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DTV Converters In Short Supply

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the whose-plan-was-this-anyway dept.

Television 192

Ponca City, We Love You writes with a New York Times story saying there could be a shortage of DTV converter boxes in addition to the problem with coupons. "At the current rate of coupon redemption, 115,000 per day, plus sales without coupons, that means the current stock of converters could be sold out by the end of this month. So what would have happened if the whole digital transition worked the way it was supposed to? Many of those 3.7 million people would be marching into their local Radio Shack and Best Buy stores trying to buy converter boxes next weekend right before the scheduled cutoff on Feb. 17. And if the electronics association's numbers are right, the boxes would have sold out." Good thing the extended cut-off date was approved.

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DTV Shopping list (5, Funny)

Centurix (249778) | more than 5 years ago | (#26762789)

1. Campaign to promote DTV - Check
2. DTV Transmission 'stuff' - Check
3. 250 million DTV receivers - FAIL

Re:DTV Shopping list (0)

Vskye (9079) | more than 5 years ago | (#26762811)

Cut off date, June of 2009. Wow, why was this even posted? Yawn...

Re:DTV Shopping list (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26763143)

Because before last week, the cut off date was in February, 2009. Did you even read the summary?

Re:DTV Shopping list (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763439)

But it is no longer "before last week", so why is this even posted?

Re:DTV Shopping list (2, Informative)

Comtraya (1306593) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763837)

Because TV stations still have the option to shut down their analog after February 17, and many are going to do that because running both an analog and digital transceiver is expensive.

Re:DTV Shopping list (1)

anss123 (985305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26762823)

250 million DTV receivers - FAIL

There's 250 milion TVs in the US of A? With a pop of 300 mill that sounds like a lot.

Re:DTV Shopping list (1, Insightful)

repvik (96666) | more than 5 years ago | (#26762851)

If you ask me, with a pop of 300 mill, I'd expect atleast 400 mill TVs.

Re:DTV Shopping list (1)

anss123 (985305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26762873)

If you ask me, with a pop of 300 mill, I'd expect atleast 400 mill TVs.

One for every man, woman, child + dog?

Re:DTV Shopping list (5, Insightful)

repvik (96666) | more than 5 years ago | (#26762935)

One in the kitchen, one in the bedroom and one in the livingroom. One in every waiting room, a couple at the office, a few at school etc.

Re:DTV Shopping list (2, Interesting)

The Dobber (576407) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763007)

The majority of which are hooked up to cable networks.

Re:DTV Shopping list (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763451)

One in the kitchen, one in the bedroom and one in the livingroom. One in every waiting room, a couple at the office, a few at school

This makes me very sad.

Re:DTV Shopping list (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26763637)

One in the kitchen, one in the bedroom and one in the livingroom. One in every waiting room, a couple at the office, a few at school

This makes me very sad.

You should probably seek psychiatric help.

It's not like TVs kill puppies or something, and not all of them are turned on at the same time.

If anything, the purchase of multiple TVs is a good thing because it will help stimulate the global economy.

Re:DTV Shopping list (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26762941)

Businesses? Public places? Spares or old?

Re:DTV Shopping list (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763147)

i own three televisions, the big one in the living room, and a small one in the diningroom/kitchen area and another small one in the master bedroom...

Re:DTV Shopping list (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26763325)

And I value my time and sanity, thus I stay away from them...

Re:DTV Shopping list (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763241)

How many computers do you own each with their own monitors? and 300 million was so 2000 it is closer to 325 now. In my home there are thee adults and one child, there are three tv's, 6 monitors, not including my smart phone.

Re:DTV Shopping list (1)

pmarini (989354) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763669)

I'd ask if all these 250 mil TVs are still connected to analog systems ?!

surely most people have satellite/cable/digital alredy... how many "upgrades" are really still needed ? THAT would give a correct idea of how many converter kits are still needed to complete the "digital move"

The problem sounds a bit circular (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763407)

It sounds to me like the whole problem, or the way it's summarized in the summary, is akin to:

1. Let's say I sell gadget that almost nobody wants.

2. Hence not many of them sell.

3. Hence I'm not producing many. (What for? Just to spend more on manufacturing and materials, and rake up storage costs too?)

4. I or some other dolt concludes, "Wow, good thing not many people buy these, because there wouldn't be enough of them for everyone!"

In reality, there aren't enough produced _because_ there isn't much supply, not the other way around.

It seems to me like the same applies here. _If_ there was a huge interest in DTV, you wouldn't need an enforced deadline to convert people to it. (I don't remember any law and deadline to switch from horse-drawn carts to cars, for example, nor from analogue telephones to digital ones, nor from ball mice to optical mice, and the list could continue.) And there'd be the companies out there who figure out, "hey, all these people want to buy DTV stuff. Let's make some." There's no reason for such a shortage to exist, and in fact there is no actual shortage: the supply is probably a little higher than the demand. (As probably a bunch of companies produced and a bunch of retailers stocked these, keeping the fingers crossed that people will actually buy them as the deadline draws near.)

Putting it as "well, just as well that not everyone is buying them, because there aren't enough for everyone anyway" is missing the existing relationship between the X and Y there.

I suppose it could make an argument for convincing the government to postpone it some more, but even there it seems to me like "the people don't actually want it" _ought_ to be enough of a reason by itself. Well, in an ideal world, anyway. I know, I know...

Re:The problem sounds a bit circular (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763623)

I suppose it could make an argument for convincing the government to postpone it some more, but even there it seems to me like "the people don't actually want it" _ought_ to be enough of a reason by itself.

A large proportion of US OTA-viewers probably *don't* "want" digital TV per se- analogue does them fine, thank you.

Yeah, you and I both know that this misses the point, that they'll need a digibox to continue watching *any* OTA TV, full stop.

However, the difference between you and the US government is that *they* know that- regardless of whether it's those people's fault for missing the point, ignoring the advice and not getting a box- there are a significant number of them and they'll be mighty pissed off and blame the government when they can't watch TV *at all*.

Re:The problem sounds a bit circular (1)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 5 years ago | (#26764171)

Blame the government for what? I've been watching DTV ads for over a year, and recently a lot of the local affiliates have even started their own recordings to reflect the changes.

When we push back the deadline a full 4 months it just makes infomercials less reliable, and will hamper any transition communication in the future.

The only thing I think that the DTV transition project can be faulted for is the coupon methods. 1, you have to request a DTV converter box coupon. 2, the coupon expires if it isn't used rather quickly (This is good for getting people to actually use them, but it's an extra complication.) 3, the store you buy a box from has to file the coupon. It's a lot of work for someone that doesn't subscribe to cable, off-the-grid folks don't usually like to be bothered with a multi-step paperwork process.

Why are we going in debt over CONVERTER BOXES? (5, Insightful)

WarJolt (990309) | more than 5 years ago | (#26762803)

It's just a little piece that contributes to the greater problem.
Somewhere along the way the government decided that television is a right and not a privilege. In every other type of technology when standards change and equipment has to be upgraded the consumer pays for it.

I've heard the argument that the increased ad revenue makes the cost worth it(not sure if this is accurate) so why isn't the television companies paying for it? Plus it's not the guys who can't afford a $40 box that networks are advertising to.

I can't think of a good reason why future generations of this country are going to pay for our television today.

Re:Why are we going in debt over CONVERTER BOXES? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#26762825)

TV, like radio, is a way to get news out quickly to the population.

If joe schmoes analog TV stopped working, he would no longer receive those emergency broadcast notifications.

So, the notification that would tell him to get his fat, beer-sodden arse up and out (because some natural disaster is coming) wouldn't be heard.

So in a wierd, twisted way... TV and radio are integral to our safety now.

Re:Why are we going in debt over CONVERTER BOXES? (3, Insightful)

WarJolt (990309) | more than 5 years ago | (#26762859)

Buying everyone a radio is cheaper than buying everyone a converter box.

Re:Why are we going in debt over CONVERTER BOXES? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763211)

And practically everyone already has a functioning radio on their nightstand. The public safety portion is bullshit. That argument could be used in perpetuity. If the goal is to get more supply available, how is delaying for 4-5 months going to help? Nobody is going to stockpile more converters if they're not selling, and if you slip the date, nobody is going to bother to buy a converter until they need to.

As for all those people who have lost their jobs (and I do feel bad for them), perhaps watching TV isn't the best use of their downtime?

Because we sold spectrum to telecom companies (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763517)

Buying everyone a radio is cheaper than buying everyone a converter box.

Providing radios to the public doesn't help if the radios just stay turned off while people are doing something else, like watching TV. It also doesn't help Congress and the FCC reduce total TV spectrum in use and derive revenue from leasing the freed-up spectrum to telecom service providers.

Re:Because we sold spectrum to telecom companies (1)

Neoprofin (871029) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763867)

How about this. When the sky turns dark and it looks like the end of the world as we know it, turn on your damn radio.

Maybe this kind of perception is a Midwestern thing, I don't know, but we know the weather is shitty before we turn on the TV or radio to find out just how shitty.

Re:Why are we going in debt over CONVERTER BOXES? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26762875)

It's all about keeping 'Joe' in a state of reduced consciousness. If enough Joes quit watching televison and woke up there would be big trouble for big government and big corporations.

Sleep, Joe, sleep. Dream of Entertainment Tonight and American Idol. Sleeeeep.

Re:Why are we going in debt over CONVERTER BOXES? (5, Insightful)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | more than 5 years ago | (#26762881)

TV, like radio, is a way to get news out quickly to the population.

News like people have to get off their fat asses before a certain date to get a DTV converter, else they'll no longer get TV?

Re:Why are we going in debt over CONVERTER BOXES? (1)

flajann (658201) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763155)

TV, like radio, is a way to get news out quickly to the population.

If joe schmoes analog TV stopped working, he would no longer receive those emergency broadcast notifications.

So, the notification that would tell him to get his fat, beer-sodden arse up and out (because some natural disaster is coming) wouldn't be heard.

So in a wierd, twisted way... TV and radio are integral to our safety now.

I stopped watching TV a long-ass time ago due to lack of programming I would consider even moderately tolerable. And the only time I listen to radio is during my commute where I can do little else.

The government here has always been especially interested in making sure that every poor bloke out there had his booze tube, and before I never understood what the big deal was. I mean, it's just TV. Nothing special.

Then it dawned on me.

The real reason our government is so damned interested in everyone having their "bread and circuses" -- well, it's just that. The vast masses of goof-offs out there will stop paying attention to you if they have their drone-boxes pumping their already dull minds with even more dull mind-numbing programming 24/7. Self-induced brainwashing to control the masses and to keep them from revolting.

Joe Blow dies over 40,000 times per year on the highway? Who cares? Joe Blow is going without his TV? It's a bloody national emergency, a risk to national security!

George Orwell had no idea Joe Blow would be so willing to invite Big Brother so quickly into his home.

I say defenestrate that damn TV!!!!

Re:Why are we going in debt over CONVERTER BOXES? (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763683)

George Orwell had no idea Joe Blow would be so willing to invite Big Brother so quickly into his home.

The TV sets in Nineteen Eighty-Four were *two way*- existing TVs only display incoming pictures, they don't return information which is the part most people are thinking of when they invoke the spectre of Big Brother. For all the valid criticism of TV that you make above, that one missed the mark.

Ironically for all the idealism spoken when it rose to prominence in the 1990s, the Internet provides a *far* more effective way to spy on people's behaviour via various means.

Debt for TV (1)

mfh (56) | more than 5 years ago | (#26762915)

I can't think of a good reason why future generations of this country are going to pay for our television today.

Because if we leave our future generations with a huge debt, it will give them incentive to adopt the Star Trek economy and abolish money in favor of a higher calling for the human species -- the calling of greater knowledge and species survival.

For as long as humans have roamed the earth in fear of being eaten by something, we have survived often at the expense of other human beings. Perhaps that's what makes us different than other organisms?

Re:Why are we going in debt over CONVERTER BOXES? (1)

Cally (10873) | more than 5 years ago | (#26762955)

Live TV free for a week and you'll never go back.

Re:Why are we going in debt over CONVERTER BOXES? (1)

ion.simon.c (1183967) | more than 5 years ago | (#26762979)

I'm TV free. Now I hang out on slashdot!

Re:Why are we going in debt over CONVERTER BOXES? (3, Funny)

gallwapa (909389) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763189)

No no no, you missed his point. He is saying get LIVE TV for free using an antenna and you'll never go back to analog or cable. Duh. ;-)
English rocks.

Re:Why are we going in debt over CONVERTER BOXES? (1)

ion.simon.c (1183967) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763253)

WAIT! So This LIVE TV, Can You Get The INTERNET CHANNEL On It?

Internet Channel, powered by a singing fat lady (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763523)

So This LIVE TV, Can You Get The INTERNET CHANNEL On It?

You can't get Internet Channel on Xbox Live. You can only get Internet Channel on WiiWare.

Re:Why are we going in debt over CONVERTER BOXES? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763269)

Do I have to have an MSN account to get this "Live TV"?

Re:Why are we going in debt over CONVERTER BOXES? (5, Informative)

sahonen (680948) | more than 5 years ago | (#26762969)

The total cost of issuing the coupons for converter boxes is FAR less than the total amount of money raised by the government by selling off the spectrum formerly used by analog TV. The government actually made a profit on this deal.

Re:Why are we going in debt over CONVERTER BOXES? (4, Insightful)

arkhan_jg (618674) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763025)

Somewhere along the way the government decided that television is a right and not a privilege.

Because the public still owns the right to the airwaves. The TV companies are leasing the public's property, as negotiated by the government.

By switching to digital transmission, significant amount of spectrum are freed up for other wireless purposes. Quite a bit of this spectrum is already leased out to new users once it's freed up. The government gets quite a bit of money out of this, on behalf of the public.

Given the incovenience caused by this change in use, and the profit made by doing so, it's hardly unreasonable for the government to give some small amount of the profit made back to the public to mitigate the impact of the change.

Re:Why are we going in debt over CONVERTER BOXES? (-1, Flamebait)

flajann (658201) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763177)

Somewhere along the way the government decided that television is a right and not a privilege.

Because the public still owns the right to the airwaves. The TV companies are leasing the public's property, as negotiated by the government.

You mean the government has seized the rights to the airwaves. We public own nothing. Don't believe me? Try setting up a transmitter with any serious wattage -- even on an open frequency -- without a license and watch what happens to you.

It wrinkles my feathers big time whenever the government claims something is "public", and yet the public has little control or voice over it. "Public" schools. "Public" airwaves. "Public" roads, etc.

Let's be honest here. GOVERNMENT Schools, GOVERNMENT Airwaves, GOVERNMENT Roads. Sounds sinister? You bet. And that's the very thing the Government wants to keep everyone asleep over.

And how will the Government accomplish this audacious task? By making sure you have your converter box, so you can continue to receive your sleep programming!

Re:Why are we going in debt over CONVERTER BOXES? (5, Insightful)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763213)

You mean the government has seized the rights to the airwaves. We public own nothing. Don't believe me? Try setting up a transmitter with any serious wattage -- even on an open frequency -- without a license and watch what happens to you.

It wrinkles my feathers big time whenever the government claims something is "public", and yet the public has little control or voice over it. "Public" schools. "Public" airwaves. "Public" roads, etc.

"Public" doesn't mean "you", it means "everyone".

Re:Why are we going in debt over CONVERTER BOXES? (0)

flajann (658201) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763233)

You mean the government has seized the rights to the airwaves. We public own nothing. Don't believe me? Try setting up a transmitter with any serious wattage -- even on an open frequency -- without a license and watch what happens to you.

It wrinkles my feathers big time whenever the government claims something is "public", and yet the public has little control or voice over it. "Public" schools. "Public" airwaves. "Public" roads, etc.

"Public" doesn't mean "you", it means "everyone".

And you don't see the fallacy in this? "Everyone" means no one.

Re:Why are we going in debt over CONVERTER BOXES? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26763401)

No, it means "whoever controls the government".

Re:Why are we going in debt over CONVERTER BOXES? (-1, Troll)

flajann (658201) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763459)

No, it means "whoever controls the government".

Ah,you prove my point!!!

Re:Why are we going in debt over CONVERTER BOXES? (4, Informative)

arkhan_jg (618674) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763237)

Indeed - by setting up a transmitter of significant wattage, you're depriving everybody else in the public the use of that particular frequency. You're only one member of the public, and the rest of us get to have consideration too. Try looking up the 'tragedy of the commons' sometime.

You get to use the frequency exclusively by paying the licence fee, thus compensating the rest of the public for their loss. That money goes back to the government, and ultimately (at least in principle) benefits all the public - including yourself. Yes, you get back much less than you put in as an individual; but with exclusive use of the frequency, the benefit you get is that much higher also.

Re:Why are we going in debt over CONVERTER BOXES? (0, Flamebait)

flajann (658201) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763419)

Indeed - by setting up a transmitter of significant wattage, you're depriving everybody else in the public the use of that particular frequency. You're only one member of the public, and the rest of us get to have consideration too. Try looking up the 'tragedy of the commons' sometime.

You get to use the frequency exclusively by paying the licence fee, thus compensating the rest of the public for their loss. That money goes back to the government, and ultimately (at least in principle) benefits all the public - including yourself. Yes, you get back much less than you put in as an individual; but with exclusive use of the frequency, the benefit you get is that much higher also.

Am I depriving the community? Or providing a service? If no one was using that frequency anyway, who cares?

Thank goodness we don't have to license our websites. I can reach a far greater number of people with my websites than I ever could with a transmitter. And yeah, I am "depriving" others the use of the domain names I've acquired.

I would do with the airwaves what I do with my websites -- provide free information, free commentary, and the like. The "benefit" to me is not described in terms of money, but in being able to make a tiny difference in the world I live in, which, in theory at least, should benefit all.

The stuff you have said is what they teach us in civics class. As usual, what the government teaches you about how the government "operates" fails to reflect the reality of what actually goes on. Today, our "airwaves" are filled with torrents of mediocrity, paid for and pumped by those who licensed those frequencies. I fail to see the benefit to the public. Oh, but the civics lesson sounds "good" and "right". It is also a fantasy. In reality, something else is afoot.

Funny thing is, no one cared diddly about "the spectrum" until someone invented radio [urlbit.us] . Where was all the concern about "rights" over "airwaves" before then?

And why the frell is it called "airwaves", anyway? It's got nothing to do with air. "Sound" is "airwaves". Electromagnetic energy, as you know, does not need air to propagate. Basic physics. So perhaps I really should build a high-wattage "airwaves" transmitter -- except my neighbors may get annoyed at not being able to get a good night's sleep! And the FCC wouldn't bother me either, though the local cops may. :-)

Re:Why are we going in debt over CONVERTER BOXES? (3, Insightful)

timholman (71886) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763615)

Am I depriving the community? Or providing a service? If no one was using that frequency anyway, who cares?

How do you know no one is using the frequency? What if a licensed low power station 100 miles away is using it? You can't hear it, but when you put your pirate transmitter on the air, suddenly you're interfering with his signal. He paid the licensing fees for that spectrum. What are you doing to his rights to use the airwaves?

Thank goodness we don't have to license our websites. I can reach a far greater number of people with my websites than I ever could with a transmitter. And yeah, I am "depriving" others the use of the domain names I've acquired.

Wrong analogy. Internet bandwidth is essentially limitless - all you have to do is install the extra fiber and cables. The same with domain names - even at the peak of domain name squatting, no one ever had difficulties thinking of a new name and registering it.

The public airwaves represent a limited set of resources that must be shared by potentially millions of people at the same time. You can't "add" to the spectrum as needed. It has to be regulated, or it will be worthless.

I would do with the airwaves what I do with my websites -- provide free information, free commentary, and the like. The "benefit" to me is not described in terms of money, but in being able to make a tiny difference in the world I live in, which, in theory at least, should benefit all.

And what if I then decide that I want to squat on top of your frequency with my bigger transmitter, and provide my own news, commentary, information, etc.? What then? Do we duel it out in the streets? Gather our respective gangs of anarchists and take axes to each others' equipment?

A world of people who thought like you, and who each felt they had the "right" to use the airwaves as they saw fit, would make the electromagnetic spectrum completely useless. You'd have nothing but 24/7 jamming, interference, and constant battles as everyone tried to outshout each other with bigger transmitters.

Sorry, but when it comes to the public spectrum, you have to have government regulation, else you will have nothing but anarchy and waste.

Re:Why are we going in debt over CONVERTER BOXES? (1)

Riachu_11 (600557) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763409)

Removing bad mod, sorry.

Re:Why are we going in debt over CONVERTER BOXES? (1)

Main Gauche (881147) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763693)

Because the public still owns the right to the airwaves. The TV companies are leasing the public's property, as negotiated by the government.

Great! Where's my free cell phone service?

it's hardly unreasonable for the government to give some small amount of the profit made back to the public to mitigate the impact of the change.

"Government give back to the public"? The government is the public. This is precisely the GP's point: Whatever we (a.k.a. the government) spend on ourselves now, we have to make up for later (future generations).

Where's my BlueRay player coupon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26763223)

Or my AppleTV + Netflix coupon?

We're going into debt over converter boxes because the Democrats want to maintain their stranglehold over the flow of media information to the lower classes, thereby insuring that the lower classes only hear a one-sided argument. People who can afford to do so and who care to do so - you know, the people who have succeeded in life because they're capable of independent thought - have already purchased HDTVs + cable service or over-the-air HD antennas, or they watch TV online. This is just another example of life's winner's being weighted down by life's losers, because instead of recognizing that life isn't fair and that we're NOT all equal in the biological sense, the Democrats persist in trying to make everyone equal in every sense of the word, not just equal in the eyes of the law.

Re:Where's my BlueRay player coupon? (2, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763303)

WTF does this have to do with Democrats? Nothing.

This transition is happening all over the world [wikipedia.org] , not just in the U.S. Do you suppose also that the Democrats have control over the rest of the world? If so, you're a crackpot.

Even if you suppose that the DTV transition in the U.S. is some Democratic party conspiracy unrelated to the DTV transition everywhere else in the world, you'd still be wrong. The Congressional Act that created the transition was the Digital Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005 [wikipedia.org] . That was passed with a Republican majority in Congress and a Republican in the White House.

So all you Republicans going "this is Democratic Party Liberal Socialism" need to take a long look in the mirror, because YOU voted for it.

Re:Why are we going in debt over CONVERTER BOXES? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763465)

Because the technology upgrade is mandated by the government. And it is an upgrade that makes the government (not the broadcasters) lots of money.

The government, not the network made $20 Billion auctioning off the spectrum
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/700_Mhz_wireless_spectrum_auction [wikipedia.org]

The government is choosing to funnel a small portion of that $20 Billion to people who need it to keep watching the TV they forced the networks to stop broadcasting (so that they could auction the spectrum).

Don't worry though, even if they increase funding by 30% we the taxpayer that didn't buy a box, still make out $18 Billion.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CECB [wikipedia.org]

Besides, the real cost is in our purchasing products that cost more to advertise, because the networks had to upgrade on their side.

All this so a few people can enjoy HDTV without cable or satellite (and net $18 Billion).

Hope this clarifies where the increased revenue is.

Re:Why are we going in debt over CONVERTER BOXES? (1)

Main Gauche (881147) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763659)

I can't think of a good reason why future generations of this country are going to pay for our television today.

Votes. This is simply yet another wealth transfer.

Re:Why are we going in debt over CONVERTER BOXES? (1)

ral8158 (947954) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763873)

Taxpayers aren't paying for this; the companies who participate in the auction for parts of the wireless spectrum are.

fuck dtv (1)

doyoulikegoatseeee (930088) | more than 5 years ago | (#26762829)

sick of this shit

Gimme a frigging break. (0)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26762839)

We know it is all broadband now, right? Cable, satellite, DSL. Don't try to tell me that anyone in the business is surprised by any of this. Jesus Christ. They aren't idiots.

Re:Gimme a frigging break. (1)

ion.simon.c (1183967) | more than 5 years ago | (#26762987)

We know it is all broadband now, right?

Not with a 250GB/month cap it's not!

NB, outrage freaks: http://letmegooglethatforyou.com/?q=hyperbole [letmegoogl...foryou.com]

this isn't a good year for this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26762853)

There's many people without jobs, the financial situation is not good in the US right now.

Why are they even discussing the option of pushing people into spending money in new gadgets just to watch their same old shows?

just leave TV analog for a couple more years, noone is gonna die because of that.

Re:this isn't a good year for this (2, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763057)

Perhaps they should turn off the TV and either work on their resume and start networking, or go learn a new trade. I've yet to be convinced how watching network TV will re-employ several million jobseekers.

As for the emergency services and weather and news, might I suggest a radio? Since most bedside alarm clocks have one, I would be surprised to find that their rate of adoption is less than TVs. Further, for the millions upon millions with a handheld radio, they tend to work far better than your average TV when there is an actual weather emergency as they don't require the local power grid to be functioning.

TV is fine the wait it is now. (1)

crazybit (918023) | more than 5 years ago | (#26762863)

why do they want to hurry things? maybe waiting a few years will be good, let people recover from their financial problems first.

Re:TV is fine the wait it is now. (4, Informative)

sahonen (680948) | more than 5 years ago | (#26762999)

Because the spectrum has already been sold to companies that were promised they'd be allowed to use it as of February 17th. Delaying the cutoff means these businesses have to put their plans on hold. We're talking millions in lost revenue.

Also, TV stations currently have to maintain both digital and analog broadcasting towers. The power bill for even one tower is insane, let alone two, and the additional cost of maintaining two towers for longer than anticipated can be crippling for stations who already have tight margins due to decreased ad revenue. And no, we're not talking about corporate conglomerates like Disney and GE (owners of ABC and NBC), the majority of TV stations are locally owned and operated and pay the networks for affiliation.

Re:TV is fine the wait it is now. (2, Informative)

echucker (570962) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763329)

Local stations are still in better shape than public broadcasting stations. With recession-induced government funding, it's even harder for them to maintain dual broadcast formats until June. During the fund raising drive over the last 3 days, my local PBS station said it'll cost them an extra 60k in operating costs to broadcast in both analog and digital.

Re:TV is fine the wait it is now. (1)

juenger1701 (877138) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763741)

actually as of 2/17 they don't have to keep analog on they just don't have to turn it off though all of the local stations here have said on the 17th analog is shutting down permanently so here at least the new law was a total waste of time

juenger1701

10 years isn't long enough? (2, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763069)

That's how long the transition has been going on. The "turn off date" was several years ago. This extension is nothing new for those who have any clue about these things. Imagine how many people outside of IT would be surprised that BASIC is no longer a mainstream learning language. (To which 90% of the population would reply "what's a language, I turn my computer on and it does stuff")

you stupid idiot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26762865)

Nanny nanny boo boo to all those who are SCREWED because of this. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. I am glad that you stupid people are SCREWED because of this. Because you people are stupid. Retarded. Dumb. Idiotic. Fucked up in the head. You are so stupid that a broken rock contains significantly more intelligence than your head. You are garbage. You are trash. Nanny nanny boo boo. Ha ha ha ha ha. You stupid fuck garbage trash stupid fuck.

Re:you stupid idiot (1)

GreenTech11 (1471589) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763033)

You need a social conscience upgrade

that would be the (1)

ionix5891 (1228718) | more than 5 years ago | (#26762887)

end of american civilization right there

Scalpers are stifled (2, Interesting)

nickruiz (1185947) | more than 5 years ago | (#26762953)

Too bad for you if you were a scalper planning on making some quick bucks. I bet we would've seen DTV converters selling like Wiis on eBay with 150%+ markups.

Re:Scalpers are stifled (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763015)

Not if you live outside the US... *rubs hands*

Re:Scalpers are stifled (1)

smchris (464899) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763759)

Worked for me -- sort of.

Government coupon + $.01 + $6.99 S&H = TigerDirect converter box

Sold the box in its box with my nine-year-old basic 19" for $20.

I got rid of my old analog without driving to recycling and somebody paid me $13 for it. Assuming he doesn't care about HD quality, he got a TV that still has the picture tube brightness set well below 50% because we seldom used it.

Good thing? (4, Insightful)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26762963)

"... And if the electronics association's numbers are right, the boxes would have sold out." Good thing the extended cut-off date was approved.

I'd wager that there's a statistically significant number of those procrastinators who are now gonna simply procrastinate until June, so that there will still be a tidal wave of demand, just delayed a few months. The delay might help and motivate some people to get off their asses, but not all.

And hell, if the shelves really get emptied, well, I probably won't need one of mine by then so that will be one less desperate family.

Re:Good thing? (2, Insightful)

sahonen (680948) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763003)

If you ask me, the procrastinators deserve a time out from TV if they've been too lazy to get off their butts and get ready for something that's been planned for years and heavily advertised for months. Let em watch static until they can get a converter, the radio will work fine if there's an emergency.

Re:Good thing? (2, Interesting)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763137)

Yup yup. I think the analog stations should shut down their broadcasts, perhaps starting at an hour at a time, then perhaps a whole day, putting up a message about digital converters instead of their regularly scheduled show. Not only would this alert otherwise oblivious people, but it would specifically target only those who need converters.

Re:Good thing? (4, Interesting)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763267)

Since the extension is not a requirement, many stations will shut down analog anyway. Now it might not be all of them.. but all it takes is one network that has something that people will miss, and the procrastinators will get off their butts.. For example, in my area, the ABC station stopped their analog early.. damned if I didn't hit the store the next day to get a box. Main reason was because Lost was about to start up the new episodes, and of course I needed it anyway.

Like everyone else, I knew a lonnng time ago I needed it.. and I even got coupons.. but then I let them expire.. my bad.. so I ended up footing the bill myself.. but it's done.. and mainly because of the early shutdown by ABC. I am pretty sure that well over 90 percent of the people that need the boxes will have them way before June, and that was entirely too long of an extension.. people would get what they need, or adapt by buying cable or Satellite if there was a box shortage.

Re:Good thing? (1)

mcfatboy93 (1363705) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763521)

there are 2 problems with holding the DTV transision until june

1. the goverment will never figure out that procrastinating like the people who were too lazy to get a converter box will only cost more money

2. there are 2 types of procrastinators the first hasn't watched TV in years and has not been exposed to enough of the media to know that anolog sets will shut off, but they won't care. the second are lazy fat asses who when they do switch the signal they will run into the street crying because their TV won't work and the DTV thing will be all over the paper so they will run to the nearest place to get one and a guy from geek squad to put it in.

and for the poeple who did not get a box before this shortage. sucks to be you. you should have goten one earlier

there problem solved

USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26762989)

The digital switchover has been planned for several years now, the converter box are relatively cheap compare to... everything else. What is that? The United State of Africa ?

whatever (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26763051)

My local best buy has over 200 converter boxes and the supply is not getting any smaller. People are buying better tv's instead of getting the boxes.

Re:whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26763099)

Do you even know there's a recession going on? Would you rather spend $40 on a converter box or over a hundred for a new television set?

Re:whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26763245)

I spent over $500 on a sweet-ass new 1080p LCD, so blow me.

My DTV converter doesn't work very well (2, Interesting)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763187)

I got my coupons and converters already, for the two TV's that aren't on satellite. They don't work very well. We lose two of our local stations that look fine in analog, but apparently not enough digital signal to show up in the converter box scan. They'll show up on the digital TV downstairs but not on the DTV converters.

So far I'm not impressed.

Re:My DTV converter doesn't work very well (1)

conureman (748753) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763261)

It'd be nice to have a metric for tuner performance. Some number which we could base an intelligent decision on. What model did you get? I'd like to avoid it.

Re:My DTV converter doesn't work very well (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763287)

The box says it's an RCA DTA800B1, which I got at Wal-Mart. The TV downstairs, which is connected to the exact same outside antenna, gets three more ranges than the converter will detect. And, of course, there's no way to manually tell the converter box to look at a particular digital channel. If it doesn't scan it, it won't find it. Period.

I'd definitely look at a different unit.

Re:My DTV converter doesn't work very well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26763953)

The RCA models tend to have slightly less sensitive tuners than other brands. Zenith/LG/Insignia and Digital Stream boxes seem to have the best tuners from what I've seen.

Re:My DTV converter doesn't work very well (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26763425)

FYI some stations aren't yet transmitting their digital signal at full power, or at their desired frequency, because the analog bandwidth has not been freed up yet.

E.g. in NYC, I can only get the (crappy) analog signal of WNET, since their digital signal is currently very low power. I heard that after the transition, they will be dropping analog (obviously) and upping the power of their digital signal.

-T

Re:My DTV converter doesn't work very well (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763889)

I live far enough away from Chicago where most station's analog and digital are too weak to be useful even with roof antenna, but with RF amplifier built into townhouse both work wonderfully and get the full monty of a couple dozen digital channels. maybe you should look into an amp

Re:My DTV converter doesn't work very well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26763959)

So far I'm not impressed.

the broadcasters don't go full power until the switch over

USA = Popu - communism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26763249)

In the rest of the western world (Sweden at least), if you want to view over the air TV, you buy the DTV receiver. Without subsidies a cheap DTV receiver only cost $60.

Re:USA = Popu - communism (1)

Wdomburg (141264) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763527)

Mighty small western world you live in.

Good Thing (1)

electronerdz (838825) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763299)

Good thing we extended that date. I mean, we wouldn't want the American people to be without their television. That could mean that people might actually go outside and do things, or do stuff around the house, or go on vacations, or go out and look for a job because they just got laid off. These would have been serious problems. But it's been solved now. Our government is looking out for our TV watching rights.

Can't help but think that... (3, Insightful)

DreadfulGrape (398188) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763317)

...if millions of people were to suddenly be forced to go without TV for a while, it would improve the collective mental health of the U.S. ... maybe just a bit.

Good thing? (2, Insightful)

seanmeister (156224) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763481)

Good thing the extended cut-off date was approved.

Bullshit - the original cut-off date was advertised for years. Anyone who's affected by the transition and *still* isn't ready for it should probably be watching less TV.

No sympathy from me (1, Insightful)

jtrumpet207 (1471645) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763535)

Honestly, we've all known about the change for at least 2 years now. If people that are still using rabbit ears to watch television couldn't once in that time go out and pick up their converters, it's their own fault. This delay should never have happened.

F*&K those people.. (0, Troll)

Rytr23 (704409) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763603)

If they can't afford a digital television, then they'd probably be better off without one for a while. What are they going to do? Riot? over TV?

Re:F*&K those people.. (5, Insightful)

speedlaw (878924) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763665)

Yes, they will. I once worked in a very large building complex (Starrett City, NY in Brooklyn). I was often assigned to answer the phone for maintenance-clogged toilets, leaky faucets, etc. One day, the Cable TV provider (there was one company for the whole complex) had to do some work, which shut off CATV to the entire complex. We NEVER got so many angry, screaming calls-repeatedly. I don't think a loss of Hot Water would cause so much angst. I'll never forget the day I had eight hours of every single shut-in, or elderly, or mom at home with kids and no soaps, call me over and over. (No maam, I don't know when the cable guys will be done...yes I'm sorry...have a good day) YOU may have four internet connections, get TV via Bittorrent, and run OSX on your Netbook, but for a lot of folks, the on/off switch and the channel selector are all they run. Don't think what comes out, even if pure crap, is not important to those folks.

I don't get the issue here (2, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763793)

Televisions have included digital tuners for years. DTV boxes are cheap and plentiful. If somebody at this late stage hasn't bothered to either redeem a coupon or take the massive $40 hit to buy the decoder box after years of warnings, then tough shit. At worst it only means waiting a couple of days for a store to get new stock in. I swear that some people will never be ready for anything and you've just got to set a cutoff and stick to it. If people still manage to ignore the warning and get their service cutoff then its their own fault.

TV? What is that? (1)

doobie (2546) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763797)

And I wonder how many people bought the box with/without the coupon that had no need for it (they had cable, satellite, or already had a digital box in their TV).

Or people like me, who don't own a TV. I was going to take a shotgun to it, but decide that was an environmental hazard so I gave it away.

DVB-T (2, Informative)

muftak (636261) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763857)

Maybe America should have used DVB-T like the rest of the world, where there is no shortage of set top boxes, and they are about half the price of ATSC ones. Instead they have to be difficult and use their own standard again.

Last minute no matter when (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26763887)

How many people file their taxes on April 15th each year? No matter how many times the transition gets delayed, there will still be people buying converters last minute -- waiting until the screen goes to static to wake up and go buy the darn things.

Doesn't matter to most households anyway.

3. Delay DTV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26763893)

4. Profit!

Obama's adviser on the matter is involved with at least 3 companies who profit by delaying DTV. Whenever you hear a commercial with the phrase "3G network", they're profiting at the expense of the competition who is waiting for their 3G network's frequencies to become available when the TV stations shut down.

Really? (1)

CPNABEND (742114) | more than 5 years ago | (#26763927)

Go to the Best Buy around the corner from my house. They have them stacked to the ceiling.
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