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The Dutch Kill Analog TV Nationwide

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the zeros-and-ones dept.

Television 401

Willem de Koning writes Yesterday the Netherlands completely ended transmission of analog television signals, becoming the first country in the world to do so. So what about cars and portable TVs? I'm guessing a market will emerge for portable set top boxes / converters." The article mentions the timetable for other countries to go all-digital; by 2011 most or all of the developed world will have made the switch.

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It's HOLLAND (-1, Troll)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211508)

As in the low country of Europe. It won't matter one whit to their TV users- it's a tiny country and there are plenty of other analog signals still coming in from Germany, Denmark, France and England.

Re:It's HOLLAND (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17211630)

1. It's NETHERLAND.
2. It's not a tiny country, Luxembourg is.
3. Germany, Denmark, France and England don't broadcast in Dutch.

Re:It's HOLLAND (1, Redundant)

dr.Flake (601029) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211788)

Not to mention, the analog reception from the foreign countries is pretty bad.

Wether we (i'm Dutch) are big or small is a matter of perception. But remember, the Dutch own a large part of American real-estate (third largest investor, after Japan and Canada http://www.westplan.nl/nieuws/persberichten/nederl andse-belegger-vol-vertrouwen-in-amerikaans-vastgo ed.html [westplan.nl] ).

And no, not all analog Tv's will end up in Africa next month. But you will need a digital receiver, tranforming the signal into analog.

Re:It's HOLLAND (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17212224)

...the Dutch own a large part of American real-estate (third largest investor, after Japan and Canada...)
Doesn't surprise me much. After all, America is for sale to the highest bidder. But I don't see what Dutch investment in the US has to do with anything in this article.

Re:It's HOLLAND (4, Funny)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17212260)

But I don't see what Dutch investment in the US has to do with anything in this article.

It doesn't, he's just bragging that he personally owns the entire state you live in.

Re:It's HOLLAND (2, Informative)

wfberg (24378) | more than 7 years ago | (#17212210)

1. It's NETHERLAND.

No, it's The Netherlands. Plural, and with an article.

2. It's not a tiny country, Luxembourg is.
No, The Holy See [wikipedia.org] is!

3. Germany, Denmark, France and England don't broadcast in Dutch.
But Belgium does. Besides, we're used to US movies and series broadcast in English, albeit with subtitles.

Re:It's HOLLAND (1)

antek9 (305362) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211680)

At least not from Germany, from over a year now. Maybe I'm misreading something or am simply in need of some coffee, but if I'm not mistaken Germany killed all analog aerial transmissions for TV something like a year ago.

Seems like Holland lost again to Germany, just like in every football match. ;)

Re:It's HOLLAND (1)

ahillen (45680) | more than 7 years ago | (#17212204)

Maybe I'm misreading something or am simply in need of some coffee, but if I'm not mistaken Germany killed all analog aerial transmissions for TV something like a year ago.

No. It's digital now in many areas, and I would guess by far the largest part of the German population now only gets digital TV over the air (of course most probably use cable or satellite...). But it has not been switched of completely.

Re:It's HOLLAND (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17211826)

Hello my US American friend,

1) No, it's The Netherlands. Holland is only part of it.
2) The definition of "tiny" is up for debate, but in this case most people refer to The Netherlands as "small". It's about twice the size of New Jersey, both in landmass and population.

Regards
AC

Re:It's HOLLAND (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17211894)

Holland is full of racist white supremacist racist fucks. They need to be gassed or bomed soon. I'm white and even the Hollandians scare me. Anyone who identifies so readily with Adolphe Menjou is terrifyingly stupid.

Re:It's HOLLAND (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211910)

2) The definition of "tiny" is up for debate, but in this case most people refer to The Netherlands as "small". It's about twice the size of New Jersey, both in landmass and population.

I'm more of a Gonie than an American- a state even twice the size of New Jersey seems laughably small to those of us out here on the West Coast. But my real point is- radio waves do not respect borders....

Re:It's HOLLAND (4, Funny)

rve (4436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17212266)

my real point is- radio waves do not respect borders....

So what?

Ending analogue transmissions isn't intended as a punitive or repressive measure, it's meant to save a laughably small amount of money by ending a service that wasn't really used much anymore.

All these foreign channels are available on their laughably small (analogue) cable networks, free for them to watch on their teeny tiny little TV sets in their silly little houses.

Re:It's HOLLAND (3, Insightful)

Doctor Crumb (737936) | more than 7 years ago | (#17212334)

Radio waves may not respect borders, but they *do* respect the inverse square law, i.e. they don't travel indefinitely. A quick search says that most US radio stations (and I assume tv stations) have a broadcast range of approximate 20 miles. The Netherlands (Holland is a province) has an area of 16,033 sq mi, which means that over 2/3 of the country is out of range of foreign broadcasts.

FIST SPORT! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17211522)

And the dutch love anal too!

- ringbarer

Uh, huh... (3, Interesting)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211526)

... by 2011 most or all of the developed world will have made the switch.

And all those obsolete TVs will be dumped in the third world for scrap prices. Going digital might be nice as long as it doesn't destroy the environment and set the third world further back.

Re:Uh, huh... (4, Insightful)

JesseL (107722) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211626)

Those obsolete TVs weren't going to last forever in any case. Sometimes you just have to make a clean break from legacy technologies in order to make any progress. At least doing it all at once lets you run reasonably efficient "recycle your old TV" programs.

Re:Uh, huh... (0, Troll)

m0rph3us0 (549631) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211676)

Exactly how does acquiring resources or selling land for storage set the third world back?

They get cash in exchange for land that isn't useful. Using that cash they can build irrigation systems or buy food. It's a win-win situation.

Given the life spans achieved in the third world using it as a dumping ground for toxic chemicals makes good business, as the length of time needed to see the affects isn't reached by most of the populace. Cross the bridge of what do to when population has a reasonable life span when you get to that bridge.

Win win? Barf! (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211870)

Exactly how does acquiring resources or selling land for storage set the third world back? They get cash in exchange for land that isn't useful. Using that cash they can build irrigation systems or buy food. It's a win-win situation.

You're ill informed. "Storage" of obsolete crap means dumping it into a landfill, where the heavy metals leach into the groundwater. A single TV set contains five pounds of lead!

And that's the best scenario. Most often they burn the electronics in order to recover the copper in the wires. The byproduct is toxic smoke and sludge.

Re:Uh, huh... (4, Insightful)

HappySqurriel (1010623) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211720)

And all those obsolete TVs will be dumped in the third world for scrap prices. Going digital might be nice as long as it doesn't destroy the environment and set the third world further back.

Actually, many of those TVs will probably have people buying a digital-to-analogue reciever for $25-$50 because (as CRT tvs become harder and harder to find) it will be cheaper than upgrading your TV to a reasonable sized LCD/Plasma TV (as a guess, $250-$500 for a 25-30 inch LCD TV).

There are millions of people who live on less than $25,000 per year in North America and they are probably not going to rush out to spend hundreds of dollars on a new TV.

Re:Uh, huh... (3, Interesting)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 7 years ago | (#17212138)

There are millions of people who live on less than $25,000 per year in North America and they are probably not going to rush out to spend hundreds of dollars on a new TV.


Well, I know of two cable guys who would disagree with that statement. They'd point out that there are probably more people who earn less than $25,000 in the inner city who own new HDTVs than you'd find in most middle-class neighborhoods. And by the time 2009 comes around these television sets will be even cheaper, assuming people dont just get adapters. I just hope that in the US we don't start seeing tax dollars go to handouts to provide assistance to people who supposedly can't afford a brand new TV set.

Re:Uh, huh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17212406)

I just hope that in the US we don't start seeing tax dollars go to handouts to provide assistance to people who supposedly can't afford a brand new TV set.

The government is leasing hundreds of billions worth of the broadcast spectrum (a public resource) to private companies, and is shutting down the analog broadcast spectrum. Despite all of the junk put out by most broadcasters, TV is still a useful tool. People will be shut out of this useful public resource, unless they buy a DTV-Analog TV Converter, which averages around $200 on Amazon.com.

Killing TV would probably be good for many people... but still, isn't the government adding a hurdle to using this public resource?

Sorry to disappoint you... (1, Insightful)

bareman (60518) | more than 7 years ago | (#17212416)

But the boob-tube helps to keep many Americans as good little pacified consumer / wage slaves.

Almost a guarantee that they'll be tax breaks for buying a new set or converter.

Re:Uh, huh... (1)

david.given (6740) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211738)

And all those obsolete TVs will be dumped in the third world for scrap prices.

Actually, no, they won't, because people here aren't stupid. To get digital TV, you buy a digital TV set-top-box for knock-down prices and plug the handy SCART cable into the back of your existing analogue TV. You can pick them up in supermarkets for next to nothing [tesco.com] , and there are no subscription fees (at least in my country).

Where did this whole oh-noes-I-need-a-new-TV thing come from, anyway?

Re:Uh, huh... (3, Funny)

hotdiggitydawg (881316) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211862)

Where did this whole oh-noes-I-need-a-new-TV thing come from, anyway?
Not 100% sure, but I'd bet Sony had a hand in it somewhere...

Re:Uh, huh... (1)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 7 years ago | (#17212058)

Actually to get the most out of digital you really do need a widescreen set with stereo speakers - so many people will feel a need to upgrade, despite it not being a requirement. Otherwise what is the point - don't say more choice, because at least in the UK only about 2 of the 30 or so channels added to the 'traditional' line-up are actually worth watching.

Re:Uh, huh... (1)

whargoul (932206) | more than 7 years ago | (#17212342)

...in the UK only about 2 of the 30 or so channels added to the 'traditional' line-up are actually worth watching.
That's about 2 more channels worth watching than in the US!

Re:Uh, huh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17212206)

In the US, which is ending Analog TV Broadcasts in a couple of years, it's hard to find a DTV set-top box for less then $200 [amazon.com] , and they all suck.

It's hard to find a DTV tuner at all-- most salespeople at the major electronics chains such as Best Buy & Circuit City claim they have never heard of a "set-top box" or an external digital TV tuner. Crutchfeld only provides DirectTV tuners boxes, Amazon only has a couple of models.... the selection is horrible.

The TV's aren't obsolete (1)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211772)

There is a US$40 box to convert the digital signals into analog input to the TV. At least that is how it works here.

Re:The TV's aren't obsolete (1)

Mistlefoot (636417) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211946)

$40 per TV.

I suspect that Cable providers might want to continue to use analog networks as long as they can. This one feature that Satellite companies cannot compete against - in a big way.... If I have one 'main' TV in the living room with a Digital converter I can still have TV's in all the bedrooms that receive analog. Satellite providers do not provide analog, so would need converters for each TV.

I just can't see cable providers willingly give up this advantage as long as it remains something that consumers continue to want.

Re:Uh, huh... (5, Informative)

Erwin_D (960540) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211932)

Only analogue transmissions overether are stopped. Over 90% of the population have cable already (both analogue and digital). What the article fails to mention is that it only impacts about 70,000 people still receiving analogue signals from the air. Plus, the signal is replaced with digital (DVB-T). So these 70,000 can either get a DVB-T or a satelite receiver.

Re:Uh, huh... (2, Informative)

ctrlsoft (65447) | more than 7 years ago | (#17212312)

It's analog broadcasting that's been killed, not cable. The number of people that rely on analog broadcasting was already very low and they'll just get cable with their current tv or perhaps digital through a converter box.

No they didn't (5, Informative)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211538)

They only discontinued analog broadcasts over the air. The majority of people in the Netherlands get their television service through analog cable and not digital service.

Re:No they didn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17211856)

Doesn't this seem, though, a little catering to the cable companies of the world. I hope that if they were to do that here in the States that we could get digital broadcasts over the air.

Re:No they didn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17212250)

Thats exactly what they did. Non cable users are now supposed to use digital ether broadcasts.

Where's the clog porn? (0, Redundant)

ToxikFetus (925966) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211540)

Aw crap. I guess I have to upgrade my TV to get my clog porn fix.

Re:Where's the clog porn? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17211698)

I don't know if this helps or not, but you are invited to take a drink from the FireHose [slashdot.org] !

Re:Where's the clog porn? (1)

trongey (21550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211726)

Now how am I supposed to get any work done today with that image in my head?
Thanks a lot.

Back in the old days (0)

LithiumX (717017) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211544)

Now we know how our grandparents felt when broadcasters switched to a color signal. Their old black-and-white tv's (which couldn't read the color signal at all in many/most cases) suddenly became excessively-large paperweights.

Note that the old "black-and-white" tv is not the same as the current type (which reads a color signal and renders it into greyscale). Those used a much older signal format that did not allow for color info, and while color tv's could read the old signal, older tv's couldn't read the new one.

Re:Back in the old days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17211668)

References, please. I think you're blowing smoke.

Re:Back in the old days (5, Informative)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211694)

In the USA and most other countries, color TV signals are backwards compatible with the older black and white standards. Old B&W sets worked just fine on color broadcasts. That's one reason why analog color still looks so crappy to this day: the way color signal was shoehorned into the original standard creates a lot of visual artifacts.

Re:Back in the old days (3, Funny)

PerlDudeXL (456021) | more than 7 years ago | (#17212046)

Never The Same Color? ;)

Re:Back in the old days (3, Informative)

MBCook (132727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211696)

Where are you from? In the US the NTSC color signal was specifically developed to maintain compatibility with B&W sets so that no one needed to buy a new TV if they didn't want to. I was under the impression that PAL/SCEAM were developed to do the same thing, but carrying the color information in a different way so it was more stable and immune to noise.

I know early FM radios don't work now (because RCA got the FCC to move the FM dial's portion of the spectrum in a deliberate attempt to kill the technology), but I've never heard of that with color TV.

What country? (2, Informative)

wiredog (43288) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211750)

In the US the color broadcasts were (still are, for analog) backwards compatible with b&w TVs. You could watch the color broadcasts, in b&w, on a b&w TV.

That's not what I was taught. (3, Informative)

CyberLord Seven (525173) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211770)

Back in the 1950s the FCC was actually a friend of the consumer. Companies developed color televisions, but the signals would not work with existing Black & White televisions so the FCC refused to approve the new technology because it would have required people to have two television sets. One set for watching B&W, the other for color.

Finally RCA, which owned NBC, developed "compatible" color television sets. This is what became our "modern" NTSC sets.

And that's also why NBC was used to use a peacock and advertise itself as "an all color network." It's also why all Star Trek (The Original Series) episodes are in color, yet the first year of "Lost In Space" is in B&W.

different culture (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211798)

People didn't just dump their black and whites then, they just got moved out of the living room to another room and the color set was moved in their place. The old black and whites didn't get dumped until they got broken beyond reasonable repair, and every small town had at least one TV repair guy who was busy all the time. I am generally speaking, but that is how it went down for the most part.

Now today, most everything electronic is not designed to be repaired, just tossed, a lot of times tossed just because there are new features, even though it isn't broken yet. Totally different culture and business model now. Like how many guys here have a stack of old still working computers but for the most part aren't used? And cellphones? Maybe being geeks we hang onto (some of) them, but most people just chuck stuff out now while it is still working, merely because it is a few years old and now obsolete. either that or the things really don't even last much more than a few years and one cheap dohickey breaks on them and it is neither cost effective nor very easy to fix them.

And I am not sure what you mean by the signal, I have a couple analog black and white portable TVs now (a sony watchman and a 5" screen 12 VDC camping TV) that still work fine, they just don't display color.

Re:Back in the old days (1)

profplump (309017) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211848)

For all the shortcomings of NTSC, backwards compatibility is not one of them -- current color NTSC broadcast signals work with NTSC-compatible televisions from as far back as 1941, and with some televisions from as far back as 1936 (before NTSC existed), so long as you don't mind dropping down to 441 lines.

If Europe was just willing to suffer with reduced chrominance bandwidth and phase error for the last 50 years they could have had backwards compatibility too.

Re:Back in the old days (1, Informative)

bigdavex (155746) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211884)

Um, what the hell are you talking about?

The black and white signal is separate from the color signal in NTSC and PAL.

Re:Back in the old days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17212226)

What the hell are *you* talking about? Learn some history. Things existed before you were born.

Just plain wrong... (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17212010)


Now we know how our grandparents felt when broadcasters switched to a color signal. Their old black-and-white tv's (which couldn't read the color signal at all in many/most cases) suddenly became excessively-large paperweights.

Huh? Black and white sets work just fine, and always have since NTSC was developed. The color signal standard was developed to be backwards compatible with black and white sets. Essentially the color information is transmitted on a different frequency, and the television combines this information with the black and white information to create a picture. Black and white sets were produced and sold for many years after color sets became available because color was quite a bit more expensive.

Sorry, but you're 100% wrong in your entire post. There's no "black and white TVs reads the color signal and converts it into grayscale". Maybe you should learn something about the NTSC standard before you post?

Re:Just plain wrong... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17212100)

There's no "black and white TVs reads the color signal and converts it into grayscale".

In fact we have just the opposite. A circuit in your TV called a "color killer" detects that the signal lacks chroma data and actually disables its interpretation to prevent you from having weird glitching effects from noise on the chroma channel.

Re:Back in the old days (1)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | more than 7 years ago | (#17212068)

Now we know how our grandparents felt when broadcasters switched to a color signal. Their old black-and-white tv's (which couldn't read the color signal at all in many/most cases) suddenly became excessively-large paperweights.

I'll spare you a snide comment and instead ask politely "Are you from a country that uses PAL as its TV broadcast standard?". What you said is pure nonsense for NTSC-land, like the USA and Canada. NTSC color television was designed specifically for backwards compatibility with black and white TVs. Some sources state that a technologically superior version of color television was bypassed in the USA because it wasn't compatible at all with the black and white TVs of the time. In the USA all broadcasts switched to color in 1967 I believe and though I was a child at the time, my family had a black and white television and I can assure you that it did not become a paperweight and it worked fine on color broadcasts, they just showed up in black and white.

Re:Back in the old days (1)

calidoscope (312571) | more than 7 years ago | (#17212356)

In the USA all broadcasts switched to color in 1967 I believe


The switch took place fall of 1966, but you're right in that the 1967 season was the first with all shows broadcast in color on CBS and ABC - NBC was full color at least a year earlier as RCA wanted to sell color TV's.

Re:Back in the old days (1)

ahillen (45680) | more than 7 years ago | (#17212386)

I'll spare you a snide comment and instead ask politely "Are you from a country that uses PAL as its TV broadcast standard?".

Maybe he is, but then he still would be wrong. I live in a "PAL country" (Germany) and we had an old BW TV at home until the late 80s or so. It had no problem showing the color TV channels in black and white (until it finally broke).

Re:Back in the old days (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17212166)

I know everyone else is bashing you, and I'll never be modded up (I'm an AC), but if you are talking about the UK 405 line system [wikipedia.org] , you are indeed correct.

Re:Back in the old days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17212234)

They had widespread broadcast NTSC color TV here in the US by the time I was six. I bought my folks their first color TV after college - right after I bought them their first non-leased telephone. ("Son, are you sure this is legal?").

So we watched the Vietnam war, Cronkite, Apollo, MLK, the Chicago Riots, the early years of 60 Minutes, and "The F. B. I. - in Color!" in black and white. Never have gotten used to Kirk, Spock and McCoy walking around in the colorful shirts.

Boy have things changed...

One other thing that kept my folks (children of the depression, for whom a color TV was an unnecessary extravagance at the outset) from buying a color TV was that until the Trinitron, they pretty much all looked exactly like crap - or would drift into looking like crap within a few months of purchase.

Color is hard. Realistic color is even harder. Typically if a geek can see red, green and blue on a screen, (s)he thinks (s)he's done. Not so easy - there's a lot to getting it to look right - particularly if you've filtered it through the miserable NTSC standard.

2011? (2, Interesting)

Peter La Casse (3992) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211554)

Does the 2011 prediction assume that the US won't push the date back again? Does it assume that the reasons for US politicians to push the date back don't apply to politicians in other countries?

The conversion from analog to digital TV is in progress. Trying to guess now when the tipping point will actually occur is useless.

really should be DVB tell me why ATSC ? (1)

johnjones (14274) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211924)

why oh why

  DVB-T is the standard adopted by Europe and Asia (and perhaps other places as well?) for Digital OTA broadcasting, while ATSC is used in the U.S.A., Mexico, South Korea, and Taiwan

you can do HD over DVB I have seen BBC trials...

I can buy lots of DVB equipment from usb sticks that are linux/MacOS/Windows laptop compatable to PCI cards and custom decoders

its feaking everywhere

what are the options for ATSC ?

why ATSC technical reasons ?

Re:2011? (1)

Kookus (653170) | more than 7 years ago | (#17212370)

It was only "pushed" back because there was a stipulation in the original agreement that required 85% of tvs to be capable of the digital broadcast. Since you could argue that it wasn't reached (through tvs people owned and didn't use amongst other reasons) they pushed the date back... This time though, the date is mandatory, without the 85% stipulation.

It would take a ton of money to push the date back again, and that would more then likely not be worth the effort for the some-odd 20% of people that use broadcast tv in the U.S.

Digital all the way, baby! (0, Offtopic)

wodeh (899541) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211562)

Well I'm all digital already, those pesky wavy analogue signals are probably stuffing up the airwaves and giving me brain tumors!

For Oldies (2, Funny)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211564)

Analogue is only used by oldies anyway. Everyone under the age of 70 uses Youtube instead - partly because their attention span is less than that of a goldfish - a side effect of "easy to use" Apple UIs.

What? (2, Informative)

jbrader (697703) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211572)

So what about cars...

Umm, what about 'em? I've been to Holland and I didn't see too many cars with analog televisions installed. Does it mean limos? Well that's a small luxury market that can afford digital receivers. Or did they also switch to all didgital radio and is that what it means?

Cars and Portable TVs . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17211578)

. . . will continue to be broadcast by the Dutch, as usual. No need for alarm.

Re:Cars and Portable TVs . . . (2, Funny)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211688)

... will continue to be broadcast by the Dutch, as usual. No need for alarm.

Better watch out when you are in the Netherlands--a car or a portable TV may be broadcast at you at any moment!

the future is changing? (2, Interesting)

4solarisinfo (941037) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211580)

Wasn't the FCC in the USA going to require this changeover by the year 2000 once upon a time? I've been hearing this story since I first took TV production classes 20 years ago. Sure the future marches forward, but I don't have a flying car yet either. Sometimes change takes a while...

Re:the future is changing? (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211778)

It's times like this it occurs to me that the Jetsons lied to us.

Ideal circumstances to switch (1)

bestinshow (985111) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211618)

i.e., virtually nobody used analogue television in the country anyway.

Whereas in the UK uptake of the Freeview package has been good, providing some 30 free-to-air channels, but there's a massive market of analogue-only households (no satellite or cable), hence the slow turnover. Even at £25 for a Freeview box it's not a minor expense to convert a couple of TVs in a house, and the signal is weak too due to needing to keep transmitting analogue. Some areas need new aerials. We're not going to complete changeover until 2012, although large parts of the country will be converted within the next 3 years.

I get Freesat as my house had a satellite dish and my parents had an old Sky digibox. 20 useful channels, 50 shopping channels and a dozen late night phone-in topless sex-chat channels.

Re:Ideal circumstances to switch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17212088)

"a dozen late night phone-in topless sex-chat channels"

Jackpot!

Re:Ideal circumstances to switch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17212216)

20 useful channels, 50 shopping channels and a dozen late night phone-in topless sex-chat channels.
Um, what?! You have dozens of topless sex-chat channels on regular TV?!?!

 

The scariest part of this article: (2, Insightful)

dmatos (232892) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211622)

[blah blah will] continue to broadcast three state-supported channels and several regional public broadcasters free of charge. In return, it can use the rest of the open bandwidth to charge around $18.50 a month for a package of other channels that is comparable with cable.

This is more death of free media. If the only FTA transmissions you can get are either state-sponsored or state-supported, how can you reliably get news?

I sincerely hope that, once the analog broadcasts are halted in this country, the corresponding digital broadcasts don't require a monthly subscription charge. If they do, I will have to put together a .torrent machine and connect that to my television. It won't make me happy, though.

Re:The scariest part of this article: (5, Informative)

hanwen (8589) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211732)

Actually, the state-supported media are more objective than any of the commercial channels.

Any club of people that can raise a significant number of members will get
public funding and can participate in the public channel. There are broadcasting organisations
with socialist, catholic, buddhist, islam, etc. backgrounds, and they all get their voice.

 

Which is ofcourse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17212182)

...the question and the answer in one sentence: we are so brainwashed that we do not believe commercial broadcasting gives fair and unbiased news, but only believe the state.

This level of sophistication is so high, that even Russia pales by comparison:
In Holland, state-tv watches you, and you like it !

Re:The scariest part of this article: (4, Informative)

wfberg (24378) | more than 7 years ago | (#17212440)

Actually, the state-supported media are more objective than any of the commercial channels.

Any club of people that can raise a significant number of members will get
public funding and can participate in the public channel. There are broadcasting organisations
with socialist, catholic, buddhist, islam, etc. backgrounds, and they all get their voice.


In addition to this, you have to realize
1) public broadcasters also feature advertising
2) it has been known for a public broadcaster to become a commercial broadcaster (veronica)
3) workers from failed commercial broadcasters have been known to rejoin the public system (tv10)
All of this mitigates the influence of government. (And the government money mitigates undue influence from advertisers).

The public broadcasters themselves are independent member-run organizations and can (and have) defied government positions. More successfully than the BBC has managed, for instance (turns out they were right about reports about Iraq's weapons being 'sexed up', but they didn't have the balls to say to the government 'you can put in a complaint like any regular citizen').

Additionally, public broadcasters are required by law to have editorial codes that guarantee editorial/journalistic independence for their employees - independence from both the government, advertisers AND the broadcaster itself. The journalist's trade union is always keen to complain about instances of this independence being threatened.

Getting impartial/non-partisan news is hardly the problem. The problem is that the news is either boring (especially the christian broadcasters, always yapping on about 'church matters' or, for some not well understood reason, every minute detail of the troubles in Israel) or alarmist and/or xenophobic drivel designed to compete with the commercial channels.

Re:The scariest part of this article: (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211764)

In the US, the analog channels are essentially state-sponsored; the networks are given the bandwidth for some trivial sum of money precisely because they're supposed to be using it for the public good.

ABC, NBC, etc. aren't broadcasting local news every night at 6 and 11 (and national news at 6:30) because they think it brings in more viewers than another Survivor knock-off. They do it because they're required to. They'd cheerfully dump their expensive news-gathering organizations if they could. In fact, they do a lot less news-gathering than they used to, pushing the limits as hard as they can.

The digital broadcasts will be the same. The government is giving them free real-estate in a different part of the spectrum so that they can take the free real estate they were giving them in a more valuable part of the spectrum. That will continue to allow them to offer "free" "valuable" services like the news to the 10% of the US still getting their broadcasts over the air.

Re:The scariest part of this article: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17211822)

One thing that digital TV won't let you do easily is multiple TV outlets in the same house without paying for individual Digital receivers from your cable company. You are giving them way more control than now on how you live your life.

Re:The scariest part of this article: (1)

wfberg (24378) | more than 7 years ago | (#17212094)

This is more death of free media. If the only FTA transmissions you can get are either state-sponsored or state-supported, how can you reliably get news?

The analogue broadcast that was switched off was these same handful of channels - which will now be FTA on the (as of yet crappy) digital network. The commercial channels were never broadcast on the analogue network at all.
If you splash for a dish, you can get a card that will decrypt both the public broadcasters as well as the commercial channels for a one time fee.

Even if the commercial channels were FTA, you'd still need equipment to receive them. Plus, you pay for the public broadcasters via taxes (though you're now not paying for analogue over the air distribution anymore). TANSTAAFL.

Re:The scariest part of this article: (1)

CptPicard (680154) | more than 7 years ago | (#17212350)

This is more death of free media. If the only FTA transmissions you can get are either state-sponsored or state-supported, how can you reliably get news?

Actually, European public broadcasters are held in quite a high regard when it comes to such integrity. They tend to be always rated tops in their respective countries when the public is polled which news source they consider most reliable. Unless of course you're a raving right-winger, in which case you're probably pissed off that they don't resemble FOX in the US. It always keeps amusing me that media in the US always make the point of reminding the audience that some news source is "state-sponsored" while not making the such distinction systematically for whatever other forms of media... while being the most bought off outlets in general themselves.

The BBC, for example, is quite legendary, and even though I am not British, I prefer it as my foreign news source to anything that private sector America has to offer. At home, I find that our local Finnish Broadcasting Company delivers the most objective point of view with relevant commentaries. The better of the commercial channels' news services still tends to slip into half-truths and tends to be selective in what they give air time to. The worse one is pure entertainment and not worth your time. Sometimes you don't want your news being selected for you simply based on what "sells" (or what they think sells). A well-rounded world-view forms only when you are exposed to occasionally "boring" issues that are not of immediate concern to you personally.

An open public broadcaster with employers forming a statistically representative sample of politics at large (meaning that at least you're not selected against if you're not right-wing) and proper oversight has produced something that people actually take civic pride and interest in, and I think that is a great thing. You are correct though in stating that sources need to be checked against each other, so there need to be several. Personally, I just find that I always end up checking the reality as it is from somewhere else than your "free" media. There have been, of course, counterexamples and we could start discussing Finlandization and the FBC, but it's good we no longer live in those days...

Ok, I'm moving (0, Offtopic)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211632)

Given the fact that Amsterdam [wikipedia.org] is the Capital of the Netherlands, them leading the way in state of the art television doesn't supprise me.

Very cool though.

"The Dutch Kill Analog TV Nationwide" (-1, Troll)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211692)

I know Holland has a muslim population that is increasingly numerous and belligerent [typepad.com] (ask Theo van Gogh), but *kill*?

So *what* about cars? (1, Insightful)

pipatron (966506) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211762)

So what about cars and portable TVs?
Fortunately, Europeans are not yet as dependent on their cars so they actually need to watch TV in it. I can't understand the obsession USA:ians has with turning their car into a living room.

Re:So *what* about cars? (1)

Rycross (836649) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211842)

Its more about getting the kids to shut up on those long road trips.

Re:So *what* about cars? (1)

debozero (209948) | more than 7 years ago | (#17212180)

"I can't understand the obsession USA:ians has with turning their car into a living room."

Simple 3 hours a day in the car (to and from work) usually stuck in traffic makes the in car living room a welcome distraction.

Two things I can't stand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17211816)

People who kill analog TV nationwide and... Oh, Wait.

Some answers (2, Informative)

wfberg (24378) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211868)

So what about cars and portable TVs? I'm guessing a market will emerge for portable set top boxes / converters.

a) there are few, if any, cars with TV sets in them. The primary market for in-vehicle TV is for truckdrivers. These have had to deal with quite some advertising over the past year for both digital terrestrial as satellite sets - the latter make most sense seeing as most truckers drive internationally (being a small country, The Netherlands is one of the world's leaders when it comes to the amount of territory outside its borders).
b) portable TVs are fucked
c) digital sets are pretty much non-existant, for terrestrial digital you always get a set top box, as well as for (digital) satellite.

The article only mentions the 'cost per household' as a reason for switching the signal off. In reality, the reasons are even less enlightened:
- the only service you got on analogue was the 3 public broadcasting channels, the 7(!) remaining national channels (not counting theme channels like MTV etc.) were never on analog, but only on (basic) cable and (basic) satellite[*]. As such, analogue service was already a joke.
- In fact, gives The Netherlands small size, you were more likely to get good reception on German and English channels in a large portion of the country any way; the number of usuable channels was few
- Given this, they want to reuse the frequencies for more regional services, like wimax and digital radio (which is even less successful than digital terrestrial TV because of its poor coverage).

[*] That's 10 general interest channels (comparable to networks) on a population of 16 million.

Considering the size of the country (2, Insightful)

nomad63 (686331) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211880)

Considering you can travel from one end of the country to another in less than 2 hours, as well as pretty much flat landscape, broadcasting difficulties is not something of a concern for the Netherlands IMHO.

Re:Considering the size of the country (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 7 years ago | (#17212232)

Depends on the traffic, on bad days, I guess it could be 3 hours from south to north.

Ah the Netherlands (-1, Troll)

FatSean (18753) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211892)

I so wish I could live there. It's pretty crowded though, and they aren't big on letting Americans move in. Like the USA, they tend to allow the disenfranchised in and keep the jobs for native-born. I suppose you can't blame them.

No More Analog! (1)

s31523 (926314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211900)

So what about cars and portable TVs?
In the states we have HDTV signals in the air and all you need is a HDTV tuner to pick them up. So, answer is, they are hosed unless they have a digital tuner, assuming of course that the digital signals are transmitted.

Make up your mind! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17211950)

Is it the Dutch or the Netherlands? And wouldn't that be 'Netherlanders', you silly boi.

Re:Make up your mind! (4, Informative)

Luctius (931144) | more than 7 years ago | (#17212248)

Its you silly English people who name us "the dutch", and our country either "The Netherlands" or even worse "Holland".
We name ourselves (as a country) "Nederland", which is inhabited by "nederlanders".

Re:Make up your mind! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17212376)

It's the Dutch who live in the Netherlands. Part of the Netherlands is called Holland. Also, the Hague is a city.

Re:Make up your mind! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17212426)

WTF is a "boi"? Why do you attempt to use some butchered net speak when you really mean "boy"? What are you some kind of Avril Lavigne fan?

Since you're too damn lazy to look it up:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_(ethnic_group) [wikipedia.org]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_N etherlands [wikipedia.org]

I think the verb is the wrong one. (1)

IMarvinTPA (104941) | more than 7 years ago | (#17211964)

I would prefer to think that they retired analog TV. Killing it or pulled the plug on it. It is a good thing that it goes away, not a bad one.

IMarv

I am sorry, but this is like saying (1)

alexfromspace (876144) | more than 7 years ago | (#17212054)

I am sorry, but this is like saying

"Stop producing food for horses because we are going all gasoline."
When cars replaced horsepower.

I am sure that analog TV and radio will never die out becuase it is the most straight forward way to send signal communications. I just hope that we evolve to the point of being able to put together a receiver/broadcast radio out of spare parts just like one could change a tire on a roadside. Steven Hawkins, this is for you man, to be like star trek, theoretic advances are not enough, we also have to evolve. And yeah, if _you_ can do it, you are special, the rest of mankind is not dumb, they just havent evolved yet.

Digital signals don't work in cars: doppler effect (3, Interesting)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 7 years ago | (#17212120)

It's really bad for the North American 8VSB [wikipedia.org] standard used in ATSC [wikipedia.org] . The COFDM [wikipedia.org] used in the "rest of the world's" "DVB-T [wikipedia.org] " is only marginally better.

Probably mucho DSP power will eventually compensate, but don't expect portable units to pick up digital TV signals terribly well if they are moving for at least the next several years.

They the Analog TV (2, Funny)

pete.com (741064) | more than 7 years ago | (#17212176)

.... You BASTARDS!

Very few external ATSC converters anymore (1)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 7 years ago | (#17212256)

Almost all the boxes have been discontinued [avsforum.com] and there are very few being made anymore. Took me a while to find one (I get to pick out my xmas present this year). Maybe in 2009 that'll change when the switchover is supposed to happen in the US (I'll beleive that when I see it).

Of course, by FCC mandate [wikipedia.org] all new TVs regardless of size are supposed to have an ATSC tuner in them starting March 2007. So the market for set-top boxes will be very small until 2009 at least, and even then will most people have switched to cable or satellite?

Converting (2, Informative)

slim (1652) | more than 7 years ago | (#17212302)

From my UK experience:

Digital Set Top Boxes are already cheap and small - you can even get one that's built into the form factor of a SCART plug (that's the European standard AV connector).

Just buying a STB and hooking it up isn't enough for everyone - depending on coverage for your area you might need to spend money on your aerial. Maybe coverage is more even in The Netherlands, what with its relative flatness.

STBs usually put out a composite video signal, so the analogue TV you're converting had better have a composite input. There are TVs still in use which only have an RF input. I don't know of any STBs that contain an analogue RFmodulator. If there's a market for them, it'll happen. RF modulation is cheap and easy -- I must have half a dozen inline modulators from 16 bit consoles lying around in boxes here.

I'll be really interested to see how the analogue switch off goes here in the UK -- a phased switch off beginning in 2008 -- my guess is that those stubborn enough to have resisted digital by the time their analogue transmitter is decomissioned will stand a good chance of being given a free/subsidised STB and aeriel upgrade.

Moo (0, Offtopic)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#17212338)

Three comments.

1) Now they can send all the analog televisions to the aliens, so they can actually decipher those radio signals.

2) All those people on the free internet connection via television signals are going to be sad (maybe aliens can have internet connections now)?

3) I'm not sure if this is a good move or a bad one. Did Microsoft have anything to do with it?

Digital TV is far superior (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17212394)

I bought a new TV a few months ago. I couldn't afford a ueber-expensive HDTV, but the TV I did buy is capable of receiving digital signals and downconverting them to the resolution a normal TV is capable of (the new digital standard in called ATSC).

The digital signal is really quite excellent. Analog signals have always been snowy, fuzzy, and filled with distortion. The digital signal is clean and crisp. I don't even have some special antenna either, I chinced out and cut off the shielding from an old coaxial cable. Works perfectly if you position it right.

In fact, all televisions sold in the US above 25 inches are required by the FCC to be able to receive digital signals. Next year on March 1st that requirement will go down to 13 inches or larger. Of course that doesn't mean that all retailers in in compliance. I'd recommend if you see a TV 25 inches or larger being sold that doesn't have a digital tuner in it that you complain to the management of the store, and maybe the FCC.
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