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Senate grants Obama's wish to delay the digital transition, House votes on bill soon

TV viewers have been inundated with service announcements and coverage of the digital transition from analog to all digital TV broadcasts that is set to happen next month. Viewers who were using older TVs and don't get a converter or subscribe to pay-TV will lose the ability to watch free broadcast stations after the transition.

One of the first things that president Obama asked was to delay the digital transition to give Americans who weren't prepared more time to get ready. The government has been running a coupon program that gives people who need a converter box coupon to help pay for the cost of getting the needed converter.

The Senate drafted a bill last week that outlined a method for delaying the digital transition from February 17 to June 12 of 2009 to give viewers an extra four months to get a converter or subscribe to pat TV services.

MSNBC reports that the Senate has unanimously approved the bill to delay the transition to the June 12 date that the Obama administration wants. The delay is seen as a victory for the Obama administration and for Democrats in Congress who have been lobbying for a delay in the transition date.

The Nielsen Company performed a survey that found 6.5 million homes in America were unprepared for the digital transition and would lose the ability to watch TV after the transition. Funds in government coffers to help offset the cost of the converters for Americans dried up this month despite a long backlist of requests for the coupons.

Additional funds for the program are only being added as coupons that were requested and then not used expire after the 90-day usage window originally granted. The bill that was approved by the Senate will let those who asked for coupons and then didn’t use them apply for a new coupon. MSNBC reports that the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which is administering the coupon program, had 2.6 million coupon requests on its waiting list as of last week.

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller said, "Delaying the upcoming DTV switch is the right thing to do. I firmly believe that our nation is not yet ready to make this transition at this time."

VP of the digital TV transition for the National Association of Broadcasters Jonathan Collegio says that the numbers cited by Nielsen may overstate the number of people not ready for the digital transition. Collegio says that the numbers exclude consumers who have purchased a converter box, but not installed it as well as those who have requested a coupon and not received it.

Gene Kimmelman from the Consumers Union says, "The government has failed to deliver the converter boxes these [elderly and low-income] people deserve just to keep watching free, over-the-air broadcast signals."

Republicans in both the House and Senate are concerned that a delay in the transition will do nothing but confuse consumers and cost broadcasters money. Paula Kerger from the Public Broadcasting Service claims that delaying the digital transition from February to June 12 could cost public broadcasters $22 million.

Part of the wording in the Senate approved bill will let broadcasters who have already purchased the needed equipment for digital broadcasts to transition to all digital in February, even if the House votes to approve the delay in the transition. The House is expected to vote on the bill next week.

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Damn shame
By Brandon Hill on 1/27/2009 9:51:24 AM , Rating: 5
This is a damn shame... delaying because of 6.5 million households?

**Shakes head in disgust**

GET ON WITH IT!! Cut them off on February 17 -- when they realize they don't have TV, these people will find a way to make it work (either by paying for the box themselves, or getting a family member to hook them up). Nothing kicks people into gear faster than losing something they (likely) treasure.

RE: Damn shame
By kattanna on 1/27/2009 9:57:19 AM , Rating: 5
it would be interesting to know, of those supposed 6.5 million people polled, did they think they needed a new HD tv or simply a digital convertor box. because i still know many people who are claiming this conversion is to ALL HD, not merely an analog to digital thing.

RE: Damn shame
By omnicronx on 1/27/2009 11:14:06 AM , Rating: 5
What would be more interesting is to know of those 6.5 million, how many have HDTV's with internal DTV tuners and still think they need a box. You can't buy a TV today without one , and I think it has been mandated since 2006.

RE: Damn shame
By StevoLincolnite on 1/27/2009 11:46:53 AM , Rating: 2
Well he Price of Digital Set-top boxes are pretty cheap these days (In Australia anyway), I can pick up a cheap one here for the price of a cheap DVD player, it might only be an SD box, but that's all that most people require for there CRT Television sets anyway.

I'm ready for the switch over, I Threw away all my CRT Televisions during Christmas so I now have a 52" LCD in the Lounge room, and a 32" LCD in the bedroom for just the Xbox and DVD/Blue-ray, and a 26" LCD in the Shed so I can watch stuff while I'm mucking around.

To be honest I actually never saw a HDTV broadcast in my life till I got the 52" LCD, I was amazed at the clarity and colour, and went off and replaced all my other Television sets, Even Xbox 360 games saw a massive improvement!

RE: Damn shame
By Jimbo1234 on 1/27/2009 2:05:37 PM , Rating: 1
" might only be an SD box, but that's all that most people require for there [sic] CRT Television sets anyway."


My oldest TV is a 32" Toshiba CRT that is HD without a tuner. It's called an HDTV monitor. I was well aware of that fact, and since I have DirecTV HD, it's a non issue.

RE: Damn shame
By omnicronx on 1/27/2009 2:12:56 PM , Rating: 4
quote: might only be an SD box, but that's all that most people require for there [sic] CRT Television sets anyway.
Thats exactly what he said.. the 50$ converter boxes in question will only convert digital broadcasts to analogue, presumably via rca or coax cable. You happen to be part of the small minority (i.e you are not in the most category) that can use a DTV/DTV HD converter box with your CRT set.

RE: Damn shame
By bkiserx7 on 1/27/2009 11:34:55 PM , Rating: 2
How bout all the stations switch and broadcast 1 analog channel that only displays a number to call for you FREE CONVERTER BOX; like: 1-800-BROKE-TV or 1-800-PROCRASTINATE

RE: Damn shame
By tastyratz on 1/27/2009 11:54:55 AM , Rating: 5
Those numbers HAVE to be artificially inflated. I am sure these people were not properly educated first, and its staggering the number of people WITH cable... WATCHING the commercials from the cable company saying they don't need one... who STILL think they have to get a box or a new tv.

"Hello, we need to know if you ever watch or might ever want to watch tv using rabbit ears"

"why is that"

"Because the government knows the economy isn't doing well right now, and we would like to give you 2 $50 coupons to get something for nothing"

"something free? Yea I need one"

"dear god we need more money, it seems people have an interest in free coupons"


and so is the reason why ebay has hundreds of converter box auctions at any point... most of which not listings by a legitimate business or authorized reseller.

RE: Damn shame
By daar on 1/27/2009 1:14:32 PM , Rating: 5
Perhaps if it wasn't delayed, we'd soon see a headline along the lines of:

Breaking news: American illiteracy rates drop to record low numbers!

RE: Damn shame
By Goty on 1/27/2009 9:58:17 AM , Rating: 3

Now, I wonder what congress, in their infinite wisdom, is going to do for the companies that bought the bands covered by analog TV that were expecting to have access to those frequencies four months earlier?

RE: Damn shame
By Moishe on 1/27/2009 10:11:22 AM , Rating: 5
"infinite wisdom" :)

Congress is doing what they do... pandering to idiots. The lowest bit is who dictates the actions in our government.


RE: Damn shame
By CurtOien on 1/27/2009 9:58:52 AM , Rating: 5
I will bet that no matter how long this is delayed that many of these same people still won't be ready.

RE: Damn shame
By JAB on 1/27/2009 10:04:04 AM , Rating: 3
True sorry but some people just dont care. The horror no TV until you go to the store and buy a box. What did we do before it.

RE: Damn shame
By Screwballl on 1/27/2009 1:53:35 PM , Rating: 2
I deal with a lot of people in rural areas and many of them think that they need one of these new-fangled flat screen TVs (LCD, plasma) that cost $2000 or more... even though it does not relate to my job, I still mention that the converter boxes are only $50 at WalMart that will take care of everything.

RE: Damn shame
By tallcool1 on 1/27/2009 2:42:29 PM , Rating: 2
I will bet that no matter how long this is delayed that many of these same people still won't be ready.
Agreed, lets move on with life already!

RE: Damn shame
By wrekd on 1/27/2009 10:07:53 AM , Rating: 2
While I agree with you, perhaps this is not such a bad idea. My family is getting ready to just shut TV off all together. What we want to see we can get on Hulu or at the network sites themselves.

So what is my family waiting for? Warmer weather. I have 3 kids 6, 3, and 2 who do like to watch Noggin. Too much so, and that is why we are shutting it off. I'm just not going to shut of the TV in January. For my family, I think it is best to wait until spring when I can kick their little butts out into the yard.

I can't believe they picked February anyways. Many network shows are just getting going, and well, it's cold as hell outside.

On the other hand, we do need another broadband option soon.

RE: Damn shame
By Cobra Commander on 1/27/2009 1:44:08 PM , Rating: 2
They picked mid-February for two words:

Super Bowl

RE: Damn shame
By theapparition on 1/27/2009 10:11:38 AM , Rating: 2
While I'm with you, and see absolutely no need to delay the transition, it needs to be noted that the delay is optional. Broadcasters can choose to transition on Feb 17th, just as they planned to. There is no requirement in this bill that mandates that they must keep thier old analog signals running.

Several stations in my area are choosing to do just that. Make the switch and shut off the analog channels anyway.

The decision to make the switch is now resting with the broadcasters.

However, after the delay, I still predict that 6.5 million households will be unprepared for the transition, which would mean this delay did nothing but cost broadcasters time and money, and also cost emergency management services (who need the freed up bandwith) both time and money. Stupidity at its finest.

RE: Damn shame
By acase on 1/27/2009 10:18:05 AM , Rating: 3
I predict at least 2 million will turn on their TV's and realize it was good they were lazy pieces of s***, because they didn't need the stupid box like they though they would anyways.

RE: Damn shame
By PrinceGaz on 1/27/2009 7:41:22 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, and because of that they will do nothing, and in June when the next switch-over is planned, they'll do exactly the same thing and either have no picture or complain because their TV has stopped working.

It doesn't matter how long it is delayed, there will still be a large number who haven't bothered to do anything, not even get a coupon for a free STB (even if additional funds are freed up for coupons for all those who want one).

Each delay makes it less likely that those who haven't switched already, will switch before the next date.

RE: Damn shame
By Spivonious on 1/27/2009 11:55:03 AM , Rating: 2
Interesting. I imagine most TV stations will go ahead with the switch anyway, since they've been planning for it for years now.

In effect then, all this bill does is give out more coupons.

RE: Damn shame
By Hiawa23 on 1/27/2009 10:13:41 AM , Rating: 2
I honestly don't get this. Why delay for only so few, & to be honest with you I really didn't think there were that many still only using rabbit ears. I guess this doesn't affect me since I have cable but for those that this does affect who may not have the converters I guess this is good news. I just don't get why the government has to be responsible for the 6.5million free viewers.

RE: Damn shame
By mindless1 on 1/27/2009 10:52:21 AM , Rating: 2
In many cases, those using rabbit ears are the elderly, people not as into tech and information age things that we at Dailytech are.

Many of them have healthcare costs we couldn't imagine, fixed incomes, and mental degradation associated with aging. Many can't even get up and do much besides watch TV. These elderly people contributed to society their entire lives (in most cases), built the US into what it is now. We should give them patience and respect, not leave them staring at a wall when the gov. cuts off their TV.

The question isn't one of why the gov. has to be responsible, it's about reasonable reasons why they wouldn't be. Stations can cease broadcasting if they choose, and most (if not all?) are already broadcasting digitally.

This change in date will have minimal if any negative effect on the majority and a positive one on the minority.

RE: Damn shame
By omnicronx on 1/27/2009 1:49:19 PM , Rating: 3
In many cases, those using rabbit ears are the elderly, people not as into tech and information age things that we at Dailytech are.
Or anyone that does not have cable wired through their entire house... Unless your house was built within the last 10-15 years, or you did it yourself, chances are its not.

My family has digital cable, yet two of our TV's upstairs still make use of analog OTA broadcasts.

RE: Damn shame
By coolkev99 on 1/27/2009 11:11:24 AM , Rating: 2
Rabbit ears has nothing to do with it. You can pick up digital HD (or non-HD) broadcasts with 30 year old rabbit ears (I do it on my HDTV). You don't need cable, you don't need satellite. The issue is the tuner, it must be digital to make sense of the signal, hence why people need these boxes (tuners) to see the new broadcasts.

Secondly, I will agree, the deadline was reasonable, I've known about this transition for over two years now, possibly 3. You'll never have everyone converted over come time for transition date. This is a waste of time. Just switch, these "poor old people" will just have to do what it takes (by asking someone, or doing themselves) to get the converters. They will survive.

RE: Damn shame
By strikeback03 on 1/27/2009 11:52:21 AM , Rating: 2
I remember reading an article back in the late 90s saying that Congress had mandated analog be shut off sometime in 2006. This has been going on forever.

I wonder if anyone had anything ready to roll out in that band which will now be delayed.

RE: Damn shame
By lotharamious on 1/27/2009 6:19:34 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, I remember writing a paper in high school about (at the time) the switch over date being sometime in May of 2006.

RE: Damn shame
By Jimbo1234 on 1/27/2009 2:11:10 PM , Rating: 2
Rabbit ears has nothing to do with it. You can pick up digital HD (or non-HD) broadcasts with 30 year old rabbit ears (I do it on my HDTV)

I use extra speaker wire, or just cut about a 6" long section of shielding off a foot or two of RG6. It works just as well as the gigantic Terk in the attic.

RE: Damn shame
By Amiga500 on 1/27/2009 10:18:12 AM , Rating: 2
About 6% of the total no. of households?

Well... if the converters are/were being handed out for next to nothing I agree, however, if they cost a decent whack, I do not (especially right now).

RE: Damn shame
By Brandon Hill on 1/27/2009 10:20:09 AM , Rating: 2
They cost $50 a Best Buy

RE: Damn shame
By energy1man on 1/27/2009 10:59:55 AM , Rating: 2
Probably cost a lot less without the government coupon supporting the price.

RE: Damn shame
By Amiga500 on 1/27/2009 11:05:44 AM , Rating: 2
I assume you mean with the govt. supporting the price.

Depending on circumstance, $50 can be a decent bit of money - I'd imagine spent wisely it would go a fair way to feeding a family for half a week, maybe more.

RE: Damn shame
By energy1man on 1/27/2009 11:35:01 AM , Rating: 2
Currently if I have a coupon I can go into Best Buy and for $10 out of my pocket, $40 out of the govt. get a converter box. If there were no govt coupons, Best Buy or whoever, could probably sell the converters for less than $50, maybe $25 or $30. I just think retailers have no reason to sell them for less, with the current setup.

RE: Damn shame
By Amiga500 on 1/27/2009 12:53:04 PM , Rating: 2
Ahh, $10 is pretty much nothing.

You have a house - you can find $10 somewhere.

I now see what you mean - you reckon the stores are marking the product up because the govt are paying for most of it.

RE: Damn shame
By psychobriggsy on 1/27/2009 1:57:55 PM , Rating: 2

In the UK standalone Freeview (DVB, not ATSC) receivers cost from under £20, and these support all of the digital interactive features (digital text, embedded video streams, etc) as well as the 7-day electronic programme guide as well as basic Now and Next.

The hardware on its own is probably $5. Wrap a case around it, add an RF out, add an s-video out, add the aerial in, and you have a box. $50, thanks government.

I will complain about the glacial switchover in the UK though. We've had digital TV for YEARS now, and our switchover won't be complete until 2012! FFS just switch over en-mass, put instructions and a phone number on the current channels for a month for the few remaining holdouts, and call it a done deal.

Another issue in the UK is that some broadcasters want to switch to H.264 from MPEG2 to double the number of digital Freeview channels (to 60), or allow HD channels. It looks likely that one transponder will be set aside for this after digital switchover. Hurrah. Over the air HD in 2012, and nobodies hardware will support it because of the H.264. Brilliant.

RE: Damn shame
By omnicronx on 1/27/2009 11:17:53 AM , Rating: 2
Per TV... I wonder how many people think they only need one box.

RE: Damn shame
By mindless1 on 1/27/2009 10:28:59 AM , Rating: 2
Why is it such a shame? The space was already auctioned off, so that's not delayed. Stations are already broadcasting digitally, in our area we anticipate zero addt'l channels after Feb.127th.

All it's doing is delaying reuse of that analog spectrum for something else, at a time when I hear nothing particular about new uses that will be important (they still need time to develop and plan it).

While I don't think we should've delayed the shutoff, it doesn't seem to be a significant problem either since broadcasters still have the option to do it as scheduled.

RE: Damn shame
By TomZ on 1/27/2009 10:59:56 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly. In addition, the delay is necessary because of the government's own incompetence, e.g., running out of converter coupons in the final months before the transition date.

I also think they should have started to get the word out earlier. Most of the TV ads I saw for the transition ran in the latter half of 2008. I was personally aware of the transition earlier, but let's face it, not every American citizen reads DT.

RE: Damn shame
By Suntan on 1/27/2009 12:29:05 PM , Rating: 2
Most of the TV ads I saw for the transition ran in the latter half of 2008.

Even if it wasn't public knowledge far earlier than that, just how many *months* does the average person need to make that trip to Best Buy?


RE: Damn shame
By TomZ on 1/27/2009 1:03:04 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, and the reality is that a lot of households will only be motivated when their TVs go to static.

RE: Damn shame
By Jimbo1234 on 1/27/2009 2:13:27 PM , Rating: 2
I thought February was the shortest month.

RE: Damn shame
By Dharl on 1/27/2009 11:06:06 AM , Rating: 2
Politics it's always freaking politics.

Just trying to save face with the 2% who could possibly lose OTA TV. Sickening, I wonder if it will be delayed again in June... I gurantee you no matter who would have won the election this change would have occurred as a political move.

Get it over with, when their TV goes blank they'll figure it out and shell out the $50 needed to get it back.

RE: Damn shame
By Machinegear on 1/27/2009 12:27:59 PM , Rating: 2
TV is how politicians get their 'message' out. Any possible decrease in TV viewership is simply not worth the better picture to a sly public servant. If you think, or even care to argue the point, that politicians are thinking of the best interests of 6.5 million households is the true reason for the DTV delay you need your head examined. Politicians will flip the DTV switch when it is best for them to do so and not a day sooner.

RE: Damn shame
By UsernameX on 1/27/2009 3:06:10 PM , Rating: 2
Honestly this is a damn shame. Not only for the reasons stated above, but people need to watch less TV as it is anyways. Get out, get some fresh air, read a book, something more interactive. This digital transition should have happened last year, ffs.

RE: Damn shame
By Dreifort on 1/27/2009 3:26:48 PM , Rating: 2
my local cable company already made the switch...


haha. I know this is CABLE and not OTA, but they dropped all their analog channels and required all their customers to use a new digital tuner box (free upon request).

RE: Damn shame
By skaaman on 1/28/2009 1:59:15 PM , Rating: 2
Why the angst... The bill clearly allows broadcasters who are ready to make the switch in Feb. So they extend analog to be allowed for 5 months. God forbid they err on the side of caution. Big deal. People who aren't so quick on the upside start to notice Judge Judy is missing and go get there little converter boxes. If they haven't figured it out by June, oh well...

Its bigger than just TV
By Suntan on 1/27/2009 10:33:11 AM , Rating: 2
The issue is bigger than just TV (at least for me as I have been watching only ATSC signals for the last couple of years in my region) it’s a matter of truly accommodating the *lowest* of the lowest common denominator.

The delay is seen as a victory for the Obama administration and for Democrats in Congress

Why can’t I have a government that acts in such a manner that people see their actions as “a sensible action by all involved” instead of this petty tit-for-tat stuff?

The bill that was approved by the Senate will let those who asked for coupons and then didn’t use them apply for a new coupon.

My son is 18 months right now, I don’t want to constantly have to explain to him why the government thinks it is ok to do stuff like this when I plan to bring him up with the understanding that living your life like this is irresponsible and not acceptable.

The government has failed to deliver the converter boxes these people deserve

Once again, this isn’t the way I want my son to grow up thinking. I don’t think any parent would encourage their children to think in this entitlement sort of way. Why is it acceptable to think like this when talking about spending my tax dollars?


RE: Its bigger than just TV
By mindless1 on 1/27/2009 10:44:02 AM , Rating: 1
1) Taxpayers ARE entitled to receive back useful services from their government, that's why we pay taxes. That "lowest common denominator", in most cases, also pays taxes. Suppose your taxes pay for something else you want more, like roads. Someone at home watching TV isn't getting as much use of the roads as someone out driving, so in theory those not watching TV might fairly pay more for that. It's beside the point though, keeping in mind #2.

2) Once again let me remind you that it's not your tax money paying for this, it was a condition of auctioning off the airwaves, what made it possible. A small % of those proceeds went to this. Not only did it cost you nothing in taxes, it REDUCED your tax burden if we want to arbitrarily think either way it would adjust the tax rates for anything.

It is acceptable to think like this, because it was the plan all along. Where have you been to not know this?

RE: Its bigger than just TV
By Suntan on 1/27/2009 11:04:57 AM , Rating: 3
Once again let me remind you that it's not your tax money paying for this,

You talk as if you don’t understand the concept of pooling funds. Money spent by the government is money spent by the government.

You remind me of my sister’s white trash in-laws that wasted a couple of hundred dollars on renting a convertible for a vacation and thought it was alright because “they used their own money for it” even though they are in dept for thousands of dollars to my sister and her husband…

It is acceptable to think like this, because it was the plan all along. Where have you been to not know this?

If you are saying it was the plan all along to continuously let people off the hook for being lazy and irresponsible, I guess we haven’t read the same documents that our country is founded on.


RE: Its bigger than just TV
By MandrakeQ on 1/27/2009 12:48:45 PM , Rating: 1
The U.S. has been in debt for over 50 years. Maybe you should have complained earlier.

RE: Its bigger than just TV
By joex444 on 1/27/2009 8:15:01 PM , Rating: 2
Actually the US has always been in debt with the lone exception of one President -- Andrew Jackson. Every other time we've been in debt. Funny thing about the "debt" though... every time we come up with a federal budget and then exceed it, the overrun goes towards the national debt. This actually amounts to a substantial amount. So, yes, the national debt may be 1.6 trillion or so, but this isn't what we owe China. We owe a lot of it to ourselves (I doubt we'll pay it).

I think this delayed switch is the dumbest thing we could possibly do with respect to DTV. First, the 6.5 million households thing is an old figure -- it was being touted a few weeks back. Second, we've been telling people for months the switch is Feb 17th and you should go get a coupon if you don't have cable or satellite and you have an old TV. They even demonstrate this by showing us pictures of 1950s style cabinet TVs with the furniture look to them, the rounded screens which are of course B&W as well as elderly viewers. Could they make it any more obvious who needs these things?

All this delay is going to do is to let the procrastinators know that they have until June to get done what they should've done by now. This is not a motivation to go out and buy these boxes. Second they may be confused that their TV still works Feb 18th and figure they have a built in digital tuner so they don't need a box. Wait until June 12th and all hell breaks lose. Finally, after June 12th can you still get coupons? I mean, a lot of people are going to end up thinking they were all set because the transition was in Feb and their TV still works. Couple these people with the procrastinators who still won't have their damn box yet and you have a large influx of needy box customers who are simply puzzled and feel cheated or betrayed.

BTW, TV does carry important information. Think about how useful a radio would have been in WWII. That's like what a TV is now. Sure you have the Internet, but that's only available to about 50% of the population (somehow I doubt our ISP bills would go down by 50% when the other half of the country signs up), and while there is still the radio that is used only when the power goes out or your car doesn't have a CD player. Ultimately the broadcast stations are the link between society and your average citizen, especially the poor and elderly. Try explaining to your son why these people deserve less than everyone else.

RE: Its bigger than just TV
By Alexstarfire on 1/28/2009 3:43:20 AM , Rating: 2
Lol, $1.6 trillion. That's quite a conservative estimate on your part I believe. The national debt is over $10 trillion.

RE: Its bigger than just TV
By mindless1 on 1/27/2009 10:37:05 PM , Rating: 2
Wrong! There would be no income from sale of analog bandwidth, if there were not this minor concession in place to make it happen.

Fact is, if anything this whole program will have saved you and other taxpayers money, while also allowing new services.

Think of it a different way. You sell a widget. To make this widget you have to buy a part for it. The part costs $3, but the widget sells for $40. Once you have the part, you have almost no labor at all. It's nearly the best business model possible.

PS - this doesn't have squat to do with your sister's in-laws. This is a clear-cut case of the conditions upon which it would be possible to free up the airwaves for auction. You really should spend the time to educate yourself on the specifics if you doubt this.

RE: Its bigger than just TV
By Suntan on 1/28/2009 11:17:43 AM , Rating: 2
You really should spend some time reviewing grade school math.

A widget that costs $3 to make and sells for $40 is still not as profitable as a widget that costs $2 to make and still sells for $40.

You talk as if you've only ever received money from the governement and never had to pay money to it. Carry on being a drag on society.


RE: Its bigger than just TV
By mindless1 on 1/29/2009 11:06:13 PM , Rating: 2
You still lack basic comprehension of the issue, which was that those who would have done without, have a coupon. It was "spend $3 per widget or quit, $2 isn't gonna get the widget built".

You are a fool to think I, or anyone else who is employed, only ever received, and could possibly receive more than they'd paid. There are so many projects the government is involved in that I completely disagree with, that even though the argument about taxes was a non-starter, you are still terribly wrong.

I'll tell you what, let's start by itemizing every single thing that you benefit from and then argue that you should do without those things for your tax dollars. How about roads, military defense, things that preserve the function of the society in which you earn money that seems so precious to you that it blinds you from reality even after having your hand held while it was explained again (because apparently for some people, Google searching can't find this basic information?).

what happens when...
By acejj26 on 1/27/2009 10:24:02 AM , Rating: 3
the next deadline hits and there are still 3 million people that they think will be without access to tv? extend it again? then 5 months later, there are still 1.5 million? the question is, at what point do they say "eff em, they've had long enough?" because i thought that number would have been higher than 6 million, given how long this has been public information.

RE: what happens when...
By mindless1 on 1/27/2009 10:37:21 AM , Rating: 2
One key issue is the exhaustion of funds for the coupon program, they underestimated the demand and that so many would let the coupons expire.

IMO, it was not made quite clear that someone who needed a coupon, might find none available if they waited. Some did wait with the expectation the set-top boxes would drop in price, newer models would come out that were improved, or just general procrastination (coupled with working a lot more to pay for necessities like $4/gallon gas, remembering we're talking about low-income families in many cases).

This addt'l time will allow them to do as stated, issue new coupons.

When do they say it's last call, time to switch? They just did. There's really no rush to make this switch, as mentioned in another post the digital broadcasting is already present, it's just the overlap period that is extended. While I'm anxious to see what great new uses there are for this freed-up spectrum, I've heard of nothing available in a couple weeks from now.

RE: what happens when...
By nafhan on 1/27/2009 11:34:32 AM , Rating: 2
I think it's more likely that it'll stay at 6 million until they actually do the switch...

By Sulphademus on 1/27/2009 3:29:14 PM , Rating: 2
The whole DTV "switch" is a huge misnomer. It isnt a switch. Its the NTSC (analog) cut off date. ALL major markets were required to be broadcasting in digital (ASTC) years ago. Anyone in any major market could have switched to digial broadcast signals at least 3 years ago. Ive seen plenty of comments all over the place that show many people think this is a very recent development and, seemingly, prior to January there was nothing they could do about it.

RE: Misnomer
By flydian on 1/27/2009 4:48:47 PM , Rating: 2
Does his mean that my cable company can still dump that crappy analog signal on me in basic cable, and keep the much better digital signal reserved for the higher cost "digital upgrade" package?

RE: Misnomer
By Sulphademus on 1/27/2009 5:11:51 PM , Rating: 2
Comcast and other cable and satellite operators can continue to send out whatever quaility they choose with whatever compression they choose. However, the majority, if not all, of the forthcoming content is going to be shot in SD or HD anyways. It would seems stupid to intentionally degrade the quality but it wouldnt surprize me too much in the interest of saving bandwidth and trying to shove people into a more expensive package of the same thing they currently have.

must be important
By SandmanWN on 1/27/2009 9:49:22 AM , Rating: 2
analog OTA TV must be so much more important than jobs.

RE: must be important
By Dreifort on 1/27/2009 4:28:12 PM , Rating: 3
OTA is creating jobs.

How many would you guess? 20? 30? ppl in D.C. appointed by congress to sit in a room and discuss ways to delay the digital conversion? Then those 20 report to 4 senators with their find.

Then, with the delay, a few more pencil pushers in D.C. will keep their desk jobs replying to coupons for $40 off the digital tuner boxes...WHICH you have to purchase at Best Buy (since CC is bye bye), therefore you are employing a few college kids some extra hours.

Can't you see? this is Obama's big job stimulus package. Just delay the digital tv rollout. Genius! Who knew?

By chromal on 1/27/2009 2:57:50 PM , Rating: 2
So, is anyone actually for this delay? Congress claims to be acting in the best interests of the TV viewing public, but I've not exactly heard much clamor from said Joe Q Public for there to be a delay. This is a bigger boondoggle than Daylight Savings Time.

RE: great...
By Master Kenobi on 1/27/2009 3:28:08 PM , Rating: 3
Daylight Savings is the biggest boondoggle ever. You can't compare!

oh god no
By michal1980 on 1/27/2009 10:02:56 AM , Rating: 2
4 more months of stupid count downs.

what happens when the next surive comes out and XX number of people still cant get Dtv? more delays...

lets wait until the last 90yr old SS + MC sucking old person gets their box so they can watch matlock, and think the end of the world is happening because the local news wants to make a single thunderstorm into the biggest news ever

RE: oh god no
By cmdrdredd on 1/27/2009 9:38:05 PM , Rating: 2
lets wait until the last 90yr old SS + MC sucking old person gets their box so they can watch matlock, and think the end of the world is happening because the local news wants to make a single thunderstorm into the biggest news ever

My grandmother who is now 84 years old, just bought a new 50" 1080p 480hz Plasma set because the old TV wouldn't work.

Not all of this is old people, in fact a majority of it, I'd say greater than 90% of this has to do with minorities. Namely the black community supported by the NAACP, until they all get free HDTV LCDs and plasma sets like the rich white folks, by using the rich white folk's tax money, this switch won't ever be a reality.

By knowom on 1/27/2009 4:33:16 PM , Rating: 2
It's funny and Obama was preaching about change during his campaign for presidency and yet this looks like more of the same.

Now a better thing to do would be to give the broadcast stations the option of transitioning to digital between now and June 12.

By Keeir on 1/27/2009 7:00:16 PM , Rating: 2
I think it does give the option, but quite frankly, thats the worst outcome actually.

Why? Because it means the transition has the potential to be peicemeal even in the same market. If your the person who has ignored the constant reminders for 6 months, how would you feel if you suddenly lost only 50% of the your channels... now your confused what you need to do to regain some but not all of your channels? do you still need the box? or is it a better antenna? or need cable now? Or what if your relative/friends 50 miles away don't need a box, but you do... why? what? how?

It seems silly that people would think that way, but I think its silly that people would ignore months of ads telling them precisely what to do to maintain TV service.

Stupid Dems
By segerstein on 1/27/2009 5:51:52 PM , Rating: 2
The Dems want to spend ONE TRILLION on their pet projects, pay back to their unions and green lobby. But to actually do something useful with the taxpayers money - NO.

And not to mention - the delay will be costly for broadcasters. They will have to power both networks and repair the old analogue transmitters if they break. Who will cover those costs? Really disappointing!

RE: Stupid Dems
By cmdrdredd on 1/27/2009 9:34:15 PM , Rating: 2
And not to mention - the delay will be costly for broadcasters. They will have to power both networks and repair the old analogue transmitters if they break. Who will cover those costs? Really disappointing!

In one market in VA, an ABC affiliate states that they spend $20,000 every month toward electric bills just to run the analog towers. If they remove those, that's $20,000 saved and with that they can re-invest in the economy. Buy new equipment maybe? upgrade to a more powerful transmitter for digital reaching more ppl? Democrats wouldn't know anything about actually giving money back to businesses to invest in the marketplace. Just like they're going to let the tax cuts sunset and rape us all for living the american dream. Once upon a time people clamored to come here, get a decent job, have a house, raise a family, and get a car. Now those people are the enemy to the liberals put into power by a very brainwashed public who watches a little too much network tv.

TV is out kids, go play outside....
By BillyBatson on 1/27/2009 7:08:34 PM , Rating: 2
TV must be a way for the government to control us since it is obviously important for them to ensure we don't lose the capability to do so.
TV isn't food, we can live without TV. The people who aren't ready will most likely never be ready they will make the change when either one of two things happens; 1 the government actually sends out free convertor boxes to each of those homes without those homes requesting one which they never will, or two they lose signal all together and finally do something about it out of necessity.

Would that many Americans losing TV even for a short while be that bad? Will they be forced to spend more time with family? Pick up old hobbies? Put in more hours at work? It might actually be good for America.

By cmdrdredd on 1/27/2009 9:41:45 PM , Rating: 2
I can't help but feel like the liberal congress we have did this just because they could. No good reason at all, just a show of power telling everyone "we control it". A way to step on the toes of corporate america and the evil companies who actually might want to start making a profit again this decade. The digital switch would save millions nationwide for ABC, Fox, NBC and others.

By therealnickdanger on 1/28/2009 2:09:35 PM , Rating: 2
By Reclaimer77 on 1/28/2009 5:35:42 PM , Rating: 2
Hahaha yeah ! Suck it Senate !


Q: How many Senators does it take
By grandpope on 1/27/2009 11:46:03 AM , Rating: 2
to get the country's economy going?

A: Zero, they are all busy making sure every single person can watch TV. Lets just amend the Constitution to guanrantee boob tube for all and be done with it.

This totally sucks.
By PAPutzback on 1/27/2009 12:30:27 PM , Rating: 2
Now I have to go buy a VHF antenna to compliment my UHF one to get the Hi-VHF channels. Oh well, atleast I'll get the benefit of a strong FM signal for my PCs with FM tuners. It just sucks that I have to layout 80 bucks for an antenna and combiner.

June shuttoff
By Suntan on 1/27/2009 1:10:54 PM , Rating: 2
So how many people wanna bet that June deadline will get pushed back too.

...Wouldn’t want to be seen as shutting of the TV right at the start of Tornado and Hurricane season.


So much for change
By rudy on 1/27/2009 1:23:11 PM , Rating: 2
At least they can agree on not changing this time.

By rburnham on 1/27/2009 4:15:11 PM , Rating: 2
Ah yes, nothing like the lazy, slow and uninformed dragging everyone else down. I hope these concepts will not be a theme for the next four years.

$40 boxes are overpriced anyway
By b534202 on 1/27/2009 5:28:51 PM , Rating: 2
When those people don't have money for $40 boxes and the digital boxes are no longer subsidized by the government, they'll drop to really cheap levels anyway. No one wants to sit on a stockpile of outdated technology.

the lazy
By Screwballl on 1/28/2009 11:33:32 AM , Rating: 1
One of the first things that president Obama asked was to delay the digital transition to give Americans who weren't prepared more time to get ready.

When you lead a place that has the number of lazy and uneducated people that is any nation, and you are making a change of this caliber, you will need to set a date and stick with it. Otherwise you will keep pushing it back for decades and people will still never be "prepared".

Stick with the Feb date and if people aren't ready, tough shit. When these people start spending the $50 for the converter box, that will help the economy... not pushing it back. The government has done all it can do and the people that were prepared already got their coupons and their box. Keep the date and get the money situated to send out more coupons, even if it ends up happening after the Feb. date.

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