Beta
×

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!

Senate Approves 4-Month Delay In Digital TV Switch

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the procrastinators-win-again dept.

Television 438

DJRumpy sends word that the US Senate has voted to delay the switch to digital TV until June. "The transition date would move to June 12 from February 17 under the bill that was fueled by worries that viewers are not technically ready for the Congressionally mandated switch-over. It would also allow consumers with expired coupons, available from the government to offset the cost of a $40 converter box, to request new coupons. The government ran out of coupons earlier this month, and about 2.5 million Americans are on a waiting list for them."

cancel ×

438 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Ahh... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26616059)

And then it'll be December 17.

Re:Ahh... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26616095)

..., 2035.

Just do it! (4, Funny)

XanC (644172) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616075)

One motion! Right off!

Re:Just do it! (5, Interesting)

matazar (1104563) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616093)

Seriously, I don't think this is that big of a deal.
Just make the switch and stop those annoying commercials.

Re:Just do it! (3, Interesting)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616179)

I'm on the fence on this.

On one had, the economy has tanked which leave people with little to no disposable income. I can imagine some canceling their cable/sat account and going with just over the air programming. By having a four month extension, this will be helpful while the economy rebounds (if it all by that time).

On the other hand however. By forcing people to switch now, it will force people to start purchasing. Having a healthy economy starts with flow and exchange of money from person to person.

Re:Just do it! (5, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616237)

I'm on the fence on this.

I'm on the fence about whether or not the change is worthwhile -- by all accounts the digital transmissions have worse reception and worse issues with multipath -- but if we accept that it's worthwhile it seems to me that we should stop stonewalling the change. Just get it over with already. Or cancel it and tell Verizon and AT&T to go pound sand (like they were ever gonna give us a third pipe anyway). Either way make a decision already.

They could delay it for 10 more years and there'd still be people out there that have no clue until the TV stops working and a big graphic comes on that explains why it stopped working.

Re:Just do it! (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616541)

I haven't had any issues; and I'm more than 50 miles from the transmitters. Not much in the way of multipath where I am, but signal strength is a definite issue; The digital channels are universally better thus far than the analogs(that have some snow).

They could delay it for 10 more years and there'd still be people out there that have no clue until the TV stops working and a big graphic comes on that explains why it stopped working.

Or at least until their TV stops working and they haul themselves to the store to buy a new one(they'd be unlikely to understand a converter box if they're that dumb).

Re:Just do it! (1)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616665)

It's true, the reception is noticeably worse with DTV. The issues are much more annoying, as it will cut in and cut out, rather than having a relatively linear level of quality based on how good your signal is. I have a nice HDTV, but I'm dreading the switch, as I won't be able to get the channels that don't have a clear enough signal for DTV.

Re:Just do it! (1)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616681)

If you think in terms of spectrum being a limited public resource it is very much worth it. We (the Feds) were paid a pretty penny for the existing NTSC spectrum. The new channels can carry more information (six virtual channels) or more quality. (Video quality. I make no claims about the actual content!)

I'm currently working on all-digital transition on cable. I have gained an appreciation for the value of spectrum.

-Peter

Re:Just do it! (4, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616267)

And if we hire a thousand kids to throw rocks at windows, it will stimulate the economy by forcing the purchase of new windows!

Forcing people to buy things they don't need or want with no benefit to them won't stimulate the economy- it will force dollars away from useful purchases to useless ones. It harms the economy, not boosts it.

Re:Just do it! (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616291)

Forcing people to buy things they don't need or want with no benefit to them won't stimulate the economy- it will force dollars away from useful purchases to useless ones. It harms the economy, not boosts it.

What, you mean dumping capital into unproductive ventures isn't the best way to get the economy rolling again? Who knew!

Re:Just do it! (1)

davolfman (1245316) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616613)

Not only that, but just about every electronics purchase that isn't made by Intel or AMD just goes to further screwing our balance of trade.

Re:Just do it! (2, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616333)

>>>the economy has tanked which leave people with little to no disposable income.

They can't afford a $40 Dish TR40/DTVpal, or a $50 Zenith converter box??? C'mon. All they have to do is skip their daily candybar snack and they'll have the extra money for the box.

>>>By having a four month extension, this will be helpful while the economy rebounds

You don't need to change the original February 17 to continue handing-out coupons, or selling the DTV boxes. In fact, extending the data is *damaging* because it's forcing tv stations to spend double the power output, which they can't afford, and cancel the hiring of technicians who would have performed the antenna upgrades. A delay hurts.

Re:Just do it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26616545)

TV Stations can still switch to digital early if they want to. I know that one (KSNC-TV, Great Bend, KS) has already been all-digital since October.
Personally, I'd like to see all the stations turn off the analog signal on the planned date so we can be done with it already.

Re:Just do it! (4, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616719)

>>>TV Stations can still switch to digital early if they want to.

You're about the 10th person on this forum to say that, and it's not true. KSNC received a *waiver* from the FCC due to antenna damage. Other stations have asked for waivers because of economic hardship. Without these waivers they would still be required to continue broadcasting analog.

Re:Just do it! (2, Insightful)

nizo (81281) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616405)

By forcing people to switch now, it will force people to start purchasing.

Though delaying it until people theoretically have tax refunds and/or any stimulus to spend seems like a good thing.

Re:Just do it! (2, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616499)

Do it now or do it later. This will have minamal impact on the echonomy. The people who haven't gone digital will not go digital in 4 months or 6 months of 20 years. They will wait until it no longer works. Some will cry ignornacne, money or whatever... But the fact was they didn't care enough to switch early and now they have to pay the piper. I doubt This delay will have any benefit to the delay.

Re:Just do it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26616627)

Ignornacne? Is that a case of chronic acne that you're entirely uncognizant of?

  "Dude, you have zits!"

  "What zits?"

  "THOSE ZITS!"

  "Where?"

Re:Just do it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26616615)

On the other hand however. By forcing people to switch now, it will force people to start purchasing. Having a healthy economy starts with flow and exchange of money from person to person.

So having a healthy economy relies on people being forced by government mandate to purchase stuff to obtain a service 90% identical to what they already have? To quote someone or other: "these are indeed strange and disturbing times".

Re:Just do it! (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616269)

>>>Just make the switch and stop those annoying commercials.

I agree! I just setup my TV with the digital box, and disconnected the analog portion. I'm ready to get this over with!!!

Re:Just do it! (2, Funny)

Majik Sheff (930627) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616661)

I don't know... I like the commercials... where they talk to me... real slow... so that my inferior... intellect can absorb... all of the information... that has been presented... to me repeatedly.

Re:Just do it! (4, Insightful)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616127)

It really doesn't matter when they do it -- February, June, two years ago, two years from now. Either way, they'll still have 2 million clueless idiots cussing out at their TVs wondering what happened to their TV signal. And all of those 2 million will be technologically clueless senior citizens -- anyone under the age of, say, 40, already gets most of their TV from the internet, where it's on demand and there's far fewer commercials.

Re:Just do it! (4, Interesting)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616163)

When they finally do it, instead of shutting off all analog signal they need to make every station in the country broadcast a repeating message for a week explaining what happened and giving instructions plus a phone # to call for more details. That's about the only way to limit the number of angry phone calls that everyone from the electric companies to the stores that sold the remote controls will get.

Amazingly, my technologically-handicapped grandmother actually noticed the commercials and listened to my dad when he told her about this, so she's fine - I, on the other hand, waited too long and am now on the dtv waiting list. (Though I also might use it as an excuse to upgrade to hd.)

Re:Just do it! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26616207)

My 86 year old Grandmother had a converter box when we went over for Christmas. My only complaint is that whomever set it for her had it tuned to analog signals. The instructions were pretty bad for what should have been a box you put between the antenna and the TV then push a scan button.

Re:Just do it! (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616319)

Why in the hell would anyone buy a digital converter and tune the thing to analog signals?!?! Aren't they kind of missing the whole point?!?!

Re:Just do it! (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616739)

Why in the hell would anyone buy a digital converter and tune the thing to analog signals?!?! Aren't they kind of missing the whole point?!?!

I get more analog signals than I do digital signals. Some digital signals are unwatchable with blocky refreshes and sound cutting in and out, while their analog equivalents are just slightly fuzzy.

Re:Just do it! (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616469)

>>>My only complaint is that whomever set it for her had it tuned to analog signals.

Your comment doesn't even make sense. How do you take a DTV box and tune it to old-fashioned analog signals? The DTV box doesn't even have an analog tuner!

Re:Just do it! (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616255)

When they finally do it, instead of shutting off all analog signal they need to make every station in the country broadcast a repeating message for a week explaining what happened and giving instructions plus a phone # to call for more details.

I believe that's what the plan is although I'd wager that it will be displayed for more than a week. It's not like AT&T and Verizon have roll out plans for that spectrum yet anyway. Hell, the cynic in me thinks their "roll out plan" consisted of "let's buy this up to shut down the third pipe before it starts", so there probably isn't a rush to free up the spectrum.

Re:Just do it! (1, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616511)

>>>>>instead of shutting off all analog signal they need to make every station in the country broadcast a repeating message for a week

>>I believe that's what the plan is

Well freedom of religion is a right, so you can believe whatever you want, but it's not true. ;-) When the analog signals turn-off, the digital signals move into the former space. So for example, when WBAL-11 turns-off their analog channels, it will immediately be replaced by WBAL-DT-11. There will be no way for an analog station to exist after the 2/17 cutoff, because a "new tenant" has already moved-in and filled the space.

Re:Just do it! (0)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616445)

>>>instead of shutting off all analog signal, they need to make every station in the country broadcast a repeating message for a week explaining what happened

Impossible. The digital signals will be occupying the space previously occupied by analog (and you should have known that). For example WGAL-DT8 and WBAL-DT11 cannot continue using their analog channel 8 and 11 transmitters, because the DTV signals will occupy that space post-2/17.

If I was a mod I would demote -1 from your current "4 interesting" score, because your solution is poor engineering.

Re:Just do it! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26616521)

>Impossible.

Not really. Just keep the DTV signals on the temporary UHF frequencies for 30 days after the "transition" and use the analog ones to broadcast the message. Or better yet, start transmitting it now and be ready for the switch in February.

With appropriate legislation, you could delay the turnover to the new license-holders by the necessary 30 days.

Re:Just do it! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26616713)

You do realize that a lot of the digital signals are already there being broadcast at different frequencies so the newly freed spectrum won't necessarily be used immediately.. Yes this frees up a lot of spectrum that will be used up by whoever can, but what's stopping them from delaying that takeover for a week or so. Because digital tv is already here, there won't be any obvious loss of tv service if you've got yourself a digital box. Hell they've just delayed it by 4 months, what's a couple of weeks?

Re:Just do it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26616479)

You read slashdot, but your grandmother setup a converter box before you did?

I was hoping that no one on slashdot would buy a converter box. You'd think everyone on slashdot would get their TV over the Internet. Either that or they'd have cable or satellite.

Re:Just do it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26616767)

I was hoping that no one on slashdot would buy a converter box. You'd think everyone on slashdot would get their TV over the Internet. Either that or they'd have cable or satellite.

I have a digital television that receives broadcasts over the air, you insensitive clod!

Re:Just do it! (1)

Cosmic AC (1094985) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616591)

When they finally do it, instead of shutting off all analog signal they need to make every station in the country broadcast a repeating message for a week explaining what happened and giving instructions plus a phone # to call for more details. That's about the only way to limit the number of angry phone calls that everyone from the electric companies to the stores that sold the remote controls will get.

They're already doing that in Hawaii, as we speak. [yahoo.com]

Re:Just do it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26616183)

TV from an innertube? What'll they think of next?

Re:Just do it! (1)

IorDMUX (870522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616691)

Actually, the timing of this does matter, though not to who probably comes to mind first when you consider the issue.

Certain wireless companies are getting hit hard by this change, as we (the companies) purchased portions of the supposed-to-be-former analog spectrum from the FCC. Companies already had roll-out plans in place for new services that were to begin this February which are now being put on hold (as well as all of the support staff and other employees dedicated to the new service) while the government mucks through this mess.

It's not a pretty picture. We purchased this spectrum, paid for it, built technologies around it, and now are suddenly being told that we can't have it.

Bad Move (5, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616115)

This a bad move by an equally mismanaged program. They say that there was not enough funding for the demand for coupons, but then the number of coupons exceeds the estimate of TVs receiving through broadcast signals. Most of those boxes are now for sale on eBay. And this does not even touch on the lobbying from the cable industry and other vested $$$ interests. Bad move.

Re:Bad Move (2)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616177)

Hmmm... Seems like a bad strategy to me. You might be able to sell some right now while no more coupons are being issued; but as long as the coupons are available I'd be hesitant to try to sell them on Ebay.

I'd put them up on switching day, if not a bit later. After the coupon program has expired.

Re:Bad Move (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616565)

I sold a Zenith for $70 on amazon, and a DTVpal for the same price. And that was *before* the coupons had run-out. I guess since most households are limited to just 2 coupons, these extra units are being sold for the extra sets, VCRs, or DVRs.

Re:Bad Move (2, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616201)

no, most of the 18 million boxes sold did *not* wind up on eBay. what an incredibly stupid assertion.

Re:Bad Move (0)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616483)

no, most of the 18 million boxes sold did *not* wind up on eBay. what an incredibly stupid assertion.

The fact of the matter is that many more coupons than actual non-digital TV broadcast receivers were issued. Where do you supposed those boxes will end up? And, right now there are over 600 for sale at eBay. After the "switch-over", all those people hording boxes they don't need will want to get rid of them. Think about it.

http://shop.ebay.com/items/_W0QQ_nkwZdigitalQ20converterQ20boxQQ_armrsZ1QQ_fromZQQ_mdoZ

Re:Bad Move (0, Offtopic)

arminw (717974) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616357)

...They say that there was not enough funding....

That's easy to fix. Just give the bailout money now going to rich bankers, stock gamblers (analysts & brokers), mega corporation's overpaid senior executives and other rich moneybags to the grandma's on the converter coupon waiting list. There is enough money going to these leeches to buy a new HD TV set for all those poor grandmas.

I'd rather they just pulled the plug... (3, Interesting)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616121)

One of my stations switched recently anyways; other than telling my TV to check for a digital station on that channel, no issues. Picture improved, though it's pretty obvious that they're merely feeding it an analog signal through a converter for now.

While I'd push more funding in for the coupons; I have the feeling that many/most on that list don't actually need a box. Talking with various people, there's a lot getting them 'just in case' even though they get cable/dish. For that matter, I bought one for my CRT TV about a month before a great deal had me buying a new LCD TV.

The final point I'd have is that, at this point, delaying the switch won't get you that many more digital capable homes - many are procrastinating, and will continue to do so until they can't get broadcast TV.

Meanwhile I'd like to see those applications for the freed up bandwidth to actually happen. Of course, I saw on conspiracy theory that those wanting a delay have or are looking to bring out competing products.

Re:I'd rather they just pulled the plug... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616595)

>>>I saw on conspiracy theory that those wanting a delay have or are looking to bring out competing products.

Please elaborate. How do they gain from a four-month delay?

Re:I'd rather they just pulled the plug... (2, Interesting)

skiingyac (262641) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616745)

See http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/01/4g-war-conflict-of-interests-loom-behind-possible-dtv-delay.ars

Basically, Verizon wants to deploy their 4G cellular network using the spectrum that will be freed up, and Clearwire wants that to take as long as possible so they can get more users to sign up for WiMAX first (which is already somewhat deployed).

In reality, yeah a 4 month delay probably won't have much impact on the amount of customers either service gets since the demand isn't very high right now. I think pricing and service quality will make more of a difference. If it gets pushed back further, that could change.

Arguably, the people who sell hardware & related things to Verizon for 4G networks (some of which are in or affiliated with Obama's administration) have some to gain/lose depending on the timing. Probably not much because 4G will be deployed either way, but thats the argument.

Re:I'd rather they just pulled the plug... (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616765)

Well, one four month delay today, a multiple year one before that, another after the four months are done...

They might be hoping to get significant market share in the next few months. Reach some sort of tipping point ala game systems.

I wouldn't count on it though; that's why I called it a conspiracy theory.

Re:I'd rather they just pulled the plug... (1)

hellwig (1325869) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616707)

There is no funding problem. Too many people who don't need them are getting them, even if their brandnew HDTVs come with their own tuners (my fiancee's parents are guilty). Too many of the people who actually are getting the coupons AREN'T using them. That's right, they're just letting them expire. I heard somewhere its something like 60% of the coupons. As soon as they expire, there will be plenty of coupons for those on the waiting list. Problem is, they can only give out so much dollar-amount at a time. Now, if ALL the coupons had been used, then yes, allocate more money. We don't need more money just because people aren't using the coupons they're getting.

Goddamnit (0, Redundant)

Mutio (1204504) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616131)

Seriously senate, wev all seen the commercials and tv specials on our local news about this switch. And all of us in the tech know have been ready for months. Just do the switch and force those who were too lazy, to finally get their converter boxes.

People want CH 2 HD in Chicago to move to better (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616147)

People want CH 2 HD in Chicago to move to better signal will this slow that down?

Re:People want CH 2 HD in Chicago to move to bette (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26616573)

Yes, this will slow that down. Note that channel 7 will make the OPPOSITE move and go to VHF.

Will this change anything? (5, Interesting)

fo0bar (261207) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616151)

I'm not talking about the "will delaying the transition allow everybody who has been ignoring the constant barrage of ads to ignore them some more" debate. February 17 is (soon to be "was") a date all broadcasters must stop BY. It doesn't mean you have (had) to stop ON that date. A local broadcaster actually just turned off their analog tower yesterday. [kolotv.com]

I'm wondering if many broadcasters will just choose to switch over on the 17th anyway, as the ball is already rolling, so to speak. It'd probably cost them a decent amount of money and wasted resources not to go ahead with the original plan.

(I could be wrong; there could be wording in the bill forcing broadcasters to wait off.)

Re:Will this change anything? (2, Insightful)

kherr (602366) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616727)

I hope stations switch anyway. The February 17 deadline is three weeks away. Stations have already scheduled their work crews and support staff, have made plans for the hardware cutover, etc. Now they're expected to suddenly halt everything, add an additional four months of dual-service costs and redo all of their plans?

Seems to me this move does nothing to help people prepare for the switch, but will succeed in making the stations unprepared. So it'll be a bigger mess than sticking to the original date.

Just transmit in B&W the last 90 days (5, Interesting)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616155)

Seriously, if you're watching TV and your color TV suddenly is B&W on every channel, and so is your buddy's, even the clueless idiot is going to drag his ass to the TV asile of walmart and start asking questions. You still get TV, and HDTV is avalible, but SDTV is black and white which will prompt people to go to the store and at least consider a HD tuner.

Re:Just transmit in B&W the last 90 days (2, Informative)

MBCook (132727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616199)

Unfortunately the only difference between a B&W single and a color signal (in the analog world) is the color burst. The signal will take just as much power (basically) to broadcast.

The biggest problem for most stations at this point is probably the extra power it would use to keep the analog transmitters going an extra 90 days. B&W wouldn't do any good there, it would just annoy people and cause more confusion than having no signal (or the "nightlight" signal that would have continued).

I hope that if this passes, TV stations just ignore it and switch on the 17th anyway. It's a stupid idea that won't do any good but waste money and time. Fund the coupons better, and keep the date the same.

Also, people have to go buy a digital tuner. An HD tuner costs extra, and would be a waste of money unless you had an HD monitor (which you probably don't, because if you bought one years ago you can probably afford the $150 to buy the box).

Re:Just transmit in B&W the last 90 days (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616285)

No, the point of broadcasting in B&W isn't to reduce broadcast power (that's just dumb at this point), it is, like you said, to annoy and confuse people so they start asking questions. Because really anyone at this point who doesnt have an HDTV converter box either isn't aware of doesn't think it applies to them. These are the same people that are going to get angry and call the FCC the day analog gets shut off. Rather than have them super angry and without TV, they have a serious degradation of quality (in this case, color), they get upset enough that they decide to seek out information on their own, and so that they're ready when (B&W) analog gets shut off in three months.
 
Most people don't upgrade their fuse box in an old home until they start tripping breakers, at least this way joe the plumber knows he's going to start tripping the breaker when he turns on the 52" widescreen TV and his home theater system at the same time before he gets home from best buy. So to speak.

Re:Just transmit in B&W the last 90 days (2, Insightful)

faedle (114018) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616345)

Jesus Christ. Every single program has had a crawl on it for months now. Most commercial breaks include a message. There have been ads in the newspaper, on the radio, and in other media.

If you don't know by now that you may need a converter box, you probably should be institutionalized. Seriously.

Re:Just transmit in B&W the last 90 days (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616489)

Or you watch TV so rarely it'll be at least 3 months before you notice the conversion...

Re:Just transmit in B&W the last 90 days (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616617)

You are going to be shocked, SHOCKED at how many people bitch and moan about this, thinking that it didn't apply to them. It's one thing to read a message and not understand it, and ignore it from then on thinking it doesn't apply to you; it's another thing entirely to break part of what they use (go B&W) so they see it does apply to them. Many people fore go medical treatment thinking it isn't as bad as it really is (lump in breast) and when they finally are talked into seeing a doctor it has metastasized into a terminal cancer.
 
The other half probably should be institutionalized, but hey, right now Arkansas, Alabama and Mississippi are pulling most of their weight [typepad.com] so they can stay where they are for now.

Re:Just transmit in B&W the last 90 days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26616645)

I haven't watched TV in months and I don't watch commercials when I do. And radio? It's the 21st century, LOL.

If I weren't reading bitchy techie news sites like this one, I probably wouldn't have a clue if I tried to turn on the local news in the event of an emergency.

Re:Just transmit in B&W the last 90 days (1)

kkrajewski (1459331) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616601)

The (feature?) side effect of this would be that people would immediately assume their TV was broken and buy another one (which would then have a digital tuner??). Here's how to really annoy and confuse people: Add subtitles. If you've ever worked in a video store you know what I mean!

Re:Just transmit in B&W the last 90 days (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616643)

Well the first two or three would go out and buy new TVs. Then they'd get to talking and (hopefully) notice that ALL their tvs were black and white. Although hopefully you would think with an average of 3 tvs per household, they would notice that all their tvs went B&W at the same time.

Re:Just transmit in B&W the last 90 days (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616647)

>>>It's a stupid idea that won't do any good but waste money and time.

You just gave the short definition of "government". Which is why the U.S. Founders revolted and tried to create a new government that was minimalist, and therefore did minimal damage.

Or just drink more beer (0)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616307)

And B&W will look fine.

Re:Just transmit in B&W the last 90 days (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616571)

they do broadcast in black and white.

color was an 'add-on' (ha!) and a clever compatible one, at that. they added chroma so that you could still use your b/w tv when color became a new standard.

so actually, they would just have to NOT add the chroma.

How many (3, Insightful)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616161)

So how many of those 2.5 million are scammers and huckesters who are bilking the elderly and inept as we muddle through this insane clusterfuck? This mess is enough to turn the most die hard quasi-socialist into a small government, free market libertarian in the span of about 7 seconds.

Plus, now I've got to deal with four more months of commercials regarding this switch....ON MY CABLE FUCKING TV!!!! yeah, thanks comcast, thank you for reminding me every 29 seconds that the DTV switch is coming.

I need to drink more.

Re:How many (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26616253)

IIRC, in the 1990s, the occasional blurb about DTV said it was going to be in 2006. I somehow KNEW the transition would take longer.

Says I, as I sit on my butt and watch it all happen, as I am a Comcast customer.

FWIW, I'm a small-s socialist, and I think the federal government could use some downsizing. When middle-class homeowners feel the need to consult an income tax specialist, you know government is too big.

Re:How many (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616275)

ON MY CABLE FUCKING TV!!!! yeah, thanks comcast, thank you for reminding me every 29 seconds that the DTV switch is coming.

I hate to defend crapcast of all outfits but I'm pretty sure those commercials are mandated by the FCC. Time Warner has been running them like crazy too.

Worse than the commercials though are the misinformed (or lying) reps at Time Warner. Buddy of mine called up to get ghetto cable (just the networks) and they tried to tell him that it was no longer an option and he had to sign up for digital cable so it would work after the switch. Dunno if it was a misinformed rep or somebody trying to make a commission but my friend knows better and was quite pissed off about it.

Re:How many (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26616299)

I need to drink more.

That or lay off the caffeine.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26616401)

If I dial 255.255.255.255, can I make all the phones in the world ring at once?

Re:How many (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26616497)

Sure just don

What stops them from switching anyway? (1)

NiteMair (309303) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616169)

Perhaps I'm ignorant, but won't ~90% of broadcasters just stop broadcasting their analog signal anyway?

I mean, wasn't the whole mandate originally designed for FORCE broadcasters to change their equipment, and now that the date was looming, and plans had been solidified, why wouldn't most of them just turn off their analog anyway?

If in fact that happens, that will demonstrate that this move was not designed to help consumers at all...

Re:What stops them from switching anyway? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616259)

Perhaps they will add a clause requiring broadcasters to leave the analog on until June.

This is good. (5, Interesting)

Alien Being (18488) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616189)

The cable companies have been using the February switchover as subterfuge for their own plans.

For about a year, Comcast have been advertising that their customers can "keep on watching their favorite shows" after the switch with no changes needed. Very recently, the wording of their ads changed. Now all they say is that if you use their set-top-box, then you're covered.

I decided to call them and ask for the real answer.

Me: I see that you've changed the wording in your ads. Will my service change in February?

Comcast: blah blah blah blah affected blah blah.

Me: Would you please repeat that?

Comcast: blah blah blah blah affected blah blah.

Me: Wait. Will I be affected, or will I not be affected?

Comcast: You will be affected.

Me: How?

Comcast: You will lose some channels.

Me: Really! Which ones?

Comcast: We don't know yet.

Me: Well, how many channels will I lose?

Comcast: Between 7 and 10.

Me: I see. For a year you've been lying to us and you still won't tell us the truth. By the way, why does the Comcast have to change anything?

Comcast: We don't. The timing is coincidental.

Me: Fuck you!

Re:This is good. (1)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616429)

After a brief intermission, please join us for Act II on Slashdot Theatre.

Damn (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616211)

Wow...look how much money we can make off of this 'transition'!!! And the longer it takes to accomplish, the more we can make!! Lobby for a delay!! Now!! Screw the public!!!!!!

Another tax (-1, Offtopic)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616223)

This is another way the stupid tax the intelligent.

just print more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26616227)

Do what the treasury does. Out of money? Print more. Out of coupons? Duh, print more.

So important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26616257)

This is sooo important. We must be sure all Americans can watch sitcoms. What will they do with their time otherwise? And I have no problem paying for it. None at all, I love helping people so they can watch tv and be entertained. Our government is so responsible with our money.

This is crazy (0, Flamebait)

prndll (1425091) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616271)

Is this kinda of idiocy what we are to expect from a so-called tech savy Obama? People are not going to be ready in four months just like they are not ready now. If we are going to do this...THEN LET'S JUST DO IT.

Forget the boxes, get a new set! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26616295)

The coupons would be better spent toward a new set that can receive DTV without a converter.

PBS (4, Informative)

787style (816008) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616301)

PBS claimed that delaying the conversion would cost them $22 million [google.com] . Is that a check we have to write now lest we get sued?

Re:PBS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26616473)

PBS in my area (Michigan) quit broadcasting analog already. Not really a big deal.

Re:PBS (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616705)

Hmm, that's funny, my local affiliate hasn't really been broadcasting the digital (HD) stream at all yet. Well technically they have but it's been at like 10W or something. They did this because they don't have enough money for either two antenna's or the power for both. The thing that sucks is they are a couple miles from the antenna farm where most of the local commercial stations are which is where our cable provider logically put their rebroadcast equipment. With their pitiful power there isn't enough signal for the cable company to pick up so I get all of the locals in HD except PBS which has the content I'd be most interested in other than sports.

Old buggers (3, Funny)

tdwMighty (1453161) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616317)

The old buggers in the Senate probably just figured out how to work a DVD player and now are too afraid of the change to digital TV.

Advertising dollars (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26616355)

The media is scared shitless that millions of households won't have converter boxes installed by the Feb. date, which, coincidentally, is during one of the "sweeps weeks" for broadcasters. Millions of eyeballs not able to watch tv will mean several millions in lost advertising revenue in a time when tv is already showing declining viewership among the more coveted demographics. Broadcasters prefer putting off the deadline till the beginning of summer when most everything on tv are reruns and viewership is at its lowest.

Re:Advertising dollars (2, Insightful)

British (51765) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616717)

Darn, I was hoping it would be like that episode of The Simpsons when Itchy & Scratchy got re-tooled, and all these kids go outside to play. Some are painting fences, others do that "push the hoop with the stick" old-timey thing.

Knowing it's 2009, kids will go "meh" and just go visit a website.

to offset the cost of a $40 converter box? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26616413)

If TV is really that important to you, I think you can spend on a $40 converter box w/o depending on gov't handouts...

Pirate TV (2, Interesting)

freyyr890 (1019088) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616425)

I'm just wondering when the offshore pirate broadcasts in protest are going to start. It doesn't take much to start a pirate TV station (most HAM radio FSTV transmitters can be tuned to other frequencies than are allotted in the HAM bands). Rig a boat with a studio, anchor in international waters, crank up the transmitter power, and go wild.

Also makes me wonder if the business is open up here in Canada and down south in Mexico to start border blasters.

Oh crap... (1)

macbuzz01 (1074795) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616451)

Not another four months of listening to the "Are you ready for the digital transition commercials?"...

Poor planning (2, Insightful)

astinus (560894) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616453)

It would also allow consumers with expired coupons, available from the government to offset the cost of a $40 converter box, to request new coupons.

Wait a second... why wouldn't you print all such coupons to expire the day after the planned switchover? What possible reason is there to have them expire early?

There is nothing on anyways (2, Informative)

apenzott (821513) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616461)

Currently we have 116 channels of mind-numbing NTSC channels.

After the switchover we will have several hundred more mind-numbing ATSC channels.

For the cable companies, this means that they will have more (apparent) capacity on their head-end equipment. Unfortunately they have decided it is more important to hand out executive bonuses rather than do the inevitable infrastructure upgrades necessary for the public to notice a difference in digital quality. (The cable companies have the luxury to choose when the switchover happens for their customers that are using the cable box or non-ATSC television (tuner). The rest of the CATV audience with an analog CATV ready TV can be allocated a smaller and smaller analog channel lineup to persuade them to either get a cable box or a new TV.)

For the OTA audience, let them visit the "TV repair shops" for an expensive lesson in Digital Broadcast Transmission.

Corruption? (1)

powerlinekid (442532) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616475)

Not trolling but honestly, why was this article flagged as corruption? Who really gains by pushing this out longer other than the people who are either 1. oblivious or 2. lazy?

I agree with the posters who say just do it. Personally I use Optimum so mine is covered on their end but it could be a nice little jolt to the economy having a bunch of people running out to buy HD tvs, cable packages or converter boxes.

Re:Corruption? (2, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616609)

Quite a few people could be seen to be benefiting from this. Politicians because they will "save the people" by fixing the coupon program (they broke) and stopping TV from "going away". Incumbent providers of some services (basically anyone who stands to get competition from the newly free spectrum) will benefit. Cable and satellite providers get another 120 days to try to fear monger people that they will lose TV if they don't switch to digital cable / digital satellite.

Basically, many people (myself included at this point) think this change has been handled poorly. Some European countries have been on DTV for years. They said "this is the date" and switched. No coupon programs, no hand-outs, no endless delays (hint: this was supposed to happen in '06), etc. They were willing to put up with the fact this wouldn't be perfectly clean.

If I bought that spectrum, I would sue the government to stop the delay. I was promised the spectrum (and put up a TON of cash) to get it. It was supposed to be free on Feb 17th. We'd already delayed years and were told "this is it". Now it's not. You just pushed back my millions of dollars of investment and planning by months. That will cost a ton of money.

And let's not forget, the government gets some of the spectrum too. It's supposed to be usable for emergency services. Do the TVs of a few million people who have been ignoring 2 years of warnings (plus a coupon program) deserve to watch Two and a Half men and One Life To Live more than the emergency services people deserve to use the spectrum?

It's probably all just stupidity, but it's quite possible to make a decent argument for corruption.

NOOOOOOO!!!! (3, Interesting)

pjbgravely (751384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616531)

I have been waiting for 3 years for this change over.

Most of the stations I receive will increase their digital streanth. One channel will change frequency and I need to know if I can get that one or I will have to point the antenna to another city.

There should be no coupons, period. (1, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616653)

Technology moves on. Did the government give people who owned horses coupons to buy fords?

its TELEVISION, not national defense or health care.

Government spending is fine on a good cause, but I don't call the coffers of converter box manufacturers a good cause.

No television? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26616659)

What? Is there a chance that all those TV addicts won't be able to see Obama and Oprah? How sad.

Health care... (0, Troll)

FlopEJoe (784551) | more than 5 years ago | (#26616663)

And tell me again why the government should be in charge of health care?

Obama's advisor gets richer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26616723)

And Obama's advisor who makes money from the current situation gets a little richer.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

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>