.

http://www.converters.tv/products/colour_correction_225.html

Re:Hidden Cost & Annoyances (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26344445)

She should have purchased a DTVPal (mfd by Dish Network), which has the ability to control a VCR for recording shows on different channels.

WTF... ATSC DTV has MacroVision ACP? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26344459)

WTF! What you're describing sounds like Macrovision ACP [wikipedia.org] , I hadn't known that this was part of ATSC but I guess I'm not surprised.

ATSC hands MPEG-LA the patent rights to all broadcast TV video, and Dolby Labs the patent rights to all broadcast TV audio channels. For legal means to achieve what you want, you are likely screwed. The soap opera rights-owner is having the TV broadcaster set a "not allowed to be recorded" flag.

If you wish to potentially break the law (consult an attorney), you may be able to put an 'image stabilizer' or other device inline after the box.

Re:Hidden Cost & Annoyances (2, Informative)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344593)

Welcome to DRM.

I remember trying to copy some old VHS tapes that I'd picked up somewhere, so I didn't have to use/lose the original in a possibly abusive environment, and running across that problem. It was some encoding scheme by Macrovision that screwed up the recording circuits in a VCR, but wouldn't do anything to the playback circuits. There was a circuit diagram floating around somewhere at the time - you could probably still find it, maybe one of the links from here: http://forum.videohelp.com/topic246129.html [videohelp.com] - for a Macrovision scrubber. It would probably do the job for you in this case, too.

For a sec there... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26344045)

For a sec there I read "DTV Coupon Program Out of Memory".

>_>

DTV? Hahahaha (1, Redundant)

DeadManCoding (961283) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344047)

This is just another item in a long list of stuff that I'm happy to be rid of. Just canceled my cable TV, and no intention of watching shows anymore. I'd rather buy DVDs/BluRay or rent new stuff from Netflix, etc. I can say that I'm quite happy to get rid of the cable box. I've still got broadband, and that's all I'll need.

Remember.... (3, Informative)

acrobg (1175095) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344051)

You only need a converter box if you get your television via over-the-air broadcast and don't have a digital tuner built in. If you get your television via cable (with a cable box or no), satellite, FiOS, U-Verse, etc., you don't need a dtv converter box. On Feb. 17, nothing will change for you. If you get OTA broadcasts, and you're unsure if your television needs a box, if you have the ability to type in a hyphen or decimal point in the channel number on your TV, you hava digital tuner. Fo example, in the Los Angeles area market, if you can type in 11.1 (11-1), you will get Fox in both digital and HD via OTA broadcast. Your best bet if your'e unsure, however, is to look up if your TV has a digital tuner online on the equipment manufacturer's website.

Not surprising in the least... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26344055)

In many ways this program is a disaster - it would be nice to see a Washington Post story about the tens of thousands of individuals like myself who are essentially being DENIED COUPONS because the FCC refuses refuses to let us get back in line after our initial coupons either never arrived, or expired due to lack of available converter boxes early in the program.
The FCC has never offered any reasonable justification for this abusive policy which runs contrary to the very intent of the program. Every coupon is numbered and they can tell whether coupons sent to a home expired without being used. There is no reasonable justification for denying people a second chance now that reasonable converter boxes are now available. This is government arrogance by a handful of petty bureaucrats at it's worse.

Re:Not surprising in the least... (2, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344147)

Man, I sure hate being denied my free money. Only an arrogant bureaucrat could be so mean.

Re:Not surprising in the least... (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344523)

Why yes, only an arrogant bureaucrat would be so mean as to mandate an unnecessary change that would require everyone to go out and buy new equipment, promise to give out coupons when they realize there's public outcry, and then screw up the coupon system so many don't even get a chance to use them.

TV's will still "work", just not for over-the-air (1, Redundant)

j-beda (85386) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344065)

"Older analog televisions will no longer work without a converter box after February 17."

They will work fine for Cable TV, and as monitors for video games, DVD's, VCR's etc. The only thing that happens on 2009-02-17 is that the local broadcasters will stop providing an analogue signal for these sets to pick up via antenna.

Re:TV's will still "work", just not for over-the-a (1, Troll)

Deag (250823) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344151)

Does anyone know do these converter boxes work for cable operators who don't provide an analog signal, specifically verizon fios?

Re:TV's will still "work", just not for over-the-a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26344313)

This isn't for any *wired* connection. It's for over-the-air broadcast you get from an antenna. All tvs (that I am aware of) should allow for multiple inputs sources though not much point if you are already paying for better service.

How will the goverment control the mindless masses (0, Troll)

neo (4625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344069)

I'm worried now. Before the switch to digital signals it was easy to sway the unwashed masses to any message you broadcasted. We even went so far as to buy the poor digital converters because we knew they couldn't afford the brainwashing tool for themselves. Put the terrorist threat up to red until we get more converters.

This summer's headlines (4, Insightful)

Ollabelle (980205) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344071)

This summer, Congress will conduct hearings on the massive waste and fraud in the program surrounding scores of bogus vendors each selling tens of thousands of fictitious boxes, all with "valid" coupons.

OMG! What??? (1)

Mononoke (88668) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344075)

Older analog televisions will no longer work without a converter box after February 17.

REALLY!!?!?! This is the first I've heard of that!

Why hasn't anyone told me???!?!?!?

Actually, I want to know why my cable company is so anxious to tell me through ads on cable channels. If I have cable, and can see the ads, then the change DOESN'T AFFECT ME. Has no one ever heard of the concept of "Target Audience"?

Re:OMG! What??? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344185)

It's just the cable company's way of saying "Ha! Analog TV is going away! You're going to need us FOREVER! Muahahahaha!"

Either that or they just want to let you know not to call them and bother them with questions like "do I need to do anything or order anything different with the DTV transition?"

Probably more the latter.

Re:OMG! What??? (1)

Killer Orca (1373645) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344239)

Older analog televisions will no longer work without a converter box after February 17.

If I have cable, and can see the ads, then the change DOESN'T AFFECT ME.

Only if all your TVs are hooked up to cable; something I discovered is not always the case due to an informative PBS transition special.

Clarification (1, Redundant)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344085)

Older analog televisions will no longer receive over the air transmissions without a converter box after February 17. If you have analog cable, it will continue to work as long as the cable companies use analog.

I've got a better idea about television. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26344091)

Let's listen to what Commander Data has to say on the subject:

"That particular form of entertainment did not last much beyond the year Two-Thousand Forty."

Let's just move the clock back a couple of years and be done with it.

Re:I've got a better idea about television. (2, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344399)

I doubt very much that STNG's alternate universe is that accurate. Yes, if you have a holodeck, your holodeck is an interactive 3D TV. And note that Kirk's Enterprise had no holodeck.

Note also that Picard's crew staged plays. You don't think that the plays would be recorded, and that even more elaborate plays with special effects, professional actors, etc would be recorded (a TV show)?

Data's data were faulty.

Another thing - McCoy coudn't fix Kirk's age related presbyopia (farsightedness), but my surgeoun, Dr. Yeh, cured mine with a focusable implant (accomodating IOL). Star trek was entertaining fiction, but it was hardly prescient.

20 billion auctioned off, 1.3 billion in coupons? (3, Informative)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344183)

So the FCC made around 20 billion dollars auctioning off the spectrum [slashdot.org] , but only allocated 1.3 billion for the coupon program? At $40 /coupon, that's around 32 million coupons. I'm guessing there's more non-cable televisions than that. Something seems quite a bit wrong with the amount allocated.

Voucher/coupon returns? (2, Insightful)

Ambiguous Coward (205751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344221)

So...is there a way I can *return* my voucher? I ordered one, thinking I was going to use it for my old tv, but then I went out and actually bought a nice new tv for which I don't need the converter box. I'm sure only a precious few people would actually bother to return the voucher once they discover they aren't going to use it, but it seems there ought to be a mechanism in place. I don't want to tie up this money indefinitely, even if it is just a drop in the bucket.

-G

Re:Voucher/coupon returns? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26344431)

You have a rather limited time to use the vouchers. If you don't use yours, it will expire (if it hasn't already). They can then issue someone else a new voucher for the money that you didn't use.

You don't need to return the little card. I'd suggest keeping it as a memento (and then selling it on the successor to eBay a few decades from now). You'll probably get enough for a nice celebratory ice cream cone.

Re:Voucher/coupon returns? (3, Insightful)

greg1104 (461138) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344437)

The vouchers automatically expire after 90 days. I recall some doom and gloom about this program running out of money some time ago, based on the rate at which vouchers were being issued. Lots of people ordered them immediately, not realizing the expiration date, and discovered there wasn't much hardware you could spend them on yet. But since many of them weren't used that allocated money went back into the available pool again, just like your voucher will after it expires.

The main thing that's different now is that vouchers ordered recently won't expire before the DTV transition, so if the program runs out of money now there won't be a chance to recycle recently issued but unused vouchers until after the deadline.

Re:Voucher/coupon returns? (1)

kevmatic (1133523) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344455)

If you RTFA, you'll see that the coupon will expire in 90 days. I don't know if you can turn it in before that or not. You better believe the government would find a way to spend it anyway.

Re:Voucher/coupon returns? (1)

jjhall (555562) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344503)

I requested coupons for a couple of older TVs, but never received them. I inquired but they said they were sent out and there is nothing further they could do, and suggested getting an unused card from a friend or relative who had to many. Perhaps a trading site could be set up to match people who have extras with people who didn't get any for whatever reason?

If you have nothing better to do with it, I could send you a stamp to send it my direction. ;-)

Jeremy

Re:Voucher/coupon returns? (1)

athakur999 (44340) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344509)

Every coupon that was issued has an expiration date on it. If the money does run dry and the government doesn't secure additional funding, what will happen is any new requests will go on a waiting list. As old coupons expire, they will send out new coupons to the people on the list.

Re:Voucher/coupon returns? (1)

rnaiguy (1304181) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344579)

The vouchers are all dated, and expire ~90 days after they're sent. I figured I had plenty of time to buy a box after I got my coupon in March, and found that fact out the hard way when I was ready to buy the box last summer. I had to order another set of coupons to another address. It would be really stupid if the money was used up even if the coupon wasn't used. With our government, this is a distinct possibility.

B...but...my 1c Box?! (1)

MikeyistheDevil (1390889) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344283)

Kinda puts a damper on the "One Cent Digital Converter" promotions we're now seeing. I just got one from TigerDirect this morning as a matter of fact. If they were smart they would offer them as rebates instead of coupons, then they wouldn't have to pay out nearly as much.

Re:B...but...my 1c Box?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26344423)

If they were smart they would offer them as rebates instead of coupons, then they wouldn't have to pay out nearly as much.

Psssst. How do you think the coupon actually works on the back end? Nearly all coupons like this actually work as rebates. Its just that its the store that has to deal with redeeming it.

Oh (0, Troll)

kabocox (199019) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344309)

Oh no! It's the end of the world. Every one run and scream and holler for more money!

O.k. I got it out of my system. We don't have DTV and aren't planning on buying a new TV any time soon. We get all our TV on DVD. We purchase entire seasons of shows and then just watch them over and over again. Heck, our movie collection is all DVD and I have no plans on buying a next gen movie player or movies either.

Site's report when trying to apply (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344335)

For what it's worth, this is what the site reports when you try to sign up.

We have determined that your household is eligible to participate in this program. However, at this time program funding is not currently available to fulfill your request. Your application has been placed on a waiting list. You do not need to apply again. When and if funds become available, coupon requests will be fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis.

It's their fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26344343)

It's not about being affordable. It's about the government mandating broadcast companies move to a digital medium for no apparent reason. If I had rabbit ears I'd want them to reimburse me too for any money spent since it was their idea.

Instead of doing this, why not push for fiber to the home so we can run TV, Phone, and Internet all over the same line?

dumbasses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26344383)

I ordered my coupons January 1st 2008, the first day they became available.
I have been using my boxes now for 10 months.

Some people are just stupid.

Maybe kids will play outside, (5, Funny)

psnyder (1326089) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344405)

or people will start to read books.

Perfectly good CRT TVs (4, Insightful)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344413)

If the converter box coupons help keep perfectly good CRT TVs out of the wastestream it sounds like money well spent.
(Relevent report on that from 60 Minutes [cbsnews.com] )

Digital TV: inferior in some ways (5, Insightful)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344425)

The bad part about digital TV is the method of transmission they used is inferior in some ways to analog TV. It requires a very strong signal to get any video at all, and it's very suspectible to multipath interference. Analog TV would degrade gracefully, so that if you didn't get a strong signal you could at least hear it, and see black and white video. Digital TV is all-or-none. Also, portable TV antennas no longer work (at least, not while you're moving), so you can't stick one in your car or your Sony Watchman. Digital broadcast TV is a pain at this point...

Who didn't see this coming? (1)

willbry (1209876) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344449)

Last year when this was first announced, I applied for my coupons on 1/1/08. I've been blogging about this for a year and a half at http://williambryson.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] (shameless plug), it's no surprise.

The American solution (1)

zygotic mitosis (833691) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344479)

This program needs a BAILOUT. Rush it through the congress.

Quinky dink (4, Insightful)

cjjjer (530715) | more than 5 years ago | (#26344531)

I wonder if this has anything to do with it?
Scammers Exploit DTV Coupon Program [slashdot.org]
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