Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Conflict of Interest May Taint DTV Delay Proposal

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the hard-to-find-true-disinterest dept.

Television 339

Anonymous writes "Ars Technica has discovered that one of the Obama transition team members advising on the digital TV transition has a conflict of interest that would benefit WiMAX carrier Clearwire over Verizon. 'Barack Obama's call to delay the DTV transition would affect not only millions of analog TV viewers, but also powerful companies with a vested interest in the changeover date — including at least one with an executive on Obama's transition team.'"

cancel ×

339 comments

Impressive... (4, Interesting)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26454733)

...Obama's not even in office yet and he's already got the beginnings of a corruption scandal going. I think this is a new record!

Re:Impressive... (2, Insightful)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 5 years ago | (#26454853)

Corruption scandal? Merely having a conflict of interests is not unethical.

Re:Impressive... (4, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26454889)

At my work, I'm actually not allowed to have a vested interest in a competitor. But I guess government advisory boards can favor different companies if they want, based on vested interests of their advisory board members...

If so, that would be yet another reason governments tend to run worse than private enterprises. :)

Re:Impressive... (4, Insightful)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455011)

If so, that would be yet another reason governments tend to run worse than private enterprises. :)

So we have one example of where private enterprise bans conflicting interests and one where government also bans conflicts of interest, but it sounds like that may have been compromised.

Not to say that government as good as private enterprise or better, but that's some shady logic you're using to for a general indictment of government.

Re:Impressive... (4, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455075)

There are certain sectors where conflicts of interest are unavoidable. Financial Investing and Politics are two them. The general remedy in these situations is full disclosure rather than suffer a chain of recuses every time you try to get something done. With full disclosure, at least the opposition can frame your decisions properly and decide whether or not they are motivated by personal interest.

That's why Cheney received only a minimal amount of heat for his Haliburton connection. Everyone knew up front what his interests were and had ample opportunity to question his motives.

Re:Impressive... (3, Informative)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455131)

And correct me if I am not mistaken. But he also gave up all personally benefiting assets in Haliburton.

The only assets that remained were in control of his charity foundation.

Re:Impressive... (2, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455305)

That is my understanding, yes. Though that doesn't completely remove potential conflicts of interest. Trading political favors comes to mind as one way to work around a divestment of assets.

Re:Impressive... (2, Interesting)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455517)

That's why Cheney received only a minimal amount of heat for his Haliburton connection. Everyone knew up front what his interests were and had ample opportunity to question his motives.

I feel it's important to point out that Cheney was one of Bush's closest advisers and policy makers, not to mention second in line to the presidency. This guy Salemme on the other hand appears to be an unofficial part of the transition team, advising as an expert on this one matter. He's not mentioned on Obama's website as even being a member of the transition team, although it's clear he is, he appears to be meeting with congressmen. It's not like he's writing checks to his company or pulls Obama's strings.

Re:Impressive... (5, Insightful)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455145)

To be fair, there is a difference between a company and a government. A company inherently operates in a particular sector. They have a fairly well-defined scope so it's reasonably easy to pick out who their direct competitors are, who their partners are, and what companies they have no particular link to.

High-level government officials and teams, however, inherently have some level of influence over every imaginable sector/industry. Which means that the chance of a conflict-of-interest arising becomes much higher (if you pick a random economic sector, and you have a group of 10 people, there's a good chance that one of those people will gain or lose in some way depending on decisions made; whether it be because of owning stock, having a family member employed by that industry, etc.).

That having been said, government officials should absolutely be held to a very high standard on conflict-of-interest cases. The appropriate action here would be for that particular Obama team member to recuse himself from any decision-making related to that particular issue. He can remain active in other aspects of planning, but should absolutely not touch anything related to this conflict-of-interest (and the planning/execution should be done in a transparent way so that the public can be confident that he wasn't involved).

Re:Impressive... (5, Insightful)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26454927)

Merely having a conflict of interests is not unethical.

But when that conflict of interest results in government policy which favors those interests, at the expense of competitors, that's potentially unethical. Of such things, corruption scandals are made.

Re:Impressive... (2, Insightful)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 5 years ago | (#26454943)

Funny, I seem to remember the massive calls for Cheney's head because he was the CEO of Halliburton prior to being elected VP (of course, by that time he had stepped down and divested all shares of that company). All in the name of "conflict of interest"...

Re:Impressive... (4, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455113)

Funny, I seem to remember the massive calls for Cheney's head because he was the CEO of Halliburton prior to being elected VP (of course, by that time he had stepped down and divested all shares of that company). All in the name of "conflict of interest"...

The rules work differently depending on which party's partisans happen to have the most mod points when such comments are made.......

Re:Impressive... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26455353)

The rules work differently depending on which party's partisans happen to have the most mod points when such comments are made.......

And thanks to his transparency he's shown throughout his Vice Presidency there have been zero questionable activities at all. Those secret energy meetings were kept from the public because they were too "technical" for us. And Halliburton/KBR really did earn all those no bid contracts in Iraq.

Re:Impressive... (4, Insightful)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455167)

Probably something to do with the fact that the Congressional Research Services investigated and discovered he still had:
  • deferred salary, tied to earnings
  • retained stock options, available for exercise after he stepped down
  • a 401(k) account which had investments in Halliburton

and had been found that his statements that he had removed financial ties to himself and Halliburton to be "steeped in loopholes and legalese and avoidance".

You were saying?

Re:Impressive... (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455349)

You were saying?

Regardless of what HE was saying, it still doesn't change the fact that this member of Obama's team is also still involved with a company that would be directly benefiting from this legislation. Unless your goal is merely to prove that Bush's cronies are just as bad as Obama's (which frankly isn't hard - not even the Republicans can stand Bush anymore), then you haven't accomplished much.

Re:Impressive... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455429)

Let's see... "advisor" or "staff" with a conflict of interest.

                            versus

                            vice-president with a conflict of interest

Yep... those two sure are the same thing.

Anyone with a clue is bound to have an stake somewhere.

Re:Impressive... (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455553)

Let's see... "advisor" or "staff" with a conflict of interest.

                                                        versus

                                                        vice-president with a conflict of interest

Yep... those two sure are the same thing.

Anyone with a clue is bound to have an stake somewhere.

Actually given how little real power the VP has, that staff member or advisor could be just as bad.

Re:Impressive... (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455051)

It is if you take part in the decision making. If you have a conflict of interest, it is your responsibility to step aside for such a decision. That said, I don't know if that's the case here or not. Just being on the team doesn't mean he swayed the team one way or the other.

Re:Impressive... (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455243)

Corruption scandal? Merely having a conflict of interests is not unethical.

These things are rarely accidents.

A conflict of intrest is unethical. (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455387)

Yes it is. Even the appearance of a conflict of interest undermines the credibility of an organization. An actual conflict of interest prevents you from making good decisions for an organization no matter what. In any case a person in such a situation will do more harm to an organization than good.

On the other hand, it is pretty much impossible for a government official not to have a conflict of interest. Still, this is so blatant that it undermines the credibility of the administration.

Re:A conflict of intrest is unethical. (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455573)

Yes it is. Even the appearance of a conflict of interest undermines the credibility of an organization.

Which is not unethical. Credibilty and ethics are two totally seperate things.

The guy gave Obama his opinion, he didn't make the executive decision himself.

Re:Impressive... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26455391)

Actually, it would be considered highly unethical (unless they came right out and clearly stated before hand that this was the case, and asked that they be excused from that decision)..
It may not be illegal, but definitely unethical.

Anyone involved in any kind of decision making process cannot (when the decision is in regards to external parties) cannot have an interest in said external parties, or it is unethical for that person to be part of the decision making process.

Re:Impressive... (2, Funny)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26454859)

New record == change, right?

Re:Impressive... (1, Funny)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455009)

Can we set a new record for corruption!? YES WE CAN!

Re:Impressive... (2, Funny)

db10 (740174) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455071)

you BETCHA!

Re:Impressive... (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455105)

*pew pew pew*

Side note: Holy crap your post made me laugh

Welcome to Chicago Politics (5, Funny)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455109)

The "C" in Chicago stands for "Corruption".

Welcome to Politics (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455221)

The "C" in politics stands for "Corruption".

Fixed that for you

Re:Welcome to Politics (4, Funny)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455287)

The "C" in politics stands for "Corruption".

Fixed that for you

But, in Chicago, its a capital "C".

Re:Welcome to Chicago Politics (2, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455537)

We should have listened to Sean Connery...

"He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue! That's the Chicago way!"

Re:Impressive... (4, Insightful)

greg_barton (5551) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455229)

I think this is a new record!

No, the record was when Rush Limbaugh christened the Obama recession [rushlimbaugh.com] two days after Obama was ELECTED.

Re:Impressive... (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455249)

I think this is a new record!

It's change!

Now pass the popcorn.....

Re:Impressive... (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455309)

When Barack Obama stocks his staff with industry insiders, it's corruption. When George W. Bush stocks his staff with industry insiders, it's just politics as usual.

Re:Impressive... (4, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455485)

I voted against Obama, because I think his political views are nonsense. Even so, I would never claim that this was corruption. Any appointee is going to have a history, investments, and contacts in their related field, because that's pretty much why they're being appointed in the first place. All this means is that proper procedures and disclosures need to be followed in order to ensure that corruption doesn't happen.

Same-ole, same-ole (4, Insightful)

oakleeman (939179) | more than 5 years ago | (#26454801)

Welcome to the new regime, which will probably end up as corrupt as the old regime. Two of his appointees are already under fire for questionable activities in their past. The most recent being the Treasury appointee who owed back IRS taxes.

Re:Same-ole, same-ole (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26454993)

Personally, I'm still fond of naming a lobbyist to the number 2 spot in the DoD. I think that's a new record for broken promises, most tend to happen after the elected official is sworn in.

how many governments fall apart before starting? (1, Interesting)

peter303 (12292) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455081)

Richardson, Geithner, TV scandal ...
Even "Whitewater" Hillary starting to look good in comparison.

Scandal accounting (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455263)

Do Hillary's scandals (real or not) only count for Bill, or does she get to be counted again?

Re:Same-ole, same-ole (2, Insightful)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455135)

To be fair, Obama's campaign wasn't really centered around "I'm going to vet every single postion I fill much more rigorously than anyone ever has before." Not that discovering the present case would have been too dificult to discover, but it's a long shot from Obama saying "You know what? Let's hire someone with conflicting interest on something fairly minor. Make a little extra cash and potentially making things just a little more interesting before I even take office."

Calling it corruption is making a mountain out of a molehill.

Re:Same-ole, same-ole (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455509)

Hey, at least you will know that the head of the Department of the Treasury (the IRS is a branch of the treasury department) knows where you are coming from. Maybe they will be a bit more lenient. Can't complain about that.

I'm probably naive (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26454827)

But wouldn't it be more surprising if a team advising on the use of airwaves had no members with ties to companies who use airwaves?

Re:I'm probably naive (2, Funny)

haystor (102186) | more than 5 years ago | (#26454901)

No experience in the field only qualifies you to run the CIA.

Re:I'm probably naive (3, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455085)

No experience in the field only qualifies you to run the CIA.

Naw, it'll get you a post [wikipedia.org] at FEMA too......

You are Naive. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26455457)

Bias, when money is involved, is implied.

The correct advisory for this kind of deadline is to have unaffiliated academics weigh in on the proposal and take this from a strictly neutral perspective. Obama will probably do just that.

rofl (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26454833)

Do you honestly expect Obama to hand pick his entire staff?

DTV? Where are your PRIORITIES PEOPLE!!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26454869)

1/14/04 NEVER FORGET

A loss the Internet and Slashdot may never recover from [wikipedia.org]

We miss you, G man! Keep it tight!

XXOO

an old adage (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26454883)

Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity. As complicated as politics are and as interconnected as this world is, there's bound to be things that are overlooked. Of course, if you or I were becoming president, we wouldn't make such mistakes, eh?

Re:an old adage (0, Flamebait)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 5 years ago | (#26454973)

Corollary: attribute everything to malice if the actions were taken by a Republican!

Well... (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455089)

This conflict is about TV and networking. The current conflict is about contractors who profit from war.

Both bad, one is worse.

Re:an old adage (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455297)

Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity.

That quote is designed to cover the ass of smart malicious people. It gets repeated by the malicious to excuse their behavior, and by the stupid to try and make them feel smart. That being said, there are many mistakes that don't require stupidity or malice. I don't know enough of the man, or his position to know if what category the situation falls into, or if it is even a problem at all.

Re:an old adage (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455383)

Of course, if you or I were becoming president, we wouldn't make such mistakes, eh?

But you and I are only mere mortals. We have no godlike attributes.

Or is it that there are not yet enough.... (3, Insightful)

3seas (184403) | more than 5 years ago | (#26454909)

.... viewers switched over to support the economy (re: advertisers)?

Re:Or is it that there are not yet enough.... (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455505)

that's my take on it, I'm guessing there's still countless millions who haven't purchased their converter box yet... dont ya just love when people try to product their own scandal! its so... scandalous!

Re:Or is it that there are not yet enough.... (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455511)

Most viewers are on cable/satellite and thus don't need to switch at all.

Conflict of Interest (3, Insightful)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 5 years ago | (#26454915)

Yeah. It's terrible when political officials in high positions make decisions that conflict with their real world corporate jobs. *coughcheneyhalliburtoncough*

Re:Conflict of Interest (4, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455143)

Yeah. It's terrible when political officials in high positions make decisions that conflict with their real world corporate jobs. *coughcheneyhalliburtoncough*

What's the relevance of bringing up Cheney in this manner? Surely your argument isn't that the Bush Administration did it so now the Obama Administration should do it as well?

Re:Conflict of Interest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26455255)

that is the arguement. we're going to let wrongs done by one person or group be the excuse why certain others should do it. granted, if this was mccain with the same advisor/cabinet member you'd hear people screaming bloody murder. by hey, it's obama. everything's cool.

too bad that we've let ourselves become so embedded in this (r) vs (d) culture that we, as citizens, can't say that it's time for the childish games to end. i thought obama was all about that kind of reform. so much for change.

Re:Conflict of Interest (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455351)

You don't find probably the most blatant example of a political official making decisions while a conflict of interest existed to be relevant to the discussion? This example doesn't put something like a tertiary official being involved in the decision on when the US should switch to digital television into perspective?

Re:Conflict of Interest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26455455)

You don't find probably the most blatant example of a political official making decisions while a conflict of interest existed to be relevant to the discussion? This example doesn't put something like a tertiary official being involved in the decision on when the US should switch to digital television into perspective?

So your argument is that because this conflict of interest isn't as blatant as Cheney's that we should have "perspective" and not be as upset about it?

Re:Conflict of Interest (2, Informative)

BigDogRMF (1132153) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455559)

true... It's the same company that *coughclintonhaliburtoncough* used when he needed people who do what Haliburton does better than anyone else into Bosnia real quick... That 'Cheyney - Haliburton' mantra is as old as it is irrelevant..

Delays my ass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26454917)

People had over a years to apply and they didnt apply? the FCC announced this 3 years ago. Anyone that didnt apply or get the coupons doesnt deserve to see TV anyway

Re:Delays my ass (5, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455049)

People who haven't switched over yet probably won't ever do it, so just make the damn cut-over and wait for the inevitable news stories about people being left without TV. These stories are going to happen whether you make the switch now or 10 years from now, so just do it already.

The people that haven't done anything about this switch by now must never actually watch their TV, since we've been subjected to crawls about it for more than a year on every broadcast channel, so they won't care anyway. Either that or they've just been too lazy, in which case the only way they're going to actually get a converter is if they get kicked in the pants sufficiently hard by, let's say, having their TV stations go dark.

Just get this crap over and done with so we can move on already.

Re:Delays my ass (2, Insightful)

Phu5ion (838043) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455427)

My thoughts exactly. Short of mailing every household in the US a converter box, there is no way to avoid some people receiving a snowstorm.

Correction; even if they mailed every household in the US a converter, you will still receive complaints of people not being able to watch <insert-crappy-show-here>.

Who released the hounds (1, Insightful)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 5 years ago | (#26454919)

Cynicism and complaint are the resorts of losers and followers.

You try governing sometime, and see how many seconds you last before your foot is firmly
lodged in your mouth.

Re:Who released the hounds (5, Insightful)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455055)

Odd how this is the sort of post that pops up when it's a problem with the budding Obama administration but not so much when it has anything to do with Bush...

Mod disclaimer - I don't support one more than the other. I think just about any politician that's done what it takes to get to the presidency is bound to be a shyster.

Re:Who released the hounds (1)

maugle (1369813) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455521)

I'm willing to give the Obama administration the benefit of the doubt for now, because it hasn't yet tried to wipe its collective ass with the Constitution.

Re:Who released the hounds (5, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455277)

Cynicism and complaint are the resorts of losers and followers.

Actually I'd make the argument that as Americans we are supposed to have a healthy amount of skepticism/cynicism towards our Government. As far as complaining goes, that was written into the 1st amendment ("petition the Government for a redress of grievances") as I recall.

Re:Who released the hounds (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455411)

Ah. The old "see if you an do better" argument. It doesn't really hold water. One needn't been capable of doing a better job than someone to criticize their performance. My guess is 95% of Slashdot readers couldn't hold a candle to Jack Thompson if they had to argue a case before a court. That doesn't change the fact that he's a terrible lawyer and everyone can recognize that.

Misdiagnosing stupidity as malice (4, Insightful)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 5 years ago | (#26454921)

I'm all for rooting out scandals and Truth, Justice, and The American Way, but when you run the government, you can either pick people who've done things, or who you really like. And people who have done things will have prior relationships with other people, organizations, and businesses.

Let's judge POTUS on what he does, not on what his contacts or their contacts might want.

Delaying the deadline is a dumb idea. We make deadlines so everybody can plan the switch. This transition has been planned for a long time. It's been heavily advertised. The switch will be painful for lots of poor folks who can't afford new equipment or who are bedridden and can't go shopping, but delaying the transition won't change that cold reality.

Keep the train on schedule, Obama.

Re:Misdiagnosing stupidity as malice (1)

bendodge (998616) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455065)

What if they're oil contacts?

Re:Misdiagnosing stupidity as malice (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455171)

If they are oil contacts, and POTUS initiates a baseless war in an oil-rich country, and then grants no-bid contracts to those oil contacts, I'd say the no-bid contracts smell real corrupt. But the smell of thousands of corpses would bother me much, much more.

Hypothetically speaking.

Re:Misdiagnosing stupidity as malice (1)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455127)

I'm all for rooting out scandals and Truth, Justice, and The American Way

Well we've managed to root out 3 of the 4... ;)

At least it isn't Verizon (1)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 5 years ago | (#26454935)

Hay, at least it isn't Verizon. Everyone has been in their pockets, and we all know that if it were up to Verizon, there would be no WiFi, no WiMax, and we'd still be using unshielded untwisted copper pairs for our (AOL-based metered) Internet. In my opinion, someone with ties is fine, as long as it isn't Verizon. Anyone but them.

So? (3, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26454939)

Barack Obama's call to delay the DTV transition would affect not only millions of analog TV viewers, but also powerful companies with a vested interest in the changeover date--including at least one with an executive on Obama's transition team.

That doesn't mean an issue does not exist. Just because some big company is going to benefit from a delay in DTV rollouts, does that mean we should cut off our nose to spite our face?

President Elect Obama has a reasonable argument that the market is not ready for DTV. I personally think that it will never be ready for the DTV changeover and that we'll need to do it the hard way anyway, but that's just my opinion. The government had a specific way they wanted this done. They have yet to achieve that goal.

Specifically, many consumers are still unaware of the changeover, or believe that they will need a new television or cable/satellite provider to continue receiving service.

Until the FCC gets much closer to achieving their goals for this changeover, Mr. Obama has a reasonable point.

Re:So? (4, Insightful)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455087)

"Specifically, many consumers are still unaware of the changeover, or believe that they will need a new television or cable/satellite provider to continue receiving service."

Are you kidding me? For the small percentage that don't have cable / satellite, how could you possibly miss the unending (and extremely irritating) ads on all the main broadcasting stations about the change, how to know if you'll need to get a converter box, where to get one, how to get a discount / free one, and where to find more information if you still have questions? Anyone who's still unaware or confused about things has something seriously wrong with them to have missed out on this for the last year or else never uses a TV and as such it doesn't affect them anyways.

Re:So? (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455195)

We Tivo everything, so those ads get skipped over. (:-)

Re:So? (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455459)

Who the hell has TiVo, but not cable or satellite? What would you record?!

Besides, the "ads" he's talking about are the kind that scroll across the bottom of the screen like stock tickers or NWS storm warnings. They occur during the show, so you can't skip them with TiVo (unless you want to miss your show along with it).

Re:So? (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455273)

how could you possibly miss the unending (and extremely irritating) ads on all the main broadcasting stations about the change,

Simple. It depends on your geographical location. The FCC focused on a few early-cutover areas to launch massive advertising campaigns. If you live in one of those areas, you've been annoyed to death over the changeover. If you happen to live in some other area (especially many of the rural areas the government is concerned about) you've probably seen a minimum of changeover commercials.

That minimum of commercials appears to be causing more confusion than anything else. Consumers are basically coming away with the message, "Changeover == TV Ain't Gonna Work".

Now personally, I think the people they're concerned about are simply not capable of understanding what's going on. (Mostly because they lack a good understanding of technology and background rather than because they're outright stupid.) If the government just makes the changeover, these folks will manage to find some smart young'un to help them get their TV working again.

Re:So? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455359)

If the government just makes the changeover, these folks will manage to find some smart young'un to help them get their TV working again.

My understanding is (correct me if I'm wrong) that the analog stations aren't going to go dark right away anyway. They'll have messages up explaining why they've stopped transmitting and providing information about the DTV transition.

Re:So? (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455515)

That's an important piece of info too. It's not as if the world has been building fallout shelters for the 5-6 years that we've known that the DTV switch was coming. People aren't going to get caught off guard and be forever scarred here. This is a problem that if, heaven forbid, some clueless person ends up without TV on the day of the switch, can be fixed in 45 minutes with $60 and a trip to Wal-mart. If only the rest of the world's serious problems could be solved so easily . . .

Re:So? (1)

bendodge (998616) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455299)

So what if some people lose their TV program. If they're addicted to TV, logic would hold that they would have seen the DTV announcements plastered all over TV broadcasts (and even the TV's themselves). If not, well, maybe this will be a good splash of reality. A deadline is a deadline. This one was quite generous. I was almost ready to clap for government achieving something on schedule, and now Obama and you people show up. TV isn't like air or water. Nobody's going to keel over dead if they miss their soap opera. If they do, they deserved it.

Now let's hold a pity-party for the companies that were planning to introduce other wireless services after the switchover. They'll loose money because it was delayed!

Ok, I confess I'm being extremely caustic. But really, this is silly. We made a deadline and spent millions of taxpayer's dollars advertising it. Don't go messing it all up at the last minute.

Re:So? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455365)

President Elect Obama has a reasonable argument that the market is not ready for DTV. I personally think that it will never be ready for the DTV changeover and that we'll need to do it the hard way anyway, but that's just my opinion. The government had a specific way they wanted this done. They have yet to achieve that goal.

This is how I feel too. Yes we will have to do it the "hard way", by requiring a switchover. However that day does not have to be Feb 17th come hell or high water, a couple month delay should not significantly impact anything and would give time for the coupon program to be funded and more people to be prepared for the switch.

Re:So? (1)

bendodge (998616) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455405)

Funded from what? The government is out of money.

IMO (1)

thisissilly (676875) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455453)

The government is going to take heat on the switchover whenever it happens. Better to do it next month, and place the blame on former administrations, than delay 6+ months and have the blame firmly land on this administration.

So... (4, Interesting)

evil_aar0n (1001515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26454941)

We've already ruled out the possibility that there _might_ just be a consumer-beneficial reason for pushing back the changeover date? I mean, because it's political, it _has_ to be so someone or some company can game the system and reap megabucks?

Not really a transisiton team member (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26455029)

Having RTFA...

Salemme is not actually an adviser to Obama. He met with Senator Rockefeller and Tom Wheeler (one of Obama's many advisers) last week. He also donated some money to the Obama campaign. That appears to be the sum total of his involvement. Not very compelling evidence that he is behind the policy, if you ask me.

The assertion that he is a transition team member appears to be outright false.

OT : Why cancel analog? (3, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455069)

Can anyone educate me on why a mandated cutting analog is a requirement of DTV?

Re:OT : Why cancel analog? (4, Informative)

Leto-II (1509) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455197)

Can anyone educate me on why a mandated cutting analog is a requirement of DTV?

The spectrum that analog TV uses was sold off so that companies like Verizon could use it for a new wireless network service. Can't really do that while analog TV broadcasts are still using the spectrum.

Re:OT : Why cancel analog? (1)

krappie (172561) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455591)

Can anyone educate me on why a mandated cutting analog is a requirement of DTV?

The spectrum that analog TV uses was sold off so that companies like Verizon could use it for a new wireless network service. Can't really do that while analog TV broadcasts are still using the spectrum.

That doesn't really answer his question at all, does it?

Re:OT : Why cancel analog? (1)

Captain Spam (66120) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455283)

Can anyone educate me on why a mandated cutting analog is a requirement of DTV?

Put quickly: The resale of the analog broadcast spectrum.

Put not-quite-as-quickly-but-still-kinda-fast: As I understands it, analog broadcasts are a lot more inefficient than digital, so shutting them down frees up a lot of space to be resold or otherwise reused in other capacities. Whether this means more advertising or better wireless/cell phone reliability or whatever remains to be seen.

Re:OT : Why cancel analog? (4, Informative)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455339)

I know that seems counterintuitive, but the answer is ultimately fairly simple if you look at the politics behind the DTV switch. A while back, the US government (Clinton Era) decided to sell off the public airwaves to various companies. Of course, in order for these companies to take control of these airwaves and use them for cellphones and what-have-you the analog signal had to be cleared from the airwaves.

The only reason the government was able to do this was with a partially funded mandate, which was to force all analog signal consumers and all analog signal broadcasters to switch to a digital signal. The reason why that would work because in theory you could compress the same number of broadcast stations into the smaller remaining bandwith, provided that they were digitally encoded signals that would be decoded by a digital reciever.

So, the answer to your question is this, this isn't about DTV. This is about a problem that the government created of having sold the analog spectrum that is currently being used for analog TV broadcasts to companies that want to use something else. The government believes that a DTV switchover is the solution to this problem, so they are trying to get the majority of consumers and broadcasters to switch to DTV as soon as possible. That's why they are giving away coupons from the Commerce Department, and running ADs that say "you must switch to DTV."

I also believe that a lot of retailers were hoping that the confusion created in non-technical users regarding DTV was going to drive HD-TV sales, but that's a totally seperate issue.

Of course, the economy doesn't look quite the same now as it did when this switchover was originally mandated for 2009, and that's probably the real reason why there is talk of delaying the changeover.

Re:OT : Why cancel analog? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26455465)

because the government wanted to sell/auction the analog TV frequencies for other purposes. ie Cell phone and Emergency services.

Re:OT : Why cancel analog? (1)

louks (1075763) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455555)

The mandated cut-off was also created to "encourage" stations to build on the new digital infrastructure. It's costing them millions per station for the transition, and they likely wouldn't do it if they knew they didn't have to.

The FCC knew more stations could fit into a smaller section of radio spectrum, so to move everyone over to digital would free up more frequencies. There is considerable pressure to find long-range spectra for new wireless technologies, and this is a major step in that direction.

Personally, I like my analog TV. No buffering, elegant failure mode, and less technology to interpret the signal. I do understand what they are trying to do, however, and I was impressed with reception in rural areas.

Keep people off the rooftops in Feb. (3, Insightful)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455137)

The biggest reason for a delay should have been thought out years ago. You don't want people up on their rooftops in mid-February adjusting their antennas after the switchover.

Even if you do have a converter box, or and HDTV with an antenna, you still don't know what you will be able to receive until after the transition, because some stations will move their broadcast frequency. Also, once the analog broadcasts stop, you'll be able to receive some fringe signals that were overwhelmed by them.

Re:Keep people off the rooftops in Feb. (1)

TheSync (5291) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455377)

You don't want people up on their rooftops in mid-February adjusting their antennas after the switchover.

And you really don't want to get the job of going up a mountain-top 500 foot tower during the winter to move/adjust a TV transmitter antenna/feedline!

While most stations have a DTV signal up, it is usually on a different antenna from the analog signal, and many stations are planning to remove their analog antenna and/or move their DTV antenna to a better position post-cut-off.

The more things change... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26455285)

the more they stay the same.

Change... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26455291)

So, is this change we can believe in?

hmm. (1, Insightful)

X_Bones (93097) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455519)

I'm not saying there are no differences between the two administrations, but I wonder how many people who are casually dismissing this report would be howling with outrage if the article was about, say, Bush's choice for assistant director of the FCC instead of about someone on Obama's transition team.

No matter how simple it is... (1)

MeisterVT (1309831) | more than 5 years ago | (#26455533)

...it's still too complicated for a lot of people. Delaying the transition because some people aren't ready is ridiculous. These are the same people that won't be ready 3 months from now.

My mother-in-law is the kind that has never seen a link she didn't want to click. She managed to switch herself over.

Grandmother-in-law doesn't even have a computer and only got her first cell phone last week and she has managed to get switched.

Sorry, but the people that aren't switched in time can just pick up their landline and their phonebook and find somebody to complain to.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...