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US Digital TV Switchover Delayed Until June

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the we'll-do-it-later dept.

Television 334

necro81 writes "The Delay DTV Act was passed first by the Senate, now by the House, and will be signed by the President. The hard cutoff for turning off analog TV broadcasts in the US has been pushed out to June 12th. The act had earlier failed to gain a 2/3rds majority in the House, but passed this afternoon with a simple majority. The bill allows stations to cease analog transmissions at any point between Feb 17th (the old cutoff) and June 12th, and many have signaled they will do so."

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Change (-1, Offtopic)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#26731583)

Change

Re:Change (-1, Offtopic)

j235 (734628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26731629)

Change your hopes.

Re:Change (0, Offtopic)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#26731943)

Change the channel.

First Post! (-1, Redundant)

El Torico (732160) | more than 5 years ago | (#26731593)

Just do it already!

Re:First Post! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26731745)

FAIL

Deja vu (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26731619)

In June, you'll find that there are many people who have not bought digital receivers for their televisions. June is the new February.

Re:Deja vu (1)

jaymz666 (34050) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732055)

It makes sense to not have it change during sweeps, though.

Re:Deja vu (2, Funny)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732067)

The final date will be December 21, 2012 [amazon.com] .

Re:Deja vu (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26732159)

In June, you'll find that there are many people who have not bought digital receivers for their televisions. June is the new February.

Actually, most TV stations are still going to do the change on Feb 17th as planned. The bill just gives them the option to delay out until June.

Disclaimer, I work for a cable provider, and ALL of our market affiliates have already told us they are going to change on the 17th as planned.

So basically this bill was a waste of time. Ten years from now, people will still be pulling out old TV's and wondering why they don't work.

Confusion (5, Insightful)

daveywest (937112) | more than 5 years ago | (#26731641)

The reason for the date change: a bunch of elderly and poor TV viewers are confused about the switchover.

The result: now everyone is confused.

President O, aren't there more important things for you to be working on?

Re:Confusion (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26731697)

A) it's not a whole lot of his time.
B) It important to a lot of people.

TO me the most important part of the bill is that I'll be able to get another card for a converter, since my last one expired.

Re:Confusion (4, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732137)

TO me the most important part of the bill is that I'll be able to get another card for a converter, since my last one expired.

Yeah, more funding for the coupon program is a big part. You may be able to get another one regardless, since there's supposed to be two per household. Since an expired coupon's money goes back in the pool, you may luck out and be able to get one.

To people worried that this is just part of a never ending cycle of delays because we'll never have everyone ready for the switch... First, this delay is much shorter than previous delays which moved the roll out date by years, so even if it more delays occur I think we can all see the change is really going to happen. Second, you have to admit that there were problems with the implementation of the roll out. The coupon program was underfunded, and confusion resulted in a lot of people who didn't need converters using coupons to get them -- I remember seeing adds on cable TV that did not specify that having cable meant you didn't need the box. Shortages of converters meant a lot of people who did need the boxes couldn't get them before their coupon expired, then couldn't get a new one because the coupon program was out of money.

Fix those problems, let the extra publicity for the issue reach the public, give it a few months, and we should find that far fewer people are still unprepared. Yes not everyone will be and I'm perfectly happy letting the lazy suffer at that point. This is about fixing the problems the government caused by screwing up the program. If they do in fact fix the problem, they'll get most of the people who weren't ready because of those problems, and then I'll say we'll be ready for the switch.

Money Confusion (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732393)

"Shortages of converters meant a lot of people who did need the boxes couldn't get them before their coupon expired, then couldn't get a new one because the coupon program was out of money."

You left out a lot of the first adopter boxes were crap and featureless.

"Fix those problems, let the extra publicity for the issue reach the public, give it a few months, and we should find that far fewer people are still unprepared."

They could have done this like a rebate program.

Re:Confusion (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 5 years ago | (#26731699)

Congress is the one doing this, not the president.

Re:Confusion (4, Interesting)

daveywest (937112) | more than 5 years ago | (#26731725)

Congress is the one doing this, not the president.

... at the president's request.

Re:Confusion (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 5 years ago | (#26731747)

Well, okay, but Congress also doesn't necessarily have to do what the president asks either.

Re:Confusion (1)

jythie (914043) | more than 5 years ago | (#26731821)

Doesn't "necessarily have to"?
 
    It is the president's job to do what congress says, not the other way around.

Re:Confusion (1)

Gojira Shipi-Taro (465802) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732127)

You're confusing a President with a Prime Minister.

The Executive, Legislature, and Court are supposed to balance each other.

The Legislature in no way has complete primacy in the US form of representative democracy.

Congress AND the President (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#26731849)

Congress is the one doing this, not the president.

Since the President has requested the action and, presumably, will sign the bill rather than vetoing it and having Congress attempt to override the veto, it is the President and Congress doing it; it is not "Congress , not the President".

Re:Confusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26731705)

More important than deciding whether to sign or veto bills from Congress? That's a major function of his job.

As for why he'll sign it: Congress will waste even more time overriding his veto and he needs now more than ever to be decisive and effective in the eyes of both Congress and the voters. This just isn't a battle worth fighting.

Re:Confusion (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26731707)

President O, aren't there more important things for you to be working on?

Well, someone did catch Phelps with a bong, so there's that, I guess.

Re:Confusion (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26731715)

The reason for the date change: a bunch of elderly and poor TV viewers are confused about the switchover.

Do these people have any less right to get support from their representatives? There's a reason the vote took place. People talked to their reps.

Re:Confusion (5, Insightful)

daveywest (937112) | more than 5 years ago | (#26731807)

Before today's vote, only 6% of the population was confused by the changeover according to Neilson Media. That means you reached 94% of the population.

94% comprehension is a pretty good result.

I can only imagine how many people are going to be confused by a slow, staggered changeover instead of the solid Feb. 17 deadline. Its kind of like ripping off a band aid on a hairy arm. Its a lot more painful if you do it slowly.

Re:Confusion (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26731945)

Not really.

If you have your converter, you won't notice. No confusion.
If you don't then you may seem some stations go away.

Re:Confusion (4, Insightful)

nabsltd (1313397) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732347)

With a hard cutoff date and no option to switch before that day, far less people would be confused.

As it is, now you are adding people who already have ATSC receivers to the "likely confused", as they will have to keep track of exactly when each station switches and how that station switches (changing frequency, power level, transmitter location, virtual channel, etc.).

In addition, automatically programmed devices (like the HD TiVo) will have to change the virtual to physical mapping at different times for each station. In some cases, the stations will choose to re-brand with the new permanent channel because that old channel could now be opened up. Think of the confusion if some new station ends up on channel 4 while "NBC 4" is broadcasting on channel 48.

The thing that is most stupid is that the original plan wasn't to do the cutover on a Saturday afternoon. What possible reason could there be to make Tuesday the changeover day?

Re:Confusion (1)

Spleen (9387) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732515)

Don't get my wrong, I love my TiVo box, but TiVo isn't prompt with keeping up with listings changes. I own 2 units and everytime my cable provider has added/removed or shuffled channels, I have to enter a ticket. It takes about a week after the ticket is entered for it to be updated.

So while I agree that this isn't going to eliminate confusion, I have no sympathy for any hardship bestowed on TiVo's update department.

Re:Confusion (1)

muridae (966931) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732547)

If they have an ATSC receiver already, they can just watch in digital now. Nothing was stopping the stations from broadcasting in digital right now, and many of the local stations here (CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, and PBS) already are. There was nothing in the cutoff plan that said 'okay, people, today everything switches. Nothing in digital before, nothing in analog after.'

Re:Confusion (2, Insightful)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732773)

Yeah, except (as I've mentioned before) PBS '13' is on 61 analog in my area.

61 comes in like shit.

When the switch happens, they will be moving back to physical channel 13, and the original location and power. Until then, I'm stuck with a nice HDTV that I can't really use for PBS... and that's most of what I watch.

I know how to re-channelscan when all the physical channels move... all at different times. Most people only scanned when they got the box.

Thus, ignorant people on analog will go 'why is Fox not working? NBC works fine...'. Ignorant people on digital will go 'why is Fox not working? NBC works fine'... and us knowledgable people will be shouting on Slashdot.

Re:Confusion (4, Informative)

Matt (78254) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732507)

Not really.

If you have your converter, you won't notice. No confusion.
If you don't then you may seem some stations go away.

It's not that easy. TV stations in the VHF-High band (channels 7-13) are currently transmitting the digital version of themselves in the higher UHF channels. After they stop their analog transmissions, they'll move their digital transmissions to their VHF-High channels.

Thus many major stations (4 out of the 7 big VHF stations here) will move around after the transition. Now that transition will be gradual and not so predictable. Stations will be moving around, and we'll have to keep rescanning or otherwise updating our tuners, either in converter boxes or new TVs.

Re:Confusion (4, Insightful)

HeronBlademaster (1079477) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732079)

Especially confusing since stations have been shouting "FEBRUARY 17" from the rooftops for several months now.

The same kind of people who aren't ready for it by now won't be ready for it by June. I have a sneaking suspicion that the delay is much more for the benefit of stations that aren't ready, rather than consumers.

Re:Confusion (1)

GWBasic (900357) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732081)

I can only imagine how many people are going to be confused by a slow, staggered changeover instead of the solid Feb. 17 deadline. Its kind of like ripping off a band aid on a hairy arm. Its a lot more painful if you do it slowly.

I would consider 3-10 years a "slow, staggered changeover." 3-4 months is more of a "we're turning it off now, and we really mean it... Yes, we really really really mean it."

The real mistake isn't the changeover date or lack of coupons; it's that every TV sold since 1998 should have had a big sticker declaring the changeover date.

Re:Confusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26732399)

I'm pretty sure I've seen signs in stores for years saying something along the lines of "This tv will not work after feb 17 2009 yadda yadda." Cant say for back to 1998 but for several years at least.

Re:Confusion (2, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732759)

The mistake is using legislative means to force an upgrade in technology onto a market. The problems now are a consequence of the initial misguided decision made many years ago.

Re:Confusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26732451)

Before today's vote, only 6% of the population was confused by the changeover according to Neilson Media. That means you reached 94% of the population.

6% of the population is 18345020.4 people (population data obtained from http://www.census.gov/ site). That is still a lot of people, almost the amount of people in Australia or Canada.

Re:Confusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26732659)

They are counting households.
In 2000 (last census) there were 105.xx million households in the US. A 1996 Report by the census bureau claims 115 million households by 2010. So, that actually drops the number from 6.5/105 = ~6.25%
to
6.5/115 = ~5.65%

Re:Confusion (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732739)

This is Slashdot, and probably more than 6% of the posts here about the switchover are wrong or confused in some fashion about the switchover. In less technical forums, the percentage is much higher.

I suppose, if you're confidently wrong, you're not confused.

Re:Confusion (1)

SpcCowboy (1303133) | more than 5 years ago | (#26731825)

Do these people have any less right to get support from their representatives? There's a reason the vote took place. People talked to their reps.

It makes one wonder that if people understood enough that something was going on to talk to their reps, yet weren't able to figure out that they just need a box or cable (not exactly rocket science) are is the extra few months really going to be long enough for them to figure out what to do?

Re:Confusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26732521)

Bullshit. Anybody who hasn't figured it out by now and is not prepared for the transition probably doesn't watch enough television to even care. I live in the rural south and I don't know anybody who still uses an antenna. You people look at us as if we're living in the third world, but we've adjusted. Why haven't the rest of you "civilized" assholes?

Re:Confusion (1)

POTSandPANS (781918) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732571)

Maybe the time people spent "talking to their reps" would have been better spent on learning about the transition?

Re:Confusion (3, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#26731811)

Little things, en masse, are often more important than the big things.

Re:Confusion (1, Flamebait)

agm (467017) | more than 5 years ago | (#26731917)

Why is the state even involved in this. How is this any of their business? It's a sad shame to see just how far socialism has crept into the system.

Re:Confusion (3, Informative)

daveywest (937112) | more than 5 years ago | (#26731973)

The state (rightfully) licenses business (tv, radio, cellphone, etc.) to use various parts of the electromagnetic radio wave spectrum. The state wants to change how those airwaves are used and must coordinate changes involving hundreds of licensees.

Didn't the state already auction this bandwidth? (2, Insightful)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 5 years ago | (#26731999)

Are the new owners being compensated for the delay?

Were they even consulted?

Re:Didn't the state already auction this bandwidth (2, Informative)

krbvroc1 (725200) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732529)

Yes and yes. If you watched any of the 'debate' on the House floor, just about all the stakeholders wrote letters buying in to the delay.

Re:Didn't the state already auction this bandwidth (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732551)

Are the new owners being compensated for the delay?

Let's be clear: the owners of the wireless spectrum used for broadcast in the U.S. are the people of the United States.

The coupons for free converters are part of the compensation being given us by broadcasters in return for changes in the lease granted them by our representative, the United States Congress.

Re:Confusion (1)

agm (467017) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732029)

If the state is already permitting the use of various frequencies for commercial companies, surely those companies should be able to use those frequencies as they see fit. Legislating that they must go from analog to digital at all is spitting in the face of the liberties of those companies. IMO the whole digital/analog thing should be up to the free market, NOT the state.

Re:Confusion (3, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732273)

If the state is already permitting the use of various frequencies for commercial companies, surely those companies should be able to use those frequencies as they see fit. Legislating that they must go from analog to digital at all is spitting in the face of the liberties of those companies. IMO the whole digital/analog thing should be up to the free market, NOT the state.

The problem with this is the phrase "those companies." Different companies bid on different frequencies, for different uses, at different times. Nobody gets to buy a frequency forever. The only alternative to state allocation of specific frequencies for specific uses is a free-for-all in which everyone broadcasts whatever they want at whatever frequency they want and whatever power they can afford, and you end up with interference on every channel. Nobody wins in such a scenario. The current auction model may be broken, but the idea that "the market" can solve this particular problem runs up smack against the laws of physics.

Re:Confusion (3, Insightful)

agm (467017) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732509)

The problem isn't so much the way the state decides who gets to use which frequencies at which time based on an auction model - the problem is with the state then dictating what those frequencies are used for. Once a company has successfully bid for the usage of a slice of the radio-waves for a certain period, it should be completely up to them what they broadcast.

Because the airwaves belong to the public (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732709)

The state is involved in this because the airwaves belong to the public, not to the television stations. You cannot own a chunk of the electromagnetic spectrum any more than you can own the musical note "middle C." Spectrum is licensed, not sold.

The switch to digital benefits the commercial interests that get to use the freed-up spectrum, and it hurts the existing viewers that are watching analog broadcast signals over an antenna. So part of the deal was that the people who benefit would pay to make up for the cost and inconvenience to the people hurt by it.

That sounds perfectly fair to me.

The FCC is involved because they administer the use of the public airwaves.

Re:Confusion (2, Interesting)

JesusQuintana (732069) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732837)

I find your insensitivity toward the concerns of the elderly and poor to be troubling. I hope for your sake that you will never find yourself in either demographic. Of course, with our economic outlook, we're all going to be poor. So this will be mean that you will need to die young. The fact remains: you either get old or die.

Access to information is an important part of being in a society. In many areas of the country, high speed internet access and cable are simply not available. Television is the only way for many people to stay connected to society and to remain informed. (Especially when you consider that newspapers are an endangered species.)

TV serves to socialize and aculture peoples into a larger society. It also serves a vital role in the dissemination of potentially life saving information in times of war, natural disaster, or severe weather. If a TV transmitter is struck by an ice storm or bomb or hurricane, one only needs to rebuild the transmitter. If an ice storm takes out miles and miles of cable system lines, the challenge to get viewers back online is much larger. TV serves a vital role during times of local and national emergency. (In other words, we just put Wheel of Fortune on TV until we REALLY need to use it.)

Further, broadcast TV serves foreign language speaking populations, remote populations, children (through education programming), and keeps the elderly company. If your grandparents can't have their TV, you might actually need to go spend time with them. In all seriousness, depression is a big problem among the elderly. I think taking away their TV is a big deal.

Of course, your point that people will be even more confused is right on target. I'm not sure that there is any good solution at this late stage. It's unfortunate that we find ourselves in this predicament.

Re:Confusion (1)

rocketPack (1255456) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732847)

You said:

President O, aren't there more important things for you to be working on?

TFS said:

"The Delay DTV Act was passed first by the Senate, now in the House

Wait, what part of that says the President wasted a bunch of time on something? It's not his job or responsibility to write laws, he just accepts what the house and senate throw at him. This was, most certainly, not of his doing nor a "waste" of his time, since he didn't actually commit any to it...

Many stations switchin anyway... (5, Interesting)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26731661)

All the stations in my area have already announced they're going Digital Feb 17th no matter what. [pjstar.com] Electricity for those analog towers isn't cheap. I've heard of some markets that have already turned off their analog. Instead of one huge cut off, it'll more than likely be a trickle of stations until June.

I did like the suggestion I saw last time this came up about making it go B&W for 90 days prior to the switch. Although I personally thought it would be more motivating if you cut off the last 10 minutes of an hour long show with a spoof of Peanut Butter Jelly Time. [youtube.com]

It's Digital TV time, Digital TV time, Digital TV time

(Chorus:)
Where the show at 4x
There it go 4x
Digital TV 4x
Do the Digital TV, Digital TV,
Digital TV with a digital converter 2x

Re:Many stations switchin anyway... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26731713)

They should have cut the analog signal 1 hour before the superbowl

Then take everybody who are wondering why "tv no work" and just shoot them.

Re:Many stations switchin anyway... (5, Insightful)

BorgAssimilator (1167391) | more than 5 years ago | (#26731769)

I applaud those stations. The confusion coming from the government is _not_ being fair to the television stations.

Re:Many stations switchin anyway... (0, Flamebait)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26731923)

Their first and foremost responsibility is to the citizens as a whole.

Screw the stations. If enough people protested this, then they should revoke the whole digital broadcasting.

In short, there is NO REASON to be fair to the television stations when it comes down to what the citizens want.

Re:Many stations switchin anyway... (4, Insightful)

BorgAssimilator (1167391) | more than 5 years ago | (#26731969)

Um... the TV stations should be able to do whatever the hell they want. If they screw up, they'll pay for it by people not watching them which could lead them going out of business, but that doesn't mean that people have a right to tell the company what to do directly.

Screw the protesters (5, Insightful)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 5 years ago | (#26731975)

What are they going to do vote the head of the FCC out? (the FCC head is appointed).

People with time on their hands to protest are generally useless anyhow. The fact they haven't gotten it together to prepare for the switch reinforces that for me.

I hope they are going to compensate the new owners of the bandwidth for the delay.

Re:Screw the protesters (1)

JesusQuintana (732069) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732683)

I'm sure that my fellow /.ers will correct me if I am wrong, but I don't believe that the frequencies currently being used for analog television transmission have been auctioned yet. So, they don't yet have new owners which could be compensated. Additionally, the new owners of some of this spectrum is going to be local governments to use for first responders. They aren't paying for this spectrum, they're getting it for free...

Further, Congress can't vote the head of the FCC out. In fact, all FCC commissioners are confirmed by the senate. At this time, there is only an acting chairman, as former Chairman Martin was appointed by Bush and resigned when Obama took office. Obama's choice for FCC chairman has not yet been confirmed.

Most importantly, what would getting rid of the FCC chairman accomplish? Congress passed legislation to transition to digital TV and Congress set the first deadline. The FCC is only acting on Congress' wishes.

The question is: When are YOU going to vote out your elected representatives?

Re:Screw the protesters (1)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732795)

People with time on their hands to protest are generally useless anyhow.

God I'm glad the founding fathers didn't hear you say that. I agree the argument you are making, but to blame protest is insane.

Re:Many stations switchin anyway... (2, Interesting)

kelnos (564113) | more than 5 years ago | (#26731993)

Well, it kinda depends. Aside from things resulting from this switchover mess, is there any law that says a particular station *must* broadcast? I mean, if (for example) NBC just suddenly decided, "hey, we don't feel like broadcasting at all in Chicago," then... well, shouldn't they be allowed to stop? It's their money powering the transmitters, getting advertising to pay for content, etc.

So, by extension, what's wrong with them saying "hey, we don't feel like broadcasting in analog anymore" ... at *any* time they want?

Re:Many stations switchin anyway... (4, Informative)

nabsltd (1313397) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732413)

The FCC has rules about how many hours of things like public service you have to run to keep your license.

Until February 17, the calculation comes from the analog signal.

So, a station could have just killed the analog early without getting special FCC approval, but then they would have lost their license for both analog and digital.

Likewise, a station can just choose to "go dark", but if they don't meet the FCC regulations, they won't have a license an more if they want to turn back on again. Since good frequencies are worth money (both in the ability to cover more area and in branding goodwill for channel numbers), most would be snapped up by someone else pretty quickly, like domains that expire.

Re:Many stations switchin anyway... (4, Insightful)

JamesP (688957) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732075)

Their first and foremost responsibility is to the citizens as a whole.

Screw the stations. If enough people protested this, then they should revoke the whole digital broadcasting.

But this is TEEEVEEE

It's not about people's liberties, human rights, jobs, salary, etc It's the fscking soma machine

Let's worry and spend money where it really matters, like, I dunno, healthcare, education, etc, etc

And if you want TV so bad fork the $50 dollars or something. Can't afford it and doesn't have a coupon!? Well, if you couldn't bother to pay attention in sonething that was advertised for the last COUPLE OF YEARS.

Re:Many stations switchin anyway... (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732437)

Bah. Broadcasters can complain about fairness when they start acting fairly. They ignore rules about providing educational content, they no longer bother to do local journalism (except maybe a low-budget happy talk show), and they're only interested in broadcasting profitable pablum.

Try to remember that broadcast spectrum is a finite resource and that broadcasters get exclusive (and extremely profitable) use of a chunk of it in exchange for "serving the public good". Assuming you can use that last phrase without gagging.

I don't suppose it's that big a deal if a few people are cut off from this mass market crap for a couple of months. But to say that a highly profitable business that exploits a public resource is being "treated unfairly" because they have to run a few transmitters for a couple extra months is ludicrous.

Re:Many stations switchin anyway... (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#26731789)

If the lost revenue from decreased viewership is less than the electricity savings, good for them. It would be interesting to see how many people lose signal in those early switchovers.

Re:Many stations switchin anyway... (4, Informative)

Knara (9377) | more than 5 years ago | (#26731857)

One of the PBS stations in Denver had a problem that shut down their analog tower in December. They decided it wasn't worth it to fix it, and so have been running crawls all last month about how they're DTV only now.

Re:Many stations switchin anyway... (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732119)

I've heard of some markets that have already turned off their analog. Instead of one huge cut off, it'll more than likely be a trickle of stations until June.

Well, people with DTV receivers will either learn to use the "rescan for channels" command frequently, or they'll not realize all the channels they're missing. And this applies to all over-the-air receivers, either the convertors or newer DTV-ready TVs. At least the government is consistent.

Congresslamas. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26731667)

We apologise for the fault in the DTV transition. Kevin Martin, chair of the FCC, has been sacked. been sacked.

Mynd you, having to transfer to DTV by February 17th could be pretty nasti if you don't have one of them conv00rter b0xes...

We apologise again for the fault in the DTV transition. Those responsible for sacking the bill to delay the transition who have just been sacked, have been sacked.

The DTV transition will be completed in an entirely different style at great expense and at the last minute.

Executive Producer:
"Obama" The Magic Llama

FCC Chairman: Julius "Llamatron" Genachowski

Assisted by:

535 Congressional Llamas from "Llama-Fresh" Lobbyists Ltd., near Paraguay,
and
TERRY GILLIAM & TERRY JONES

Washington comes together... (5, Funny)

korney (1469497) | more than 5 years ago | (#26731741)

Washington comes together, bails out the bunny ear industry.

Re:Washington comes together... (4, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26731827)

Playboy is in trouble? Better renew my subscription~

Re:Washington comes together... (5, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#26731935)

http://goreadgreen.com/ [goreadgreen.com]
Sign up for playboy or other magazines (zinio version) for free for 1 year with just your email address.

Sign up for tons using the dot.ted.add.ress@gmail.com trick, and use them on your single zinio account.

Re:Washington comes together... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26731963)

Thanks for the tip. My wife bought be a subscription years ago. I let it expire when my first child was born.

Re:Washington comes together... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26732193)

Hey now, there are many things on this earth that aren't made BETTER with the addition of some bunny ears.

Well it freaking works for me anyway. Wow.

House vote: 264-158 (4, Informative)

Goobergunch (876745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26731855)

The House vote on this, for those interested, was 264-158. The details of which representative voted which way is on the House website [house.gov] .

Re:House vote: 264-158 (0)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#26731927)

WTF is with that partisanship? Really is turning off DTV something that would be on a parties platform like abortion or the minimum wage?!? I mean are the House Rep's voting against things just to go against the president, and if so why? This country needs leadership and direction not stupid politics as usual. I applauded the Rep's when they voted against the bailout bill the first time but I have to say that kind of childish crap just needs to go.

Re:House vote: 264-158 (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26731965)

That is nothing the Dem's haven't done for years. Yeah! High School Politics!!!

Re:House vote: 264-158 (0)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732211)

That is nothing the Dem's haven't done for years.

Yeah, but when the Dem's did it, the Rup's said it was childish and they'd never do it. Just to do it the first chance they get.

Re:House vote: 264-158 (4, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732221)

That is nothing the Dem's haven't done for years. Yeah! High School Politics!!!

False.

In most votes on bush policy you had considerable support from the other side of the aisle.

The minute the situation is reversed the republicans pull this "not one vote, no matter what" crap.

This kind of "partisan for the sake of it" garbage is the reason why they continue to lose seats. Here's hoping they lose more and more each election until they learn being the opposition doesn't mean getting in the way for the sake of getting in the way.

The democrats were voted in overwhelmingly. This means the public wants what the democrats offered in their policy platforms. It's the republican's jobs to offer their perspective and grounding to that platform, not blindly rail against it tooth and nail.

This means instead of saying "no universal healthcare", they should be saying "If the public wants it, this is how it should work"

Not childish! (1)

thule (9041) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732433)

The Republicans probably want to see business starting to use the spectrum and getting rid of the redundancy of analog and digital transmissions. This would then create a new or exapand an existing segment of the economy -- creating jobs.

The Democrats are worried that a minority of people (poor, minorities, etc) will be oppressed by greedy businesses wanting to make use of the spectrum. People need to be protected from this greed. The government should hold their hand until they are able to veg out on the new digital transmissions.

See? Both sides are voting their conscience.

Err... (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732015)

The bill allows stations to cease analog transmissions at any point between Feb 17th (the old cutoff) and June 12th, and many have signaled they will do so.

Err, I should hope they _all_ signaled they will do so. They're required to by law, aren't they? I mean, what else are they going to do, cut off on Feb 12th? Or maybe June 23rd?

I think you meant to say 'and many have signaled they will wait.'

In other news... (5, Funny)

RockMFR (1022315) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732027)

Trials for Gitmo prisoners delayed until they are no longer a threat to the United States.

Paying back the national debt delayed until someone can force us to do so.

Fixing social security delayed until Baby Boomers die.

Puppy for Obama children delayed until after the next election.

So tune in again... (3, Insightful)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732129)

...June 1, when they'll postpone it again!

Never going to happen (2, Insightful)

PeterChenoweth (603694) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732133)

Yes, and in May of 2009, Congress will realize that there are still 4.3 million people who aren't prepared. So they'll push it back to December of 2009. In November, due to 'economic hardship', we'll still have 3.8 million unprepared. So it'll get pushed back to May of 2010. In April of 2010, there will still be 2.9 million unprepared....

If the 6.5 million unprepared haven't figured out how to scrape together the $40 to buy a box by now, they're not ever going to do it. Not by now, not by June, not ever.

Please just kill it already! (1)

h4x354x0r (1367733) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732149)

It's the best way to expose the problems so they can be fixed (instead of hand-wringing and confusion). Glad to read that some stations are turning off analog anyway.

Its the networks who wanted this (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732161)

The real push for this was from those stations concerned about of a loss of ad revenue when their analog stations go dark and all of a sudden a whole bunch of people cant watch them anymore.

Those networks who think they can switch and not loose too many eyeballs will do so. Those who cant (e.g. those that know that lots of people in their transmission area don't have digital yet) will delay the switch-off until more people get digital boxes.

Bullshit (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732443)

The stations are all pretty much switching anyway.

Some mythical loss of advertising does not offset the costs already incurred to do the switch, nor the extra power to run the older transmitters.

There may be a few outliers here and there, but it's not "The Networks".

Democrats have nothing better to do (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26732187)

They know that they have no clue about how to fix the economy, so they do this instead.

So vote for Democrats,
They are really swell;
They'll screw up the country,
And tax us to hell!
But you knew all that
When you voted for them.
It's because you hated Bush!

They should just do it like a Band-Aid (1, Funny)

marshalium (1466239) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732243)

One motion! Right off!

Way to waste my tax $$ (0, Troll)

Khan (19367) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732281)

I'd like to personally thank those in Congress that voted for this delay. All that this proves is that you are all a bunch of fucktards that continue to waste my tax dollars on USELESS laws. How about instead you actually DO something about our fucked up economy, terrible education system, health care and half dozen OTHER more important issues that need to be resolved before our way of life spins down the toilet completely.

My $0.0002 ---economic depression value of $0.02

Re:Way to waste my tax $$ (1)

JesusQuintana (732069) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732575)

First, I'm not sure the state of the economy should preclude people (including Congress) from addressing other issues. Obviously it is a priority and something that Congress can and should address, but it's not like they have some magic wand that's going to instantly eliminate our challenges.

Second, how is this a waste of your tax dollars?

a grateful public (1)

caldodge (1152) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732289)

I'm sure R Gerard Salemme, AT&T, and Clearwire [arstechnica.com] are very grateful for this decision.

I'm also sure they'll find some way to express that gratitude during the next Congressional campaign.

This shit right here (3, Insightful)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732337)

Is why America never went metric.

Re:This shit right here (1)

xous (1009057) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732603)

They did about 30 years ago. Nobody switched.

IDIOCY!!! (3, Insightful)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732407)

First off, if anyone was really worried about losing marketshare or advertising dollars, it is way, way too late to do anything about that now.

If you recall, they already sold off the spectrum. Sure, they can force new services to delay implementation for a while - but THEY SOLD OFF THE SPECTRUM. Analog television broadcasting is dead, and unless they are going to pay Verizon back their $700 million or so, it is really dead and really soon.

Sure, there is a substantial chance that a lot of people when faced with the decision to go to cable or satellite will chose "none of the above" because their rural location is underserved by DTV signals. Gosh, someone should have thought of that before. Guess what? I'd say they did and decided it was a small enough portion of the overall viewers that it doesn't matter what they do. If you aren't in a major metro area, chances are you are looking at either a much bigger antenna, cable or satellite. Or YouTube. I think you are going to see a lot of people outside of metro areas just turning the TV off and turning it on to play DVDs.

I don't see how any four-month "delay" that is optional is going to make much difference. This might have been a sap to a few stations trying to say they weren't ready, still. But there is no way this is going to help your average viewer - they are either ready or they are forgotten.

And the stupid coupon program isn't coming back either.

BetaNews' brief transcript of Congress debating... (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732481)

See here: http://www.betanews.com/article/House_votes_to_delay_DTV_transition_President_likely_to_sign/1233764370 [betanews.com]

http://www.rabbitears.info/dtr.php [rabbitears.info] and http://www.rabbitears.info/termlist.php [rabbitears.info] for analog termination and digital switch.

And I need to get a new antenna since KABC did its test this morning after 2 AM PST for 15 minutes. I could not get KABC's digital 7 with two rescan attempts. I was told my DB2 bowtie antenna cannot do low channels at all. :(

Not as simple as it sounds (3, Insightful)

Zhiroc (909773) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732561)

I wasn't very keen on the delay (and offhand, I don't know how effective it will be anyways). But there's something that hasn't been discussed much. As I was reading this article [msnbc.com] , I've learned that it's not just the tuner. Some people may have to change their antenna. The DTV switch moves the signal to the UHF bands, and if you have experience with broadcast TV, you'll know that UHF does not have the range of VHF, and needs a special antenna (a "bow-tie" if I remember) to get the best reception. February is a terrible time to have to go up on a roof in the north... So, I can see some merit in the delay. Even with a better antenna, it could be that no reception is possible for some rural customers, which is a whole different issue.

Re:Not as simple as it sounds (1)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732811)

Yep. Unless you live within 20 miles of the big cities, you're not gonna get ANYTHING without a new outdoor rotating antenna.

Too late for Hawaii (2, Interesting)

Shag (3737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732577)

Stations in Hawaii switched on January 15, so as to have their old towers torn down before the start of the mating season of an endangered seabird. So this won't make any difference for those of us in the 808 state.

just dandy (1)

Tjaden (1373959) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732777)

I get my new TV the day _after_ the Superbowl, and I didn't even need it anyway...

Power to digital stations will be... (1)

stardestroyer (126351) | more than 5 years ago | (#26732835)

So what will the power level to digital stations be between February and June? AFAIK, now all-digital stations are only broadcasting at 60(?)% of power so as to not interfere with analog transmissions in nearby ranges. Does this bill mean digital stations will be at 100% in June only, or in February, or they will trickle in turn up the power?

H-Day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26732893)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H-Day [wikipedia.org]

Sweden changed the entire country from driving on the left to the right in one day.

Euro cash became legal tender on 1 Jan 2002, and the dual-cash period lasted a mere two months. It was originally planned to last six months, and I know Europeans who said it should have lasted one day.

Just a few thoughts...

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