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FCC Mandates Digital Tuners

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the daddy,-what's-UHF dept.

Television 494

Gekko writes "The FCC has caved to pressures and has rolled back their mandate to requiring HDTV to 2007." A follow-up to this article: looks like the answer is "yes", although an extra year's delay has been added. Cherish your analog televisions, they will be collector's items. Update: 08/08 20:38 GMT by M : Declan McCullagh notes that there was also a vote on the broadcast flag concept to prevent copying of digital television - a set of draft regulations will be released next week.

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fp (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4033656)

first analog post

Re:fp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4033720)

What about my fear of digital?

Digital tuners? (1, Funny)

SpanishInquisition (127269) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033657)

I've always used my fingers to change channels, what else have people been using?

Re:Digital tuners? (-1)

Grape Smuggler (569838) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033695)

If you mean by "changing channels" tickling your mother's twat, then I beleive you have been using your fingers.

TP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4033659)


FCC Mandates that the CLIT sucks.

AC's RULE!

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4033666)

behold my first post.

bitch.

One point (3, Informative)

Sc00ter (99550) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033679)

They'll only force stations to dump their analog transmitters if 80% of the US is able to recive digital TV. So if people just don't buy new TVs because the ones they have are fine (like me, and most people I know) then there will still be analog stations around for quite a long time.

Re:One point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4033856)

Not to mention if they don't want to purchase a new and very expensive TV...

Great. Shit. (2)

krog (25663) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033680)

Nothing like the bitter taste of having content "protection" crammed down your throat.

10010110100101010101010010011 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4033682)

First digital post!

If you're reading it now, you must be an 'early adopter' :-)

Free Market? What Free Market? (5, Insightful)

buckminster (170559) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033683)

At what point does the government have the power to dictate that an entire industry must change it's technology? It's not as if this is an issue of public safety. I just don't understand how the Feds create these kinds of requirements.

Re:Free Market? What Free Market? (3, Informative)

joshsisk (161347) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033700)

In this instance, it's because the government leases the airwaves to the companies.

Re:Free Market? What Free Market? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4033703)

are you kidding? the gov't has been doing this for years. do you live under a rock?

Re:Free Market? What Free Market? (2, Informative)

Quixotic137 (26461) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033709)

Well, the FCC passes out licenses to broadcasters. Basically the broadcasters have to switch or they will lose their licenses. I'm not saying that the FCC should be allowed to do this, but that doesn't mean that they can't.

It's easy (1)

Frothy Walrus (534163) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033711)

I just don't understand how the Feds create these kinds of requirements.

It's easy. You just pay enough money as a tribute, and things start happening. There's more greasy palms in the FCC than in every nudie booth in the world.

Crappy thing is, for the companies paying their way into the lawbooks, it's 100% totally worth the price.

Re:Free Market? What Free Market? (1)

edward_mc (95945) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033758)

At what point does the government have the power to dictate that an entire industry must change it's technology? It's not as if this is an issue of public safety. I just don't understand how the Feds create these kinds of requirements.

As a libertarian, I can name only a few areas where the gov't has a legitimate function. Regulating the common radio spectrum is one of them.
What's the alternative? I haven't seen a free market argument yet that would work in the arena of such a unique and finite community owned resource I'm always open to new economic ideas, let's hear 'em.

Re:Free Market? What Free Market? (2, Interesting)

danheskett (178529) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033852)

As a libertarian, I can name only a few areas where the gov't has a legitimate function. Regulating the common radio spectrum is one of them. What's the alternative? I haven't seen a free market argument yet that would work in the arena of such a unique and finite community owned resource I'm always open to new economic ideas, let's hear 'em.

Who says companies have a right to broadcast?

I am all for anarchy in the airwaves. That would preclude broadcast TV and radio, which is good. Satellite, wired, fiber, all that would still be around minus the broadcast waves.

Why should some corporation be able to send signals through my body all the time, without my permission? And if they do that, why is it a crime if I decode the signals that are flying through me at this very instant?

Re:Free Market? What Free Market? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4033828)

Free Market? What do you think this is, Russia?

CmdrTaco mandates homosexualiy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4033686)

Cmdr taco requires all new gays to use linux by 2007. Cherish your windoze boxen, they will become collector items.

Your Operating System Already Is (-1)

l33t j03 (222209) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033687)

Your Linux is a collector's item. It was designed back before the dawn of personal computers, something that becomes obvious after a short period of use.

Collectors items? (1)

Hex4def6 (538820) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033689)

With the millions of tons of old TV's that are going to be thrown into landfill sites, I doubt that they will be collectors items any time soon.

Re:Collectors items? (1)

rmadmin (532701) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033846)

Yeah! I'd rather hook my Atari up to an older TV anyways, just helps it keep its 'Old school' feeling.

Re:Collectors items? (1)

vofka (572268) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033849)

Landfill?

Consider perhaps donating all old tv's to Third-World Developemnt projects.

Alternatively, KEEP your darned Analog TV, and simply obtain an EXTERNAL digital tuner... The TV itself is still fine, only the tuner needs to be replaced, and that can be done with a simple Set Top Box!

Are there no Americans in the world that understand the Impact their actions have on the environment! Sheesh!

Digital Tuners (2, Interesting)

mhatle (54607) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033691)

Personally I think this is a big victory for the Digitial (and HDTV) future. While the arguments of "people have satellite or cable" are valid, there is a VERY larger percentage of people that do not have either.

I have been putting off the purchase of a new TV exactly for this reason, I don't want to screw around with an external tuner. Put it in the TV.

Re:Digital Tuners (1)

SoCalChris (573049) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033796)

What about those of us that could care less if the signal is digital or not? Analog broadcasts are good enough for me. Why should I have to pay for a high end tuner that I don't even want? Looks like once that happens I won't be buying a new TV for quite a while.

cherish my what? (5, Insightful)

indiigo (121714) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033692)

Analog/Digital converter, cable boxes, Satellite Boxes, have you not been reading the articles you guys have been posting? This will be a $50-$200 purchase, in 4-5 years, at that, and no replacement on analog sets is required.

Re:cherish my what? I'll keep my old TV (2)

netringer (319831) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033806)

I aggree. It'll take a while for the manufacturers to work out integrating all of the digital features. I think I'll keep my ancient "analog" (actually digital internally) TV until 2010 or so. In the meantime I'll buy one or more settop digital converters with S-Video out.

BTW, There's gonna be a LOT of howling by Joe SixPack on the radio talk shows when the day comes that there will be no more analog broadcasts.

Re:cherish my what? (0, Troll)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033827)

Analog/Digital converter, cable boxes, Satellite Boxes, have you not been reading the articles you guys have been posting? This will be a $50-$200 purchase, in 4-5 years, at that, and no replacement on analog sets is required.

Burn my karma, like I give a crap, but this is posted by Michael, the retarded editor.

See, he helps edit a successful site, that features people posting commentary. But, much like the RIAA doesn't want people to listen to its music, Michael doesn't like people posting to this board.

Digital Tuners (4, Funny)

Ezubaric (464724) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033696)

I really like my analog tuner; you can get some quality shows. Just the other day on channel 4 1/2, I was watching Tom Brokaw get the crap kicked out of him by Dennis Franz. That's good television.

I won't even start to talk about Boston Public Access.

New Digital Tuners ? (0)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033771)

Does that mean I won't be able to use my old black and white TV to listen to the neighbor's cordless phone and baby monitor?

Damn The MAN!

Collectors Items? (0)

bafreer (592306) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033697)

Who's to say that someone won't create an ultra-cheap D->A converter. For those of us that can't afford to buy a tv large enough to take advantage of HDTV's detail and clarity, I'm sure that there will be alternatives.

Re:Collectors Items? (2, Informative)

SpookyFish (195418) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033877)

It's more than just a D/A converter, at least in the literal sense. There's a demodulator (8VSB for over the air ATSC, 64/256QAM for most cable systems, QPSK / 8PSK for mini-dish satellite), an MPEG demultiplexer and decoder with overlay capability -- and then a D/A converter if you want NTSC output.

BUT, the delta of $250 is a f'ing JOKE, complete FUD. The cost of these parts in volume TODAY is under $150, and by 2005 will probably be $50 -- at least 10 companies are working on SOC designs(system on a chip) that integrate everything on a single IC.

Good, and bad (2, Insightful)

envelope (317893) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033701)

I'm glad that manufactures and broadcasters are being prodded in the right direction here.

I do wonder about the propriety of it, though. Is it really the function of government to force the adoption of certain technologies? Shouldn't market forces prevail?

I suppose there are plenty of precedents for government interference, so I shouldn't worry about this.

Somebody tell me to shut up.

SHUT UP!!! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4033779)

you asswipe taht plain as day asks for it

Re:Good, and bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4033797)

Somebody tell me to shut up.

Shut up.

On a more serious note, these broadcast channels are a very scarce, expensive and regulated resource. By making TV go digital, they use a bit less broadcast frequency which allows them to lease that extra space out to things like 3G and other emerging technologies. They actually try to intelligently plan this stuff out so that everyone gets some use. If the TV people had their way, they'd hog all the bandwidth and we'd never get cool stuff like 3G.

That's why the government regulates it, because it's scare and there's a lot of interference issues so it has to be doled out. Otherwise, it's the tragedy of the public commons.

They need the prodding (2)

unicorn (8060) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033809)

In this particular case.

The FCC gave broadcasters huge swathes of new bandwidth for digital TV. While letting them hang onto their old bandwidth for old analog as well. The sooner they get users transitioned to digital, the sooner they can get back the old analog bandwidth and repurpose it for other uses.

One problem (4, Interesting)

Apreche (239272) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033707)

First of all since there will be no analog signal coming to my house there is the obvious issue of DRM, but I'll let other people talk about that.
If I want to watch TV in the future I will need a digital telvision, since by 2007 that will be all that they are selling. Which I don't mind so much since picture quality will be higher and it will hopefully cost less than a digital tv does now.
My concern is whether or not old analog devices will plug into a new digital tv. Will the new tvs have RCA in/out, coax? Or only digital plugs. How am I supposed to plug my NES/Atari/VCR/ into this television since they only have analog out? The only things with digital out are DVD players with S-Video or component out (those are digital right?) and modern game consoles with the same.
Anybody know?

Re:One problem (2, Informative)

Steveftoth (78419) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033753)

S-Video is not digital. It's still analog, but the Ps2, X-Box and GC all support at least one digital output mode for hdtv.

Re:One problem (1)

atrus (73476) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033794)

S-Video and Component are NOT digital. They're actualy the same exact signal thats being transfered on the composite cable, with the various parts of it broken up (luminace, chrominance, and saturation) on different wires to try getting a cleaner signal. But its really the same old signal.

Re:One problem (1)

misfit13b (572861) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033836)

those are digital right?

That's not my understanding. They just break down the one analog composite video stream into 2 (s-video) or more (component) streams.

Check this [networkcomputing.com] out for more info.

I know that the X-box and PS2 have digital SOUND outputs (the PS2 uses optical cable) but cables for getting digital video out I haven't seen (nor have I actively looked for, they may exist.)

Linux is /.ed (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4033708)

$ cd ../../usr././../usr/lib/kde/../../../opt/gnome

I'll read a book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4033713)

Adding $250 to the cost of a television is just one more reason not to waste time watching TV.

What are the odds (4, Interesting)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033715)

That consumer pressure keeps forcing the rollback year after year.

People are going to be pissed if they have to spend big bucks on a new tv. Especially if they bought one just a year or two earlier. Talk about riots in the streets.

Of course, you can't control copying on an analog product.

I just might not get a new tv as it is. I would gladly participate in a class action suit if they force me to replace a TV that would normally last ten or 20 years as it was. never mind the VCRs

tv riots (1)

calarts_nutmeg (545745) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033716)

MAybe the begininng of the end for them. TV riots and food riots by 2004? Maybe, food and clean water will get much more expensive, but take away the poor people's TV? Now you have a serious social crisis. Lots of people use very, very old tv sets in the "hood", while some people out there are already all digital. Of course it sucks for those who have cable web access and hook up analog cable to grab the tv signal through their computer's tv card. I have some nice sondtrack music for a tv riot: http://brianwredfern.com

Re:tv riots (1)

SoCalChris (573049) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033835)

Lots of people use very, very old tv sets in the "hood"

Yeah right, have you ever taken a train into LA's Union Station? You go right past one of the housing projects, and almost half of the apartments have a satellite dish hanging out of the window. Even though they can't afford to pay for their own housing, they can afford satellite...

2024 (1)

ChicagoFan (125489) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033717)

Cherish your analog televisions, they will be collector's items.


Hide your videotape collection; your grandchildren will turn you into the big-media-controlled government if they find it.


ChicagoFan

Re:2024 (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4033854)

I'd hate to think that my grandchildren (if/when I get any) will be so evil as to cast a spell upon me, then, when I wake up one morning, I think to myself:

"Shit, I'm a big, media-controlled government! When'd that happen?"

New Big TV (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033724)

OK, now I know to wait till 2004 to get a 65 inch Misubishi.

Set top boxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4033732)

Arent set top boxes enough? Sure they are big and clunky, but they are optional and they keep the price of tvs down.

Why a mandate? (5, Insightful)

GGardner (97375) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033740)

Why does the FCC need to mandate this? The FCC didn't mandate that all new televisions be color when color tv started. They didn't mandate that all radios must receive FM when that was started. They didn't mandate that all radios receive and decode stereo signals when that started. They did mandate certain types of compatibility with television and radio standards, which seems reasonable. If the market isn't willing to pay for digital television, is there really a compelling national reason to mandate it?

Re:Why a mandate? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4033785)

The FCC mandated UHF receivers in all TVs to get that transition started. Like BNL says "It's all been done before."

Re:Why a mandate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4033789)

There is a compelling national reason to mandate it. profit.

When the FCC gets back the spectrum licenses from the broadcasters, they can auction them off to the highest bidder. They'll make billions that can be squandered.

-too lazy to make an account

Re:Why a mandate? (0)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033826)

Actually, the FCC has already auctioned off the rights starting in 2006. The good news is that they sold them all to failed dotcoms for exhorbitant amounts -- but since many of these companies failed, they don't need to actually have to cough up the licenses. The bad news is that the money was a big chunk of the projected budget surplus. Whoops!

Re:Why a mandate? (3, Insightful)

pastie (80784) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033800)


If the market isn't willing to pay for digital television, is there really a compelling national reason to mandate it?


There is only one reason: Money. They can use the extra bandwidth which is freed-up by the switchoff of the analogue TV to licence for other uses.

Re:Why a mandate? (5, Informative)

MajroMax (112652) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033834)

If the market isn't willing to pay for digital television, is there really a compelling national reason to mandate it?

In the FCC's mind, Yes. All the improvements to the TV-signal you listed (color, stereo) have the advantage of being completely backwards-compatible with older broadcasts. Presuming it still physicially functions, there's no reason a TV from 1940 shouldn't be able to watch VHF signals today.

What the FCC's trying to do here is _replace_ the TV standard, not extend it. For the moment, all TV stations have two channels (and frequency bands, by extension) -- their normal VHF or UHF analog band, and a HDTV band. Once the conversion is complete, the FCC will order the VHF/UHF transmitters shut down and the frequency returned for whatever use the FCC deems appropriate. By its very nature, this conversion is _not_ backwards compatible.

It's too far along for the FCC to pull the plug on HDTV, but the transition isn't moving quickly enough that the FCC currently has hope of killing analog TV within our lifetime. Therefore, this move.

Of course, the question now is whether there's enough turnover in TVs that just mandating digital receivers (which are distinct from the display equipment required for the HD signal -- you'll likely be getting analog quality display on the HD signal) will increase the digital market penetration quickly enough to avoid the next boondoggle.

Re:Why a mandate? (1)

neoform (551705) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033838)

Does the term 'power trip' mean anything to you?

Re:Why a mandate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4033839)

You're exactly right, and they're not mandating that you have to but a new TV either. They are mandating certain types of compatibiliy with emerging TV standards. This is called progress. Them doing this frees up space for other people to use also, and people are waiting for it (aka 3G). In no form are they telling you to buy a new TV, however they are telling the TV people to go to the new format for various reasons, largely including the fact that it frees up broadcast space for other emerging technologies that desperately need it. The national mandate here is share and share alike. Just cause you're TV, you don't get to hog the whole broadcast spectrum. God, they're doing this for the sake of the consumers and they're all whining about it.

Re:Why a mandate? (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033850)

Our current government believes in market control and power, but only when the markets do the right thing (line the coffers of giant corporations). When we peons don't get in line like we should, it's time to break out the new laws.

Re:Why a mandate? (1)

Urban Garlic (447282) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033861)

Seems to me they're trying to square the "everything first" circle -- nobody will buy a digital TV until there are digital broadcasts, and nobody will broadcast digitally until there are receivers, and the market deadlocks itself. (See also hydrogen as an automotive fuel, etc. etc.)

In all of your examples, the new technology was backward-compatible -- it's possible to receive a color-TV signal on a black-and-white receiver, or a stereo radio program on a monaural receiver, and so forth. The FCC believes this is not the case with digital TV.

The FCC could still be wrong, of course -- there's a DVD infrastructure, it seems possible (to me) that the much-beloved market could find a way to induce DVD-watchers to buy sets that can receive digital broadcast signals, and build a user base for the broadcasters that way.

Clearer and prettier pictures... for what? (3)

yeoua (86835) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033741)

Yea, we all love that clearer and prettier picture on those tv's. But for me... I'm not going to buy one anytime soon. Why? Well... what am I going to with it? What show on tv is going to be better than it already is with a better picture? Not many. Most shows aren't that great to begin with, so a better picture won't help.

Yea, it might be nice to get it just for DVD's, so you get a better display, but then i always have my computer there, though it does have a small screen, it has better resolution. Or borrow a projector and screen and plug it into the computer.

But other than having the perfect home MOVIE entertainment system, I don't really see any need to buy, or push, for hdtv in the home, when the shows don't even warrant this.

Of course, if they can somehow make these tv's cheap, then people will buy them, on their own accord. Forcing upgrades isn't exactly the most fun thing for consumers, who are the ones who actually pay for this stuff.

Move with the times (1)

Aliks (530618) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033746)

Well I'm pro change, although I have to declare an interest as an HDTV owner.

Digital is "better" for the couch potato ie it does offer better quality. And also freeing up the airwaves could be useful.

People slowly replace their receivers over time, and without a shove neither the buyer nor the manufacturer would have any incentive to move fast.

With a deadline way off in the future people will have a reason to look at HDTV for their next purchase.

Mind you the enlightened thing to do would be to make all the old boxes available to poorer countries rather than chucking them in a landfill. I don't expect that the US will be that high minded though.

Re:Move with the times (1)

Tall Rob Mc (579885) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033805)

Unfortunately, shipping thousands of televisions to poorer countries probably wouldn't cheap. If we were going to blow big bucks delivering goods to poorer countries, there are plenty of things I can think of that would be better than old televisions. It's not a question of the US being high minded enough.

Re:Move with the times (2)

danheskett (178529) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033807)

Mind you the enlightened thing to do would be to make all the old boxes available to poorer countries rather than chucking them in a landfill. I don't expect that the US will be that high minded though.
The enlightened thing would be to not artifically create obselete hardware that causes new unneeded devices to be manufactured.

And why do we assume that 3rd world nations would want TV to begin with?

Re:Move with the times (1)

ShadowPass (105953) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033851)

Why is it the US's job to ship your junk to poorer countries. It would probably be cheaper to just send them money so they can buy new TVs. That way, they wouldn't be burdened with disposing of our trash.

no word on broadcast flags? (2, Interesting)

jeffy124 (453342) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033748)

nothing was said about broadcast flags, does this mean there wont be any? Or that it's still under debate? or did the FCC actually say "screw you" to the MPAA?

In other news (1, Troll)

NiftyNews (537829) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033749)

In other news:

Gamers worldwide shrieked with anger when it was announced that all games slated for 2007 release will require 32GHz P7 CPUs with 3GB PC-80,000 Ram.

"How will I ever afford that? ARGH!" exclaimed one of the disgruntled riot members.

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4033792)

bah. i already have more than 3GB of RAM in my gaming box.

Artificial market economy (4)

shaldannon (752) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033751)

After years of consumers voting with their wallets for good ol' analog TV because they're plenty satisfied with the current quality and not satisfied with the extra cost of a digital TV, the Feds now seem quite bent on forcing them to buy digital. I don't get the motivation here. What do the Feds get from forcing mass change to HDTV?

I've seen the commercials on TV touting HDTV, but I (not alone among TV consumers) am quite happy with the one I have. Is HDTV going to make watching NBC news somehow more exhilerating? I doubt it. Are they trying to shore up a sagging HDTV market? Is there a market for something that few people are adopting?

I remain unconvinced that this idea is in anyone's interest, and would love to see some concrete arguments in favor of it.

The FCC's incentive (2)

mrogers (85392) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033829)

I believe the FCC will be able to make money by relicensing the current frequencies. Compressed digital signals use less bandwidth than uncompressed analogue signals, so the FCC can resell the spare bandwidth (eg for 3G networks). That's the government's plan in the UK, anyway - I assume the FCC has something similar in mind.

Will solve some problems... (1)

zoobaby (583075) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033752)

This will solve some problems and will be nice to have. It will mean one less box hanging out in my already over crowded technilogical rat hole I call home. Also, since it will be in YOUR tv, you can mod the internal reciever and decode all your favorite channels that the cable industry blocks.

Re:Will solve some problems... (0)

bafreer (592306) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033859)

Have you ever opened a tv?

There's a reason!
You think it's like opening a crackerjack box?

mod me whatever, karma can only go up from here.

Conservatives are always pro-free market (1)

fatbastard10101 (559657) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033755)

Don't laugh.

Let's see...

consumers don't want to buy sets with digital tuners.
cable and satellite providers don't won't to pay to produce digital content or provide more space for add'l channels.
local broadcasters don't want to pay to switch their systems.

The Federal Gov't (FCC and NAB) better force them to switch, because our uh, national security depends on HDTV.

Looks like the invisible hand becomes an invisible fist when the right pockets are lined.

P.S. I know the NAB is supposedly independent, but it is essentially an industry group. Take a look at the micro-broadcast whitewash.

Digital and HD TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4033761)

In the UK we have had a couple of digital systems for quite a while... though one of the operating companies went bust a while back. What is not clear from here is whether the systems proposed in the US are the same/similar to those used here. Will the US have High Def TV *AND* Digital TV (i.e. is the digital system also a high def one)? Is the UK system capable of that? There are loads of digital tv sets, boxes, etc, here, but no Hi Def ones as far as I know.

Re:Digital and HD TV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4033860)

Im a subscriber to Telewest digital [telewest.co.uk] and I get my digital signals sent to an analog TV with a decoding set top box. I think if someone made smaller and better top boxes or even a little convertion box it would be better than for every one to buy an expensive new digital tv while maintaining backward compatibillity with analog TV and analog devices.

God, damn the FCC! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4033763)

Amen.

Irony, like rain on your wedding day! (0)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033875)

[*]Joebob spent a good five minutes explaining how, a devout man like Charleton Heston argued with the script writers to leave the line intact. Chuck's rational was that Taylor was truly asking God to take the men responsible for destroying the Earth and condemn them to Hell.

Immediatly after Joebob explained this bit of movie history, TBS, in their infinite corporate wisdom, bleeped the line.

36" required sooner (0)

maf212 (448756) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033768)

All TVs will be req'd to have a digital tuner by 2008, but if it's 36" or larger its req'd to have one by 2004

Slashdot doesn't understand (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4033770)

The FCC mandated that all broadcasts be digital by 2006. That doesn't mean they have to be high def. You can broadcast in 480i in digital by 2006 and still be in compliance. They FCC has now ruled that the digital tuners have to be in TV's. They didn't say they had to be HD tuners.

Digital TV isn't necessarily HDTV. Make sure you understand this point.

Re:Slashdot doesn't understand (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4033862)

Make sure you understand this point.

Why? It's so much more fun to be a Slashdot drone and jump to the collective's "accepted" flames and "jokes". LOL MICRO$OFT SUCKS!

Thats what you think! (1)

Quicksilver31337 (541929) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033774)

[voice of Charlton Heston]
You can take my television when you pry it from my cold dead hands!!

Re:Thats what you think! (1)

majestyk2000 (256822) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033820)

I was thinking of a different Charlton Heston quote...the one about the dirty apes.

Why? (1)

blackcoot (124938) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033775)

Maybe I'm just running on too much caffeine and not enough sleep right now, but... why? Haven't seen what happens when new tech is forced on people who aren't ready to use it, I'm not so sure that this is a good thing. Beside which, this is a tech issue --- why not let the consumer decide what they want without getting the government involved? The transition to DVD seems to be happening quite smoothly, without any goverment mandations. Then again, I'm tired, so it's entirely possible that I'm missing something important.

My dear old dad vs. digital television (5, Insightful)

jvmatthe (116058) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033778)

He's not a real tech guy, as I sometimes imagine myself to be. So he's confused about the pressure to move to digital. His bigest gripe? He watches a lot of public television and during the last funding drive they were talking about the wonders of digital as part of their pitch.


He asked me: "When did we, the public, without which public television would not exist, vote that we wanted to move to digital television? How is it in the public interest to move public programming to a new standard for which most people don't have televisions and which will eventually necessitate the the purchase of a new set?"


Good questions, and he's starting to understand some of what is going on in the name of progress that is starting to encroach on the public good that he, and really all of us, are used to.


The nightmare scenario for him, of course, would be that he couldn't be able to time-shift News Hour [pbs.org] , Washington Week [pbs.org] , and The McLaughlin Group [mclaughlin.com] because of digital no-record flags. He tells me that the majority of the TV he watches is recorded with only a small portion being live.

Of course, my dad also says that the problem with TV isn't that there is too little good stuff to watch, but rather that there is really too much. He loves his TV. :^)

Which standard? (1)

nekdut (74793) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033787)

One thing the article fails to mention is which DTV standard [cybercollege.com] sets are required to accept. Does anyone know if 8VSB is the final decision?

Also, notice that we really only have two years before we wont have a choice for larger sets:

Commissioners voted 3-1 to require manufacturers to add the tuners to all TV sets with screens of 36 inches and larger by July 2004, while the requirement for smaller sets would be phased in over the following three years.
Keep that in mind if you're going to be buying a big screen TV in the near future.

Home Entertainment PCs (1)

LaserBeams (412546) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033791)

Digital TV is kind of like streaming video on the airwaves... And we all know what high bandwidth wireless can do for you.

Sure, It's not two-way yet, but I think this is just a step in the right direction - to having multipurpose entertainment "multimedia" PCs that can do everything from surf the net to play HDTV broadcasts and DVD movies. All at an acceptable resolution, of course.

I just hope with the increase in the number of HTDV and other such large television/computer monitors, the price will drop. Though it doesn't look like it will... price has always been pretty much "by the inch", and the advancement we're headed towards won't happen until Average Joe Football Fan can afford a HEPC and 60" flatscreen capable of 1600x900.

In summary, the requirement is nice, but only if manufacturing is allowed to keep up by dropping prices - while still turning a profit.

Re:Home Entertainment PCs (1)

axjms (167179) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033871)

Sorry, but what is a HEPC?

thanks

An Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4033812)

Let's stop pretending that our Government has the intellectual or moral capability of properly administering and partitioning "public property". I'm a huge fan of the concept of publically-owned assets, but that concept depends on the public actually owning the assets, as opposed to a corporate-bureaucratic empire-state that has its own interests at heart.

Sell the rights to the airwaves. All of them. Everything. Throw it to the market, and let five or six uncontrollable and unaccountable corporations decide exactly what aspects of space/time humanity is "entitled" to.

The primary benefit of this is that if I don't agree with the corporations, I simply don't have access to electromagnetic communications.

If I don't agree with the Government, it can imprison, torture, and kill me at will.

Finish selling the spectrum! Hurry!

The Real Reason (1)

Mockura (524860) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033822)

When the switch is complete, broadcasters must return their analog channels to the government for other uses.

Methinks this is why the government cares about this - they want their bleedin' bandwidth back.

So... what other uses?

And we're the worst hypocrites (2)

Matey-O (518004) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033825)

Because for all our DRM and Govt. intervention issues, we're the guys that buy the stuff first at the highest cost because we've-gotta-have-it-now.

Why? (1)

EvilBudMan (588716) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033830)

Why did the FCC cave to pressure? We should have had these years ago. Didn't the powers that be, say that closed captioning would add thousands of dollars to the price of a TV when in fact it added about $1?

They should decide on one standard. Stick by it for the next 20 years, change it if needed then. Wah!

what about "monitors"? (1)

necrognome (236545) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033841)

A television is a combination of a display and a receiver (for TV signals). Perhaps A/V manufacturers should start selling displays without the excess (i.e. a cable box/satellite receiver suffices). A few companies already manufacture such monitors for institutional use (presentation, closed-circuit broadcast), so why not spread the love?

is DVR dead now? (2)

abde (136025) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033844)


Whathappens to TiVo and other DVR boxen now? once analog is gone, and the HDTV digital tuner is embedded into the box, there's no access point to divert the data to a third-party box.

Current Digital Tuners (4, Interesting)

HBergeron (71031) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033845)

Ok here is the big question I cannot seem to get an answer to. In the FCCs meeting this week they are also beginning the process to require a digital broadcast flag "reader" in digital tuners. A regulation is expected by January.

What is the effect of a broadcast flag on digital tuners that are currently on the market? Do they bypass the flag? Will they not work? Will they somehow recognize and follow the flag?

Given that the flag issues is not yet worked out, and we're now mandating the digital tuners, are we designing a great big hole in the system or are we requiring millions of people to buy equipment that will be obsolete in just a couple of years?

hmm - is the reason the broadcasters and content guys are pushing the integrated tuner because they know that means when the old pre-flag set wear out, those tuners will be gone?

Also - can't manufacturers get around this by calling their sets "monitors" and not televisions. In the old days a "monitor" was a tunerless tv, and with advent of hdtv resolutions/capabilities, the dividing line between the newer meaning of (computer) monitor and tuner-less TV essentially disappears.

Brief history of HDTV (5, Informative)

SkipToMyLou (595608) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033848)

(unfortunately I can't take credit for this one. It was written by a fellow slashdotter a while back, and I've lost the attribution. If the author is still out there, let me know and I'll send you a beer ;-) )

For those interested in a brief history of HDTV, here it is:

Here's how it went:

Broadcast Industry asks for bandwidth for HDTV
FCC says "OK, we'll set aside bandwidth for HDTV"
FCC says "What standards?"
Industry says 'No Standards Please' and come up with EIGHTEEN recommended formats for HDTV. I am not shitting you.
FCC says "Isn't 18 different standards a bit much?"
Industry says "Shut the fuck up FCC, we know what we are doing. The 'market' will handle this!"
Consumer Electronics dudes whine "18 formats make every thing cost more, you are fucking us!"
FCC says "OK, it's your call on standards, 18 formats is fine, infact there are NO STANDARDS AT ALL, 'cause we are letting the 'market decide', but you start broadcasting HDTV now or we take back the FREE bandwidth."
Industry says "What? We really just want the free bandwidth. You really want us to do HDTV??
Congress says "Fuck you Industry. Broadcast HDTV or we'll legislate your asses back to Sun-day!"
Industry says "We're fucked. 18 formats? Why the hell did we do that? Let's change it."
Consumer Electronics dudes say "You ain't changing shit. We are already building the boxes you said you wanted built."
FCC says "Yah, ya boneheads we told you 18 was too many, now you gotta live with it."
Industry says "Well FCC, will you at least make the cable companies carry the HDTV at no charge?"
Cable companies say "Fuck you! You gotta pay! Bwah-ha-ha-ha!"
FCC says "Yep, no federal mandated on HDTV must carry, we are letting 'the market' handle that"
Industry says "We are so fucked. We are spending 5-10 million per TV station in hardware alone and have 1000 HDTV viewers per city, even in LA!"
Consumer at home says "Where is my HDTV? Why does it cost so much? Fuck it, I'm sticking with cable/DirecTV."

Consumer electronics dudes, broadcast industry, FCC, and congress all cry. Cable companies laugh and make even bigger profits.

About damn time. (0, Troll)

Whatthehellever (93572) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033853)

A lot of people are going to hate to hear this, but this decision to mandate the installation of digital tuners was really needed. How else were we going to move to a digital future if no one's buying it? Force it. It's something we need, so don't complain.

O Canada (2)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033857)

I live in detroit, and get nice Canadian stations as it stands. I get all my hockey imported :D

However, If they manage to force it without any DRM strings, I won't fight it because of the better health implications of digital transmissions, like lower power.

If you think crack heads are bad, wait till you see what happens when the government tries to turn off the TVs. The white house will be purged.

HDTV (1)

TheChacal (588505) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033866)

I have one. It is great. Is it worth the $1,000,000 I paid for it. Um, no. Especially since right now the only shows that are in HD are "The Mark Cuban Show" and "Chicago by air" on HDNet. Chicago by air is great, there is so much clarity you can actually see people getting mugged as the helicopter flies over. Very nice.

Sweet (1)

PMadavi (583271) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033868)

Well, thank to regulation, come 2007, I'll be able to unplug my cable, sit down and watch Will & Grace with the highest picture and sound clarity. Perhaps the goverment could also mandate that by 2007 someone shoot me in the head with .22 over and over and over again.

I can't post this enough regarding TV articles (2)

spoonyfork (23307) | more than 12 years ago | (#4033872)

KILL YOUR TV!

Here's a random anti-TV site. Google for more. http://www.turnoffyourtv.com/ [turnoffyourtv.com] .

ok (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4033873)

to everyone who's complaining. The longer this is delayed, the longer until we get 3G. HDTV broadcasts use less of the spectrum, and the saved spectrum is allocated for emerging technologies. Them forcing this makes it more fair to new technologies since they can now get a bit of the broadcast spectrum themselves. This is a very good thing. This allows us more cool wireless gadgets! We're starved for broadcast space and this conserves a decent chunk of it.
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