AfterDawn: Tech news

Delay of digital TV bill goes to vote

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 24 Jan 2009 15:09 User comments (37)

Delay of digital TV bill goes to vote The senators involved with the upcoming mandatory transition to Digital TV signals from analog signals in the US have agreed to a bill that would delay the transition to June 12th from February 17th. The legislation will go to vote next week, with some expecting as early as Monday.
The delay will give the Commerce Committee more time to get funds for coupons for converter boxes that allow analog signal users to receive digital broadcasts, free of charge.

The postponement has the backing of new President Barack Obama after it was concluded most consumers are still not prepared despite, literally, years of television ads from the government and cable companies looking to get new subscribers.

"The shameful truth is that we are not poised to do this transition right,"
added Sen. John D. Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Commerce Committee, "We are only weeks away from doing it dreadfully wrong -- and leaving consumers with the consequences."

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the group in charge of the coupons, says they have exceeded their $1.34 billion USD funding limit. 3 million Americans remain on waiting lists for the coupons.

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37 user comments

124.1.2009 16:01

The only problem I ever really saw with the Converter Box Coupon program was the fact they expire in 90 days (maby 120 or 150 days would be better). For most people that is enough time. But for some they may need more time. Especially at the beginning when they first came out. There wasn't very many coupon applicable boxes to choose from at stores or online. I had to get three of them (boxes). So I could save a little on my direcTV every month for local channels. I also use them to record some shows when I don't have time to watch. If you have more than one connected to one tv you need two different brands. That way there is no worry of one remote controlling the other box. They also didn't plan ahead and prepare for the economic downturn. That meant many more people were going to get them.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 24 Jan 2009 @ 16:02

224.1.2009 17:25

Given the state of the economy, why are we even considering subsidizing more of these coupons! If money ran out - cut the friggin program! Considering the improved image quality, have people pay for these converter boxes! Jesus Christ... What is wrong with America?!

ELIMINATE USELESS COSTLY PROGRAMS SUCH AS THIS!

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 25 Jan 2009 @ 1:06

324.1.2009 17:34

I really can't believe all the money for the boxes. Now they are worried that the 'poor' people can't afford them. A quick survey would show you they can afford them, most are buying 1-2 cartons of cigarettes each week. And I would guess that many already have Blue Ray players.

This is just another example of a govt run program that does not work properly, cost too much and gives the govt the opportunity to act like they are saving the poor by spending some more money that we don't have.

424.1.2009 17:39

How can they even say that they are "not poised to do the transition correctly?" Whith as much time as this program has been in the works, this should have gone off flawlessly.

524.1.2009 17:57

"should have happened flawlessly" ???
Just wait for National Healthcare

624.1.2009 20:21

When will the Sheople of the USA do right? We have become the country that proves, "Thou who bitches most gets most." And, "Though who has most, gets to make all the f'n rules to make sure that others can't succeed and to make sure that the rich get to stay that way at others' expense."

725.1.2009 0:45

Originally posted by texasfish:
I really can't believe all the money for the boxes. Now they are worried that the 'poor' people can't afford them. A quick survey would show you they can afford them, most are buying 1-2 cartons of cigarettes each week. And I would guess that many already have Blue Ray players.

This is just another example of a govt run program that does not work properly, cost too much and gives the govt the opportunity to act like they are saving the poor by spending some more money that we don't have.
Hey I'm one of the one's waiting for my coupon. I ordered it before the December 31st deadline, and it's supposed to be mailed out on January 16th, yet I still don't know if I fall under the category of coupons where the funding ran out. I'm guessing I do, but they never sent me any emails stating so.

Anyways, I pretty much never watch my tv. I've got some bunny ears on it so I can watch the news occasionally. I don't want to spend $40 on something I'll hardley use.

I can tell you right now why this program ran out of money. I went to the page to order the coupons, and I just went ahead and ordered two of them. There didn't seem to be much restrictions for ordering more than one. I probably won't even use the second one.

There's a reason the government has to do this coupon program, and I'm guessing some of you are too shortsighted to understand, but in emergency cases, television and radio are vital sources of information, and the whole reason television broadcast is changing from analog to digital is because the government wanted to do that change. So the govt is forcing the change, therefore they gotta make sure that the citizens still have access to the vital info provided from television.

Think about what kind of emergency cases tv and radio is useful? Weather events like Tornados, terrorist events like 9/11. Probably not much more than that though.

825.1.2009 0:46

I cannot believe that they are even thinking about delaying the transfer. Just f’in do it! What are the consequences? The idiots that haven’t switched yet won’t get to watch Springer or the Steve Wilkos show??? Switch and within days the 6 million some they are claiming are not ready will be. Delay it and a few more might be ready but not all. If you waited this long it is your own fault. Wake up people things change and this change is for the better.

Edit: If you don't get your coupon maybe try reading the paper or listening to the radio.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 25 Jan 2009 @ 0:51

925.1.2009 1:04

bomber991 - who let you out of your bunker? GET BACK IN THERE!

While you're in there, pick up a paper and read about how bad our economy is. The gov't mandated the change, but it doesn't mean they have to carry all the costs. Does that mean they also purchased encoders and transmitters for the tv stations?

That $40 converter is a one time expense. It isn't like poor people have to pay a monthly premium for this service.

If someone can't afford $40 to extend the life of their crappy sets, they NEED A FRIGGIN' JOB! Not be watching TV!

This extension bill will likely have some other bs programs attached to it. This is just a sham.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 25 Jan 2009 @ 1:11

1025.1.2009 1:11

Obama got it right on this one! Only problem is it needs to be June 12, 2020, by then most analog TV's will be gone and nobody will need converter boxes. The quality of the digital signal is very poor in most rural areas, I myself am going to lose reception to stations that carry FOX, CBS, ABC, and PBS. I will only be able to recieve 2 channels instead of 7 over the air. If they are going to make this switch work, they need to fund the money needed, and tweak the rules to where broadcasters will be able to set up repeaters, or strengthen the signal to where it gets out. From my experience the audio, and depth of the picture quality is not as good as the analog signal. I recall how nice the cell phone reception was before many of those companys switched to the crappy digital phones. I would rather be able to comunicate over this hiss, than to lose my reception altogether. What this switch means is that the usa will have the worst television reception in the world. All other countries will still be enjoying the better signal strength of analog.

1125.1.2009 6:12

Originally posted by jsampo:
Given the state of the economy, why are we even considering subsidizing more of these coupons! If money ran out - cut the friggin program! Considering the improved image quality, have people pay for these converter boxes! Jesus Christ... What is wrong with America?!
Because the goal is to switch off analog trasmissiongs for good. This frees up frequencies (as one digital multiplex can typically have four SD channels in same frequency range that could fit only one analog channel) -- and then gov't can sell the free'd frequencies for highest bidders (most likely, for billions).

And to be able to switch off the analog broadcasts with as little whining from public as possible, they subsidize the DTV converter boxes. Here in Finland we shut down our analog transmissions -- in aerial _and_ in cable -- about a year ago and didn't have any coupon system. Thus, the public complaining was quite loud :-)

1225.1.2009 12:12

with the coupon its usually not more than 15 bucks, if you cant afford that you cant afford a tv.

1325.1.2009 12:17

Quote:
Originally posted by jsampo:
Given the state of the economy, why are we even considering subsidizing more of these coupons! If money ran out - cut the friggin program! Considering the improved image quality, have people pay for these converter boxes! Jesus Christ... What is wrong with America?!
Because the goal is to switch off analog trasmissiongs for good. This frees up frequencies (as one digital multiplex can typically have four SD channels in same frequency range that could fit only one analog channel) -- and then gov't can sell the free'd frequencies for highest bidders (most likely, for billions).

And to be able to switch off the analog broadcasts with as little whining from public as possible, they subsidize the DTV converter boxes. Here in Finland we shut down our analog transmissions -- in aerial _and_ in cable -- about a year ago and didn't have any coupon system. Thus, the public complaining was quite loud :-)
YO man how you been? ^^

I dunno sheeple need alil prodding so they need to test the systems on and off for a few months then later in the year switch it to it. There are enough under 50$ devices that will get DTV that will make the transition annoying but not to horrible for the population.

Without the testing faze people just wont get it.... I see the need get off analog as so they can sale the frequencies off for a few billion and whatever money spent on the DTV boxs will be made back though it but they need to limit 2 boxes per house hold and run a test phaze where some tv stations turn off their analog for everything but the news.

1425.1.2009 13:43

no wonder the US has no money for important things when it spends money supplying people with digital TV set top boxes. Just buy the damned things for pity's sake. They aren't expensive anymore. as for putting off the date as someone suggests to 2020 because some people aren't ready, that is just stupid. Where does it end? people have had plenty of warning just like here in Australia. The analogue service will be switched off here and if one doesn't have a set top box or digital TV then too bad; no TV.

1525.1.2009 14:03

leglessoz, ditto

1625.1.2009 15:16
gmontalc
Inactive

Total waste of time and effort!

The Converter Box ...is meant for the real older TV's, the kind of TV that only works with the rabbits antennas the same one that do not have connectors in the (rear) back for Cable TV input.

Even, if your older TV has Cable TV programming or service connected, then you DO NOT NEED "the Converter Box" !

If you have thought that by having 2 or 3 Converter Boxes connected to your TVs served Cable TV or to your HDTVs, then you have totally wasted your time and effort!

NOTE:- if you have a very old TV, my recommendation is that, put that antique away, go to the nearest pawnshop and buy a "newer" TV.

Also, I get annoyed when some of you has digital service such as DirecTV / DishNetwork and still are desperate for a "Converter Box", just for a mere little $$$ savings. It's totally ridiculous.

These kind of people reflects this greedy consuming society that we're living in!.

1725.1.2009 15:28

My thoughts are if the govt. can spend 750 billion to bail out the poor multi billion dollar corporations, Then the govt can spend a little on the people that make it all possible for them to throw away the money that they do on a daily basis. Remember that the FCC is selling the airwaves that we WERE watching tv on.. They can pay for a new box for those that are lower income.

1825.1.2009 15:33

I got my coupons way back at the beginning of the year, but I failed to read where it said it had to be used within 90 days.
As far as old tv's, I can use the coupons. Whenever I can't pay my directv bill and I get cut off, I need the antennae to pick up my local channels. So it is useful to some of us.

1925.1.2009 15:33

Originally posted by Rustbuket:
My thoughts are if the govt. can spend 750 billion to bail out the poor multi billion dollar corporations, Then the govt can spend a little on the people that make it all possible for them to throw away the money that they do on a daily basis. Remember that the FCC is selling the airwaves that we WERE watching tv on.. They can pay for a new box for those that are lower income.
Even more so if they plan to make 2-10X more of what they spent on the coupons off selling the frequencies.

Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Lets renegotiate them.

---
Check out my crappy creations
http://zippydsmlee.deviantart.com/

2025.1.2009 15:56

Originally posted by gmontalc:
The Converter Box ...is meant for the real older TV's, the kind of TV that only works with the rabbits antennas the same one that do not have connectors in the (rear) back for Cable TV input.

This is false. The boxes are for TVs that don't have a digital tuner. The coaxial connector used for cable television became a fairly standard feature in the 1980s.
Quote:
NOTE:- if you have a very old TV, my recommendation is that, put that antique away, go to the nearest pawnshop and buy a "newer" TV.

If you have an analog TV that's more than a year old it probably doesn't have a digital tuner. If it's more than 2 years old it almost certainly doesn't. The people who have continued to buy analog televisions are, by and large, also people for whom a new TV isn't a trivial purchase. Are you suggesting this means they don't deserve to watch TV?

2125.1.2009 16:35
gmontalc
Inactive

Quote:
This is false. The boxes are for TVs that don't have a digital tuner. The coaxial connector used for cable television became a fairly standard feature in the 1980s.
Do a proper reading and think for a minute,... If your TV is around the 1980's decade, you'll not need a converter box, but still you'll need to put that old TV in the bin garbage... and buy a new TV.

For the last 5 yrs Digital Turner TVs are found on any electronic shops with affordable prices.

Dammit a society full of scavengers........

2225.1.2009 16:38

Originally posted by gmontalc:
Quote:
This is false. The boxes are for TVs that don't have a digital tuner. The coaxial connector used for cable television became a fairly standard feature in the 1980s.
Do a proper reading and think for a minute,... If your TV is around the 1980's decade, you'll not need a converter box, but still you'll need to put that old TV in the bin garbage... and buy a new TV.

For the last 5 yrs Digital Turner TVs are found on any electronic shops with affordable prices.

Dammit a society full of scavengers........
You miss the point not everyone can afford 100$ for a 19-27 inch TV that may or may not be Dtv ready, and those "older" models can last for decades. So politely... stuff it....

Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Lets renegotiate them.

---
Check out my crappy creations
http://zippydsmlee.deviantart.com/

2325.1.2009 16:46
gerbs
Inactive

Boy, some of you lack compassion. You must be so privliged that you can't imagine poorness. I hope mommy and daddy don't loose everything to the bad boys of Wall St. so you can continue on with all of your fancy gadgets. Many people are taking it in the shorts so the tv empire can generate even more wealth for the industry owners. That's why they are dividing up the channels. More channels in the spectrum means more $$$$$ - a simple formula. Now, one good reason to delay is that thousands, even though they have converter boxes, do not realize they may need to go up on their roofs to adjust or add antennas to actually capture the digital signal, which is much more difficult to receive without any break-up. Here the north our roofs are covered with snow and ice and going up there may result in serious injury--especially for older citizens. Have some compassion-write to your representatives and tell them to delay implementation of this poorly thought out plan from the Bush era!

2425.1.2009 17:43

Originally posted by gmontalc:
o a proper reading and think for a minute,... If your TV is around the 1980's decade, you'll not need a converter box, but still you'll need to put that old TV in the bin garbage... and buy a new TV.

For the last 5 yrs Digital Turner TVs are found on any electronic shops with affordable prices.

I've done plenty of reading and just as much observing. Until about a year ago there were still many brand new TVs with digital tuners. A year earlier that included almost every TV sold. I'm not talking about 1980s TVs. I was simply pointing out that you were talking out of your nether regions about what the converter boxes do. It has nothing to do with adding a new connection. It's a completely separate tuner that even most newer TVs don't have.

Rich Fiscus
@Vurbal on Twitter
AfterDawn Staff Writer

2525.1.2009 17:58

Originally posted by gmontalc:
o a proper reading and think for a minute,... If your TV is around the 1980's decade, you'll not need a converter box, but still you'll need to put that old TV in the bin garbage... and buy a new TV.

For the last 5 yrs Digital Turner TVs are found on any electronic shops with affordable prices.

I've done plenty of reading and just as much observing. Until about a year ago there were still many brand new TVs with digital tuners. A year earlier that included almost every analog TV sold. I'm not talking about 1980s TVs. I was simply pointing out that you were talking out of your nether regions about what the converter boxes do. It has nothing to do with adding a new connection. It's a completely separate tuner that even most newer TVs don't have.

And just for the record we're not talking about spending tax revenue on this. The frequency auctions are bringing in tens of billions of revenue. We could spend 5 times as much as was originally budgeted for the vouchers and still run a profit on the whole deal. Or are you also opposed to collecting that money?
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 25 Jan 2009 @ 19:08

Rich Fiscus
@Vurbal on Twitter
AfterDawn Staff Writer

2625.1.2009 19:05

Originally posted by gerbs:
Now, one good reason to delay is that thousands, even though they have converter boxes, do not realize they may need to go up on their roofs to adjust or add antennas to actually capture the digital signal, which is much more difficult to receive without any break-up. Here the north our roofs are covered with snow and ice and going up there may result in serious injury--especially for older citizens.
I think you actually pick up on the actual point here, in that if you need to adjust your outside aerial or dish, middle of winter is not the time to do it, hence the middle of summer, (BTW if you are looking for work I would suggest getting up to speed on how it all works, and take advantage of it.)

If your signal is not good enough then that is the broadcastors problem and they need to boost their transmission.

The other plus is that it costs less to broadcast in Digital, about a 10% drop just in electrical charges.

As for the shut down you would think they would get each state to slowly change the transmission over, starting in more popular areas then moving out, just makes more fiscal sense (oh sorry i used the sense word)

and why any still offer analouge only tv anymore will always be a mystery!!!

2725.1.2009 19:23
gmontalc
Inactive

Originally posted by vurbal:
Originally posted by vurbal:
I'm not talking about 1980s TVs. I was simply pointing out that you were talking out of your nether regions about what the converter boxes do.
Are you aware that these digital TV signals are good for the cities close to the antennas transmitters?, the digital signals are not as strong as the analogs ones. So, for people who live in "nether regions" as you mentioned, definitely will not get any digital signal at all, therefore no Converter box TV needed.

Quote:
.... It's a completely separate tuner that even most newer TVs don't have.
I disagree totally with that one, Digital Turners are long old technology already.

The purpose for FCC to make you change to digital TV is because need to free up frequencies spectrum. The analog processing signals are more reliable and can reach vast territories for transmitting data and sound which the Government, Military and many other agencies need.

"a society full of greedy scavengers"
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 25 Jan 2009 @ 19:42

2825.1.2009 19:48

Originally posted by gmontalc:
Originally posted by vurbal:
Originally posted by vurbal:
I'm not talking about 1980s TVs. I was simply pointing out that you were talking out of your nether regions about what the converter boxes do.
Are you aware that these digital TV signals are good for the cities close to the antennas transmitters?, the digital signals are not as strong as the analogs ones. So, for people who live in "nether regions" as you mentioned, definitely will not get any digital signal at all, therefore no Converter box TV needed.

Quote:
.... It's a completely separate tuner that even most newer TVs don't have.
I disagree totally with that one, Digital Turners are long old technology already.

First off the nether regions I was referring to was the part of one's body facts you make up are pulled from. Second, it's a fact that until last year, when the FCC disallowed the practice, many analog TVs were still being sold without ATSC tuners. Just a few years ago most HDTVs didn't even have them. Prior to 2005 analog TVs manufactured for sale in the US weren't required to have any digital tuner. Before 2006 analog televisions with screens 36" or smaller didn't have to have one. As of 2007 every device with a tuner had to include at least one digital tuner, but a year ago the FCC had to outlaw the sale of TVs without ATSC tuners because they were still being sold.

Quote:
The purpose for FCC to make you change to digital TV is because need to free up frequencies spectrum. The analog processing signals are more reliable and can reach vast territories for transmitting data and sound which the Government, Military and many other agencies need.
The purpose of the transition is to stick to a single standard. The frequencies aren't being kept by the government. They have been and are being auctioned off.

Before you come here and berate people for being leeches on society because they want their TVs to keep workig you should at least know what 5 minutes on Google would teach you.

Rich Fiscus
@Vurbal on Twitter
AfterDawn Staff Writer

2925.1.2009 20:04
gmontalc
Inactive

ONE MORE GOOD REASON FOR KEEPING ALIVE THE ECONOMICAL CRISIS

People, go spend your real cash on new TV's.

a society full of beggers and scavengers

3025.1.2009 20:59
dagobaker
Inactive

the national healthcare comment made me laugh my butt off.....too bad hilary will be out of the country as sec of state to ruin it a second time..........>:)

3126.1.2009 8:24

I'm in the "Git 'er done! Now!" camp. I've been watching digital TV OTA at our summer cottage for 2 years now and want to get this over with! Some channel allocations will move, and some stations will increase power on the digital transmissions. So, many of the stations I have difficulty receiving now will be stronger, better, etc. I never did the coupons. I bought two digi tuners before the program ever started, and since have picked up two new GE converters at a garage sale for $8 each! All work fine except no analog passthrough. This would be useful for Canadian stations I can receive, which, BTW, will not do a mandatory switch for a couple more years.

As people who have digi converters buy new TV's these converter boxes will be a dime a dozen, and will all end up in the landfill. This will eventually include my 4 units.

It's not like people haven't been told about this a million times already....and who can resist buying anything at 80% off regular price!

Let's get it over with, and move on...........

3226.1.2009 20:38

Quote:
If you have an analog TV that's more than a year old it probably doesn't have a digital tuner. If it's more than 2 years old it almost certainly doesn't. The people who have continued to buy analog televisions are, by and large, also people for whom a new TV isn't a trivial purchase. Are you suggesting this means they don't deserve to watch TV?
Hmmm... I bought my TV at least two years ago... A cheapy Walmart ... $150 for 27"...
Guess what? It had both Analog and Digital tuners.
I use the digital tuner for local HD digital chanels over the air with no rabbit ears... and the analog to receive my analog crap signal from my cable company.

3328.1.2009 11:35

Honestly...this isn't even about the tuners. I've had mine for 3 months now. I hooked them up. TV was unwatchable...it was all digital artifacts and blue screens. I went back to analog. The picture and sound was great when it worked (rarely). Yes...it's the broadcaster's problem...but that makes it de facto my problem. There's no government mandate for broadcasters to improve their signal. Instead I will likely be forced into buying satellite TV even if it's just to catch the news. I have no desire to pay an extra $50+/mo for a television I rarely use.

I will possibly try building my own antenna because it's cheap and easy because I don't even really want to spend $80 for a decent outdoor mast antenna.

This honestly just looks to me like a big gimme to the satellite/cable industry by Bush era cronies...on top of raking in billions from selling the new bandwidth.

3428.1.2009 11:36

Pardon...and extra $50+/mo for satellite service which I don't want and will rarely use.

3529.1.2009 22:11

I am surprised USA is not incorpating some sattelite broadcast which could be picked up on a smallish dish for those out of range. I guess all that junk flosting in the skies are now going to be worthless.

3631.1.2009 19:01
gmontalc
Inactive








If you have at least one of these connections, then YOU"LL NO NEED a CONVERTER BOX.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 31 Jan 2009 @ 19:03

3731.1.2009 21:09

Originally posted by gmontalc:







If you have at least one of these connections, then YOU"LL NO NEED a CONVERTER BOX.
Thy ignorance is amusing, there are dozens of component TVs and VCR/DRV/DVDR recording devices that do not have digital TV tuners in them.

Nothing like glazing over the facts with with a grain of truth.

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