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Senate passes bill to delay digital TV switch

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posted on Jan, 26 2009 @ 07:29 PM
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Senate passes bill to delay digital TV switch


www.msnbc.msn.com

msnbc.com news services
updated 7 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - People who have not gotten their TV sets ready for the changeover to digital signals could earn a four-month reprieve under a bill making its way through Congress.

The Senate voted Monday to delay until June 12 the deadline for the changeover from analog to digital television broadcasting. People still getting their pictures through old-fashioned antennas otherwise would face a Feb. 17 cutoff.

Comparable legislation is being readied in the House, and the Obama administration has called for a delay amid mounting concerns that too many Americans who rely on over-the-air broadcast signals won't be ready.
(visit the link for the full news article)


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posted on Jan, 26 2009 @ 07:29 PM
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I keep scratching my head over this issue.

Another delay in the all digital programming.

Haven't they been trying to do this for years now since it was first proposed?? Something like 2001 or so, I think.

Anyway who doesn't have cable or satellite these days?? Even the people who claim that they can't make ends meet are the last one's to ditch their TV programming and go back to "Rabbit Ears"
Believe me, I know, I have some friends and neighbors just like that.
It's estimated that some 15 million households are not ready for the switch. Well, they've known about this for some time..right??

Well however it affects you, it had been delayed yet again.

www.msnbc.msn.com
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on Jan, 26 2009 @ 07:58 PM
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I know that the coupons have ran out for the converter boxes. So that is one reason for the delay.



posted on Jan, 26 2009 @ 08:03 PM
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I just came across this..

The Obama administration has sought the delay because the government program to provide coupons for converter boxes needs more money. The boxes are needed for people without cable or satellite TV to continue receiving TV signals after the conversion date. The latest estimate is that more than 6.5 million households are not prepared for the switch over.

The National Association of Broadcasters has not taken a position on extending the deadline. The TV stations don't want to suddenly alienate and lose viewers, but they've also sunk money into preparing for the Feb. 17 transition.

Kerger said that PBS is not supporting either side, but he doesn't want PBS' hardships lost among potential hardships faced by viewers

Delaying the upcoming digital TV transition for four months would cost public broadcasters $22 million, the PBS system chief estimated on Monday.

Paula Kerger, president and CEO of the Public Broadcasting System, said she hopes lawmakers keep that in mind as they consider legislation to delay the switch from Feb. 17 to June 12.

I wonder if there is a more political motivation behind this delay??

I've got it... Mr. Obama wants to kill the Cookie Monster!!!!



posted on Jan, 26 2009 @ 08:13 PM
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All this means is that broadcasters will keep their analog transmitters running until the 2nd deadline date.

This will allow the government to allocate (steal more tax dollars) for these converter boxes.

It also allows for the consumers (better option IMO) to get off their lazy arses and go get a digital capable tv like they should have done 2 years ago.

But its not just the lazy last minute procrastinator's fault. Its also the FCC's fault for not starting the HDTV transistion awareness program much earlier than it did. It should have began at the most 4 years ago. The awareness program that we know of today started in January 2008.

That is no where near enough time to educate the public about the analog signal being turned off.

But still..these folks will have to move into the 21st century and get off the horse and buggy boobe tube and bring themselves up to speed.

Eventually those old analog sets will die and most repair shops these days, cept very very few, even take in an old analog set for repair..simply because there are no repair parts being made for them anymore.

Its called lifecycle. And when a 20 year old analog tv who's replacement parts were discontinued 10 years after the tv was manufactured, (federal law requires a minimum parts retainment of 5 years) its time to let go of that relic and replace it with something that is more energy savings compliant, produces less heat, and just plain looks a heck of alot better.



Cheers!!!!



posted on Jan, 26 2009 @ 08:19 PM
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reply to post by wolf241e
 


NO that is probably a very accurate cost estimate. Broadcasters have to run both a full power digital transmitter as well as the old full power analog transmitter which is far less efficient than the digital one.

So with an extension of the time to shut down the analog power hungry relic, that means it costs the broadcaster up to 4 times the amount of utility cost than it did just running the analog alone. And rest assured, the FCC will not allow broadcasters to turn off the digital signal just because a few lazy specimins of the procrastinating public wont get off their duff and get a digital tv.

So who pays the price in the end?

The broadcaster who has already spent billions on new digital transmission eqipment and is currently running both analog and digital signals.

And the broadcasters cannot double up on their advertising rates to cover those costs.

People just need to get with the program and let go of those old tv's. They are cheap now and cost much less than their equivilant analog set size.

IE...a 36 inch LCD widescreen runs about 900 bucks, and its old 36 analog heavy as a mofo CRT tv would run about 1,300 bucks. Plus that old heavy mofo CRT set uses 3 times the energy than the LCD widescreen unit, and the LCD unit weighs much much less.



Cheers!!!!



posted on Jan, 26 2009 @ 08:19 PM
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I use analogue. This thing is a hassle because the converter boxes often don't get a strong enough signal, which means getting a roof antenna. I am glad they delayed it because I have not wanted to think about buying and mounting a roof antenna.



posted on Jan, 26 2009 @ 08:21 PM
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I'd like to see if they HAVE to keep broadcasting in analog. If they don't have to I don't see any reason to go beyond tomorrow if the govt changed the rules. yes I have rabbit ears and the tv hasn't been on in months but I do have a converter box and it's number is regerstered with the government. Go figure that out.

mikell



posted on Jan, 26 2009 @ 08:27 PM
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Just read the rule they can change if they are ready. Now who wouldn't be ready other than the government 3 weeks from the deadline. Also looked on Ebay and boxes are going for more than you can get them at Wal Mart and yes they were in stock as of Sunday.

mikell



posted on Jan, 26 2009 @ 08:31 PM
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reply to post by mikellmikell
 


Anything, and I do mean anything...that uses RF energy has a FCC ID number, most fall under the Part 15 rules.

And anything electric, or electronic, has a UL number, which is another term for a government identification number.

It is no different from your car's VIN number.

Dont worry, its not some plot to track you. If you got a birth certificate, or a SSN number, or a driver's license, they already got what they need.

Depending on the manufacturer of the converter box, some work better than others when using indoor antennas such as rabbit ears. However, keep in mind that most of the digital signals are in the UHF band, and very few will remain in the VHF upper band..ie Ch 7 thru 13.

Therefore, you must make sure your indoor antenna, ie rabbit ears, are designed to receive the UHF band. If you got those long whip style rabbit ear antennas, those long whips are meant for the VHF low band and VHF hi band channels..ie VHF low band is Ch 2 through 6, and VHF hi band is for Ch 7 through 13.

UHF band covers Ch 14 through 63.



Cheers!!!!



posted on Jan, 26 2009 @ 08:31 PM
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I honestly think they should just switch over. It has been like a year and a half since they announced this, even if they ran out of coupons. I understand why they haven't though since it would go against f.c.c regulations. I doubt any other ulterior motives



posted on Jan, 26 2009 @ 08:33 PM
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reply to post by mikellmikell
 


Ya there are sellers on ebay thinking they can take advantage of the approaching deadline and make a quick buck.

Wont work...as you pointed out, you can get them at wally world cheaper and dont have to wait for one to be shipped.

It is typical "take advantage of a situation and people" scenario.



Cheers!!!!



posted on Jan, 26 2009 @ 08:38 PM
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reply to post by denynothing
 


To delay it even further is understandable, but rest assured, the broadcasters will rally through the NAB association and force the FCC to enact the change over because running both an analog and digital full power transmitter is extremely expensive.

What would you say if your montly electric bill averaged about 7 grand per month..and thats just running an analog transmitter with all the necessary support equipment plus building cooling and temperature control devices also requireing power?

Now throw in another full power digital transmitter to boot, plus the extra suppport equipment for that!

That utility bill will average about 10 to 14 grand per month.

The broadcaster wont sit on this for another 4 months without raising some kane about it.



Cheers!!!!



posted on Jan, 26 2009 @ 08:43 PM
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The lowdown fron CExtensionNET

This says they can change if ready it looks like to me.

mikell



posted on Jan, 26 2009 @ 08:44 PM
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Originally posted by wolf241e
I just came across this..

The Obama administration has sought the delay because the government program to provide coupons for converter boxes needs more money.


Ahh.. ok, so THEY want a bailout too then! Hmm.. makes sense now.

Second line.



posted on Jan, 26 2009 @ 08:45 PM
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reply to post by RFBurns
 


True that is very true. By law though they can't switch over if the opportunity to everyone to be in digital isn't possible, which includes the coupons. Once the coupons come back then the transition can come back. I would be very mad at the company or program that under made the coupons if I was a broadcaster.



posted on Jan, 26 2009 @ 08:53 PM
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I think you'd be surprised about how many people who will not be able to afford cable tv in the near future. Job losses are astounding! Many can't even pay their electrical bills. It's gona get bad my friends, I think part of the delay is to make alot more of these boxes along with the other reasons discussed here.



posted on Jan, 26 2009 @ 08:57 PM
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I wonder if there is a more political motivation behind this delay??
reply to post by wolf241e
 


Politics, politics, politics! That is all it is about.

The congressional do gooders are afraid that when the signal goes off there will be a pinhead newscaster that pans a homeless person sitting in front of his TV sobbing about not having a signal and blame the congressman.

Anyone with a pulse knows analog signals have been slated for shutdown for eons. How difficult is it to walk over to the pawn shop and buy an old digital (for less than $100), take it home and plug it in?

The stakes are huge here. Some homeless person can't watch Opra! So we have to spend billions!



posted on Jan, 26 2009 @ 09:10 PM
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Originally posted by denynothing

True that is very true. By law though they can't switch over if the opportunity to everyone to be in digital isn't possible, which includes the coupons. Once the coupons come back then the transition can come back. I would be very mad at the company or program that under made the coupons if I was a broadcaster.


Want to know why its all such a mess?

In 1996, at the NAB convention in Las Vegas, the HDTV standard was demonstrated for the first time. A side by side comparison of a true HDTV signal at 720x480p resolution with 5.1 surround sound and a standard NTSC 2ch stereo signal were displayed all over the convention floor.

During the first NAB/FCC convention meeting, the FCC graciously stated that it would allow the broadcaster and industry to determine what kind of format they wanted to choose to transmit on the HDTV adopted transmission standard.

Meaning, a broadcaster can trasmit a full blown 1024x768p hd signal, or a 720x480i signal, or a 1024x768i signal, or a 420x340 semi hd signal with 5 standard NTSC 525 line signals on the same carrier, plus about 12 other different formats.

In basic terms, it is just like the battle of the VHS vs BETA tape war, or the Blu-Ray DVD vs HD-DVD battle. None were compatiable.

Thus because of the blunder back in 1996, to which I stated and had everyone's head turned my way when I spoke up that having broadcasters choose a format to their leisure would create a bottleneck in the industry and in the consumer television receiver manufacturing industry because each set would have to have a super-converter capable of converting any and all possible formats it encounters.

That would put the price of HDTV receivers through the roof!!

IT is not uncommon to have an HDTV set or even a converter box, capable of decoding a set number of formats, and run into a channel that it cannot decode properly.

To keep those converter boxes cheap and affordable for both consumer and government coupon funding, those converter boxes will probably only decode about 1/3 of the formats possible on the HDTV transmission standard.

So..what does that mean exactly.

It means that because of an FCC screw up, and not listening to the advice of a veteran broadcast engineer...me...they went ahead and allowed all stations to choose their format. As long as the transmitter sends out that signal in the 8VSB standard, they dont care what resoltution, or encoding codec they use, or how many audio channels they use.

So even when they roll out more converter boxes, and turn off analog, there will be those that used to be able to pick up stations that cannot now because their converter box or receiver set does not have the decoding codec capable of decoding that station's particular format they chose to transmit.

The blunder has only just begun.



Cheers!!!!

[edit on 26-1-2009 by RFBurns]



posted on Jan, 26 2009 @ 09:22 PM
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Wow that does sound like an absolute mess, could legal action be pursued in this matter?



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