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Brit TV Won't Go Digital Till 2012

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the bad-reception-across-the-pond dept.

Television 231

judgecorp writes "While the US switches off analog(ue) TV in 2009, it stays on in the UK till 2012, according to a timetable, the Digital Dividend Review released by the UK regulator Ofcom. And while the US taxpayer will fork out $3 billion, there's no mention of government subsidising the switchover in the UK - apart from the licence fee which Brits pay for the BBC, or course. The good news is that the 112 prime MHz of spectrum freed up will be used for wireless broadband, rural coverage for wireless services, and unlicensed spectrum for data. All things that will keep us so busy, we won't bother to watch TV, anyway."

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231 comments

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Too late... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14065609)

No digital till the end of the world...

What Does Brit TV Have to Do With Politics?!! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14065610)

The Slashdot FAQ states that the Politics section was for stories related the US government. Nowadays, we get stories in there about Canada, Britain, and everywhere else that have nothing to do with US politics. In fact, there are hardly any stories dealing with real politics in here.

Please editors, read up what your own site is supposed to be sectioned. This story isn't in the right one.

Re:What Does Brit TV Have to Do With Politics?!! (2, Funny)

dorkygeek (898295) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065703)

D'oh, Canada and Britain aren't part of the US?? I thought we had only kicked out France?!

Re:What Does Brit TV Have to Do With Politics?!! (2, Informative)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065853)

The Slashdot FAQ states that the Politics section was for stories related the US government. Nowadays, we get stories in there about Canada, Britain, and everywhere else that have nothing to do with US politics. In fact, there are hardly any stories dealing with real politics in here.

Well, they could have run with the YRO story I submitted about Congress recently reaching a compromise deal to scale back some of the spookier elements of the PATRIOT Act, but I guess what kind of TV format the brits will be using to tune in their crap reality shows is far more important to discuss.

Also, what I neglected to observe is that only bad news about PATRIOT is ever newsworthy. Moderation of the bill, and stories of cool heads prevailing, don't really do much to help with EFF fund-raising, or provoke long threads of tirades about the current President which consistantly trigger Godwin's Law.

Parenthesi(s) (0, Offtopic)

csbrooks (126129) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065612)

What kind of crap(py) news is that!

Grammar (1)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065925)

He used a parenthesis, but there is no true meaning to the first sentence of the article. Is the United States on in the UK until 2012? His second sentence is even worse. Judgecorp realized attaching the random fragments together didn't work, but he just used a dash instead of rewriting the sentence to get something sensible. Ironically Judgecorp recognized the complete lack of importance of his post by acknowleging that nobody cares.

Only on slashdot can you beg to keep your post from being selected and still get in two catagories and the front page.

Cheeky government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14065614)

there's no mention of government subsidising the switchover in the UK

That's because, despite standing to make gazillions from the sale of the analogue frequencies, the government expects the BBC to pay for the old and poor to get digital boxes. And then they grumble when the BBC asks for a license fee increase.

Bloody duplicitous politicians. *mutter*

Re:Cheeky government (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14065649)

A freeview box can be bought for £29.99 [amazon.co.uk] or a fair bit less with a bit of searching, there's no need to subsidise.

Re:Cheeky government (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 8 years ago | (#14066156)

The licence fee is being doubled, it's a criminal offence not to have one and get *any* TV. Though old-age pensioners get them for free.

The "subsidy" is for the retooling of the transmission equipment.

Re:Cheeky government (1)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065725)

"there's no mention of government subsidising the switchover in the UK - apart from the licence fee which Brits pay for the BBC, or course. apart from the licence fee which Brits pay for the BBC, or course. "

Makes no sense. That's paid anyway, it's not specifically to do with the switchover, hence it's irrelevant to the story.

Inaccurate headline (5, Informative)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065627)

I've got digital TV now. Millions have. The headline should read "Brits will keep analogue TV around until 2012". This isn't about getting digital telly, it's about how long we keep analogue around for the people who don't upgrade.

Re:Inaccurate headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14065682)

Almost correct.
Here in Dorset we have 4 terrestrial channels and will have until 2010 at the earliest. And NO, I will not subscribe to Sky!

Re:Inaccurate headline (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14065701)

"go digital" or "go fully digital", pretty much the same.

You are grossly negative. I bet if the headline was "Brits will keep analogue TV around until 2012" you'd find a way to say that it's inaccurate.

Re:Inaccurate headline (0, Troll)

tacolicker (924348) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065731)

Bollocks. You probably don't even have a telly. Hoser, eh?

Re:Inaccurate headline - the real question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14065734)

I was wondering - is it possible to wash your clothes in a dishwasher ? I don't have a washing machine and this would make my life a lot easier.

Cable (1)

spectrokid (660550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065793)

Here in Denmark we start switching next summer. It doesn't matter all that much because most "serious" viewers are on cable or satelite. In Belgium cable has a penetration of over 98%. This thing is mostly going to affect caravan owners I think. The decoders will probably drop in price so fast you won't believe it. Think about it: no single company to sit on the market and a device which is 100% electronic and has no moving parts. I think I will shell out a few extra and get one with a harddisk.

Re:Cable (2, Interesting)

pe1chl (90186) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065915)

Cable is not a safe haven for analog viewers...
Here in the Netherlands cable companies are quickly converting everything to digital.
All analog channels are available in digital as well, plus some extras, "for free" (= within the analog subscription price).
Premium channels will be switched off in analog coming jan 1st, and cable companies offer free decoders (normal price about 100 euro) to anyone subscribing to an extra package.
My guess is that by this time next year they will be stating that "many viewers apparently prefer digital" and start switching off analog channels to make room for more digital programmes, to generate extra revenue from optional packages.

Re:Inaccurate headline (2, Informative)

ratbag (65209) | more than 8 years ago | (#14066191)

... unless you live in the South East, but out of sight of Crystal Palace. No prospect of a digital transmitter able to reach my neck of the woods until Dover and Tunbridge Wells get upgraded in 2012. I'm one of the "people who can't upgrade" rather than a "who don't"

There's probably no mention of subsidizing (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14065640)

Because the government owns it all anyways.

Re:There's probably no mention of subsidizing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14065713)

tv tax....god bless america

Re:There's probably no mention of subsidizing (5, Informative)

taskforce (866056) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065752)

Actually no, the UK government doesn't own TV any more than the US Governemnt does. The BBC (by no means the only broadcaster in the UK) recieves a liscence fee from the public who have a TV. This fee is only charged if you have a television (In theory, although they often have a hard time believing you don't have one if you actually don't) and the money is never seen by the governemnt. It is not paid for with taxes.

In addition, the BBC wouldn't actually be the ones paying for the switchover, so the liscence fee is in fact a mute point here.

The subsidisation in the US is supposed to be on Digital enabled TV sets for consumers; which the governemnt certainly don't "own" in the UK.

Re:There's probably no mention of subsidizing (1)

Fatchap (752787) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065830)

He's right you know.

The General Strike of 1926 brought the BBC its first serious confrontation with the Government over editorial independence. With no regular newspapers being published, the country turned to the BBC for its news. Winston Churchill, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, urged the Government to take over the BBC, but John Reith, the General Manager, persuaded Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin that this would be against the national interest.

In 1927, the British Broadcasting Company became the British Broadcasting Corporation when it was granted its first Royal Charter.

Of course the UK government could revoke the Charter or not grant it another one which would mean they would loose the right to collect license fees. That is one of the reasons Birt shat himself over the Hutton enquiry and why most of the reporting is now little more than an outlet for Blairs spin doctors. Or it could as Thatcher nearly did just privatise it and turn it into another commercial network.

Re:There's probably no mention of subsidizing (1)

Fatchap (752787) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065858)

bugger it was Greg Dyke not Birt who resigned.

Re:There's probably no mention of subsidizing (1)

Fred Or Alive (738779) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065838)

But he was talking about ownership, not the TV Licence. Although the BBC is the only (directly) TV Licence funded broadcaster, the Government owns the Channel 4 Television Corporation(funded by advertising, subscriptions etc.) and it's Welsh counterpart S4C (funded by the Treasury, as well as advertising, and gets some free programming from the BBC).

3 billion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14065642)

Is 3 billion a big chunk of the budget ( $10 donation per person ..that we get back in the form of better emergency services cause of spectrum availability and clearer tv)? Compared to other things money is being spent on .. is this going to affect anything? I understand it could vaccinate/feed all of Zambia or something .. but we weren't doing that anyway.

Hmm (1, Insightful)

pHatidic (163975) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065644)

What exactly are the benefits of digital TV anyway? I don't understand this HD TV and digital TV stuff, to me TV is good enough as is.

Re:Hmm (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065767)

What exactly are the benefits of digital TV anyway?
More channels in the same bandwidth, higher resolution, less interference.

Re:Hmm (2, Interesting)

ClickOnThis (137803) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065912)


        What exactly are the benefits of digital TV anyway?

More channels in the same bandwidth, higher resolution, less interference.


And unfortunately, compression. I've ranted about this before [slashdot.org] .

Maybe HDTV will be good enough to make this moot, but I have had enough bad experiences with regular digital TV (as it is now supplied on some cable channels) to envy the UK's decision to wait until 2012.

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14065936)

Artifacts seemed to crop up alot when watching sport over the last couple of years, but the problem seems to have more or less gone away with telewest now. Who supplies your digital?

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14065993)

Not to mention, the ability to use and enforce DRM on the digital data stream.

Re:Hmm (1, Informative)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065790)

What exactly are the benefits of digital TV anyway? I don't understand this HD TV and digital TV stuff, to me TV is good enough as is.

Sir, I believe what you are enjoying is a family radio. If you are wondering why you can't seen to tune in Gunsmoke and Little Orphan Anne these days, it's because TV has made radio plays somewhat obsolete.

TV is like radio, except with moving pictures, kind of like the "talkies" you might have seen demonstrated at a World's Fair.

Digital HDTV displays these pictures with even more detail and clarity. A lot of those confounded durn-blasted whippersnappers you see hustling about are actually rather happy about it.

Several things (3, Informative)

jfengel (409917) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065791)

Partly, it's about resolution; HDTV has more pixels, which makes for a nicer picture. And screen shape: the new digital TV supports wide-screen, which will make for better movie-viewing without having to compromise on full-screen vs. widescreen.

It's also a lot about bandwidth. The new digital signals are more efficient than the analog ones, so you can cram more channels into the spectrum. (Which means you don't always get higher resolution; they can cram 4 old-resolution channels into the space for one high-def signal. And a station can choose.)

And there's even more flexibility: a digital signal makes it easier to encode other kinds of signal: foreign languages, hypertext, etc.

But mostly it's about freeing up a certain set of frequencies so that they can be sold off for cell phones, wifi, etc. That's very valuable bandwidth at a frequency which can be better taken advantage of by small, hand-held devices. Some of it is allocated to emergency channels.

Re:Several things (1)

b1t r0t (216468) | more than 8 years ago | (#14066153)

I'm pretty sure that digital (terrestrial) TV in the UK isn't HDTV. So even after analog is cut off, they STILL won't have HD. They might have widescreen, but it won't be HD.

The requirement to decode signals at the maximum resolution is one of the reasons why tuners still cost so much in the USA. Even if it's being shown on a crappy 3" LCD, the tuner still has to be able to decode full-resolution 720p and 1080i video which can then be downsampled.

One other advantage of digital TV is that it is immune to interference from adjacent channels, especially adjacent analog channels. More than a few DTV transmitters in the USA are on an adjacent channel to their current analog transmitter. This will also help utilize the bandwidth more efficiently for the day when channel 52 and up are auctioned off. Originally channels went as high as 83, but until recently it's been 2-62, except 37 (a radio astronomy frequency), or 60 channels. We will be losing eleven more (52-62), and 2-6 may not be suitable for ATSC transmission, which would leave 44 channels, about 25% less than before.

Re:Several things (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 8 years ago | (#14066247)

It still bugs me that the HDTV decoders in the US are still so expensive. You can get it on board a video card for $50, but a full box is still around $150 at least. Since the rest of the computer is serving primarily as a power supply, that seems kinda pricey.

Re:Hmm (1, Insightful)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065851)

I agree. Besides, I don't watch broadcast or cable TV any more; my TV is simply a monitor for my DVD player and video game console. Of course, once they switch over to BR-DVD or HD-DVD, I'm probably not even going to buy any more versions of my movies. Too bad for the entertainment and advertising industries, but that's probably about $50/month back in my pocket instead of some others'.

But, back to the original post - aside from the "more efficient use of the spectrum" what does going digital do? For that matter, what does cramming more information onto the spectrum do? Well, better phrased: I know that there is the potential for nice things with having more bandwidth; what will it take to actually realize those benefits rather than just fill it with more advertising, propaganda, and sensational* entertainment? In other words, can I maintain my current quality of life and pay less for things because of this technology, or will I be forced to increase my standard of living (even though I am quite comfortable with my current level of luxury) and pay the same or more (because the things I currently have will no longer be supported and, if I just gave them up, that would be a reduction in quality of life, which should not be a result of new technology)? I'd rather new technologies made the things I currently want cost less rather than give me more things to want.

*as opposed to stimulating or intellectual or engaging or other progressive-type adjectives

Re:Hmm (1)

EvilMonkeySlayer (826044) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065942)

You can cram more channels, plus you get consistent video quality as long as you can receive a signal, meaning no ghosting etc.
Example, whereas before you could only receive one tv channel on a single frequency with digital it multiplexes multiple channels on the same frequency.
Also, for digital recording devices it's fantastic.. for example, I own a Humax Duovisio 9200T PVR. I'm not only able to record from multiple channels at the same time to the 160GB hdd (it's got two digital tuners in it) but i'm also able to transfer what i've recorded to my computer and write it to a dvd(via USB connection).

Unfortunately it does have downsides, for example.. the more multiplexes there are the lower the bitrate for the MPEG2 stream.. meaning... on video where it gets sudden movement there is quite a bit of macroblocking.

Fortunately this only occurs on tv company frequencies that tend to have too many channels, an example of this is ITV.. they have lots of channels half of which are quite (put bluntly) crap, as a result their overall video quality suffers.
In contrast however is the BBC who seem somewhat careful in the bitrate and video quality they use.

Re:Hmm (1)

MoralHazard (447833) | more than 8 years ago | (#14066014)

Traditional analog TV is based on technology that was designed decades ago. It uses a lot of bandwidth to transmit comparatively little information, and it's prone to interference. But at the time it was implemented, that was the best we knew how to do.

Since then, we've invented microprocessors and advanced digital signaling techniques. This means that we can transmit a LOT more information in the same bandwidth, or (as is the case with digital HDTV) somewhat more info in less bandwidth. Also, interference doesn't affect digital transmissions the same way--you either get the transmission error-free, or you don't. So no more snow, ghosting, and other visual artifacts.

But really, the quality issue is a non-issue. The driving force behind the adoption of digital HDTV and the end of analog TV is to free up the huge spectrum that we currently waste on analog TV broadcasts. Since we can cram all the TV we need into a much smaller slice of frequency, the old spectrum becomes available for all the new RF applications we've been hankering for: wireless broadband, expanded, high-power unlicensed communcations, et cetera.

I personally believe that the higher quality thing is just a piggyback issue--we can do it while we're making the change, so why not? It's a nice selling point for Joe Sixpack, who really couldn't give a rat's ass about spectrum allocation.

I don't care (3, Insightful)

dorkygeek (898295) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065661)

I don't care if the signal is delivered in analog or digital form. I am only interested in getting more fscking pixels than with the old PAL standard!

PAL vs NTSC not involved in either case (1)

implex (468133) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065999)

If I am to understand it correctly, moving to digital the data will still be either PAL or NTSC depending on where you are. It's just that it would be transmitted digitally.

I agree with you - more pixels please. When is digital HDTV going to be standard world wide? This PAL versus NTSC crap has gone on long enough!

damn it (-1, Flamebait)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065673)

Can we stop the "brits" thing. We don't go around calling the French, Germans or Polish "Europeans" yet we still get that crappy label (which very few support) from Americans.

We have nationalities, we're not from Britianland.

Re:damn it (2, Informative)

Derling Whirvish (636322) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065714)

Can we stop the "brits" thing. We don't go around calling the French, Germans or Polish "Europeans" yet we still get that crappy label (which very few support) from Americans. We have nationalities, we're not from Britianland.

English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish are out because they don't refer to the whole country, just small parts of it. What do you want us to use -- UK-ers? Ukes? Yobbos? You name it, I'll be happy to oblige.

Re:damn it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14065745)

Just call us British, doesn't bother me at all, everyone knows what is meant and only an uptight arsehole would be bothered by it.

Re:damn it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14065811)

only an uptight arsehole

yeah like a brit...

Re:damn it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14065918)

> Can we stop the "brits" thing. We don't go around calling
> the French, Germans or Polish "Europeans" yet we still get
>that crappy label (which very few support) from Americans.
>We have nationalities, we're not from Britianland.

English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish are out because they don't refer to the whole country, just small parts of it. What do you want us to use -- UK-ers? Ukes? Yobbos? You name it, I'll be happy to oblige.

How about wanker? That's a uniquely British word, is it not?

Re:damn it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14066243)

I guess you'd be the expert on that subject ...

Re:damn it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14065743)

No we call them Frenchies, Krauts, and Polacks ;)

Re:damn it (2, Informative)

raptorjb007 (890049) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065748)

Your British, and Brit is just a shortened version of british. Its like calling Americans "Yanks", or "Yankies". Damn Brits

Re:damn it (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14065751)

Can we stop the "brits" thing. We don't go around calling the French, Germans or Polish "Europeans" yet we still get that crappy label (which very few support) from Americans.

The Frogs, Krauts, and Polacks say don't be so sensitive.

Re:damn it (3, Informative)

taskforce (866056) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065770)

We have nationalities, we're not from Britianland. Yah... we're from Britain, which also includes the letters "Brit". Personally I've never minded being called a Brit and have always thought of it as a semi-affectionate term... I could be wrong on that but nevermind.

Re:damn it (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14066084)

Yah... we're from Britain, which also includes the letters "Brit".

You and I may be, but I assume the person complaining isn't. The UK is larger than Great Britain; people from Northern Ireland, for example, are from the UK but not Great Britain.

It's still correct to call these people British though, 'British' is actually a correct term for a UK citizen, even if they are not from Great Britain. References: CIA World Factbook, [cia.gov] alt.usage.english. [alt-usage-english.org]

Re:damn it (1)

Puhase (911920) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065798)

We'll stop it the minute I stop hearing the U.S. being referred to as "The Colonies" or "The States". You've got all those wonderful choices like America, the U.S. the United States, the U.S. of A., or many others.

Re:damn it (1)

Kazzahdrane (882423) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065880)

Who the HELL calls the USA "The Colonies"??? I call it "The States" all the time, sorry if that annoys you but it's just a short nice name.

Re:damn it (1)

Fatchap (752787) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065920)

We would if America was a country. It is actually a continent and includes Canada.

Is it any wonder people are suspicious of your foreign policy in the middle east when you can't even accept there is another country in your continent!

Re:damn it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14065977)

So really it's TWO continents then right? North America and South America. We're all technically Americans.

Re:damn it (1)

Omestes (471991) | more than 8 years ago | (#14066098)

You of course mean three others, right?

Canada
Mexico
Cuba (?)

And some of us in the States would like to call Texas and California seperate countries as well.

Re:damn it (1)

Puhase (911920) | more than 8 years ago | (#14066127)

Ok, I am aware that the use of American is jingoistic, but it is the only geographical reference in our country title. Canada and Mexico and all other North and South American countries use a specific indentifier in their official state title by which they can be refered to. "United States" is abhorrently general since there are hundreds of countries that use the federal system to "unite" their seperate municipalities. This is exactly why U.K. is ok, because Britain is unique in that its government represents a united set of seperate former kingdoms and recognizes itself as such. Although other current countries are made up of former kingdoms, the U.K. seems to be the only one that recognizes this status in their title (although I may be wrong). So yeah, if you want to get technical on slang terms for nations, there ya go. But if you want to just stay in the informal, I say American almost anywhere in the world and what do people think? I'm pretty sure its not 2 continents. "The States" could be Russia for all I know, as they are comprised of several semi-autonomous units referred to as states.

Re:damn it (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14066234)

I say American almost anywhere in the world and what do people think?
well they hear your accent and they do not want to get in a geographical debate with you. And since you speak english they only think pretty much two choices Canada or the USA. If i hear some dude with a french accent saying he is american then I would think he is from Quebec or maybe Haiti. But then again you think you're the only ones here, and do not think about everyone else.

I did almost one year backpacking through Europe, and people would ask. Where you from?. I would say America. then they would ask me which country. My accent wasn't a U.S. accent. And they know there is 1 america not 2 like US splits it. For most of the world there are 5 continents not 7. Some countries think there are 6.
Even the olympics think there are 5 continents.

no you stop first (1)

pstils (928424) | more than 8 years ago | (#14066144)

We weren't called 'Brits' a long time before you weren't 'The Colonies'. I think the time has come for Britain to stop having to lead the way for north america and finally let it free to explore the possibility that being nice to people encourages reciprocation.

Re:damn it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14065831)

Actually, we do call the French, Germans, and Polish "Europeans" over here, especially when we're talking about them all acting together. It's not like the English are switching over to Digital in 2012 and the Scottish aren't. Since the term United Kingdomers doesn't even exisit, the closest thing you lot can be labeled as is British, referring to that Great big island you all live on, unless of course, you're Northern Irish, in which case, too bad. A lot of Southern Americans are ticked off that you guys label U.S. citizens as "Americans" and use the term almost exclusively to refer to those living in the States, and you haven't stopped doing that yet either.

Re:damn it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14065852)

Well is wrong here. A canadian is an american a mexican is an american. an argentininan is an american,but unitedstatians do not like to call them americans and canadians get offended when you call them americans, and U.S is one of the few countries that splits the American continent in half. At least the olympic committee does not. And if you ask a Unitedstatian where the name America comes from they just go like ????.

Re:damn it (1)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065945)

wow unitedstatians? thats even worse bastardization than USian

I was taught that Amerigo Vespucci drew the first map and essentially attached his name to the landmass, but wikipedia [wikipedia.org] seems to prefer the ????

Re:damn it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14065857)

"We have nationalities, we're not from Britianland."

Did you mean to say Britain?!

Re:damn it (1)

Viper Daimao (911947) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065862)

Whats the big deal you bunch of limeys? :). Seriously though, its not like brit is derrogative (like limey, or frog might be taken to be) and you can call us in the USA, yanks all you want. Gotta call everyone something.

Re:damn it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14065913)

Too right. Brits objecting to being called Brits are almost as bad as those morons USians who object to being called USians.

Re:damn it (1)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 8 years ago | (#14066128)

How exactly do you pronounce USians? Not that I'm offended by the term, but a name that works only in text form is kind of useless. (The nationality formerly known as...)

We call ourselves Americans because that is the commonly accepted form. If you want to talk about people from the continent is North (or South) Americans really that hard? Besides keep in mind we didn't actually choose the name, it would be more accurate to say the name was applied to us - the american colonies. For some reason when we stoped being colonials we didn't breifly become confederates then statesmen. America has been the only constant in the name of this country, that is why we call ourselves Americans.

Honesly whenever someone complains about us assuming the name of the continent it just seems to me that they are complaining about it just so they have something to complain about, after all they don't really want to be called Americans, they're fine with Canadian, Mexican, Peruvian, etc.

Re:damn it (1)

UserGoogol (623581) | more than 8 years ago | (#14066285)

I pronounce it Yuu-essian in my head, although I personally never use the phrase.

Re:damn it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14065956)

England, Scotland, etc. aren't real countries. They have football teams, but they don't have their own governments (with significant power) or armies. The borders are non-existent, unless there's a sea in the way or something.

Speaking as someone raised in England with Scottish ancestry.

Re:damn it (1)

ContractualObligatio (850987) | more than 8 years ago | (#14066019)

Given that we also call the French "frogs", the Germans "huns", and the Poles .. erm, got me there .. I wouldn't want to get on a high horse about what others choose to call us. Speaking as a Scot (a.k.a. Jock from the frozen north), I've got no problems with being called a Brit. It's not perjorative, and it is in fact pretty accurate. And I know we've got more in common with the English than we do with any other nation on the planet. You're not one of those crazed nationalists who insists on seeing the world from your perspective rather than others, are you?

If you want to see a truly separate nationality, go to Texas...

Re:damn it (1)

smithmc (451373) | more than 8 years ago | (#14066216)


  Can we stop the "brits" thing.

Not until you stop calling us "seppos". (BTW, some of us do know what that term means, you know.)

No "hard" date required... (5, Insightful)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065677)

I agree with the Masked Engineer. Don't have a hard date, merely print "a label on every single device with an analog TV tuner explaining to consumers that there will come a day when that tuner will cease to function and an 'adapter' will be needed at extra cost."

That puts the consumer on notice and allows broadcasters to make the switch when they're ready. If they're ready sooner, the consumers were warned. If it's later, it's later.

http://www.tvtechnology.com/features/Masked-Engine er/f_mario_orazio-09.21.05.shtml [tvtechnology.com]

Wont happen (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065932)

The people who stand to make money industry, tv manufactures, and the FCC(reselling unused bandwidth) know that 2 things will happen:
People wills ee the sticker and put off buying a TV
Everyone will get very upset that there purchase won't be anygood, and apply pressure to the FCC to lift the mandatory switch.

Espcially when it's 3 billion dollar cost begins to make headlines.

I WOuld like to write one though:
"This analog Television you are purchasing will be no good soon, and you will have to by a digital tuner. Thf FCC mandated this at a cost of 3 billion dollars.

Don't steal."

Do they even relize there are peple who only use the airwaves? That can't afford to go digital...

It suddenly occurs to me that the people who can't afford to pay for TV will have to find something else to do besides watch the boob tube all day. That can't be a bad thing.

Re:Wont happen (1)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 8 years ago | (#14066181)

It suddenly occurs to me that the people who can't afford to pay for TV will have to find something else to do besides watch the boob tube all day. That can't be a bad thing.
Thankfully, if they can't afford a TV they probably can't afford a computer. Can you imagine what all the intarwebs and usernets would be like if anybody could post on them?

Re:Wont happen (1)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 8 years ago | (#14066225)

Oh it certainly won't happen. First, it makes sense. Thus, the US government could never do it. Second, manufactures do NOT want warning stickers. As you say some will simply put off buying new TVs. Manufacturers would rather have consumers buy now, get screwed, then be forced to buy again in a few years.

We have Digital (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14065692)

Brit TV Won't Go Digital Till 2012? Erm. No. We've had digital TV for years. According to a recent BBC News artice (which I can't find) over 60% of the population has some form of digital TV reciever. 2012 is when the last region will loose it's analogue signal. The big switch off of analogue starts in 2008. One area of Wales has already had it's analogue singles turned off.

Lots of speculation there... (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065721)

That article says that the bandwidth "could be all the spectrum we need for wireless broadband, new mobile services and maybe some more unlicensed spectrum for Wi-Fi like services" however the BBC have stated that at least some (probably most) of the spectrum will be used to provide HDTV. There just isn't enough bandwidth at the moment to broadcast HDTV signals in the alotted space for all the freeview channels.

Advantages of Digital HD BBC (-1, Flamebait)

Cr0w T. Trollbot (848674) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065740)

  1. You'll now be able to get a nice, close-up view of that sterling British dentistry.
  2. The cardboard Daleks from Dr. Who will look even faker (if that were possible).
  3. Every mole and blackhead of every British Parliment member will finally be crystal clear.
  4. Ditto Keith Richards.
  5. Cooking shows will finally offer extreme closeups of Spotted Dick.
  6. There is no...point number six.

Crow T. Trollbot

Re:Advantages of Digital HD BBC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14065841)

We're using SD digital in the UK. The picture is no clearer - it's the same as an analog picture with good reception, both are plain old PAL. It's just a way to get more channels.

Of course, having this switch now means that people will be gun-shy if HDTV ever takes off: "why do we have to buy another box, we just bought one two years ago?", "the last time we upgraded it didn't look any better", etc. We should have waited.

On the switchover dates (1)

tchuladdiass (174342) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065744)

I was thinking, that instead of a "hard cutover", where the analog frequencies are cut off on a particular date, there should be a phased approach where the transmit power is cut down by say 20% per year. That way, people's analog sets won't just go suddenly blank, and there will be less consumer backlash from cutting the analog signals.

If it's not Scottish....its crap! (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065762)

"The switchover will happen first in places like Scotland which are not likely to interfere with the rest of Europe."

Apparently these guys have never heard of Sir William Wallace.

Re:If it's not Scottish....its crap! (1)

Kazzahdrane (882423) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065908)

Apparently you don't know your history very well. What did Wallace ever do with Europe, aside from sign a treaty with France?

Didn't he expel the Romans (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14066006)

when they were trying to invade Northern Ireland?

Re:Didn't he expel the Romans (1)

Darvin (878219) | more than 8 years ago | (#14066104)

Wallace was born in the later period of the 1200's, Rome fell around 700-800 AD.

So, thats a no.

Re:Didn't he expel the Romans (2, Funny)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 8 years ago | (#14066207)

Since when has Rome been in Northern Ireland?

Whereas in Sweden (3, Interesting)

k98sven (324383) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065774)

In Sweden they've already started shutting down the analog networks. Phase one (the island of Gotland and towns of Gävle and Motala) just started a month ago.

It's proceeding stepwise but all analog transmitters should be completely off-line by Dec 13.

Of course, Swedes aren't quite as TV-addicted as USians. (IIRC the statistic is an average of about 2 hours a day vs 4.5)

Re:Whereas in Sweden (1)

bad jerkface (930612) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065863)

You are splitting hairs. 2 hours of tv a day is still a bit much.

Re:Whereas in Sweden (1)

zecg (521666) | more than 8 years ago | (#14066188)

Well, it's more than double, comparing averages. It's the difference of 1/10th or 1/5th of your entire life. Split those hairs.

There's something unnerving... (4, Funny)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065776)

about seeing an American flag behind a British TV story.

Re:There's something unnerving... (1)

Xarius (691264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14066002)

They burn it at the end, but it's censored for American viewing.

</risque>

Re:There's something unnerving... (1)

EvilMonkeySlayer (826044) | more than 8 years ago | (#14066009)

This happened whilst we weren't looking, we are the 51st state after all.
Now be quiet, watch friends and eat your freedom fries.

The ultimate avoidance (2, Funny)

itsownreward (688406) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065824)

They are just hoping that the Maya were right and the world ends on the winter solstice in 2012. That way, there's the off chance that they don't have to make the switch.

Re:The ultimate avoidance (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065970)

The Mayans just didn't think people would still be using their outdated calender in 2012. It's the Y2K bug all over again, hopefully computers running on the Mayan calendar are updated in time.

When are we going to realize... (1)

talkingmike (154265) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065844)

that freeing up of a portions of the frequency spectrum is not going to lead us to wireless panacea?

http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2003/03/12/spect rum/ [salon.com]

The solution is in smart end-points, not "reservation" of a tiny slice of frequency.

in the Netherlands... (2, Interesting)

pe1chl (90186) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065845)

... these switchovers are not planned in advance but decided in closed rooms by a government that needs to close the budget.

A couple of months ago it was decided that analog transmission would stop on jan 1st, 2006.
That would give analog viewers only about 4 months to look for an alternative.
Only part of the country is covered by digital terrestrial TV, the remainder (which is the less densely populated part, so viewers would be less likely to have cable available) would have to switch to satellite TV.
These both a subscription services, while the original analog service can be freely received by anyone.

However, today it was decided to cancel the switchover and consider it again.
Don't you just love those opportunistic people? Need money... cut something off. Too much protest? reconsider it.

Re:in the Netherlands... (1)

elal1862 (129261) | more than 8 years ago | (#14066180)

They didn't cancel, they postponed it to April 1st*. And in March they may postpone it again, ad infinitum...
It's just a way to cancel it for now, but still being able to resume on short notice ;-)

*) No that's not a joke. The biggest joke will come after the next term! (When voters will elect, as a reaction on the current government, even bigger clowns into power.)

What happens in 2009 (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065892)

What happens in 2009 when everything is supposed to be digital, and Canada still hasn't gone digital. Will it cause interference in places close to the border? I haven't heard of any plans for canada making the switch.

What about snowstorms (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14065931)

Many times in bad weather such as snow storms, satellite TV goes out. Will digital broadcasts have the same problems? With analogue, it sometimes gets a little hard to make things out, and sounds a little staticy, but in the even of an emergency, you can still get the information across. With digital TV, when the signal starts getting lost, you often lose the entire picture and sound.

Re:What about snowstorms (1)

arkhan_jg (618674) | more than 8 years ago | (#14066139)

YMMV as usual. I have a freeview box, so watch digital TV. My downstairs elderly neighbour hadn't switched, and was still watching analog tv. She was always having trouble with snowy reception in storms and bad weather (which we get quite a lot of, unsurprisingly) while my system was fine. I finally convinced her to switch, helped her set it up, and now she's very happy with the clarity of BBC and the extra channels on terrestial digital.

You're right about satellite though; my dad's dish unavoidably pointed through some moderate distant trees, and he was always getting a weak signal/cutoff in wet weather. Finally we moved it elsewhere after some building work, and he gets a much better signal.

Re:What about snowstorms (1)

pe1chl (90186) | more than 8 years ago | (#14066168)

Note that this is not related to analog/digital.
With analog satellite you had just the same bad weather problems as with digital. The degradation went less abrubtly (first some snow appears before the picture is lost completely) but you need about the same signal for good reception.

There is more rain attenuation on the satellite frequencies than on terrestrial.

How about.. (3, Interesting)

hangareighteen (31788) | more than 8 years ago | (#14066248)

Giving some of that "prime" 112Mhz of electromagnetic real-estate to
the Police, Fire, and Emergency response departments across this country.
Because, you know, they need it. But first, a short story.

                HDTV first came to the United States partially as a ploy by the
broadcast companies in this country. Congress got together and suggested that
the public broadcast companies (CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, and even WB) weren't even
making use of 1% of the UHF broadcast television spectrum, and put forth the
crazy idea that some of these businessmen give up a resource that they didn't
even have plans to use.

                Of course, the industry response is predictable. They launch a
lobbying and marketing campaign at full strength; the subject, HDTV. They
get all their cronies from Japan to put together all this neat-looking fancy
broadcast equipment and flat-screen high-definition televisions. They talk
about all the capabilities, the greater services they will be able to
offer the public through this new technology.

                The catch? HDTV needs more bandwidth. Oh, by the way, we suddenly
have plans to use that UHF spectrum you were talking about. All of it. The
broadcast companies basically strong-arm congress by telling them that if the
public is thinking of taking "their" excess and unused bandwidth away, then
they won't have any way to bring this new HDTV stuff into the country. And
you know how Americans are about TV, and you especially know how American
Representatives are about Big Corproate Money (of which TV has *tons*).

                Congress, of course, capitulated. They did, however, tell the
broadcast companies that they had a limited about of time to make the switch.

                This, of course, was all the way back in the 80's. Since then,
we've heard more and more from the broadcast regime about how cool HDTV is
going to be, and how we're already making the technology better before
we've even deployed it, and how hard it is to implement a brand-new
nation-wide television standard, and how expensive the components have to
be because this is high-def afterall.

                The FCC has delivered a deadline. Rescheduled that deadline, allowed
the industry to go past that deadline, and then reschedule again. Congress,
for the most part, has been pretty much unconcerned with this whole mess.
And the American public is as uneducated and clueless as ever.

                The whole reason congress got together on this issue way back in the
80s is because Police, Fire and Emergency departments were starting to feel
the crunch of their own bandwith limitations. In order to operate as
efficiently as possible, these organizations were among the first to start
using digital packet radio networks to convey data to the field. They also
have other constraints as police forces get larger, and criminals become
more sophisticated. Adding even more to these problems is the fact that
many large American Cities have many large American Buildings that make it
more difficult to get a radio signal through.

                All of this became disaterously apparent on 9/11. Police and Fire
response units even a SINGLE FLOOR away from each other found it impossible
to communicate using their current radio equipment. None of the ground units
were able to coordinate with the units actually in the building. No one
standing on the ground could even tell those people risking their lives about
the buildings imminent collapse, or to provide them with information that
could've helped them do their jobs more efficiently or safely.

                And why? Because our Congess, perenially obsessed with shiny
bullshit from corporations with too much money decided that HDTV was a much
better use of our radio-spectrum than providing our emergency services
personel with better technology to keep them (and all of us) safer.

                Personally... Fuck HDTV. I'll never use it. My current problems
with television in this country have so little to do with picture quality,
copyright lockin, or even multiple program streams. These things could've
been done better, and in a different place. Every time I see HDTV-anything,
it just reminds me of the greed and ignorance in this country.

Before everyone freaks out about the 24 hours... (1)

no_barcode (840948) | more than 8 years ago | (#14066262)

"Users will be able to view the material for 24 hours once they begin playback on their computers; once downloaded, the material will be stored on the user's computer for 30 days to act as a resource in the Peer Impact network, potentially hastening downloads for other nearby Peer Impact customers--"nearby" in the sense of network topography and bandwidth, not necessarily physical geography."

Like most legal video download sites out there right now, you can store it for 30 days. Once you start watching it, you have 24 hours to view it.

Movielink works this way. If you start watching it and don't finish within 24 hours or you want to watch it again a few days later, you have to pay an extra $1.99.
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