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Jan 2009 Deadline for HDTV Cutoff

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the gimme-1080i-now-already dept.

Television 585

stlhawkeye writes "Broadcasters have recently accepted a deadline of January 2009 for the mandatory end of analog television signal broadcasts. Broadcasters have expressed concerns that those without subscription television services will see blank screens unless they buy new units. "

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FUCK YOU (0, Flamebait)

repruhsent (672799) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054353)

Fuck you Taco

In the year 2000... (and 9) (2, Interesting)

HyperChicken (794660) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054357)

2009 will be the perfect time to officially throw away your TV (Well, keep it for parts) and curl up with a good book.

Oh, but I know what you're thinking: "But HyperChicken, I need my PS3/Xbox360/Revolution". So hook them up to a monitor.

Re:In the year 2000... (and 9) (4, Insightful)

macrom (537566) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054427)

2009 will be the perfect time to officially throw away your TV

I doubt it. I'm sure we'll see this in July of 2008 :

Broadcasters have recently accepted a deadline of January 2012 for the mandatory end of analog television signal broadcasts.

Add 3, wash, rinse, repeat.

Re:In the year 2000... (and 9) (2, Interesting)

ZephyrXero (750822) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054571)

Wasn't this originally supposed to happen this year? Or was it maybe earlier than that even? Personally I don't think anyone really needs to be forced to switch to digital...it's already happening and people will eventually realize the difference. You can already find most stations broadcast in and HDTV version. And the less people that are still using old NTSC TVs, the less likely it is for broadcasters to continue supporting it.

SSSssshhhhH (1)

essreenim (647659) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054653)

Nobody tell the Fox news viewers : )

Re:In the year 2000... (and 9) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13054444)

2009 will be the perfect time to officially throw away your TV (Well, keep it for parts) and curl up with a good book.

Except that by 2009, books will be illegal
(too easy to share, you pirate!)

Re:In the year 2000... (and 9) (0)

Yaa 101 (664725) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054540)

I guess some tv addict moderated you to Flaimbait, this prooves that junkies are better not allowed moderation...

Re:In the year 2000... (and 9) (0)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054612)

Yeah, if you wanna pull out the soldering iron or pay $80 for an adaptor to hoook it up to a monitor....

Re:In the year 2000... (and 9) (1)

HyperChicken (794660) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054645)

I believe the Revolution is suppose to support monitor hookup out-of-the-box. Or at least, that is what they once said -- We'll see.

Not an HDTV cutoff. (5, Informative)

sweeney37 (325921) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054358)

this is the cutoff to convert to DTV not HDTV. how is the public supposed to figure it out if even the nerds can't get it right?

Mike

Re:Not an HDTV cutoff. (3, Insightful)

LewsTherinKinslayer (817418) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054437)

This deserves +10 informative mod. Christ, do these editors do anything anymore? In the last two days there have been numerous mistakes, plain retarded stories, and at least one glaring dupe. Failures.

Re:Not an HDTV cutoff. (1)

ZephyrXero (750822) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054607)

I know we're getting off topic here, but I don't think the editors edit very much anymore...they just say, "hey...that one looks cool" and hit ok; not a whole lot of editting going on until later that day with 3 or 4 updates...heh

Re:Not an HDTV cutoff. (1)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054448)

That's the point. This way, TV manufacturers can scare the uninformed public into buying the super-hi-def-SDTV-HDTV or whatever the hell they'll be calling it by then. People will buy it just so they don't take the chance of not being able to watch TV in 2009. For the average American, imagine their horror upon finding out they can no longer watch TV!

Re:Not an HDTV cutoff. (4, Informative)

crow (16139) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054450)

Yes, technically it's the elimination of NTSC broadcasts, with only the new digital ATSC broadcasts. However, at least in Boston, most ATSC broadcasts are in 720p or 1080i only, so they are HDTV (even if they're just upsampled SDTV shows). That's probably true in many places.

So the distinction between DTV, ATSC, and HDTV from a broadcasting perspective is really just a nitpick that can be ignored for all practical purposes.

(Of course, from a television perspective, there's a huge distinction between simply displaying ATSC, and displaying HDTV resolutions.)

Incorrect headline? Shocking!!! (1)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054542)

This is Slashdot - what do you expect???

Great... (4, Funny)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054361)

Millions of people now HAVE to buy new TVs. Is it time to invest in Sony?

Re:Great... (1)

Zerbey (15536) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054397)

No, millions of people now have to buy (or more likely, rent from their cable companies) set top boxes that can convert the signal.

Besides, 4 years is ample time to save the money to buy a new TV.

I just wish they'd hurry up and add more HDTV channels and programming in the US. Why are Americans so resistant to change??

Re:Great... (4, Insightful)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054507)

Why are Americans so resistant to change?

Sorry, but that is the wrong question. The correct quesions are: Why are we being forced to spend our money on a TV or a set-top box? Why are my tax dollars being spent on subsidizing the purchase of a set-top box?

Re:Great... (5, Funny)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054522)

Why are Americans so resistant to change??

Considering that a good portion of populace is still fighting against evolution, I think it might be pathalogical at this point.

Re:Great... (1)

SupaKoopa (835066) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054527)

If we're having this much trouble switching to a new type of TV, imagine how tough it will be for us to make an IMPORTANT change, like switching from our current automobiles to clearner alternative energy ones.

Re:Great... (4, Insightful)

drakaan (688386) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054572)

They're not resistant to change, they're resistant to being forced to spend money.

Here's the problem you're going to run into, although it'll be a small problem by that time. Right now, the *only* people in the US that know about analog broadcasts going away in 2009 (or the fact that that's a new deadline) are the broadcasters and the geeks that read sites like slashdot.

My wife is reasonably well-informed (she reads the news online and browses fark every day), and had no clue what I was talking about when I mentioned it a few weeks ago. My neighbors are clueless, and looked at me like I was crazy when I told them that it was a good thing they had satellite TV, etc.

Here's what I'm guessing: The broadcasters are betting that by 2009, just about everyone will have cheap satellite or cable TV, and (as someone pointed out to me in a previous story on this subject), the people that don't are probably limited enough in purchasing power that it'd be worth the risk to ad revenue to go ahead with it anyway.

You'll hear one or two stories on the news saying "Still using rabbit-ears? Not for long...", then make a small stink about being forced to do it, so people will be mad at the FCC for "springing" it on them, and life goes on as normal.

Re:Great... (1)

indifferent children (842621) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054648)

Why are Americans so resistant to change??

Because some systems that we interact with on a daily basis are very simple to purchase and use (TV, appliances) and other systems (computers, cell phone plans/companies, frequent-flyer miles) involve difficult purchasing decisions, often resulting in confusion, frustration, and sub-optimal results. For the last 20+ years, there was only one dominant differentiator for TVs: size (minor factors: stereo, PIP, etc. were very much secondary).

The uncertainty surrounding this change-over threatens to move TV from the simple category to the complex category. Once the change-over is mostly complete, and there is an installed base of at least 8 million DTV sets, we can expect standards and products to stabilize. I have no desire to be an early adopter on this one.

Re:Great... (1)

ksattic (803397) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054429)

No, people do not have to buy new TV sets. How many millions of us never bother with the analogue channels already and just tune to DirecTV or whatever we have? You can continue to watch broadcasts on your old black and white set if you really like, as long as you have a digital tuner.

Re:Great... (1)

John Napkintosh (140126) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054430)

At most you might have to by a D/A converter of some kind. For cable TV, a digital signal is transmitted to your cable box, your cable box converts the signal to analog, and the analog signal is transmitted to your tv. For non-cable subscribers, you'll probably just get a D/A converter.

Re:Great... (1)

hb253 (764272) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054464)

Some of us refuse to pay extra for a cable box and connect the analog cable directly to our VCRs or TVs.

Re:Great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13054500)

Some of you suck.

Re:Great... (1)

cygnusx (193092) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054579)

Here in the UK lots of people buy cheap £30 Freeview boxes that lets them view ~30 free-to-air digital channels for no monthly fee. Since NBC et al will likely remain free-to-air, I expect the US market will see similar boxes before long.

Re:Great... (4, Funny)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054521)

...HAVE to buy ...

Because as we all know, human civilization will collapse without television.

Re:Great... (4, Funny)

the_weasel (323320) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054622)

Absolutely. I mean look what happened to the Romans.

They had no television. Where are they now?

Re:Great... (3, Insightful)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054619)

I dunno. Does WalMart sell Sony TVs? Find who they resell and invest there.

Re:Great... (1)

jskiff (746548) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054655)

Millions of people now HAVE to buy new TVs

No, they won't. How many people actually watch broadcasts via an over the air antenna in the US? Not many. Those that do will need to either purchase a converter or a new TV capable of receiving digital signals.

For the vast majority of the population, though, chances are your cable or satellite company will provide a box that handles it for you.

no more bunny ears is sad but... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13054364)

...first comment!

In Italy it will be in 2007! (2, Informative)

incuso (747340) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054366)

Not sure but maybe in all Europe. Anyway, I think that date will be postponed

M.

Re:In Italy it will be in 2007! (1)

incuso (747340) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054414)

I checked and I discovered I was wrong. The cutoff must be by the end of 2006 (Italy only, not Europe) M.

Re:In Italy it will be in 2007! (1)

pe1chl (90186) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054564)

In the Netherlands, digital TV is being setup as a commercial parallel service to analog TV. It is meant to be a competitor to cable (but so far it is available only in about 1/3 of the country).

Being commercial, it requires a subscription to be paid, like for cable. Even for state TV and radio channels. Freely receivable signals are only analog.

This is bad for several reasons: it holds back adoption of digital reception, and it means that only a few channels are available so the streams are overly compressed and thus of bad quality.
This is what we get for making everyting a competitive market.

Misleading title (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13054369)

This isn't a cutoff for HD, but a cutoff for analog-to-digital. The title is misleading, as all programming won't magically become HD on February 1st, 2009.

Re:Misleading title (1)

SComps (455760) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054394)

With the state of television programming as it stands I'm not altogether sure I want to be able to see it that clearly in the first place.

Then again, I read a lot so it won't affect me that much.

Re:Misleading title (0, Troll)

dustinbarbour (721795) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054598)

Look at me! I'm better than all of you!

Absolutely unncessary! (1, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054372)

A draft bill setting the deadline has bogged down in the House over whether the government should subsidize the purchase of $50 converter boxes for the 15% of households that get their TV signals via antennas. The boxes would convert digital signals to analog.

This is my favorite part of all of this. Not only are those of us that can afford digital TV being double-fucked for the creation of the HDTV standard and then having to pay for the tuner for something we just don't need, we now may have part of our tax dollars pay for someone else's digital tuner converter that can't afford HDTV! Absolutely unnecessary.

Let the market's consumers decide when it wants to adopt a technology. If only 5 million people have adopted the technology so far it's probably because it is infantile, unnecessary, and/or expensive. We do NOT need the government meddling in this and creating headaches, money issues, and horseshit for us. No matter what the pro-TV people say, HDTV is *not* something that the government needed to mandate. There are thousands of other far more important things they could have put time, effort, and dollars towards rather than making sure Friends and Seinfeld reruns, reality TV, and soaps come to you in crisp video.

I have posted on this same exact topic numerous times before but here's [slashdot.org] one of them.

Re:Absolutely unncessary! (5, Interesting)

Shkuey (609361) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054411)

First of all this has NOTHING TO DO WITH HIGH DEFINITION.

It has everything to do with digital broadcasting taking up FAR LESS of the broadcast spectrum that they want to free up for other uses. If the government doesn't step in, that huge portion of the spectrum would be tied up in archaic uses forever!

Re:Absolutely unncessary! (0)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054487)

You're right. HDTV isn't DTV. I was incorrectly using the term to appeal to the misunderstanding masses and I apologize.

My original post(s) still stand. We should not have been forced to move to a different format at our own expense and then have to subsidize others that can't afford the move!

What's going to happen when they open the spectrum up? Are they going to sell it at ENORMOUS COST to companies that will just hold it in check for safe keeping like they did with plenty of other parts of the spectrum?

Either way the spectrum, which is owned by the People, is being held hostage. I'd prefer that it be held hostage the way it is rather than by some corporation that has no plans to do anything with it except hold on to it to make sure no one else can have it.

Bandwidth = property. (1)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054559)

There's only a limited amount of spectrum, and broadcast TV takes up a lot of it. That frequency could be used for more, cheaper cellphones, or even always-on internet, like wi-fi but that can go through walls more easily. Rather then one hub per house, you could have one hub per block or even larger radii.

In other words, yes a switch costs money, but if properly used the new spectrum would create even more economic value.

Re:Bandwidth = property. (0, Flamebait)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054624)

In other words, yes a switch costs money, but if properly used the new spectrum would create even more economic value.

To be held without use by the corporations that pay for it as the highest cost. Why aren't we using the money that was collected from other spectrum selloffs to pay for *everyone* to get new DTV converter boxes?

Oh that's right... They wasted the People's money that was collected from spectrum sales on shit that the People probably didn't want and was likely unrelated to the spectrum and the technological advances around it.

Re:Absolutely unncessary! (1)

crow (16139) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054496)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that ATSC is broadcast using the same bandwidth as NTSC. Yes, a station can include multiple sub-channels, but each broadcaster still gets a full channel of bandwidth.

However, what this does do is give the FCC a chance to shift all the stations around because we don't really need a full range of VHF and UHF channels. I'm not sure what the actual plan is, but I suspect they're only allocating ATSC channels in a subset of the existing UHF frequencies, so that the old frequencies can be reallocated later.

Re:Absolutely unncessary! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13054599)

The issue is that every TV station was "loaned" an extra channel to allow the transition. These channels are worth millions, and this was bartered primarily by the NAB, the lobbying front for the broadcasters. The stations did everything possible then to delay the deployment of DTV, saying it was too expensive and had no ROI.
The gubment (led by Sen McCain) wants this spectrum back in a reasonable timeframe. Seeing the possibility of having their analog channels yanked sooner, the NAB now announces that a 3 year extension is acceptable to them. How benevolent of them.

Re:Absolutely unncessary! (1)

orulz (98036) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054595)

Speaking of archaic uses, why isn't there a movement to replace analog AM, FM, and shortwave radio with something more robust and spectrum/power efficient?

I thought I heard somewhere that AM occupies a chunk of the EM spectrum that actually follows the curvature of the earth, and doesn't need line-of-sight to work. Seems to me like that could be put to use for some other, more modern broadcast medium. The fact that AM is nice because you can listen to it with an unpowered transistor radio is irrelevant these days.

Talk about archaic technology!

Re:Absolutely unncessary! (1)

kahei (466208) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054628)


The government stepping in to reallocate property? Wouldn't it be better to let market forces take their course -- wait until the market places a high enough value on that spectrum that it is not economically viable to use it for 'archaic uses'?

I keed I keed I keed.

Re:Absolutely unncessary! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13054431)

Nice comments. Too bad you don't have millions of dollars to buy yourself a representative or senator ... oops I meant contribute to the campaign of your local representative or senator. If you did, they might listen.

Re:Absolutely unncessary! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13054445)

Totally agree with you. Why is it so imperative that our government mandate "better" entertainment in our own personal lives (our households)?!? Oh wait, I forgot about that other bit of uselessness in our government called "The National Endowment for the Arts." Because we all know that government funded creativity makes a nation great... right?... right?!?

Without the gov't, you'd have no internet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13054455)

This is a giant change in infrastructure that needs a push from Big Brother. Without the helping hand of government, you wouldn't have been able to post your reply.

Sometimes, just sometimes, government intervention is good, because 85% of the people will benefit while the measly 15% of technological throwbacks are forced out of their near-Amish technological stone age.

I mean, why should the government pave roads? My horse and buggy was just fine on the gravel!

Re:Without the gov't, you'd have no internet. (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054583)

Without the helping hand of government, you wouldn't have been able to post your reply.

Yup, the Internet was partially funded by government research grants and pushes by the US Government to get it to the masses but... The Internet didn't exist prior to their pushes in a different format which required some sort of mandated hardware updates to use the "new and improved Internet" once they were done.

DTV is just regular TV over digital signals rather than analog. Yes, it opens up spectrum (which is a whole different issue) but we should not be required to buy additional hardware and then subsidize those that can't afford it.

I didn't see the US Government saying that "everyone has to be on the Internet2 by 2009. If you don't have the capability now you need to pay for the upgraded hardware to take advantage of it. If you can't afford the hardware then everyone else will pay for it for you."

Apples and oranges I'm afraid.

Re:Absolutely unncessary! (2, Funny)

ShelbyCobra (134614) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054463)

This is my favorite part of all of this. Not only are those of us that can afford digital TV being double-fucked for the creation of the HDTV standard and then having to pay for the tuner for something we just don't need, we now may have part of our tax dollars pay for someone else's digital tuner converter that can't afford HDTV! Absolutely unnecessary.
(Emphasis mine)

I think you mean double plus -fucked sir...

Re:Absolutely unncessary! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13054470)

whether the government should subsidize the purchase of $50 converter boxes

The welfare mommies need to get their daily fix of Springer and Juge Judy so they won't be bothered to provide parental supervision to their delinquent kids.

Re:Absolutely unncessary! (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054597)

It's in the public interest, like banning leaded gasoline, spark-gap radio transmitters, and the burning of trash.

Markets don't always work. The FCC tried that with AM Stereo and it was a disaster. Sometimes they have to force spectrum users to switch to systems that use the best available technology and meet stricter standards.

The death of NTSC is long overdue. If you have to replace your TV, tough shit. There are plenty of people who have had to replace or upgrade equipment to meet evolving FCC requirements and they didn't get a nickel.

Re:Absolutely unncessary! (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054650)

If you have to replace your TV, tough shit. There are plenty of people who have had to replace or upgrade equipment to meet evolving FCC requirements and they didn't get a nickel.

Then you support what I say. We shouldn't be subsidizng the converter boxes for the 15% of people that only receive OTA transmissions.

At least someone understands ;)

Incorrect headline! Digital != HDTV (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13054373)

HDTV is a SUBSET of Digital TV

The cutoff is for DIGITAL TV, not HDTV

Suggested output (3, Funny)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054376)

Here's the suggested output that will be broadcasted into analog TV's:

"Nothing for you to see here.
Move along."

*shrugs* Doesn't matter (4, Funny)

Lothar+0 (444996) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054384)

All I use my analog TV for is watching stuff I downloaded to my computer anyway.

Re:*shrugs* Doesn't matter (1)

DrWhizBang (5333) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054457)

Phew! I was really worried that Lothar+0 might not be able to use his TV. Now my fears are quelled.

So what are we waiting for!?

That's a pretty reasonable concern (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054385)

2009 isn't that far away, and plenty of people have portable TVs or good old fashioned rabbit ears. A lot of that will just be junk without an aftermarket tuner. Radio Shack will probably do a bang-up business in cheesy HD-to-NTSC widgets. Hell, an entire province in China could live for a decade off of this decision.

Re:That's a pretty reasonable concern (1)

gcatullus (810326) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054632)

ALmost every home has cable TV or satellite TV access, but you are absolutely correct on portable TVs. I have one with a 2 1/2 inch screen, all it needs now are AA batteries, extend the antenna, and I can watch a ball game anywhere. Are there any units out there that can do this? Also what do you do with all the televisions on boats and RVs, they wil have to get the conversion widgets. They can't connect to cable, and it must be difficult to orient a dish from a boat or an RV.

Price! (1)

ShortBeard (740119) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054387)

When the price of a HDTV get below $500 it will be affordable to many more people.

But unless they start broadcasting better quality shows instead of the same crap themes since the fifties I won't even shell out that much.

Cutoff for MTV? (0, Offtopic)

ectotherm (842918) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054392)

Why don't we get rid of this as well. It hosts mostly crap...

Old TV sets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13054398)

"Broadcasters have expressed concerns that those without subscription television services will see blank screens unless they buy new units."

How about those with old TV sets?

I'm sure there are a lot of people out there that still have old TVs and just use the antenna to get a few local channels, and they are probably happy with that. Will they need to upgrade, or will there be some backwards compatability?

Re:Old TV sets? (1)

mzwaterski (802371) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054506)

They will need to get a converter to convert the digital signal to analog. This shouldn't cost more than 20$, but who knows with the instant demand and all.

That is good news! (5, Funny)

homerules (688184) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054399)

Broadcasters have expressed concerns that those without subscription television services will see blank screens unless they buy new units.
Those without HDTV will see a huge jump in programing quality.

You can get that now (1)

Safety Cap (253500) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054580)

A small handgun makes any tv remote control.

How does forced obsolescence promote public good? (3, Interesting)

defile (1059) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054407)

If there was no longer a need for something, it would become obsolete on its own. Demanding that something become obsolete is quite suspicious.

Re:How does forced obsolescence promote public goo (4, Funny)

justforaday (560408) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054482)

Demanding that something become obsolete is quite suspicious.

You misspelled American.

<flamesuit on>

Re:How does forced obsolescence promote public goo (1)

NetNifty (796376) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054509)

Well I guess you could argue that the extra equipment people would buy (ie set top boxes, new tvs etc) would be part of the "public good" as it generates tax revenue (along the same lines as the story on /. a few weeks ago about people having their houses torn down for corporations which would generate more tax revenue), and the other thing would be the freeing up of the radio spectrum which the analogue signals currently occupy (I'm assuming that the replacement digital content would use less?) for something else (for what, I don't know though).

Re:How does forced obsolescence promote public goo (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054558)

Because of the chicken/egg problem - left to their own free will, customers won't buy DTV sets unless there is programming on the air to get and broadcasters won't start DTV b'casts unless there's a viewing public with DTV sets. NASA TV recently switched off analog transmissions.

Free spectrum (1)

Admiral Ackbar 8 (848624) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054413)

What this will thankfully do is free up some much needed frequency spectrum. Analog TV uses up a hell of a lot of prime frequency real estate which could be used more efficiently. Hopefully this will spurn new wireless standards with better coverage and capacity.

Look at the positives (2, Insightful)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054425)

While analog could still be used we're trying to move technology forward.

In a similar sense, sure people can get by using their 56k lines, but wouldn't it be a lot better if everyone had access to fiber, cable, or something else along those lines?

It seems to me that at least part of the reason that America isn't the most technologically advanced nation in the world is because we like to hold on to dying technologies. In the next few years we're going to be seeing HD-DVD and Blu-Ray technology emerging into the marketplace, but a lot of people will still be using VHS.

We might take a hit in the pocketbook, but isn't it time that our country got with the times? I don't mean that we should adopt every new technology even if it's only marginally better, but we shouldn't cling to old technology when there are clearly better alternatives out there.

Re:Look at the positives (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054623)

but wouldn't it be a lot better if everyone had access to fiber, cable, or something else along those lines?

If all someone does is check their email and visit less than 10 sites, what benefit can they gain by going from 56K to a high-speed connection? They certainly wouldn't be utilizing the bandwidth and gaining those extra few seconds would probably not be worth it to these individuals.

Not everyone has to have the latest and greatest. Besides, unless the price of the high-speed line is the same as the current price for 56K (roughly $20/month), it will be very difficult to convince the average user to switch.

If you're not one of those people who needs to download ISOs or movies or plays online, ping-sensitive games, a dial-up line does what is needed. Sure, getting updates for your Windows box or updates for other software (Adobe, FF, etc) will take a bit longer but these are the same people who don't care that it takes longer.

great timing.... (1)

NoTitleLater (743786) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054443)

This will scare the crap out of all the grandma's when their tv's goes blank on Dec 31 11:59PM and think the world is comming to an end =) At least my G-mom will.

Woohoo (1)

Jeet81 (613099) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054454)

Finally get to see some quality HDTV programming instead of the same fish and nature clips they play over and over again on OTA local HDTV channels.

When I first got a HDTV I remember watching the 30 minute movie loops for 2-3 hours. I just love the clarity of HD but my family members did not like me.

Wait, Wait, Wait.... (1)

deanj (519759) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054467)

For years we've been hearing that the HDTV cutover date was sometime in 2007. What happened??

Right... (1)

quickbasicguru (886035) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054468)

I am sure someone will broadcast a analog signal for us ;)

Corp. America just wants MORE money...

Since they removed my editorial... (4, Interesting)

stlhawkeye (868951) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054478)

...this decision is being pushed by the government because they want control over the current analog frequencies, which they will then resell and lease to private industry to generate another revenue stream for the government. And who is payinf ro it? As usual, we are.

Overhyped (1)

Trippee (799704) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054491)

HDTV is almost like a third generation of TV technologies. Gen 0 - TV (black and white) Gen 1 - Color Gen 2 - Enhanced/High Definition Color Gen 3 - ??? So tell me why we are widely adopting EDTV/HDTV as such a permanent standard when it seems more like a stepping stone or transitional stage in broadcasting? Don't get me wrong, I think HDTV looks much better than any analog signal, or even a 480p DVD, but shouldn't we be adopting something a bit more advanced if we're going to force such a widespread acceptance?

Re:Overhyped (1)

stelmach (894192) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054560)

What type of more-advanced technology do you suggest?

Re:Overhyped (1)

Musteval (817324) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054605)

Well, let's see. It was 18 years between the first B&W broadcast (1935) and the first color one (1953). The first HDTV broadcast was about 40 years after that (1990s). Do you really wanna wait about 30 years for the next technology to show up? I'm thinking not.

Re:Overhyped (1)

crow (16139) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054633)

Sure, if the standard were being created today, they would do several things differently:

1) They would use a different broadcasting technology to reduce the multipath issues. I don't understand the technical aspects, but I've read that it's very difficult to get good reception of ATSC with a moving antenna (e.g., in a van), but other broadcasting methods don't suffer from that problem.

2) They would include support for MPEG-4 or other higher-compression codecs. This would allow for reception of 1080p.

But the real answer is that this really is a huge step, and while it isn't perfect, it is, as you say, a whole new generation of technology. Like previous generations, we can expect this to last for not just a few years but decades. It won't be replaced until something is not just better, but so vastly superior that it's worth the pain of switching. Such a technology isn't even on the horizon.

A friend of mine just spent 3 G's on a plasma TV (1)

part_of_you (859291) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054499)

...and the picture is crap. You have to be like EXACTLY 7' 8-1/2" away from it, and DIRECTLY in front of it. His excuse is that he does not have the proper set-up for it yet. That means that he does not have fiber-optics from his receiver basicly. I can't understand how it will turn out for the folks that cannot afford to buy a lot of new stuff for their TVs. I mean, not that you have to buy one for $3,000, but it seems kind of useless to -up- your signal, only if you're going to have the same viewing area.

Re:A friend of mine just spent 3 G's on a plasma T (1)

orderb13 (792382) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054642)

He shouldn't have gotten a plasma in the first place, or spent a lot more on it.

Also, as has been stated before this switch over isn't for the companies to start broadcasting in HDTV, it is for them to switch to digital brodcast. HDTV uses digital, but you can also use it to broadcast plain old 480i as well. You don't have to have an HDTV for this switch over, just one that will take a digital signal.

Deadline OK (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054515)

While it will should be great to broadcast HDTV signals by this cut off, realize that HDTV signals can always be downscaled to be displayed on non-HDTV televisions.

For a time in the 70's and 80's, most people bought an external cable convertor box that would allow them to receive more channels then the basic TV set at the time could allow, all with the convenience of a remote control. After about 10-15 years, ALL televisions were essentially made incorporating a cable convertor and remote control, and the trend for external boxes ended.

Digital cable and HDTV has reintroduced this trend as televisions still mostly lack the ability to decode and receive DTV broadcasts, most people have accepted the norm of using an external cable box to view their cable content. Whether they will use a box to get enhanced HDTV content, or use a box to downscale HDTV to be viewed on older sets, the trend for external boxes will be here for another 5 - 10 years, until all televisions integrate DTV and HDTV cable convertors.

Everything old is new again, the cable convertor box all but went extinct only to be introduced now in a digital format. Although, I prefer them now with digital recorders, digital surround sound, and high quality pictures.

We've been covering this... (2, Informative)

agentfive (545436) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054530)

Quite heavily at TV Snob.com [tvsnob.com] and boy are people confused on even what to buy - if they can convert their existing sets, or if they even want to continue watching TV - just kidding on that front. I think this is a total disaster for TV - there should be more options for people and legacy is legacy - it should still work somehow.

Arg.. (4, Insightful)

dustinbarbour (721795) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054531)

Is it just me or has the TV-viewing American public gotten totally fucked or what? First we have free TV.. all we needed was a TV and an antenna. This, of course, was supported by advertising. Fair enough.

Next comes cable TV. Sweet! Immunity from foul weather, better content (at least initially) and no commercials! "What's that you say? No commercials? Sorry buddy, I see commercials every damn day on cable TV." Ah yes, friends.. if my recollection is correc, cable TV was supposed to be commercial free as it was a subscription service. But oh how the mighty dollar wins all. We now get 20 minutes of television entertainment for 30 minutes of viewing time (for thsoe wihout a DVR) AND we pay for it!

The boss is calling.. gotta run.

Re:Arg.. (0, Troll)

HyperChicken (794660) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054586)

I fail to see your point. Broadcast TV, aka free TV, continues to be how it always was. You said that. Good.

However, cable TV now has commercials. And? Your point? It is their service. They can do what they want with it. They want to put up commercials, tough. Don't buy the stupid thing. Buy another stupid thing. Just don't come to Slashdot and bitch about it (that's what blogs are for!).

lp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13054535)

Last Post

YAY (1)

joeshmoe554 (893618) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054536)

Perfect excuse to get cable or at least a new TV in the next 4 years.

RADAR (1)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054594)

One of the intresting things about HDTV is that analog broadcasters can send out multiple streams, one the local stations around here has a 24hr radar view. Which is kind of intresting.

Digital Television != HDTV (4, Informative)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054596)

High Definition TV != Digital TV. You require a digital framework to provide HDTV, but having a digital framework does not imply HDTV. Sets aren't going dark when it comes into effect, but the quality of signal is going to improve greatly.

Canada has had this in effect for a while. The deadline was January, 2005, and as of this writing, all TV channels are available digitally. Except, of course, some of the channels that come from the US. The difference in signal quality is very noticable when watching one of them. Most of the networks are already digital, BTW.

It's still compatible with OTA transmission, as well as analog cable signals. Old TVs can still see it, because the mandate was not to eliminate analog signals, it was to ensure digital availablility. Those of us who have an HDTV, or a digital/satellite receiver have a digital signal, complete with better sound and picture. Those of us on analog still have analog TV.

silly timeline. (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054601)

the fun part is that NEW analog tv sales STILL outpace HD or even Digital capable Tv sales significantly.

Also digital Tuners that will convert to analog are still INSANELY priced.

when I can get a DTV to ATV tuner for $99.00 then I'll agree that it's a good time to switch.

with DTV's still well over $800.00 and DTV transmitters still 5X the price of the analog gear it is not going to happen.

and everyone forgets about the small town UHF channels. Who is going to buy them a new transmitter when they can barely afford pro-sumer 4 year old camcorders for their news?

Oh and the small college tv channels? what about them?

Who is going to buy them 20 million dollar transmitters?

$50 converter box? (1)

FullCircle (643323) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054610)

You find me a God damned $50 converter box. Try $200+ (more than most TV's)

These people have their heads planted so far up their asses that they don't have the slightest idea what the market is like. At least they are finally figuring out that 99% of their advertising cash was about to disappear.

Consumers don't give a shit about HD. They want better programming and cheaper TV's. Period. Videophiles want better quality but that's only a small percentage of the viewers.

It is a completely fabricated banning of a technology so that electronics companies can sell everyone a new TV at once.

TV is not a necessity (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13054626)

I was born in 1971 and didn't have a TV until my second year in college. (1990). This was a concious decision by my parents. I saw a little TV at my friends' houses. But as a family, we did just fine without one. The notion that tax payer dollars should pay for converter boxen is ridiculous. I would venture to say that if you're the type of person who needs taxpayer dollars to keep your old set running, you're probably the type of person who would be better off throwing your TV in the garbage and going outside for a walk.

Nintendo thinks ahead (1)

Askjeffro (787652) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054631)

Well, for those that fail to upgrade at least they will be able to play their Nintendo Revolutions without a problem. Obviously Nintendo has decided to market to those people who will have nothing else to do with their old TV's... Brillant!

This is easy to figure out (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054635)

The broadcasters don't want users blaming them for not having TV, so they go to congress and ask them to pass the law. So now, when all the poor people can't watch TV, they can say "it wasn't our fault, congress made us do it"

lol

Not HDTV cutoff, just DIGITAL TV cutoff (1)

doormat (63648) | more than 9 years ago | (#13054641)

Another pet peeve of mine. Its not that they're required to switch to HDTV, its that they're required to switch to digital broadcasts, which dont necessarily have to be Hi-Def (720p/1080i/1080p).
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