AfterDawn: Tech news

US households may see coupons for digital TV

Written by Dave Horvath @ 13 Mar 2007 5:28 User comments (13)

US households may see coupons for digital TV Not content that the US is suited for the inevitable digital television cut-over in 2009, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has stated that they are set to give US housholds 2 coupons amounting to $40 each, good for purchase towards set-top boxes that will convert digital signal to analog. Their hopes are to keep consumers happy who have yet to make the switch to a television capable of receiving digital signals.
February 19, 2009 is the scheduled date in which the US will stop broadcasting anything analog and switch to a completely digital signal. It is estimated that there are some 73 million televisions in America, however they further estimate that a wide 15% of those still receive their transmissions via analog antenna. The NTIA is prepared to ship approximately 33,750 coupons in hopes of appeasing the followers of the great rabbit ears.

"The transition from analog to digital television is a historic change and brings with it considerable benefits for the American consumer," Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez said. "The coupon program is designed to help ease the transition to digital TV. Not only will the transition help expand consumer choices, but more importantly, the digital transition will enable more efficient use of the nation's airwaves, providing new advanced wireless services and increased public safety services for all Americans."

Officials hope that by the time of the cutover, enough consumers will decide to buy a television natively capable of receiving digital signals, thus easing the need for these set top boxes, and in effect, the coupons to buy them. Personally, I feel if they want to ease the cutover, they should give higher valued coupons towards purchase of a digital television to underpriviledged households, but I digress.

Members of Congress aren't sure if the cutover is the wisest of ideas. When the 2009 date was set in stone, Democrats opposed efforts to give more funding towards the project, in favor of more tax cuts. Now growing concern in the administration is whether or not the $1.5billion set aside for the switch is enough to cover all of the potential consumers affected. House Commerce Committee chairman Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich. said, "If the administration believes additional funds are needed to prevent consumers' television sets from going dark, then it should ask the Congress for such funding."

Under the NTIA, every household in America should be covered by this plan until just about $1billion is spent. If that number is reached, they have allocated $500,000 additional dollars to help the project.

Source:
Reuters

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13 user comments

113.3.2007 6:33

Wow; that sounds like a lot of trouble to go through. That's a lot of money just to convert everyone. And the government is paying this? WHY!?!?

It would be another story entirely, if the in industry was chipping in, but geez...

Then again, we spend money on dumber things. Like surveys to find out why prisoners want to escape from prison. *sigh*

213.3.2007 7:00

so uh.... why are we switching to a digital signal again? how come big ass signs arent on all the tvs in wal mart warning people of this?

how about instead of switching to digital we switch to a higher res so we arent last in the world for tv def standard. in our own defence we were the first with tv so everyone just copied us and made it better.

313.3.2007 7:36

georgeluv if you have an hd tv and an hd tv tuner your going to get up to 1080i. as for why go digital, it saves energy and it has a clean picture, you ether have the chanle or you dont no fuzzzz.

413.3.2007 7:55

Leave it to the democrats to want more money for something that has been given great advance notice of happening. Screw the partial payment towards a converter box just give us all HD flat panels, come on they donít want us upset do they? How about providing us with free non-commercial TV while they are at it. I donít think we need dummy labels to know that analog broadcast is soon to be dead. Iím sure the industry wants to incur further expense by providing us with free equipment since itís costing them more as well. It would have been nice if they would have gone full bore and used the Japanese system but thatís history now.

513.3.2007 9:25

whats the japanese system?

613.3.2007 13:43

They use NTSC-J, but I don't know of them switching to an exclusive-hi-def signal though; but they tend to be more ahead of the tech curve, so who knows?

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 13 Mar 2007 @ 13:43



"Its not stupid, its advanced!" - The Almighty Tallest, Invader Zim

713.3.2007 22:05

You would be surprised as to how many sheeple are oblivious of the fact that in just under two yearís time, their current TV will not work. This cutoff has been in the works for about 10 years now, and very little information is coming from the industry that is set to profit the most from this change.

814.3.2007 4:30

Originally posted by Unfocused:
You would be surprised as to how many sheeple are oblivious of the fact that in just under two yearís time, their current TV will not work. This cutoff has been in the works for about 10 years now, and very little information is coming from the industry that is set to profit the most from this change.
i agree, i check this site every day, as well as countless other video oriented websites and i know i remember hearing about it a wile ago but i guess it was so long ago that i forgot when the cutoff was and almost forgot about it entirly. one press release every year is definatly not enough. why no psa's during the 5 o clock news huh? why no newspaper articles huh?

reasons they could be doing this:

"digital is cheaper" yeh for them, not us obviously cause even when we get vouchers well still have to pony up 20 beans. i bet itll be more like 40 when it actualy comes around. and are they going to give away 40 bucks to EVERY PERSON IN AMERICA? its the only way i see this being fair.

"the channel ether comes in or it doesnt" thus shortening the range that someone can get a picture to come up on thier screen, unless they pump more into broadcast strengh, wich i dont see them doing, it seems more like they just got congress to force everyone to pay them money for a slight alteration in our viewing standard. like the minute diference between 1080i and 1080p just so they could make the HD DVD security system, how gay. you would think people would get tired of standard changes by now, im personaly fed up with buying more equipment congress should limit them to one standard change every 10 years. 720p was fucking fine!

if the people are viewing tv on rabbit ears do you realy yhtink they give a fuck about digital quality anyway?

914.3.2007 12:03

I think that they are trying to keep things quiet until the last minute, so to speak. The industry does stand to make a LOT from this; but they also risk a lot. This was very quietly put through legislation, with almost no attention paid to it by the general public, who at the time had no idea what it would implicate now.

If they start making a big fuss about it right now; people are going to get upset and demand this be repealed immediately, because people don't want to be forced into upgrading by the government. The industry knows that they need to wait until at least the last year before the change occurs, in order to lessen the likelihood of this being undone. The closer to the deadline that we get; the less likely it is that this bill my be undone before coming to fruition. They stand to make a LOT of money from this; but they also stand to potentially lose a lot if this thing gets canned by the feds.

I can completely see why it's been kept rather hush hush on the industry's part; but I would expect that by next February, at the latest, you'll start hearing a lot of bruhaha about it. I'm hoping that one of these major news networks picks it up, even if it's a tiny side story; if they start making people aware of this, something might change.

Quite frankly, I have all digital equipment, but I think that the government spending billions to coerce people into a nationwide hardware upgrade is a waste of funds that could be used on many better things. In retrospect, I'm sure larger sums are spent on dumber things; but it doesn't change the fact that I hope to keep that sort of thing to a minimum, seeing as it is millions of people's tax dollars making that happen.




"Its not stupid, its advanced!" - The Almighty Tallest, Invader Zim

1015.3.2007 9:08

The Japanese system was going to be around 1500p (1440p I believe) but it seems they have changed to a resolution of 1124 (MUSE) but is really less then ours at 1035i in todayís standards. My comment was that we should support the higher standard of 1440p if we are to make a change make it worth while, something that will be good for a long time hopefully.

The industry only makes out if everyone buys the new HDTV's at a profit to the companies. But if people don't run out and buy them they will be stuck with equipment and R&D that they will loose money on, quite the gamble I believe for the industry and it may take years to recoup their investments.

1117.3.2007 17:04

From the article:

Quote:
Democrats opposed efforts to give more funding towards the project, in favor of more tax cuts.
Are they sure that Democrats voted against funding a service in favor of tax cuts? Since when?

1217.3.2007 17:19

Personally, I can't wait. Finally, I can start my own broadcasting company and broadcast analog signals to all the tv sets still receiving analog signals.

1317.3.2007 18:11

Quote:
Personally, I can't wait. Finally, I can start my own broadcasting company and broadcast analog signals to all the tv sets still receiving analog signals.
There's the rub. One major reason for the change to ATSC digital is so they can recoup the over-the-air bandwidth that has been devoted to NTSC analog broadcasting for 50 years. You will not have a license to broadcast on the frequencies that NTSC tuners utilize -- all those frequencies have already been auctioned off or reserved for other uses with the official end of OTA analog broadcasting set for February 2009.

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