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The Game Guy

"Steady stream of questions" as stations switch to DTV

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It appears that a few tv stations jumped the gun and made the digital switch even before the extension time.

 

http://tech.yahoo.com/blogs/patterson/38843

 

I am not sure if this was so wise, since there will be people who will be cut off who havent made the switch which means less people watching, which means less money for ads.

 

I could be wrong. What do you think?

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A mere year to undertake the minimal preparations to receive a digital signal?

I honestly think there will be those who will be cut off no matter what.

The transition has to happen and they just can't wait for the 5% of the populace who are the "Jerry Springer Show Guest" Americans.

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This all resulted from the federal government mandating that analog broadcasts cease (so that broadcasts are digital-only) by a certain date. But it is not just a switch from one to the other. They were allowed to overlap. All the broadcast stations in my area have been broadcasting on both analog and digital for many months now. The federal deadline, which has now been extended, was not ever to start broadcasting on digital, but it was to stop broadcasting on analog. Stations are free to stop broadcasting on analog anytime they want, and many have chosen to stop on the original transition to digital-only date.

 

There has been tons of federally demanded warnings, and it is making me sick. My cable provider has included a mandated warning in my bill for the past year, even though if you have cable it doesn't effect you. But TV commercial after commercial should have been enough to warn those people getting their TV from broadcast only. I wonder why the goverment is so overzealous about warning everyone about the switch. Do they fear a mass uprising by people that can't watch TV any more? Are their subliminal messages in TV broadcast to quell rebellions? I'm not usually that conspiracy-theory paranoid, but it is a mystery to me. How could anyone not know about by now? It doesn't seem possible.

 

Maybe it is all about the goverment trying to protect TV stations from income loss issues caused by sponsors that fear their commercial will be viewed by less people. So many things in life are all about the money. But if a station chooses to stop broadcasting in analog before required to stop by law, then they must not be too worried about the loss of sponsorship.

 

But I have no sympathy for the people who say they didn't know about the change and are crying because they didn't get a converter box by now so missed their favorite program. And in general I'm a caring, compassionate person. But for this, no sympathy at all. And for the people that have known for months and really can't afford to buy a converter box - hey, there are other things to do besides watch TV in life. Read a book. OK, I might have a little sympathy if you can't afford the converter and you're also illiterate.

 

But the bottom line is, everyone should have known by now. I wish they hadn't extended the deadline to stop analog broadcasting. I'm so sick of the commercials, and notices, and I don't even watch much TV. Ugh.

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Are there subliminal messages in TV broadcast to quell rebellions?

 

MiB control - one of the Earthlings is growing suspicious. Please advise as to most expedient method of containment!

 

Whill, that's a silly notion! Subliminal messages in the TV signal! What next? Hulu really is an alien plot to turn human minds to cottage cheese? Ridiculous!

 

MiB Control to L: Agents en route. Keep him talking...

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This all resulted from the federal government mandating that analog broadcasts cease (so that broadcasts are digital-only) by a certain date.

 

Yes, they mandated a switch. Unfortunately the twits in TV kept getting this date extended over and over and now idiots like Obama think TV is essential to get basic information like news that it was chosen to extend it yet again in the idiotic assumption that this would let the people who hadn't gotten one of the "free" converter boxes would do so.

 

The reality is that those getting Satellite or Cable won't be affected at all by this as they don't receive the local channels via over the air antennas. Those who haven't gotten a converter box or an HDTV still won't do so with the extension as they either don't know its coming (still) or won't do anything about it until the TV "breaks" and they're forced to divert the money (as they are living paycheck to paycheck).

 

I think the Brits did this right. They forced the switch on everyone without any delays or extensions and just dealt with the fallout (more sales of new TVs or converter boxes). That our government thinks that TV is now an "essential" item is absolutely ridiculous.

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I thought all those ads informing everyone about the switch to digital were being paid for by the stations that they played on. Some stations seemed to be playing those ads more than others, and if it was a government thing you'd think it'd be balanced. I assumed that some stations were worried that if their viewers didn't get a digital converter, then they might get cable or satellite and then wouldn't watch that station as much anymore.

 

I was going to get cable for my TV, but I decided to hell with television. It's just there to waste time when I'm too lazy to think of something better to do, which is just about anything other than watching TV. I can still play vids on my TV, and I've got the internet for information. Apart from these, summer is coming and the kids need to get outside and play. I think that the digital conversion is a blessing in disguise for everyone, because now they have an added incentive to go to the library, join a club, or play games with their friends more often.

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I think you may be right about the stations paying for the commercial. But it was the government that commanded the end of analog broadcasting, and extended the deadline. I guess I made an assumption that the government may be mandating the commercials, because my cable bill and phone bills both have had monthly messages for a year and have stated they were mandated by law.

 

Of course, I wouldn't notice the commercials being on one channel more than others because I don't watch that much TV. I watch The Universe on History and The Big Bang Theory on CBS. Now that I think about it, the commercials were mostly on the the big broadcast networks, and football season just ended. It seems to me now that I've seen most of the commercials for the deadline on CBS, FOX and NBC during football season. Yes, it is starting to make sense now...

 

I think you're right, Catstacker. The broadcast networks don't want people to get cable. They want people to get converter boxes so they will only continue to watch network TV. Cable does mean more choices, so less viewers for the networks. Mystery solved, but I'm still annoyed by all the commercials to get a box!

 

...

 

Thankfully I have a digital TV, so I can get HD digital broadcast channels at the same time as standard cable. My wife watches a lot more TV then I do though. My "TV" is the internet. :cool:

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I think that the digital conversion is a blessing in disguise for everyone, because now they have an added incentive to go to the library, join a club, or play games with their friends more often.

 

Amen, Cat.

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The broadcast networks don't want people to get cable. They want people to get converter boxes so they will only continue to watch network TV. Cable does mean more choices, so less viewers for the networks.

 

After further consideration, I think it is also possible that some broadcast networks also own or have business relationships with cable channels, so they may be happy with either solution: get a converter box or switch to cable. Which takes us back to the possiblity that the commercials may be goverment mandated on the broadcast networks, because the govement fears that society will break down if people can't get their "news" anymore.

 

Me personally, I don't watch the news because it is mostly bad news. I am a happier person for not watching the news. I am not ignorant to the reality that bad things happen in the world, but I just don't need to hear about it every night.

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They are just going to have to bite the bullet and make the switch. My pet theory about all the pushbacks and delays is based on the fears of politicians. I base this on the elderly being the demographic most likely impacted by the change. They are also traditionally the largest voting block. Suddenly making the TVs of millions of regular voting constituents go dark all at once is a potential for losing an election if your a congressman or senator. So they wiggle and finagle.

 

But then, maybe I am just jaded and suspicious of governments and their motives.

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The TV studios griped about the cost of the upgrades, so FCC pushed it back. Sales of new TVs weren't happening, so FCC pushed it back. Now we have a pres deciding to screw with it more because it is an "essential" thing... BS. How many of the "elderly" don't have cable or newspapers or, lord forbid, family to get information from...

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....How many of the "elderly" don't have cable or newspapers or, lord forbid, family to get information from...

 

I work with the elderly every day in the insurance industry. Trust me, there are many that simply will not get it. Some are tech savy and have kept up and have family that keeps them informed, but the number of curmudgeons who don't even try to keep up and are too stubborn to hear about anything new is staggering at times.

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I work with the elderly every day in the insurance industry. Trust me, there are many that simply will not get it. Some are tech savy and have kept up and have family that keeps them informed, but the number of curmudgeons who don't even try to keep up and are too stubborn to hear about anything new is staggering at times.

 

I didn't mean information about the upgrade, I meant information period (e.g. news of the day).

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How many of the "elderly" don't have cable or newspapers or, lord forbid, family to get information from...

 

The answer to that is unknowable, because this sort of person is hidden, uncommunicative, and alone. The number is probably heartbreakingly too high.

 

Imagine yourself retired at a pension that was meager before 30 years of inflation. Your house is paid for, but you have so little cash every month that you go out of your way to buy stale food. Maybe you have insurance to buy medication for an increasing list of ailments. Your children are busy with their own lives and might not be able or wanting to relate to you. Your spouse is dead. Most of your friends, or all of them, are also dead, and so are a succession of pets that you've loved over the years. You are full of memories of loss, and so are afraid of making new connections and risking their loss. It hurts whenever you move, so you move as little as possible, and you don't see or hear very well anymore. What do you do?

 

These folks watch TV, all day, every day. Free TV, that is being taken away because some committee decided that the economy would benefit if people bought new TVs and subscribed to cable TV, and freed up bandwidth for the cellphone companies. God bless progress, that grinds over the bones of our forbears.

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The over the air signals are still free. The converter boxes were essentially free ($50 with $50 rebate). They don't even have to change their physical TV. The problem is that TV is a very spectrum intensive signal and hasn't seen a change since the '40s. The same number of TV stations that broadcast could be fit into a much smaller spectrum doing this upgrade that is now nearing a decade overdue that frees up bandwidth for more applications than just cellphone companies.

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But try to explain that to someone whose mindset hasn't changed much since the 50's, which was the first (and last) time they had to figure out the TV. My grandmother still makes me set the clock on her VCR after the power's been out, and thinks I'm some sort of genius. It's for them that they had all those commercials, and the powers that be decided to give them a bit more time to adjust, or call their grandkids to hook up all those wires.:)

 

And harmyn is right, the elderly know how to use their electoral power. Funny that our generation has so much more communications sophistication but has lost the knowledge of how to organize politically.

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I am excited about the old air waves being bought by the Cell Phone companies who are going to use the much faster bandwidth for their broadband connections in the future.

 

The suffering for many of the techless people I feel for but this move is going to benefit millions in the long run. But those that simply do not get it or can't, I hope that someone out there can make sense of it all for them. The train is moving forward and someone needs to get them on.

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The deadline was extended because the rebate system set up by the government was not quite set up properly. It operated on the assumption that people would be organized and apply for a converter box early. Obviously, this didn't pass the reality test and the allotments for rebates was not set up for the crush of people who started applying within a few months of the conversion. The waiting list was in hundreds of thousands back when we applied in November and it has only gotten worse. Thus Congress decided that it would extend the deadline a little due to the logistics of the situation. It should be noted that the conversion boxes are really only for those people who use rabbit ears for their television reception, who are traditionally the least connected of our society - so advertisements were deemed a necessity to inform them. Once again this is the reality test and on this mark Congress was probably right.

 

Now interestingly the switch to digital will result in the analog frequencies to be delegated to first responders and emergency services. So extending the deadline was probably a poor idea from this front, but politically I can certainly understand why they postponed.

 

For example, why did they originally set the deadline for the end of analog for February and not do it January 1st or during the month of January? Congress discussed this and was very clear on what it didn't want to happen when it shut down analog reception. For example, people getting ready to watch the Apple fall and then all they get would be static. Chaos. :)

 

But the bigger concern was another event during January which if disrupted could very well have lead to riots and violence across the nation, or at least millions of angry letter to Congress...

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For example, why did they originally set the deadline for the end of analog for February and not do it January 1st or during the month of January? Congress discussed this and was very clear on what it didn't want to happen when it shut down analog reception. For example, people getting ready to watch the Apple fall and then all they get would be static. Chaos. :)

 

But the bigger concern was another event during January which if disrupted could very well have lead to riots and violence across the nation, or at least millions of angry letter to Congress...

 

I thought they wanted to wait until after the Superbowl, which is historically the highest rated program of every single year except 1983 (the finale of M.A.S.H.). I thought the government knew some people wouldn't get their converter right away, so at least their analog reception wouldn't end until after the Superbowl in February.

 

Like someone pointed out, there was nothing that said broadcast stations had to keep using analog until a certain day. The deadline to stop analog may have been extended, but some stations have already stopped with the original date. Not too many people can say they didn't know it was coming, so it was cool of the stations who already started dual broadcasting to keep analog until the original deadline.

 

So some people have already lost their reception even though stations are allowed to continue using analog. All of my local stations began due broadcasting a long time ago, but I don't know if they are still broadcast analog or not.

 

I have normal-def cable channels as well as HD digital broadcast channels, and I hardly watch any of them. If I lost all TV but still kept internet access and the ability to watch recorded media, my life would not be impacted in any significant way at all.

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