Print 59 comment(s) - last by Keeir.. on Jun 18 at 1:38 PM

Ready or not, digital is here to stay

Today is the big day for Americans still clinging to analog TVs and rabbit ears. For those folks that haven't already picked up a DTV converter box to translate the new digital signals, their TVs will now be relegated to useless lumps of plastic, metal, and glass.

The switch to DTV was supposed to take place on February 17, but Congress passed legislation to delay the switch until June 12 under the guidance of President Obama. The delay also gave the government additional time to disperse an additional $650 million USD in DTV coupons to Americans who still hadn't purchased a converter box.

Despite the extra time afforded to Americans to prepare for the DTV switch, additional funds for DTV coupons, and free assistance provided to setup converter boxes, the New York Times reported that roughly 2 million households will still be unprepared for today's switchover.

For those using cable, satellite, or digital TVs with an antenna, you have nothing to worry about -- your TV programming will be unaffected.

For more information on the DTV switch, you can check out the official website here.

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By KingOfOldSkool on 6/12/2009 5:15:57 AM , Rating: -1
I get annoyed when people say this sometimes, but doesn't the government have bigger things to worry about right now? In these economic times was it the wisest move to focus on such a program intended to hand out that kind of money for people to sit and a** watching TV? I dont know.. maybe they were in the mode of thinking that since they threw money at every other problem going right now that throwing hundreds of millions at this transition wouldn't make much of a difference..

By KingOfOldSkool on 6/12/2009 5:18:42 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry.. for people to "sit on their a** watching TV"..

By Oregonian2 on 6/12/2009 8:30:24 AM , Rating: 4
You stand in front of your TV when watching?

Most people sit when watching TV, and when sitting, most people do it on their a**.

Do you do something unusual when watching TV (or sitting)? Just curious as to your point.

By callmeroy on 6/12/2009 8:45:05 AM , Rating: 2
While I'm not feeling that well today -- about dragged myself out of bed to work, I'm not in the mood to debate much --- but what folks forget is the original reason for the DTV was something to do with freeing up the radio spectrum, I'm more than confident if one wanted to research it online you'd find the figures -- but supposed it's supposed to translate to billions in savings.

I think most folks get that -- but some seem to think the transition was so high level -- that it was just to be cool to say our nation is all Digital TV now or something silly like that.

that's not why -- the government doesn't care about your tv shows....they care about the money they perceive it will either save them or make them (all has to do with selling off frequencies to companies).

By bjacobson on 6/12/2009 9:49:32 AM , Rating: 1
I feel sorry for the folk who haven't gotten their converter yet. One of the best ones isn't available on Amazon anymore (Channel Master 7000).

It had some of the highest ratings-- the box is solid metal, not the cheapo plastic that feels like it's going to break if you touch it. It was also one of the only ones that had S-Video out-- IE you'll get much better (albeit still interlaced) picture quality out of it than the composite cables that most other boxes have. I'm loving mine; others might want to check ebay if they want to pick up some leftovers of this model.

By Indianapolis on 6/12/2009 11:12:52 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, there can be a pretty big difference between S-Video and RCA video. I've done back-to-back tests many times, and the difference has always been easy to spot. It is most noticeable when viewing text, such as from an on-screen program guide. Through RCA the text is fuzzy and kind of sparkles. Through S-video the text is sharp and solid.

By Spivonious on 6/12/2009 11:42:57 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah I was just about to post this. It's not a huge difference, but it is definitely noticeable.

By omnicronx on 6/12/2009 12:20:49 PM , Rating: 2
He went out and spent 40+ dollars more for a channel master just to get Svideo. To me that does not make much sense. The difference is minor, especially on an analog TV.

A Back to Back test is not exactly the best comparison either, as you will have a bias towards what you perceive to be better and you cannot be watching both at the same time.

Don't get me wrong, Svideo is marginally better, I just don't think it warrants the extra price, if it were up to me I would take the free box via coupon and be done with it. Especially considering if he does upgrade to an HDTV anytime soon, it will have an integrated ATSC tuner (with resolutions up to 1080i). Alas it is not up to me, so I could really care less, its not my money.

By bjacobson on 6/12/2009 5:03:36 PM , Rating: 2
It was 110% worth it to me.

By pwnsweet on 6/12/2009 6:31:07 AM , Rating: 1
I made this exact same comment back in January when it was announced that the switch to DTV would be delayed:

The world is in an economic downturn and people are complaining about a delay of digital TV? The delay should be a few more YEARS in my opinion. The money spent trasitioning everyone to digital TV could be better spent elsewhere to combat the slow economy.

By Screwballl on 6/12/2009 9:40:28 AM , Rating: 1

They should have mandated it years ago BUT not used any of our taxpayer dollars to fund the transition. Thats the part that bugs the hell out of me: using my money to help others do something they should be able to do or afford on their own. They should have forced the TV stations to do it on their own AND if the public was to comply, they would have to spend money out of their own pocket to get the converter boxes... come one, very few people cannot afford $40-50.

Think of the economic gains by making people spend a few dollars of their own, rather than take it from everybody forcefully and give it away.

Another reason why I HATE living in a welfare state/country. I am hoping for a Centrist/Independent that will bring about the "work for welfare" type programs.

By omnicronx on 6/12/2009 10:32:10 AM , Rating: 5
As has been explained time and time again, only a small portion of tax payer money went to funding this project. Almost all of the funding (a few billion not millions) came from selling off parts of the spectrum. As my post below also explains, the markets that will fill the void of these parts of the spectrum will most likely far outweigh the mere 650 million dollars in tax dollars. In fact if these projects are successful, they could probably pull in that amount within a few years from taxed revenue alone.

By Belard on 6/14/2009 8:42:57 PM , Rating: 2
We are not in a welfare country. After the bailouts and such, as of now, the USGovt (US) own about 1%.

Those converter boxes help stimulate the economy. All those people who are NOT able to watch TV are NOT able to see the TV ADs and buy crap! :)

But you know what... I think the TV industry (broadcasters) should chip in and help buy those converters.

Most of the 1million left are: disabled, elderly who cannot afford the converter boxes and most likely foreigners. Of course, the FUN will be explaining to Grandpa how to operate the convert box... :(

Okay.. channel 8 is now 8.1 8.2 8.3, what?

By omnicronx on 6/12/2009 10:02:42 AM , Rating: 2
You do realize that almost all of the money used for this project was raised by selling off the parts of the UHF spectrum. I understand its all pooled money, but in the end the revenue generated from opening up the spectrum to new markets will far outweigh the money being put into it, which will stimulate the economy far more than any bailout ever could. Furthermore the additional 650 million that was required to make the last bunch of rebates available is a drop in the bucket compared to the rest of the bailouts that were given out.

By Oregonian2 on 6/13/2009 12:11:55 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, it was very profitable for the government. The coupons were a minor expense.

By Spivonious on 6/12/2009 9:12:20 AM , Rating: 3
When single companies are getting $30 billion in bailouts, I don't think $650 million is much to complain about.

"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings
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