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Official DTV Converter Box Coupons for Americans

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the please-define-boondoggle dept.

Television 375

Ant writes "The official Digital Television/DTV Converter Box Coupon Program is now online. Congress created it for households wishing to keep using their analog TV sets and use over-the-air antennae to get TV feeds. After February 17, 2009. The Program allows American households to obtain up to two coupons, each worth $40, that can be applied toward the cost of eligible converter boxes. A TV connected to cable, satellite, or other pay TV service does not require a TV converter box from this program."

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official religious zealot crusader box available (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21881122)

wouldn't want to miss a minute of that. we might have a clear thought & become afraid.

just follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn. anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071229/ap_on_sc/ye_climate_records;_ylt=A0WTcVgednZHP2gB9wms0NUE [yahoo.com]

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A [nytimes.com]

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in.

for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it?

we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying [google.com]

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster.

meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);
http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html [cnn.com] [cnn.com]

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'.

the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way.

the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc....

as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US;

gov. bush denies health care for the little ones

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html [cnn.com]

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html [cnn.com]

& pretending that it isn't happening here

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece [timesonline.co.uk]
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

Finally! (1)

willbry (1209876) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881136)

I've been tracking this and other details related to the DTV transition for several months now on my blog - williambryson.blogspot.com [blogspot.com] .

There were problems with the site yesterday morning (1/1), but it appears to be working fine now.

Talk about government waste all you want, the alloted money is going fast.

Re:Finally! (3, Insightful)

punterjoe (743063) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881180)

Yeah, it's going almost as fast as free cheese :)
I'm glad that some steps are being taken - however bureaucratic & ineffective it may turn out to be, to address the turmoil that will be caused by the shutdown of analog broadcasting in 13 months.
My big concern is that the people this program is designed for are the ones least likely to know about it. Maybe the FCC should require public svc announcements on analog TV stations pushing the toll free number instead of the website. Actually, I hope the phone application doesn't require touchtones, since I suspect that even that low bar may exclude the ones who will be most affected by the analog shutdown.

Re:Finally! (4, Interesting)

el_chupanegre (1052384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881212)

In the UK we've had public TV and radio ad's for months telling you about what you need to do when the changeover occurs, with a free number to call with questions. We don't get free coupons though.

Re:Finally! (0, Flamebait)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881376)

But you get free healthcare. And you've seen what that's worth.

Re:Finally! (2, Informative)

zebs (105927) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881402)

We don't get free coupons though.

Do you need them? You can get Freeview boxes for £20!

Re:Finally! (0, Troll)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881530)

And more than enough time to do the switch... It's been planned for years, surely you've bought a new TV or two in that time?
Anyone who bought an analogue only TV in the last few years should contact me, I have some analogue cellphones and 386 PC's for sale.

Re:Finally! (3, Informative)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881594)

It's been *planned* for years, but the compatible tuners have only been *required* in TVs imported/manufactured since March, 2007.

If you haven't bought a TV in the past 10 months and don't have cable, it's a crap shoot.

Re:Finally! (3, Informative)

Skater (41976) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881246)

Here in DC the local stations have all banded together to create commercial with the news anchors to let everyone know. There are something like 12 stations I think; even the Spanish stations are in it. Honestly, if they keep running that, it's hard to see how people could miss it. Remember the TV stations have a vested interest in keeping people watching.

Re:Finally! (4, Interesting)

willbry (1209876) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881560)

I think if more people in the US knew what they could get for free, they'd be all over this. I was amazed, after cancelling cable and living on 2-3 analog broadcast television for a few months, that I could get 30+ crystal clear channels over-the-air. Sure, I miss the daily show, but it's not worth $45/month or so that cable charges.

I'll stick with free, over-the-air digital television as long as it is available, and keep blogging about it.

williambryson.blogspot.com [blogspot.com]

Re:Finally! (0, Flamebait)

spamking (967666) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881258)

Talk about government waste all you want.


Government waste? Didn't congress decide to make the switch to DTV? Since they did, I can see them offering to help folks with the transition.

http://www.dtv.gov/consumercorner.html#faq1 [dtv.gov] - Congress mandated that February 17, 2009 would be the last day for full-power television stations to broadcast in analog.

Realistically, how many people don't already subscribe to satellite TV or already have digital cable?

Re:Finally! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21881306)

Realistically, how many people don't already subscribe to satellite TV or already have digital cable?

If you're even asking that question, it shows that you are either unaware of or totally ignore an entire segment of the population.

Re:Finally! (3, Interesting)

rjune (123157) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881506)

I guess I'm one of those who fall into that group. I'm not a technophobe, we have Road Runner for high speed access and I have an extensive home network set up with wired and wireless connections. I could not do my job with a computer. However, Cable or satellite TV is a massive time sink and we (my family and I) have better things to do: Some of them: Read books (lots of books for the kids), play outside in both neighborhood sports and on organized teams, play and practice musical instruments, provide computer support for my son's school (currently we are converting the computer lab to thin clients), serve on a board that funds volunteer projects, serve in the AF Reserve, exercise, etc. etc.

We watch an hour or two of TV, ER and Mystery so we will need a converter. I suppose I'll buy a HDTV eventually, but like computers they are constantly getting faster, better, and cheaper. I'll wait for another couple of years.

I'm not saying there is anything wrong with cable or satellite -- if we had it I would park in front of the History Channel, it is just a matter of priorities.

Re:Finally! (1)

bwintx (813768) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881696)

Realistically, how many people don't already subscribe to satellite TV or already have digital cable?
There are many smaller towns whose cable providers currently don't even offer digital as an option; everyone receives 50 or 60 channels straight to the TV via coax with no STBs involved whatsoever. For such providers' customers, the next 13 months may be very interesting -- in the "Chinese curse" sense of that word.

Interesting, how? (2, Interesting)

Zak3056 (69287) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881836)

If everyone is receiving analog cable using analog TVs... exactly how is this a problem? Cable companies are unaffected by the end of analog broadcast transmissions (cause, you know, "cable" companies send their signals via cable, and not over the air.)

Re:Finally! (1)

jargon82 (996613) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881852)

I don't, nor do wish to. All 3 TV shows that I actually watch are freely available over the air, and I have no interest in giving up more of my family time to the TV.

Re:Finally! (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881422)

RE:["Talk about government waste all you want, the alloted money is going fast."]

i wonder how many people with a basic cable subscription & a analog TV are getting one too that don't really need one, i was discussing this with my mom a few days ago and she was concerned and wanted to get one, i told her since she has a cable connection and not an antenna for picking up broadcasts over the airwaves that she did not need one, and also i talked with the cable tv provider and they said that analog TV will continue over cable...

A novel concept... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21881540)

Let the signal go dark and give up TV altogether. This is probably the best thing ever to hit the airwaves. Analog, Digital, or HD crap is still the same -- crap.

*Don't* invest in DTV equipment or accept DTV coupons. Get out of the house and enjoy *real* life.

That's what I plan to do.

DTV -- Just say no.

Re:A novel concept... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21881640)

*Don't* invest in DTV equipment or accept DTV coupons. Get out of the house and enjoy *real* life.
yes...like slashdot

Coupons expire 90 days after issuance (5, Informative)

plate_o_shrimp (948271) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881550)

Don't know if it's buried in the fine print somewhere else on the website, but after you request one, you're told that it will be mailed and that it's valid for 90 days from the date of issuance....

Re:Finally! (-1, Flamebait)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881700)

Talk about government waste all you want, the alloted money is going fast.

Great! I love when my tax dollars go to important shit like helping fat asses buy new TVs.

I'm sure glad Big Brother knows best, otherwise I would've spent that money on something *I* found important instead.

Re:Finally! (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881858)

I love when my tax dollars go to important shit like helping fat asses buy new TVs.

The government is making $Billions auctioning off the old analog TV spectrum. The money to subsidize these boxes is coming from that windfall, not from your tax dollars. And the purpose of this program is to compensate fat asses for the inconvenience and expense of the government breaking their *old* TVs, not to help them buy new ones.

sarcasm (1)

jmickle (941634) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881138)

sweet.... digital pr0n from the government.....

Re:sarcasm (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881614)

sweet.... digital pr0n from the government.....

If you want to see a roomful of political whores, just turn on C-Span. If you don't have cable, just watch the evening news. Actually the evening news is better because you get to see political whores from all over the world fuck the people they're supposed to be representing!

-mcgrew

OK now I feel bad. I inadvertantly insulted My Friends, the Whores [slashdot.org] with this comment.

Hacking potential (0, Offtopic)

dattaway (3088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881154)

Will it run Linux?

Re:Hacking potential (1)

BobPaul (710574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881260)

Depends on which one you get.

Re:Hacking potential (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881634)

Don't you mean "will Linux run IT?" (Not in Soviet Russia it won't)

From a UK perspective (1, Informative)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881156)

all I can say is "Welcome to 2001!".

However, I understand there's some difference (apart from just NTSC/PAL) between Europe and US.

Over here, televisions with built-in cable decoders do not exist. Your cable company provides you with a set top box which does the decoding. Same thing's true of satellite TV. We've started switching over to digital - at least one area has had the analogue TV signal switched off altogether - and set top boxes to decode a digital signal have been on the market for some time.

Interestingly, televisions without inbuilt digital decoding are still on the market today - though I can't think why.

Re:From a UK perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21881186)

Interestingly, televisions without inbuilt digital decoding are still on the market today - though I can't think why

Most likely because they still had them in inventory, and rather than spending the $ to retrofit them with digital tuners, they can sell them, AND sell a digital tuner for even more money.

Re:From a UK perspective (4, Interesting)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881220)

We've started switching over to digital - at least one area has had the analogue TV signal switched off altogether - and set top boxes to decode a digital signal have been on the market for some time.
Sweden turned off the last analog signal a few months ago.

Interestingly, televisions without inbuilt digital decoding are still on the market today - though I can't think why.
Many people live in apartments where the landlord does the decoding, or they already use a satellite receiver which also decodes to analog. The remaining market that only uses DVB-T is actually pretty small, estimates put it at around 30% of the total market (in Swede, YMMV).

Re:From a UK perspective (2, Interesting)

Jon_S (15368) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881446)

Yeah, but then again, you have to remember that Sweden, _successfully_ , switched [volvoclub.org.uk] from driving on the left side of the street to driving on the right side of the street on one day in 1967. I think the swedes are just a little more organized and tuned in.

I predict a lot "WTF!" from a lot of people in the US come Feb. 2009

(signed, American of Swedish descent)

Re:From a UK perspective (1)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881290)

"Interestingly, televisions without inbuilt digital decoding are still on the market today - though I can't think why."

I can tell you why; because people like me buy them. I live in an area that just can't get a digital signal. If I bought a non-analogue tv then I just wouldn't be able to use it. I'd like to get a set top box but that's out of the question. It wouldn't be so bad but I live in the middle of england (actually not too far from the exact center), they don't even have a date when it might work!

Re:From a UK perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21881338)

I don't believe anyone is selling digital only TVs (although I'm ready to be proved wrong). TVs with digital tuners built in also handle analogue TV. I wouldn't buy an analogue only TV any more, even if I currently couldn't receive digital TV.

Re:From a UK perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21881476)

Interestingly, televisions without inbuilt digital decoding are still on the market today - though I can't think why.

Because it's a lot cheaper to buy an analog set and a converter box than the equivalent sized digital TV, so there's still some customer demand?

Re:From a UK perspective (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881662)

Interestingly, televisions without inbuilt digital decoding are still on the market today - though I can't think why.

Because it's a lot cheaper to buy an analog set and a converter box than the equivalent sized digital TV, so there's still some customer demand?
I know it's popular for the tv industry to conflate the two in advertising, but don't confuse digital tuners with HDTVs. You can buy the latter that's lacking the former, oddly enough.

I hope I can find a decent dtv capture card to put in my mythbox before comcrap decides to go digital-only...

Re:From a UK perspective (1)

bongomanaic (755112) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881478)

Interestingly, televisions without inbuilt digital decoding are still on the market today - though I can't think why
Because they are often cheaper than TVs with digital decoders, and just as good for those of us who live in areas that won't be getting DTT for many years yet.

Re:From a UK perspective (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881514)

Interestingly, televisions without inbuilt digital decoding are still on the market today - though I can't think why.

Because cable transmission is still mostly analogue, like in Germany for instance.

CC.

Great if you can get the braodcasts. (2, Interesting)

COMICAGOGO (1055066) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881162)

I have had a digital tuner for about two years now. I was really jazzed when i heard that the networks were going to start transmitting in digital and/or HD. I ran out got the tuner for my HDTV and waited for something to watch. To date the only channels i get are the two OPB (Oregon public Broadcasting) channels. I have looked into it and from what I have heard none of the other networks plan on upgrading the transmission equipment in the area. So, it looks like I will not have anything to watch even after 2009. Anyone else have this problem in rural areas?

Re:Great if you can get the braodcasts. (1)

UserChrisCanter4 (464072) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881214)

The reason the government is giving out these coupons is because as of February 17, 2009, all full-power stations must transmit in digital only. Full-power stations are basically any of the ones you'd actually want to watch; community access stations are generally the only ones that wouldn't qualify as full power.

Are you sure you aren't confusing the lack of HD broadcasts in your area (720p. 1080i) for a lack of digital broadcasts (480i/480p)? I know plenty of rural folks who are able to pick up digital programming from their majors already.

Re:Great if you can get the braodcasts. (1)

COMICAGOGO (1055066) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881460)

Yes, NBC, CBS, ABC, etc do not yet transmit in digital here. They all share one tower up on the top of the one of the local mountains. I don't know who owns the tower, but I believe it is a private venture, as we all keep getting letters threatening to cut off service if we don't all pay fees to the owners. I go up there all the time in the summer and the thing looks like it has been sitting waiting to fall apart for about 40 years. the public station (PBS aka OPB/Create) Is actually the only one that has put any money into the area in recent years. they built a brand new tower and installed quite a large roomful of networking equipment at the local university.

Re:Great if you can get the braodcasts. (1)

UserChrisCanter4 (464072) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881778)

Wow, that's atrociously bad. I know people in the middle of nowhere, places where they have to have PO Boxes separate from their actual addresses, and they still get most channels in digital. I guess something big will likely happen for you before February '09, unless that decrepit tower serves such a small area that they can legitimately crank the power down and slide under the requirement.

Re:Great if you can get the braodcasts. (1)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881770)

I have looked into it and from what I have heard none of the other networks plan on upgrading the transmission equipment in the area.

Well, I can assure you that either they will upgrade their transmission equipment to do digital broadcasts or they will shut down the stations. There won't be any more analog broadcasting after Feb. 17, 2009. Do note that many people confuse digital broadcasting with high definition and they are very different. The digital TV standard used in the USA, ATSC, supports non-high definition broadcasts, so going to all digital broadcasts does not in any way require that these broadcasts be in the high definition resolutions of 720p or 1080i.

Talk about Holy Things (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21881174)

TV clearly is a holy thing for americans, as their government stoops down to socialism to ensure continued television zombiehood.

Re:Talk about Holy Things (2, Interesting)

ettlz (639203) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881228)

Yeah, um, I can't understand this. The USA resists things like a national health service — yet the Government is handing out coupons for digital set-top boxes?! Shurely shome mishtake. I mean, here in the UK we've got loads of the things going cheap (as low as £20 a shot), but no coupons... (I think it's like you said. Keep the hoards exposed to the fnords.)

Re:Talk about Holy Things (1)

galadran (1099427) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881268)

Us in the UK do get coupons. I live in Cumbria, England and we've had our analogue switched off completely! Everyone I know has got them!!

Re:Talk about Holy Things (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881320)

We get coupons? Where? The Digital UK [digitaluk.co.uk] site makes no mention of them. The only people I can imagine getting coupons are people over 75 who already get free TV licenses.

Not that it actually makes much difference to me. Our reception was so poor (even on terrestrial, never mind our old Freeview box) that we moved to Sky and got a minimal package with the broadband included for about the same as we were paying for broadband on its own.

Re:Talk about Holy Things (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21881448)

Yeah, um, I can't understand this. The USA resists things like a national health service -- yet the Government is handing out coupons for digital set-top boxes?!


Because $80 per household has much less of an economic impact compared to spending billions of dollars on a new healthcare system. The effects of the two subjects are so vasty different that it is absurd to mention them in the same sentence.

subsidized healthcare != subsidized television converters

principle is the same (2, Insightful)

misanthrope101 (253915) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881584)

Either "the government doing stuff for people" is creeping socialism, or it isn't. Government paying for healthcare costs (via the taxpayer dime, naturally) is resisted by the right not on grounds of cost, but on grounds of "that isn't the government's business--the government should stay out of it!"

Bringing up farm subsidies and set-top TV boxes as a counterpoint to this, to highlight the politically-aligned selectivity of the objections is quite relevant. People who believe in small government believe in small government, and would object to this subsidy just as they would object to farm subsidies.

The problem is that many who claim to believe in small government don't really believe in small government. They just use the phrase to sloganeer against those programs they don't like, while being okey-dokey with government outlawing gay marriage and marijuana/prostitution, redefining torture, exempting the President from any and all laws, and and so on. Small government indeed.

Re:principle is the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21881716)

For some non-partisan data to put the situation into perspective using 'Bad Math' derived from the U.S. Census Bureau [census.gov] :

233,039,000 households x $80 = $18,643,120,000 for DTV converter box coupons

$95 billion in farm aid [washingtonpost.com]

Re:principle is the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21881850)

The problem is that many who claim to believe in small government don't really believe in small government. They just use the phrase to sloganeer against those programs they don't like, while being okey-dokey with government outlawing gay marriage and marijuana/prostitution, redefining torture, exempting the President from any and all laws, and and so on. Small government indeed.
By that reasoning, the true solution is a libertarian government with a true free market economy.

Which, sadly, no one seems prepared for.

Re:Talk about Holy Things (1)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881738)

Oh no! Socialized television! We're a bunch of dirty red commies!

Where's McCarthy when you need him... =)

Re:Talk about Holy Things (1, Troll)

megaditto (982598) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881398)

Well, that's in addition to the only three things that our government is currently subsidizing: the military, the high-fructose corn syrup producers/growers, and the labor costs for the high-tech companies. While this isn't perfect, it could be much worse.

I am sure in almost any other First/Second World country things are in fact much worse, and your govt also subsidizes your healthcare, your high school and college education, your low-tech and unskilled workers, your welfare bums, your media and TV companies, and so on.

See, there's a reason US of A is still number one.

Re:Talk about Holy Things (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21881582)

See, there's a reason US of A is still number one.

What, number one amongst the 3rd world nations?

Becuase that's the group the USA is in due to *not* having universal healthcare. Just about all other civilized nations who can afford it have some version of universal healthcare. Oh, and by the way, it's cheaper than allowing drug and health insurance companies etc. to rip off the entire nation with their cartels and patented drugs. So you could have universal healthcare of a reasonable standard and still have more money in your pocket. But that would be Communism! (Very strange though that most Americans who oppose universal healthcare don't oppose the government/state provision of education, roads, streetlighting etc. etc. - isn't that communism as well?)

Re:Talk about Holy Things (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881654)

Are you serious?

We are leading the World in terms of health-related research, new drug discoveries, successes in complex surgical procedures (such as multiple organ transplants, hearth surgery, brain surgery, etc.). What sucks is that we have to pay for the rest of the world as well since your socialist governments invest jack shit in research and the Americans foot that bill.

Also, guess why we only lost 3k soldiers in Iraq while the Russians lost 200k in Chechnya? Because our medics are so good that the wounded just don't die!

Re:Talk about Holy Things (1)

thrillseeker (518224) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881848)

there's a reason US of A is still number one

remanence

Re:Talk about Holy Things (0, Troll)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881812)

Socialism? WTF are you smoking? We are the most socially backwards nation in the industrialized world!

Smoking? Ok, I know wht you're getting your Rush [wikipedia.org] from. At any rate, since you apparently get all your news from the fox in the henhouse [wikipedia.org] , you wouldn't know that there is no more Public Aid. The entitlement Aid to Families with Dependant Children (AFDC) was shut down under the Clinton (D) administration. We now have Transitional Assistance for Needy Familiues (TANF) which is NOT an entitlement and has a two year limit, five years in a lifetime.

You might also know that also unlike any other undustrial nation, we don't have universal health care. The politicians are pushing for it, but guess what? The insurance companies who are the leeches at the heart of our health care woes are still in the game under plans by both wings of the Republicrat party. The Republican wing wants tax incentives and the Democrat wing wants expanded dcoverage to the poor who are called "lower middle class".

Anyone who thinks the US is Socialist is nothing short of a Facist.

-mcgrew

vcr timer recording? (2, Insightful)

jabberw0k (62554) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881196)

I ordered two coupons, one for my receiver set and one for my VCR.

Can anyone explain how the VCR's box is gonna know "record channel 10 at 8pm, and channel 12 at 10pm, and channel 15 at 2am" ??? Am I going to have to program the second decoder with parallel multiple programs to the VCR? Or will these boxes have time-programs?

Or does this kill multiple timed recording completely?

Re:vcr timer recording? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881266)

I've not owned a TV for a year or so, but the digital cable TV box I had a few years ago could be programmed to switch to a specific channel at a given time by selecting a program from the program guide.

Re:vcr timer recording? (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881344)

With our Freeview box (digital TV in the UK) we used to just have to make sure it was left on and on the correct channel. You may be able to set up an alarm for the program as well so that the digital box switches over (like someone else said) but the last time I tried one of those it popped up a box five minutes before the program started, which would make consecutive recording difficult.

It all depends on how you connect it to your VCR, though. If you connect from the digital box to the VCR with SCART then it'll have to be some form of channel changing on the digital box.

Re:vcr timer recording? (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881472)

With a bog standard VCR - you do not. With some of the higher end PVRs or with a media center box you can use the IR blaster to tell it to.

Re:vcr timer recording? (1)

Wildfire Darkstar (208356) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881568)

Newer VCRs and DVRs (reasonably priced models from the past ten years or so) have connections for RF transmitters that you can place next to the remote receiver of your decoder box. The VCR can use that to change channels in the same way it could if the connection was directly to the VCR itself. If it doesn't have that, you may be out of luck. Sorry.

Re:vcr timer recording? (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881830)

Huh? Plug the box into the VCR input and the VCR output to the TV input/antenna jack. Now go get a cup of coffee before we susppend your nerd license.

-mcgrew

PS: I'm hoping I get mine suspended this afternoon, wish me luck!

Getting the word out.. (4, Interesting)

s31523 (926314) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881232)

To request a coupon, consumers can apply online at www.dtv2009.gov. The government also has set up a 24-hour hotline to take requests, 1-888-DTV-2009 (1-888-388-2009).
I imagine that many people who need these boxes don't have internet access and will never see the phone number displayed anywhere, except the internet. Poor grandma will just see white fuzz on the morning of Feb. 18 2009 instead of The Price Is Right.

Re:Getting the word out.. (4, Funny)

linuxci (3530) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881276)

I imagine that many people who need these boxes don't have internet access and will never see the phone number displayed anywhere, except the internet. Poor grandma will just see white fuzz on the morning of Feb. 18 2009 instead of The Price Is Right.
But will she notice the difference?

Re:Getting the word out.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21881354)

Poor grandma will just see white fuzz on the morning of Feb. 18 2009 instead of The Price Is Right.

I expect the broadcasters will start broadcasting "you need a decoder box!" on the bottom of the screen on the analog signal at some point in time. If "poor grandma" turns on the screen on Feb 18, 2009 and gets nothing, that's her fault.

Re:Getting the word out.. (1)

dmatos (232892) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881800)

They've already started. Big, scary commercials about how your TV is going to stop working in 2009. There's a 1-800 number to call, as well as websites listed on the commercials. In fact, I think I saw one as I was watching The Price is Right the other day. And let me tell you, Drew Carey is no Bob Barker.

Ahh government incentives (4, Funny)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881234)

In other news, the price of converter boxes just went up by $40...

Re:Ahh government incentives (2, Insightful)

BobPaul (710574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881298)

Exactly my thought, but I don't think that'll be the real outcome. The price of these boxes is already $100+, which is too much IMHO for most consumers to purchase. With the forced shutoff of analog, demand increases and prices can reflect that. However, that also leaves lots of opportunity for someone to attempt to corner the market with a discount receiver. With or without the coupon, other manufacturers still need to compete with that guy.

What the coupon REALLY does is prevent the price from dropping below $40/unit.

Re:Ahh government incentives (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881774)

Doubt it, that's not how the market works. The seller is not interested where the buyer's money comes from. The buyer still wants to spend as little as possible, the seller still needs to compete against others who are willing to offer a lower price. The market will still work and drive down the price as a result. It gets interesting on the low end though: there is no benefit for the buyer to spend less than $40, and that could remove the incentive to drive the price down further than that. However the sellers will compete on features or come up with creative things like rebates or bundling the converter with "free" stuff.

Priorities? (3, Interesting)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881304)

In Finland we switched over to purely digital terrestrial broadcasting last year. And most people did indeed have to get a DVB-T STB (Set Top Box) in order to watch TV. Despite of this, the government did not subsidize this this switchover in any way. I find it almost sad that the United States government are willing to pay for something like this when Finland's (already broken) public healthcare system it still way better than it's US counterpart.

OK, so I might be trolling, but doesn't it say something about a society when TV is regarded as something important enough to subsidize? (Disclaimer: Finland has it's own equivalent to the BBC though, YLE.)

Re:Priorities? (2, Insightful)

Pensacola Tiger (538962) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881332)

Bread and circuses, just bread and circuses.

Re:Priorities? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21881456)

Yep. It's true, it's sad, and there's nothing we can do about it.

They want the spectrum (1)

IL-CSIXTY4 (801087) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881462)

The converter boxes are subsidized because the FCC mandated this switchover and set the timetable for it. They're the ones pushing for it because they want spectrum for emergency services and to auction off a chunk for mobile devices. I'm sure whatever the government is paying to subsidize these boxes will be made up for by what they get from Verizon, Sprint, et al.

Re:Priorities? (1)

niceone (992278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881494)

Switching to digital TV frees up spectrum, which the government can then sell - they should still make a profit even after subsidising the converters. If you look at it that way this is not a subsidy, it is compensation for them taking away the analog spectrum so they can sell it.

Re:Priorities? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881520)

In Finland we switched over to purely digital terrestrial broadcasting last year. And most people did indeed have to get a DVB-T STB (Set Top Box) in order to watch TV. Despite of this, the government did not subsidize this this switchover in any way.
Right. In the U.S., we've had over-the-air television in more or less its current form since around 1950 or so. Sure, we added color and all that crap, but there have always been the same "big three networks", (well, four now with FOX since the 1990s)

The reason the government subsidizes such things is quite simple: Americans have come to believe that television is some sort of 'right' and that they should be able to get it for free if they need to.

Now, most American households have cable or satellite in some form. Most of the people who don't are older people who are either on fixed incomes or are just so old-fashioned that they still have rotary telephones. (I personally know of at least a few people in the latter category and several more in the former).

So, the general prevailing consensus amongst the populace is that not subsidizing this move would be considered 'cruel to old people.'

Hmph. I disagree, but no one listens to me anyhow.

Subsidy, its a vote buy. (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881646)

This isn't a subsidy, its a vote buy.

Buying votes and getting people to turn to government. Yes it is only $80 or so.

Please quit trying to dismiss us as a society lost, the big thing wrong with the US is the government. Our society is just fine otherwise. The real sad thing is that the 2008 election won't change anything

Re:Subsidy, its a vote buy. (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881710)

Our society is just fine otherwise. The real sad thing is that the 2008 election won't change anything
Some would find these two statements to be contradictory.

Gotta get one for Dad (2, Interesting)

wiredog (43288) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881334)

He's 79, and doesn't watch much TV. Reads quite a bit, is into model railroading (HO Gauge, Western US, late steam era), does quite a bit on the PC (his first program was written in Fortran, on punch cards, in the 50's),hikes all over Utah, and takes lots of pictures with his digital camera.

He doesn't have time to watch TV, except at meals, when he watches the news.

Re:Gotta get one for Dad (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21881438)

Thanks for letting us know.

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21881348)

DTV converters have just increased by $40.

It's finally happened (5, Insightful)

theonetruekeebler (60888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881396)

Between agribusiness subsidies for corn and wheat growers (73% of which is done by a dozen companies and families) and now coupons to let people continue watching television (80% of which is controlled by a half-dozen companies), it's finally happened: The American Empire has entered its "Bread and Circuses" stage, and tax money is going directly into making its citizens sit on their asses watching television and eating Twinkies.

And a quick poll: How many of you think that the government issuing $40 coupons for converter boxes is going to raise the price of converter boxes by $40?

Re:It's finally happened (1)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881772)

I read somewhere that the anticipated price of the boxes will be around $50. If that's true, then $10 out of pocket is not bad/unreasonable. However, looking at BestBuy.com right now, the only dtv converter they have retails for $180. There's no way I'm spending $180-$40=$140x2=$280 to continue watching TV on my two sets. The whole point of over-the-air transmissions is to save a little money.

Has anyone heard if these converters will require another remote? Or will they remap the digital channels onto the analog ones so that you can use your TV's analog tuner to change channels? Another reason I don't have cable or satellite is that I don't like having to use two remotes to watch TV. One for volume and one to change channels is a real pain to me. (And yes, I have heard about universal remote controls.)

Re:It's finally happened (1)

Valar (167606) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881798)

Please. Every self respecting american plebian already has cable, possibly satellite, probably digital in either case. This only affects people who have been holding on to their rabbit ears and getting all the TV you can get for free. We entered the bread and circus stage a long time ago, and we did it voluntarily. In fact, we, as a populace, demanded it.

Re:It's finally happened (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21881802)

If someone is encroaching on a space, and vacating that space takes some money, and if that vacated space can then be sold for a much higher price than the amount required to vacate the place, would the money spent on vacating the space still be called a waste of the taxpayer money ?

This is exactly what is happening.

Re:It's finally happened (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881804)

Well. while I generally hate government meddling and the FCC, I have to give them kudos on this one (even if they're doing it for the wrong reasons). The U.S. *has* to be weened off the old NTSC analog system. And the market will never be enough to do that by itself without some prompting by the government. While the market may allow things like color television to come in (stuff that's backwards compatible with the old system) it would be virtually impossible to force television affiliates to upgrade to pricey new equipment and retailers/manufacturers to take the risky move of shifting over to a completely risky new format without at least the THREAT of government mandate.

So, while I generally oppose government action, I also don't want to be sitting here 50 years from now watching crappy NTSC broadcasts while the rest of the world laughs at us.

It's finally happened-Slashdot stops learning. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21881814)

"The American Empire has entered its "Bread and Circuses" stage, and tax money is going directly into making its citizens sit on their asses watching television and eating Twinkies. "

Apparently the stage you're in is no better. As has been mentioned often enough these coupons are being paid for from the spectrum auction proceeds.

Re:It's finally happened (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21881846)

Hate to tell you this, but we've been in our "Bread and Circuses" stage for quite a while now. When the signs of it become noticeable to the average person, it's because the decaying process is already well under way.

Hey Slashdot (0)

JayTech (935793) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881468)

Hey Slashdot, I think your forgot to clear your DIVs!

Re:Hey Slashdot (1)

JayTech (935793) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881482)

Just for clarification to the OT-trigger-happy, note the tag images to the right of the article text.

Can you say, "Rate Hike?" (0)

lionchild (581331) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881492)

A TV connected to cable, satellite, or other pay TV service does not require a TV converter box from this program.

Of course they don't. These companies will hike your rates to cover this cost for you. Comcast has already raised their rates by at least $1, one can only guess, in anticipation of having to go digital, and thus being required to provide converter boxes for a portion of their clients.

Re:Can you say, "Rate Hike?" (1)

myz24 (256948) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881542)

Take off your tinfoil hat, their customers do not require converter boxes because they'll still use the same cable coming into their houses. These converter boxes are for those using just OTA signals.

Re:Can you say, "Rate Hike?" (2, Informative)

stevenliv (1127811) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881586)

The upcoming digital transition will only affect those who watch OTA television channels with an antennae. The cable companies have no need to supply a converter box in anticipation of the digital transition. Cable systems are unaffected by the transition, and if the company offers it, cable users are free to connect the cable directly to their television sets, vcrs, dvrs, etc without the need for any converter box. However i don't doubt that somehow the cable companies saw this as an opportunity to raise rates, they always do.

They expire after 90 days! (5, Informative)

Megane (129182) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881496)

I've already heard on usenet that they expire after 90 days. If you don't think you'll buy a box (or even be able to find one) within 90 days, then WAIT before asking for coupons!

Re:They expire after 90 days! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21881732)

After you apply, you get this: "IMPORTANT: TV converter boxes are not expected to be available in retail stores until late February or early March. You will receive your Coupon(s) then. The Coupon will expire within 90 days from the date it is issued."

Re:They expire after 90 days! (2, Informative)

DataBroker (964208) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881754)

Per #13 under 'Using a Coupon' on their FAQ [dtv2009.gov]

Coupons expire 90 days after they are mailed. Each coupon has an expiration date printed on it.

How much do they cost? (1)

muftak (636261) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881552)

Can't you get a digital tv box for $40? In the UK you can get DVB-T boxes for £20, which is about $40, and things are generally cheaper over there.

Re:How much do they cost? (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881678)

I don't doubt that one could be made to sell for $40. A local store sells a 13" color TV, including digital tuner, for $80. I haven't seen any digital tuners in the stores, just complete television receivers.

Great News! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21881610)

Great News, now we can watch the glories achioevements of our dear leader in HD on our SD sets.

How else will we know what to think, and more importantly , what to consume.

It's great that we consumers have such forward thinking leaders, showing us the way to consumption.

CONSUME! CONSUME! CONSUME!

Re:Great News! (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881744)

Digital != HD, contrary to advertising hype conflating the two.

Digital = 1s and 0s
HD = Increased resolution.

AFAICT, you need a digital to transmit HD signals because of the increased bandwidth requirements, but having a digital signal does not imply you will be getting an HD signal.

Expensive solution to a government created problem (1)

stry_cat (558859) | more than 6 years ago | (#21881808)

Once again we have government having to spend money and create a bureaucracy to solve a problem it created. If they hadn't mandated the switch to this new TV transmission format, we wouldn't be faced with this problem of either having to buy an expensive new TV or be force steal from your fellow citizens and participate in this program. If this format was really that great the TV stations would have switched by themselves b/c its viewers would have demanded it. However I suspect most folks are like me and think the current picture delivered is quite exceptional quality. The only folks who really wanted this was the companies who make these new TVs.

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