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2007-03-14 17:29:52.700198+00 by Dan Lyke 2 comments

The US Government will pay to help people with old analog TVs get digital TV signal converters:

The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) said it is setting aside $990 million to pay for the boxes. Each home can request up to two $40 coupons for a digital-to-analog converter box, which consumer electronics makers such as RCA and LG plan to produce. Prices for the box have not been determined, but industry and consumer groups have estimated they will run $50 to $75 each.

Why are we spending taxpayer dollars so that people can watch television? And if we're going to pull this sort of legacy compatibility sort of bullshit, what about the various DRM schemes that are making older music players incompatible?

[ related topics: Politics Music Technology and Culture moron Consumerism and advertising Television ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2007-03-14 18:50:18.354559+00 by: ebradway

I'd have to dig into the economics a little deeper, but I think the justification comes from being able to resell the analog TV spectrum as digital. The net return for the FCC should exceed the $990 million to pay for the upgrade.

Unfortunately, the same thoughts cannot be applied to DRM. The point of contention is use of the airwaves. Channels in analog TV spectrum were originally granted based on certain universal-access conditions. In order to shutdown those channels and "re-purpose" them as digital, universal-access issues have to be resolved.

In the case of DRM, there is no "medium" like the EM spectrum, that is managed on our behalf by the Fed.

But... the entire shift from NTSC to HDTV has seemed rather forced. Good CRT-based NTSC TVs were finally getting cheap ($300 for a fantastic 32"). Now, a 32" HDTV costs around $1500. And that $1500 isn't going to improve the performances on American Idol... What I find most ironic is that the forced transition ignores the fact that most Americans who care about TV use cable or digital satellite - especially early adopters or videophiles.

Me, I'll probably apply for a $40 coupon so I can continue to pickup PBS on the rare occasion I watch TV.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-03-15 14:56:48.819783+00 by: meuon [edit history]

I haven't even tried Hi-Def on my hi-def capable TV yet.. I guess it's time to see what the fuss is about. And yes, I'll pay Comcast the extra $5/mth or so per month for it.