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Many Analog TV Watchers Aren't Aware of Upcoming Switchover

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the it's-coming dept.

Television 440

A recent poll of TV watchers shows that many Americans aren't aware the end times are coming for analog broadcast signals. "The survey found that the group most affected by the analog cutoff -- those with no cable or satellite service -- are most in the dark about what will happen to their sets: Only one-third of them had heard that their TVs are set to stop receiving programs. Of course, there are solutions. Congress is subsidizing the purchase of digital television receivers. And the cable TV industry is hoping that this will spur the last holdouts to buy pay TV."

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440 comments

Good time.. (4, Insightful)

therufus (677843) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789518)

...to start the family exercising to help beat obesity?

If TV gets turned off on Americans, maybe it would be a good thing.

And don't flame me. TV is the major issue with American obesity, particularly in children.

Re:Good time.. (3, Insightful)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789632)

I disagree. Quite on the contrary, I believe lazy people are attracted to TV, not the other way around. In other words, TV is the consequence, not the cause. I might be wrong, as I have no hard data on this.

Re:Good time.. (3, Insightful)

bhima (46039) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789694)

I'm not seeing it as one there not the other. I think it's both. Lazy are attracted to TV and the consequence is that they become even more lazy and ensnared in the TV culture / habit.

Re:Good time.. (1)

whoop (194) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789932)

I can see you saying that watching TV is a lazy activity. But, the statement, "they become even more lazy," would indicate that they are doing even less activity. The only thing less active than watching TV would have to be sitting on the couch watching nothing (not even the walls). So, TV cannot make one "more lazy."

Re:Good time.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21790054)

But, the statement, "they become even more lazy," would indicate that they are doing even less activity.

It could also imply that they do little-to-no activity for longer periods of time, but this seems to obviously what the grandparent poster intended that I feel stupid having to point it out.

Re:Good time.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21789820)

What would the lazy people do if they weren't watching TV?

Listen to the radio?
Go fishing?
Go to the track and watch NASCAR?
Go to the stadium and watch football?

Seems like most alternatives make them (slightly) less lazy.

Re:Good time.. (5, Interesting)

ghakko (261165) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789968)

There's compelling data suggesting otherwise (at least in children):
  • Children tend to snack on [aappublications.org] nutritionally-unbalanced food when watching television, eat unconsciously [nih.gov] and eat enough to skew [ajcn.org]their daily caloric intake.
  • For some reason, children watching television burn fewer calories [aappublications.org] than they would at just about any other physical activity, including just idly sitting or lying down.
  • Children who were forced to watch less television lost weight [www2.sfu.ca].

Re:Good time.. (3, Insightful)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789778)

IF TV is a major cause of obesity, then the Internet, computing and videogaming must be contributors too. Perhaps "sedentary lifestyle" would be a better description?

Re:Good time.. (5, Insightful)

drsquare (530038) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789816)

And don't flame me. TV is the major issue with American obesity, particularly in children.
I'm pretty sure that eating too much is the major issue with American obesity. You get just as fat sitting at the computer as you do in front of the TV.

You can exercise all you want, but if you eat a 14" pizza for dinner washed down with ten pints of beer, and have a full fry up every breakfast, combined with KFC for lunch, you'll be obese.

Re:Good time.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21790048)

calories....

i don't think you've joined the army lately...

Re:Good time.. (1)

Sen.NullProcPntr (855073) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790126)

You get just as fat sitting at the computer as you do in front of the TV.
There are advertisements on web pages but most of them are not currently food related. On TV there is at least one or two, and usually more, fast food, beer, soft drink, etc. commercials for every half hour of programing. This type of advertisement is by definition made to make you want to eat.

You can exercise all you want, but if you eat a 14" pizza for dinner washed down with ten pints of beer, and have a full fry up every breakfast, combined with KFC for lunch, you'll be obese.
Not sure about the ten pints but I have known people who could eat enough food for two to three people and still stay thin with a combination of their own high metabolism and fanatic workouts.
But, yeah, for us "normal" people limited calories and moderate exercise is the only way to avoid obesity.

Re:Good time.. (1)

zhrike (448699) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789948)

TV is not a major issue in American obesity ... it is a minor one, and only part of the shift to a less physical lifestyle that comprises many things,
and I would estimate that video games, which directly substitutes a sedentary activity for what was once physical activity, especially for children, is a larger
piece of that pie (pun intended) than is television. As for the major factor? Food. In particular, the shift to a food pyramid in the 80s that included a ridiculous amount
of carb-laden choices parallels the rise in obesity in America. No, it isn't TV, it is food, particularly the ubiquity of unhealthy choices, and the
fact that schools have often ceded their lunch programs to fast food and junk machines. Most Americans eat shit every day, and they aren't even aware
that there is a choice.

Re:Good time.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21789982)

How exactly do they eat the televisions?

Re:Good time.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21790128)

Yeah because those kids won't switch to Video Games or Computer Games. I'm sorry but if your lazy your lazy. Besides I don't know many Kids who watch tv all the time most of them play their xbox or playstation all the time.

You gotta be poor or rich. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21789520)

Rich: no worries about money, because you have plenty. Poor: no worries about money, because the government will provide for you. Keep watching TV.

There is always stupid people (0, Flamebait)

Simon (S2) (600188) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789526)

who don't care what is happening around them. Well, they will act when their TVs will be black. Is this a problem?

Re:There is always stupid people (3, Interesting)

tedrlord (95173) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789570)

There are people that can't afford cable TV still. Are they the type of person to keep up on tech news? I think it's unlikely. And it is a problem because there are still a significant amount of people that watch broadcast TV. It's probably the only way the local channels are staying in business at this point. I have a feeling this forced switchover is going to be the death of a lot of broadcast stations.

Re:There is always stupid people (3, Insightful)

Prod_Deity (686460) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789628)

I can honestly do without tv. I get most of my news & entertainment online. The only way I will "switch over" is if cable companies drop their increased pay for HD channels. And to what someone else said about a tv for $700, some people have bills to pay & a family to feed. We can't drop that kind of cash at one time. Maybe with an income tax return, but we'll see when the time comes.

Re:There is always stupid people (2, Insightful)

fortunato (106228) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789638)

So what exactly did all those people who couldn't afford TV's when they first came out do? Wow they must have suffered a great deal. :/

Re:There is always stupid people (1)

tedrlord (95173) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789666)

They listened to the radio, since the government didn't black out all the radio stations to make sure everyone bought a TV.

Re:There is always stupid people (3, Insightful)

mr_matticus (928346) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789718)

The government doesn't care if you buy a digital TV.

They want the spectrum, and frankly carrying dead weight for some dinosaur broadcast stations is a waste of time. If they don't have a strategy for switching to digital broadcasting, then away they go. Too bad, so sad, welcome to the business world.

Viewership declines because the content sucks compared to other sources (movies, cable, Internet, etc.). That's the long and the short of it. People who can't afford cable aren't going to have any measurable impact on that.

Re:There is always stupid people (2, Insightful)

Simon (S2) (600188) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789698)

There are people that can't afford cable TV still.

A dish with 2 LNBs is about 60 bucks.
To the mods: my comment was absolutely not meant as flamebait: there are enough alternatives if you still HAVE to watch TV. Tech has to go on, and analog TV (IMHO) just has to die.

Re:There is always stupid people (1)

tedrlord (95173) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789736)

There's still installation and subscription rates. Sure, there are free-to-air stations out there, but it's unlikely that you're going to find that many from your area. Though I guess they could "borrow" satellite like a lot of people seem to be doing these days.

Re:There is always stupid people (1)

i'm here 2 (1206722) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789900)

not all stupid! pay tv wasn't availible to our area till 14 months ago. i have it now., but i believe there are many rural areas where it is not available yet. (the dish companies made their service cost prohibitive at that time. no competition. not all rural dwellers are well off) so think about it before you call people stupid

Re:There is always stupid people (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789972)

There are people that can't afford cable TV still. Are they the type of person to keep up on tech news? I think it's unlikely. And it is a problem because there are still a significant amount of people that watch broadcast TV. It's probably the only way the local channels are staying in business at this point. I have a feeling this forced switchover is going to be the death of a lot of broadcast stations.
Those who can not afford cable are also likely to not be aware of cheaper cable options. For example in my region there was rumored to be a sub-Basic cable plan that floated less than the cost of subscribing to cable modem service without cable. I can so for a fact that Comcast is offering in my area HDTV only service for $8.15/month which I presume one can get the 2-13 analog stations as well.

Yes, I'm aware there are people that can't afford sub $10 a month, but it's a far better cry than $22+/month.

But the NICE thing about HDTV is the fact that you can get away without having cable and have a decent picture.

Re:There is always stupid people (2, Insightful)

Franklin Brauner (1034220) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790038)

Why should you have to pay anything at all for television? How is it that we as a nation became convinced that we should pay for television? Something that was once totally free (except for the price of a tv), now has a charge attached to it. If you ask me, it's not the people in rural areas who watch analog tv that are the stupid ones. It's all of us who drank the kool-aid.

Or resurection for terestial tv (1)

krischik (781389) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789974)

Or resurection - DVB-T supports a lot more channels then analog tv - in germany where the swich over happened a few years ago many consumers terminated there cable tv subscription because they could get the 20 channels they are interested in via DVB-T.

Martin

Re:There is always stupid people (1)

Franklin Brauner (1034220) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790016)

It makes you wonder which lobby was behind this bill, doesn't it? Once again, large multi-national corporations wipe out the little guy. == Franklin Brauner

This is the most hyped non-problem... (5, Insightful)

Spy Hunter (317220) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789544)

As soon as TV stations themselves begin to worry about whether they will lose watchers, they will simply run commercials explaining to people how they can get *free* converter boxes from the government. TV is the one of the most effective communication mechanisms ever devised, after all. Problem solved.

Re:This is the most hyped non-problem... (0, Flamebait)

sobolwolf (1084585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789730)

TV is the one of the most effective communication mechanisms ever devised, after all. Problem solved.

Don't you mean "one of the most effective POPULATION CONTROL mechanisms ever devised" ?

Re:This is the most hyped non-problem... (2, Informative)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789756)

That's just it. I haven't heard a single word about this any place other than online. not even the local newspaper have had a story on it.

The people who will be most affected by it, are those who don't use computers, cause they are magical machines, and hard to use.

Re:This is the most hyped non-problem... (1)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789952)

Actually I used to have Cable TV but don't anymore. My wife and I had talked about going Satellite but it's not really worth the money for us.

I'm probably in the worst position, I live in a border town in Canada. So pretty much 100% of the channels we watch are American but since I don't think the Canadian government is mandating any kind of switch I'm also pretty sure they're not subsidizing the receivers.

So I'm not sure what we're going to do. We've either got to pay for Satellite, pay for a digital receiver 100% out of pocket (which I'm assuming would be cheaper than Satellite) or, well, just go without TV. It will be a cold day in hell before we pay for Cable TV again due to the way the local monopoly treated us.

'*free* converter boxes..." (3, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789758)

really?

I thought basic economics and government courses were requisites in public schools these days.

Of course, TANSTAAFL. The national government will be taking tax dollars from people, taking an administrative cut, then turning around and giving it back to pay exclusively for converter boxes. The net effect is the US national government is screwing with free markets and funding (mostly overseas) consumer electronics companies.

It's too early. (1, Interesting)

lpangelrob (714473) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789556)

It's not like people need 14 months to save up for a digital TV. A 'good enough' off-brand 32" TV runs $700 now, and it'll probably be more like $500 later.

Besides, a few "your TV will black out 1/14/09!" commercials have already starting airing. By January 2009, I'm sure the public at large will be as tired of similar commercials as they will be of general presidential election commercials by Election Day '08.

Re:It's too early. (4, Informative)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789598)

In the UK you can get set-top boxes that plug into your analogue TV or video recorder and give you a DVB-T tuner. They're about 30 quid in any supermarket. Allowing for the UK being slightly more expensive than the US, and the dollar being so low, that's probably still only about $50.

Re:It's too early. (3, Informative)

KokorHekkus (986906) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789822)

More confirmation from here in Sweden which only has digital TV transmissions now. A basic set-top box with analog out costs less than $50... without any subsidies.

Re:It's too early. BUT ... (1)

tyroneking (258793) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789838)

... in the UK a lot of houses need upgraded aerials to receive digital TV and digital radio - is the cost of fitting these going to be met by the government / tax payers?
We didn't need digital TV, or HD, or HD DVD, or Blue Ray, or DRM, or the Spice Girls but somehow the media industry is yanking our chains like this.
Time for a revolution. Led by Germaine Greer.

Re:It's too early. BUT ... (3, Informative)

carndearg (696084) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790032)

"in the UK a lot of houses need upgraded aerials to receive digital TV and digital radio - is the cost of fitting these going to be met by the government / tax payers?"

Sort of, but not quite. The government and broadcasters aren't going to pay to upgrade anyone's home antenna but they are going to increase the power of the digital transmissions when the analogue ones have been turned off, so the problem will just go away.
The fear was that digital transmitters might have caused interference to the existing analogue service so they were all made low power, but with analogue gone that's no longer an issue.

Re:It's too early. (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790082)

But those boxes are inherently cheaper than US boxes, because they don't decode HD. US boxes must be able to decode HD, even if they don't have an HD output. This means more decoding power and framebuffer RAM are needed. Not to mention that only now are they going to be mass-manufacturing boxes, so most current boxes have been in the $200 and up range, and rarely found in stores. (Best Buy has a $180 HD Samsung model they've been selling, but it's apparently harder to find in stock than a Wii. They'd rather sell DirecTV anyhow because they get paid a cut of new subscriptions.)

The good thing about this for us is that over in the UK and the rest of Europe, HD is a second-class signal. There are millions of boxes out there that can't receive it, and they either have to get people to throw away those millions of receivers, or transmit two signals. Guess which isn't going to happen. Oh well, it's only the BBC, they can just raise your licence fee again to pay for it.

Over here the TV stations will only have to broadcast one signal. Sure, it takes more processing to decode it, but Moore's law is on our side.

Re:It's too early. (4, Insightful)

statemachine (840641) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789604)

It's not like people need 14 months to save up for a digital TV. A 'good enough' off-brand 32" TV runs $700 now, and it'll probably be more like $500 later.

That's two or three months rent in many places -- with the matching lower pay.

Re:It's too early. (3, Insightful)

tedrlord (95173) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789616)

The type of person that can spend $500 on a television set and doesn't have cable/satellite is probably not a big TV watcher.

And I just want to point out that if Congress has to subsidize receivers to force this change along, it's probably not a good idea in the first place. And let me also point out that F*@& Congress for spending tax money on paying for unnecessary digital upgrades. Next they'll be buying everyone blue ray and HD-DVD players to fund the HD war. It's frustratingly ridiculous.

Re:It's too early. (5, Insightful)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789890)

And I just want to point out that if Congress has to subsidize receivers to force this change along, it's probably not a good idea in the first place.

That's because you think it is for the benefit of television viewers, or even broadcasters. It is not. They simply want the spectrum that these broadcasts are currently going out on back, with their relatively long wavelengths, for things like cellular service or long-range (municipal?) wireless networks.

With the way both of these services are growing, I happen to think it's a good idea for a relatively small cost.

Re:It's too early. (4, Informative)

Megane (129182) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790124)

And it's even better than that, because the digital signal can be used on adjacent channels. With the exception of 6-7 and 13-14, how many analog stations in your area are on adjacent channel numbers? Ever wonder why? Because analog needs channel separation.

Right now I can tell you that there probably ARE adjacent channels in your area, you just don't know about them because they're in digital, and even if you can receive them, they tell your TV set to show a different channel number.

So we lose 25% of the channels to the spectrum auction, but can use twice as many of the ones that are left. (That's not exactly true, because 2-6 are apparently not good for digital, so we lose a bit more than 25%.) Digital is also better about geographic distance between transmitters on the same channel.

Re:It's too early. (1)

StormyWeather (543593) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790106)

It's possible that the spectrum being freed is far more valuable than the subsidy. Of course possible means congress will fuck it up and lose money on both :).

The poor (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21789626)

There are more people living under poverty line in the states than in any other civilized country... Roughly 1/3 of the Americans are so poor that they will have problems purchasing a new television.

Re:It's too early. (3, Informative)

NorQue (1000887) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789854)

Erm, you misunderstood. You don't need a "digital" TV as in LCD or Plasma. Any old CRT will do. You'll just need a receiver that's capable of receiving digital television, since the analog one that's built into most old TVs won't work anymore. These are available in any store that sells electronics for a few bucks. Here's [amazon.com] a cheap one from Amazon.

$50 is not "a few bucks" (1)

Secrity (742221) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790090)

That converter is about $50 with delivery; and it is from a third party with a miserable 75% positive rating. For many people in the US, $50 is a substantial amount of money; and a 75% positive rating is the shits.

Re:It's too early. (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789930)

You can get SDTV CRT TVs for around $150-200 with ATSC tuners (these aren't HD but they do display the same feeds either scaled down or using an alternative SDTV stream), so there's no necessity to replace your 25" analog with an expensive 32" LCD TV either.

Re:It's too early. (1)

Da Web Guru (215458) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789934)

It's not like people need 14 months to save up for a digital TV. A 'good enough' off-brand 32" TV runs $700 now, and it'll probably be more like $500 later.

Not everyone has access to enough disposable income to buy an HDTV. For many people, $200 is too much to spend on a TV. Even on sale a 19" HDTV starts off around $250, and is usually closer to $300. Maybe by the time the changeover comes around they will be down to under $200, but that would still be pushing it for some lower income people.

Re:It's too early. (1)

Secrity (742221) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789942)

For many people, $500 or $700 may as well be $10,000 -- they simply don't have that kind of money to spend on a TV; especially when it is to replace a TV that was perfectly adequate until US government regulations turned it into a vacuum filled brick.

Will Circuit City and Best Buy be giving away subsidized converters that allow people to view digital signals on their perfectly good, but soon to be obsoleted TVs?

Re:It's too early. (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790060)

Will Circuit City and Best Buy be giving away subsidized converters that allow people to view digital signals on their perfectly good, but soon to be obsoleted TVs?
The U.S. government will be giving away coupons good for up to $40 off the price of a converter.

Re:It's too early. (1)

Jewfro_Macabbi (1000217) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790004)

Certainly, Everyone has a spare $500 dollars to spend on a new TV. I know I know - everyone expects a subsidized conversion box. Yes, the government has been very thorough in it's previous assistance programs...

January 2009?!?! (1)

krischik (781389) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790022)

Wow - in germany we did the switch over several years ago. What is it with the US? I thought you are at the forefront of technologie. But no:

Your mobile phone are so far behind time that you think the iPhone is God's gift to mankind.
You think that 35 mpg is an impossible to meet target for fuel economy - in 12 years that is.
And now: your TV system is several years behind as well.

No not forefront at all - hobbeling behind is more like it.

Martin

Not a big deal, still 14 months away (1)

ThreeGigs (239452) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789562)

There's still another holiday shopping season, and another 'Superbowl'(can I legally say that word anymore?) TV buying season between now and then. I'm sure you'll be seeing lots of advertising starting next November about the upcoming cutoff. No reason to buy a TV now when the one you've got is working, and will continue to receive for the next 14 months.

If only... (4, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789586)

I wish we'd done away with interlacing when the HD standards were being written.

-jcr

changeover (1)

tatermonkey (1199435) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789620)

This may be a stupid question. But I have direct TV, do I already have a digital reciever?

Re:changeover (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21789672)

Probably, but what does it matter?

If your receiver is EOL'd by DirecTV, they'll replace it. There's no pressing issue for satellite and cable providers. Nothing is going to affect them.

Re:changeover (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21789674)

No. Apparently yours is flesh and your sitting on it.

The Oddest thing (4, Interesting)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789680)

I haven't checked lately but I believe they are still selling analog TVs at a lot of places. I know I saw some over the summer. I'm sure the salesmen aren't exactly pointing out the fact the TV will go dark unless you get an expensive converter box in 18 months. They should have been phased out less than 24 months before the switch over and 36 months would have been better. I can see a sudden influx of TVs into the local landfill with a disturbing number fairly new. It may have been well intended but it's hardly eco friendly making a large number of electronics into very large paperweights overnight.

Re:The Oddest thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21789748)

that's why they are selling digital boxes with analog output for your current TV

m10

Re:The Oddest thing (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21789842)

Those "Analog" TVs you refer to must be capable of receiving over-the-air (OTA) digital signals (as of March 2007). They are Standard Definition TVs, capable of decoding OTA ATSC signals.

Remember everyone, Digital TV != High Definition TV.

That being said, I have not seen how these Standard Def TVs handle High Def content. When the programming switches to a 16:9 image (think prime-time), is it displayed letterbox on SDTVs, or are the sides chopped off?

Re:The Oddest thing (2, Informative)

tech_guru5182 (577981) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789886)


"That being said, I have not seen how these Standard Def TVs handle High Def content. When the programming switches to a 16:9 image (think prime-time), is it displayed letterbox on SDTVs, or are the sides chopped off?"

Yes. There is usually a menu for your preference. There is also usually a 3rd option - stretch to fit.

How does your 16:9 TV handle 4:3 content? You are likely to see the same options.

Re:The Oddest thing (2, Informative)

Ricin (236107) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789938)

16:9 and HD are not really related. Our (LCD) TV is SD but it switches to 16:9 whenever a real 16:9 signal is detected (it's just an extra voltage ramp-up somewhere), for letterbox you can select the best fit from several zoom-like functions (and 14:9 as well as good ol 4:3). The incoming signal is just (analog) cable.

What's tauted as "HD-ready" often means just that I think, that it can do 16:9.

Re:The Oddest thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21789962)

"touted"

Re:The Oddest thing (1)

NorQue (1000887) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789884)

You're also mixing up two technologies. Replacing CRT Televisions with LCDs/Plasma isn't what's meant here. You can still use them with whatever signal you prefer. Most people will get DVB-S or DVB-C anyways (digital video via Satellite or Cable), which you always needed a converter for. "New" is that most TVs don't have a decoder built in for digital video via terrestrial signal anymore (DVB-T), like they had when it was analog. So you'll have to buy an external one.

Re:The Oddest thing (1)

krischik (781389) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790100)

Most people will get DVB-S or DVB-C anyways (digital video via Satellite or Cable)

I have seen the opposite (US is not the first country to switch): My Father terminated his cable TV and went to all DVB-T instead.

Martin

Re:The Oddest thing (2, Interesting)

Da Web Guru (215458) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789910)

Most stores that sell electronics are still selling analog TVs. Most of them have the little cards in front of the TVs warning people about the switchover. Unfortunately, there are still some stores without the warning cards, and even the stores that have the cards only put out a very small sign with very small print. The warnings are easily overlooked by someone not looking for them (but then again, if you are looking for the cards then you already know about the changeover).

Oddly enough, I've even seen those warning cards on regular DVD players that don't even have a tuner in them...

Re:The Oddest thing (1)

AB2RC (847282) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789988)

Oddly enough, I've even seen those warning cards on regular DVD players that don't even have a tuner in them...
Those are probably warnings that the rf modulator in them won't work with the new digital tvs

Re:The Oddest thing (3, Interesting)

whoop (194) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789920)

Perhaps you are not aware, but televisions can be used to view things besides OTA signals. Many households (even ones that cannot afford/want cable) have DVD players, VCRs, video game systems, etc. If people buy a new television, the old ones are far more likely to get relegated to such duties well before being tossed into the landfill.

Hell, the last few times I tried to put some electronic devices (broken dvd player, monitor that would not power on, etc) on the street for garbage pickup, it was snatched by someone driving past. So, not even that junk makes it to a landfill.

Re:The Oddest thing (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789946)

There are, they're sold with warning labels though. The FCC is steadily banning the sale of TVs without ATSC tuners based upon screen size - I can't remember what the maximum is now, but I know that you can't legally sell a new 30" TV with only an analog tuner.

Re:The Oddest thing (1)

krischik (781389) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790064)

The very same thing happened in germany as well. Even today several years after the switch over not all TV sold have DVB-T build in.

In fact most TV have multi system analog receivers which will work anywhere in the world - I guess there is just one production line for the whole world and the producers don't care that the receiver is not all that usefull in some countries.

Ok you can still use the analog receiver for analog cable TV - but that is not very helpfull either since DVB-T has almost as many channels as analog cable TV. That's why my Father terminated his cable TV subscription. DVB-T gives him all he needs.

Martin

Same in other countries ? (1)

DiSKiLLeR (17651) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789696)

I think its the same in other countries, too. People just aren't aware of it...

Not in all countries.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21789856)

The people of Sweden are probably aware of it, given that they shut down their old analog network over 2 months ago..

Re:Same in other countries ? (1)

Von Helmet (727753) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789990)

Wikipedia says that Finland switched off analogue TV on 1 September 2007. I guess everyone there is aware of it.

in Finland (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21789704)

We've already converted to digital. Many has cut of their TV contract. I never had one, and I woun't get one. Only crap on telly. Many agree and this worries TV companies as they see people abandoning TV.

Now is a good time to get rid of the TV.

m10

I am sick of this story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21789708)

This is crap. I am very aware of the switchover. But if I go to find out things like where I get the box there isn't any information. If I want the discount cards, they aren't available yet.

This type of story is what gets airplay when you have unlimited news outlets with nothing to say. And shame on slashdot for covering this non-story.

Big Govt (1, Interesting)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789722)

Why should the Govt be laying down rules about analog & digital broadcasting?
What next - govt mandating that photographic shops should stop developing analog
pictures & accept only customers with a digital camera?

Oh blow it out your ass (2, Insightful)

mr_matticus (928346) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789776)

It totally sucks that the government regulates things! Air traffic control? Psh. Waste of money. A road system that ensures transcontinental travel is always possible? Where did they get THAT power? Long distance electric transmission lines? Let the flooded cities do without power! They can just rebuild their shit--without power!

Christ.

You act like designating sections of the spectrum for certain uses, which is in EVERYONE'S benefit, is some arbitrary intrusion into your bedroom. Digital cameras don't transmit high power EM energy across dozens of square miles.

Re:Big Govt (3, Informative)

KC9AIC (858812) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789784)

The difference is that analog and digital photographs can coexist in the same world rather easily. The main reason that the government is pushing the switch to digital TV is spectrum conservation. Since DTV uses less radio spectrum than analog, we can have the same number of channels taking up less space, which allows for the big 700 MHz spectrum auction that we've been hearing about (and that Google is interested in).

Re:Big Govt (1)

Rosyna (80334) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789912)

Digital cameras don't transmit high power EM energy across dozens of square miles.


Uhm, mine do.

Unfair subsidies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21789794)

As a student overseas, I'm slightly annoyed with the notion that Congress will subsidize TV equipment that I can't use, but will not subsidize a radio, computer or telephone that I *could* use. Harrumph!

This is a money grab, pure and simple (4, Informative)

ahodgkinson (662233) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789812)

I'm not sure how many people remember the wheeling and dealing associated with the first major attempt, in Europe, to sell cable TV. The basic plan was that various media companies attempted to buy up all the Formula One and premier football (i.e. soccer) broadcast rights and then only deliver the programs via cable TV. This was to force people to buy cable TV and set top boxes. In the end it didn't work too well. (Can anyone provide any links to pages that describe this?)

Now we're having digital TV rammed down our throats. This time with the help of the government. TV and electronic shops are jumping for joy, and of course the cable companies are rubbing their hands in glee. The poor consumer is having to buy lots of new equipment and most likely a more expensive cable subscription too.

Here in Switzerland the switch over well under way. Terrestrial (air) broadcast of analog signals has stopped, and the cable companies are switching over too. The technique to 'encourage' their customers to switch to digital is to silently remove more and more of the non-major channels from the analog offering, while offering balkanized digital 'packages' that end up a higher monthly cost if you want to duplicate the same selection channels you had before.

To the yuppies and the technically competent this is probably a relatively small inconvenience. But I wonder about the poor and older generation, who are essentially having a perfectly acceptable analog service taken away from them.

Compare the introduction of digital TV with that of color TV. Color TV was introduced in the early 60s and you could still use and buy new black and white TVs well into 80s. While I'm not asking for a backwards compatibility, I would appreciate it if a similarly long switch over period would be given.

Re:This is a money grab, pure and simple (1)

NorQue (1000887) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789902)

Come on, that's hysterical. These receivers cost very little, in the range from 30 to 100 EUR at most.

Another use for piracy. (1)

NanotechLobster (866263) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789824)

Hopefully this will spur those people to ditch TV altogether and download their favorite shows. Yarr me hearties.

Excuse to sell HDTVs? (5, Interesting)

mikeboone (163222) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789880)

I spoke to a couple of my older relatives who were under the impression that everyone had to buy an HDTV because of this switch to digital. I think they were fed this idea by TV salespeople. If that's true, it's dishonest way to sell TVs to people who don't understand the technology.

Re:Excuse to sell HDTVs? (1)

NorQue (1000887) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789916)

Even here at Slashdot there are people having this strange idea. Look at these threads:

http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/12/22/0657258
http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/12/22/0657258

Get rid of your television and wake up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21789894)

Easy solution - don't replace them.

Having a television in the first place is like inviting a salesman into your house to tell stories and perform magic acts on condition that once every 15 minutes he has your permission to try to sell you something - except, of course, once inside your house, he will try to sell you something the whole time, stories or not.

Nobody thinks they're a sucker, but nevertheless you end up buying some of the things he tells you about - you sucker.

Dump your TV. Do something else with your time. You'll never look back.

Alternatively, you could just stay sitting on your fat backside and turn your brain off for the rest of your life - that'd be easier at least.

Digital TV sucks (4, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21789924)

At least with an analog tv if you have a crappy antenna you get some snow or other interference and the program is still watchable. With Digital TV you get big pixel blocks and sound cut-out that makes the program completely unbearable to watch. That's progress for ya.

TVs themselves dont cost much (2, Insightful)

MSDos-486 (779223) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790002)

I'm seeing alot of people throughing around high prices for TVs. First of all poor people can have TVs too, they may be 10 year old TVs but TVs none the less, TV sets are so commonplace there more or less free, if your not looking for anything fancy. Besides if all those media companies want there customers to keep watching why don't they just send them free converter boxes.

Irony (4, Insightful)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790008)

Picture quality improves... content degrades.

Who will be voted off the Island? As long as you keep watching, you are on the Island.

Clean air waves (1)

drewmoney (1133487) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790010)

On the bright side, this cuts down on some of the cancer causing airwaves, but I have a feeling this will cause the return of Max Headroom.
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