01.29.09

Digital TV Delay?

Posted in Computers & Technology, Events, Life in general, Press at 8:38 am by Marion

TECH THURSDAY

Two big tech issues today … unless you also include my new foray onto Facebook, which is a chapter in itself for another day … and the Jeopardy online contestant quiz I took last night, and missed the final question about Radiohead … Radiohead! In Rainbows! I know that!

No, today just a brief update about our nation’s switch to digital TV … and the struggle in Washington over whether it should be delayed.

Being the worrier that I am, I ordered and received a U.S. Government coupon sometime last summer. It was a plastic magnetic-stripped card worth $40.

Now if you haven’t heard, the government is requiring all broadcasters to air their programs with digital signals, which uses a different area of the electromagnetic spectrum somehow and frees those waves for other vital technology, say iPhones.

So for lugs like us without cable (hey, we can view House on Fox! And Lost on ABC! And Seinfeld reruns! What more do we need?), there’s a need to use a converter box to translate the digital signal to your TV. (My TV … 20 years old … is still working, though the sound is going out, I believe.)

We use our $40 coupon to purchase a digital TV converter priced at $60. Don’t tell me there’s not some relationship there.

We get the converter box home …. and see it was manufactured entirely in China. The box has words to the effect of, This product fulfills the requirements of the U.S. Government coupon program, or something like that … just above the words, Made in China.

Now folks, how is it that a country which has embargoed Cuba for 45 years because it is a so-called evil Communist nation … can partner with this oppressive government to provide digital TV boxes, in one of the largest technology shifts ever? (let’s not forget beaten and jailed Buddhist monks, Tienanmen Square.)

I digress … what I meant to get at for today’s post was the sudden struggle between our new president and the U.S. House, which has blocked his effort to postpone the digital TV switch.

While I received my coupon in plenty of time, they ran out late last year … leaving millions of people without.

Mr. Obama believes it’s unfair to pull the plug on these folks without a box … many of them elderly, poor and possibly without the education they need to understand what’s going on. Without TV access, during these winter storms, they will lose their sole source of news, information and emergency contact.

So he has proposed a delay.

The broadcasters have mounted powerful opposition … and with good reason … many of them are already supporting analog and digital signals, which is terribly expensive. Enough, they say. Let’s be done with it, before it bankrupts us.

With the shroud of economic depression hanging over the broadcast industry, as everywhere, it’s certainly understandable that providing two signal formats is a burden.

Yet it’s also important to remember the millions of folks without cable, whose broadcast TV is their only source of contact with the outside world. We’ll see how this one plays out.

A note on the Jeopardy quiz: It was fast! Fifty questions in 10 minutes!! With 15 seconds for each question … it is a blur. I missed a few … some were ridiculously difficult … one I think I answered correctly asked, Which English monarch outlived her husband by 39 years … I answered Queen Victoria … I think I was right.

By the time the quiz asked which band offered its recording In Rainbows over the Internet, I blanked. Blanked!! I have this recording!! I was among the first wave to download it!! I just couldn’t come up with the name!

I have a feeling the Jeopardy producers would tell me, Honey don’t worry. But don’t call us … we’ll call you ….

1 Comment

  1. Fiction Daily Blog Archive Digital TV Delay? | Helping Senior Citizens Out said,

    October 6, 2009 at 2:58 am

    […] This chap created an interesting post today on Fiction Daily Blog Archive Digital TV Delay?Here’s a short outlineMr. Obama believes it’s unfair to pull the plug on these folks without a box … many of them elderly, poor and possibly without the education they need to understand what’s going on. Without TV access, during these winter … […]