Saturday, November 05, 2005

Digital TV

An article on the AP wire states that: "The Senate moved the digital TV transition one step closer to reality on Thursday, setting a firm date for television broadcasters to switch to all-digital transmissions. Lawmakers gave broadcasters until April 7, 2009, to end their traditional analog transmissions."

My first questions were "Why is the government concerned with this? Why would they create such a mandate?" The answer seems plausible: "The move to all-digital will free valuable radio spectrum, some of which will be allocated to improve radio communications among fire and police departments and other first responders."

However, tucked in this article is a disturbing note: "The bill also would provide $3 billion to help millions of Americans buy digital-to-analog converter boxes for their older television sets — so those consumers will continue to receive a signal once the switch is made permanent."

What the? So, let me get this straight. Pass the No Child Left Behind Act, which creates mandates for education, yet provide no extra funds to the states to help with compliance. Then pass the "Digital TV Act," which mandates digital TV transmissions, then provide $3 billion dollars...SO PEOPLE CAN WATCH TV.

If you have a strong stomach, read the article here.


Jim said...

I agree this is sad. Wow! We actualy agree. By the way, good seeing you today. The socom 3 game with headset is on ebay. Looks like about 30-45 dollars will get you the combo. Good deal considering I paid 50 for the game and 20 for the headset. Search ebay for socom 3 with headset.

Jake Dunkin said...
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Ken said...

That just seems like craziness to me and another example of excess government intrusion. It does seem like it would be chaos for radio and TV frequencies not to be regulated by our government, but a legal requirement for TV to be broadcase in a certain way seems overly intrusive. I would imagine that the only way something like that could pass as law would be if it included a big slice of pork. 3 Billion, you say? Well there it is!

Jake Dunkin said...

I actually wrote a research paper on this very subject back in the mid 1990s.
Initially, the top 15 markets in the US were to be providing digital broadcasting to the public within a 10 year time frame. (it was not met) The big problem was that it had yet to be decided on what that really meant. Did it mean High Definition or did that mean just digital? Ok... just digital, they decided. Next hurdle... what is the standard for digital broadcast? 525 interlaced scan-line? Progressive scan like computer monitors? How about 1050 scan-line? How about 1280? These questions started all kinds of jockeying by the major television manufacturers. (All of which are non-American) SO... another dilema. Should the new standard for DTV give a US manufacturer a "leg up" over foreign competitors? Then in starts to get really complicated, so I won't go into it.
The short of it is, how do they keep us consumers consuming and still make the switch. Let's face it, I'm sure that the elite in this nation are more concerned that their companies meet the quarterly performa goals than whether NCLB gets the funding that it requires so that kids can actually meet the rediculous standards set by the gov't. Yes. SAD. They also realize that by freeing up all that bandwith will create a flurry of neo-tech industries that can use that resource for commerce, hence pouring millions of dollars into the pockets of investors. The airwaves are public domain, but I see the end of that as gov't sets requirements that only the huge, corporate, broadcasting monsters can afford to meet. It's a perfect example of our gov't feeding the corporate beast. (and the beast loves pork)
The bottom line is, well... The Bottom Line.

Jim said...

What I can't stand is our local Fox. They have a digital signal(not HD) and don't have enough power so I can't get it OTA in Mead. I am ok with any choice a business makes but they are protected by local tv laws. I am forced to watch my fox via standard def. I hate this. Why are they protected? I called them for a waiver so I could then get a national fox feed. The response the TV manager gave me was HD consumers were too small in numbers to justify the HD converison. Which is fine but why am I forced to watch their Tv station then. You don't want to reach me as a viewer then I will go to a fox station that does. Yet they are protected.