Print 44 comment(s) - last by mindless1.. on Feb 18 at 10:29 PM

The new stimulus bill looks like it should definitely help to make the analog to digital transition easier.

The analog to digital switch in the U.S. has been a rather confusing and chaotic one.  The idea of mandating all stations to instantly cut off analog broadcasts overnight alarmed some, who point out that other countries phased out analog state by state or by province gradually. 

The key point of contention was the government's DTV converter coupon program.  The program offered those with analog TV sets free coupons for converters which would allow their TVs to receive digital signals.  The problem was that the government underestimated the demand for the coupons, and quickly ran out of them.  Thus, the bipartisan-backed decision was made to delay the transition from the planned date of February 17 to June 12.

The good news is that the government finally appears to be close to solving the coupon shortage problem, thanks to the new stimulus bill.  Government officials say that the coupon waiting list of 4 million households should be cleared in 2 to 3 weeks.  This is fortunate as many stations are switching over early, sticking to the original February 17 date.  An estimated 10 to 20 million households have older analog sets which cannot receive digital broadcasts without a converter box. 

The switch to digital has many benefits including free up air space for public safety official and the improvement of viewing quality.  It also netted the government $20B USD in profits from a wireless spectrum auction, and allowed the government to at last offer the much-desired "white-space" spectrum -- gaps between TV channels -- for use.

While many are upset about the switch being delayed, the wait may actually have a positive economic effect by increasing the number of new cable customers.  Stanford Washington Research analyst Paul Gallant says that cable companies like Comcast Corp, Time Warner Cable, DirecTV Group, EchoStar Corp, Mediacom Communications, and Charter Communications are using the extra time to encourage more customers to switch to cable packages, one way of preparing for the digital switch.

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RE: spin
By clovell on 2/18/2009 12:14:44 PM , Rating: 2
Have you read all 1000+ pages, professor? Two coupons per household is a dumb idea - one would have sufficed and probably would have kept us from running out of funds so quickly.

Saving money isn't the problem here - spending is.

RE: spin
By Aberforth on 2/18/2009 12:22:07 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, I've read it, it's very big but interesting nonetheless, if the crisis gets worse (which i doubt) this bill will be a very good document of things you shouldn't do. Coupons are just a part of the bill, the point of this bill is to generate jobs by creating new stuff and Providing additional funds to the current projects (like energy efficiency) will demand more jobs and at the same time doubles the rate of the project.

RE: spin
By clovell on 2/18/2009 12:25:19 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, well, I didn't think you'd have actually read it...

RE: spin
By Chaser on 2/18/2009 2:04:55 PM , Rating: 2
History has shown that government's can't spend their way out of economic problems. Its been tried and proven to fail, throughout history and in other countries. And no, war time doesn't count.

Our present leaders pushed this threw overnight so that the President could cheerfully fly out to Denver over the weekend to hold a press conference of this wonder entitlement increase "stimulus" package that will further government dependence and the expectations of the nanny state. Such as "Tax credits" to those that pay no taxes, -hmmm I'm not sure how that works- Wonderful. Just what we needed afer these millions of foreclosures for the same people that had no business getting mortgages in the first place. We will mail them a check for the tax refund they never paid into.

I know I feel better already.

OH and this just in: Obama has announced a 75 billion foreclosure plan. Now there is change we can believe in.

RE: spin
By Steve1981 on 2/18/2009 3:25:31 PM , Rating: 2
Such as "Tax credits" to those that pay no taxes, -hmmm I'm not sure how that works- Wonderful.

Get with the times man. It is considered sound economic policy to take money out of the hands of people who use that money to do filthy things like get returns by investing it, and handing it out to the poor who then proceed to spend it on crap.

When I take over the world, I will have a circular system.

Soak the rich and give the money to the poor. Eventually the poor will fritter away all the money they've been given, and it'll end up in the hands of the rich again. In the meantime, there will be loads of economic activity. Once you reach a certain point, fleece the rich again, so the cycle can continue. Its perfect! I mean yeah, you have to make sure the rich don't move away or anything like that, but thats nothing a few well armed patriots can't take care of.

RE: spin
By omnicronx on 2/18/2009 12:53:14 PM , Rating: 2
There are a vast majority of people who have cable/sat in their main room, and have TV's with bunny ears in their rooms or basement.

I really don't blame the lack of coupons on this, but those who really did not need them in the first place. Do you know how many cable users thought they needed a converter box? (wouldn't surprise me if some people still think that)

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

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