10 June, 2008

Are you Ready for DTV?

In another example of the government knowing better than we do, if you use an antenna to watch TV, you won't be able to watch TV after 17 February 2009. (Even sooner, if you live in Wilmington, NC. That is the test market, and will go strictly digital in September this year.)

The FCC has mandated that on that date, all full power over the air TV broadcasts be exclusively broadcast in digital format.

It seems that the government has mandated that everyone abandon the analog frequencies and equipment.

Now, in their bottomless well of compassion, the government has graciously arranged for each household to receive as many as 2 coupons to offset the cost of a set-top digital converter box. Each coupon is valued at $40. Converter boxes cost around $50 or more, so we are still going to have to pay for them.

If you subscribe to cable or a satellite service, you won't be effected by this change. These types of services are already digital.

There have been several commercials on TV lately advising the public of the change. They tell people to go to or for more information and to get the vouchers.

They have been doing a good job of educating the TV watching public that the change is coming, but not such a good job of saying why the change is being required. There may be a perfectly logical reason that this is being implemented, but I really don't know what it is.

Now, don't get me wrong.. Digital is a better technology than analog.. whether it is TV, cell phones or whatever.. but let's be honest. It should be a decision made by the consumer market. If the networks want to go all digital, than they can. The industry will make the transition, just like we did from VHS to DVD, and from clunky analog cell phones to the sleek ones we now use.

I just think that the government should stay out of our living rooms.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I am the only happy tennis player in San Diego County because I actually got to watch the men's final of the US Open Tennis tournament on TV in real time. San Diego's CBS affiliate chose to show regularly scheduled soap operas and talk shows instead of the tennis. (That included cable and satellite broadcasts as well.) But I already have one converter box and it was shown live on DTV. Many people tried to watch it on their computers but gave up for various reasons. So many people complained that they rebroadcast it a week later in the middle of the night. Everyone already knows the score so I'll bet nobody watched or bothered to tape it.
I'm sorry I didn't buy the 2nd converter box and cancel my satellite service on the main TV. Because we live between SD and LA we have never received decent local broadcast coverage through an antenna in the attic and it was only 2 years ago that we were actually able to get it through the satellite. So at this point I am happy with the one show I have watched on DTV. Aunt Kathy