Congress to spend $3B to crush TV

By | October 23, 2005

Well although some people seem really worked up about it I’m glad to see it happen. Congress is sticking to their Dec 31st, 2008 date to pull the plug on analog TV. They’re trying to pass a bill to provide a $3billion dollar subsity to “ease to transition” to digital TV.

Now it’s pretty apparent to those intouch with society (People that aren’t in politics) that pulling the plug on analog TV in 2008 will leave at least half of America hanging out in the dark without TV. Not everyone can afford a new TV or cares enough to replace their 3 year old TV with a new one (like me) or spend $100 on a set top converter.

The great thing they’re doing without even knowing it is pushing people into the digital age and I’m not talking about over the air digital HDTV. I’m talking about IPTV. It’s obvious that this will encourage many more people to start downloading content for viewing rather watching it on TV and more importantly it will encourage the distribution and production of freelance videocasts on the web.

The content is already developing out there and the system is in place to support it with technologies like bittorrent (As I’ve mention previously), plenty of free software to product both audio and video, cheap equipment, fast internet connections available to over 50% of America, and portable viewers coming to the forefront of mainstream america with the video iPod. Now don’t get me wrong; Apple wasn’t the first one to the party but they’re definately the best at popularizing a new technology and making it spread like wildfire.

I know from personal experience that most geeks who are early adopters and trendsetters for technology are already not watching much if any regular television or are using a DVR or Tivo to timeshift what they do watch. And I know for a fact to more and more of us are downloading shows off bittorrent when we want to see them because it’s just more convienent. Now it’s only a matter of time before this trend spreads from us early adopters to mainstream america as it gets easier to do (Think Napster all over again only with TV shows and movies).

Of course we don’t “support” piracy but much like the black market it fills a hole and provides for a need or demand that is not being met through legitimate channels for some reason.

The long and short of this article is that Congress is about to sign on the excution order for oldschool media networks who have refused to embrace technology and the guillotine drops on December 31st, 2008.

Senate Looks to Spend $3B on Digital TV

2 thoughts on “Congress to spend $3B to crush TV

  1. SaltMinor

    Three questions – (1) Is there really any good reason to force new technology upon people? What’s wrong with analog? It works, and like you said, half of the US is still on it. Digital cable has obvious advantages over analog, but if the major media networks are comfortable broadcasting over analog spectrum I don’t see why the government should pull their frequency licenses and auction them off. People will pick up on digital cable as prices go down.

    (2) Are the basic channels still free? It didn’t say so in the article, and considering that cable companies have localized monopolies, this seems like a ploy to make cable companies quite wealthy (as if they weren’t already.)

    (3) And is this really a good priority for Congress, considering the current deficits and the need to solve the funding crisis for social security and medicare? Why fix something that isn’t broken?

  2. Irrision

    Well specifically they’re auctioning off over the air analog channels so this really doesn’t have much to do with cable (Although cable companies have to go HDTV also in the same timeframe). So anyone with a TV that can only receive analog over the air stations will be out of luck unless they throw down a hundred dollars on a new tuner just to convert the digital signal down to something their tv support.

    As far as spending money goes there are a lot of potentially wasteful allocations of money the least of which is the digital conversion. Although there is a purpose for this despite what people think. When we switch to digital transmission it frees up a huge (And I mean huge) swath of bandwidth for other applications. Digital signals can take up less than a fourth of the sprectrum area that analog do, plus they’re less likely to interfere with signals around their range.

    I guess what comes to mind is NASA. Do we really need to spend billions of dollars going to the moon again? How about Mars? What about the hubble telescope? Sometimes the benefits of these exspenses isn’t real obvious immediately but may greatly benefit us later.

    Just for reference there has been no modification in how TVs receive their signal and operate since their invention. A TV from 1940 will still receive the same signal one these days does. Don’t you think it’s a little odd that while other technology has gotten so much better than TVs have stagnated?

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