This week, the House passed a bill delaying the digital TV transition originally planned for February 17 to June 12. President Obama is expected to sign the bill, which would give your grandparents and Gossip Girl-addicted luddites another four months to ensure a broadcast signal by purchasing a digital television or government subsidized $40 convertor box.
The delay has been heralded by consumer advocates as a necessary measure to ensure that every American has the opportunity to make the transition from analog to digital broadcast television. 6.5 million households have still not made the jump and there have been problems with the government's digital converter voucher program.
But not everyone is supportive:
the delay could wind up postponing the release of wireless services planned for the old spectrum. Once television broadcasters transition to the digital spectrum, it will free up the old analog spectrum for a variety of advanced cellular technology applications that have been in the works for years. AT&T, Verizon, and Qualcomm each bought portions of the analog (known as the "700 MHz") spectrum in a FCC government auction last March. (Interestingly, the FCC went all Web 1.0 for the auction, conducting it online and using reserve prices. But this isn't your typical EBay Star Wars mug purchase. The FCC auction raised $19.6 billion – PowerSeller!)
The digital TV delay would limit access to the analog spectrum until June, and Qualcomm will be the hardest hit. Qualcomm planned to use their new bandwidth immediately to significantly expand their MediaFLO technology, which provides streaming video/television to mobile devices branded through Verizon's VCAST and AT&T's Mobile TV platforms. Already in 65 markets nationally, MediaFLO was slated to add an additional 40 markets within days of the original digital TV transition date of Feb. 17. These new markets included majors cities such as Boston, Houston, Miami, San Francisco, and Qualcomm had built over 100 new transmitters in preparation.
Now that rollout is dead in the water, though, Qualcomm is claiming the delay will cost it tens of millions of dollars in idle equipment and licensing fees and will unfairly penalize the company for being prepared to hit the market immediately after the original transition date.
Qualcomm's saving grace may be in a provision of the bill that makes the delay voluntary. Broadcasters are permitted to make the digital switch anytime after February 17, but have until June 12 to comply. This may give Qualcomm the opportunity for a limited MediaFLO expansion as originally scheduled if broadcasters cooperate.
Verizon and AT&T are also impacted, but to a lesser extent. Both plan to use the analog spectrum for their next generation LTE ("Long Term Evolution" also known as "4G") cellular networks, but on longer timeframes than Qualcomm. Verizon's network was slated for a late 2009 release while AT&T was scheduled for 2011. This difference could explain why Verizon initially opposed the delay while AT&T supported it. Verizon would have had a significant first-to-market advantage with their 4G network out in late 2009, and the digital TV delay may give AT&T time to catch up. Verizon eventually came around and supported the delay "as long as it's short," said Verizon CEO Ivan Seiderberg, likely assuming the four months wouldn't cede AT&T enough time to gain ground. If AT&T's choppy 3G service serves as a guide, he's probably right.
No one needs tv. It's an absurd waste for the government to subsidize the converter boxes when the vast majority of Americans, including the vast majority of the poor who all somehow manage to buy tvs are all capable and will buy these converter boxes on their own.
And the delay is absurd for the same reason. Heaven forbid that anyone should go without tv for a few days, a few weeks or a few months.
Our government acts in perpetual denial of its red ink with absurd pork spenditures like this.
Lack of planning on the American public's part should not create an emergency on the government's part.
Hey did you know the delay has a half life, the last delay was for a year, the next delay will only be for three months, the the next delay will only be for twenty two and a half days, then the next delay ....
The cheapest converter box available is the TR-40 by dish, dtvpal.com, it is only $40 or 'free' with coupon plus shipping. It has the best interface, a full seven day EPG, and can be run on 12 volts dc. Why the hell are we paying $60 for less/worst features?
Ahhh...but you forgot to ask...just WHO benefits for delaying the transition? Not AT&T, Verizon or Qualcomm...but certainly a competitor in the field.... Unfortunately, I forgot the name of the company, but the president of the company has a good friend in the Democrats...and just happens to own a good chunck of bandwidth available for ITS 4G networking on February 17th. And since it is 4th or 5th in the field, I am sure that it would not mind a 3 month advantage.
First, the voucher program is no longer being funded so there are no more "free" boxes. Second, with all the radio waves being taken up by nothing but music, sports talk, and Reich-wing drug-addicted gas bags with national radio syndication, people without internet access have no way of getting news, especially local, apart from TV. Third, you can buy a 10 year old 13 inch TV for less than $20 (plus most people already have one) so it's a much more fiscally responsible choice for news than newspapers. Fourth, considering the insane levels of unemployment (which will only be getting worse, and especially worse thanks to the the obstructionist party's manipulation of the stimulus bill), people need to keep financially responsible.
As FCC Rules 15 indicate anywhere from 160kHz to 24.25gHz can be emitted anywhere to anyone and anything Part "Regulations under which an intentional, unintentional, or incidental radiator may be operated without an individual license."
Emitters may include Biomedical telemetry device; An intentional radiator used to transmit measurements of either human or animal biomedical phenomena to a receiver.
GOOGLE : FCC RULES 15.. Read the .PDF, there is ALOT people have power to do, too much.
As the Most Important Rules are
1. The Device may not cause harmful interference
2. All Receivers whether Electrical, Physical or Human beings MUST accept the frequency. Harmful interference can be argued to as, what is actually harmful.
If Radio waves are being Slowed Down, Delayed because the Earth is to Noisy, just imagine how all this effects our Minds. No wonder people seem lost and confused, busy and stressed. We have No Choice but to decode all these frequencies in our head, subliminally, making people question their sanity because they might tune-in on someones cell phone call for a split moment.
FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein on the conversion to DTV– "This program has been badly mismanaged. It's not ready for prime time," he said. "There are so many elements of the preparation that have not been undertaken ... We don't have program in place in the field to help people who need assistance in their homes. The phone banks are inadequately prepared."
I couldn't agree more with Commissioner Adelstein and have been in contact with broadcasters, media publishers, senators and congressmen not to mention the FCC-- all to no avail!
Technical problems exist that will not be solved by converter boxes. It’s simply NOT true that if you are receiving a good analog picture then you'll get a good digital picture. A lot depends, not only on your antenna but the distance it is from the broadcasting tower. Reliable reception is limited to about a 25 mile radius.
One TV executive after reading the problems I've found with DTV actually said "...you will find no argument from me. However, I think the upcoming transition on 02.17.09 is a freight train that no one is able to stop at this point." Fortunately it has been delayed but not fixed. One effect talked about is the "cliff" effect which you'll experience if your at the edge of the signal's reach-- no fading, no snow, no sound-- just nothing! The other problem, not spoken about, is what I'd call the gray zone-- a zone that no one wants to talk about! !
Digitally, you could be watching an excellent picture and all of a sudden for no understandable reason the sound and/or the picture or both will partially break up and this will happen often enough to seriously make further watching unpleasant and tiring.
Most recently, Amy Schatz, a technical reporter for the WSJ, admitted that some households would be left in the dark since they reside in an area beyond digital's shorter transmission range. The only solution for those folks would be satellite or cable-- and cable most likely would not be available due to low population density -- the further you are from the radiating tower the more likely you'll be in a low population density area not served by cable!
Winners-- people living within 25 miles of the radiating towers, satellite and cable operators, and broadcasters seeking the broadcast bands to be vacated by the demise of analog.
Losers-- everyone else.
Oh, need I mention that not every one now dependent on OTA TV can afford cable or satellite-- do I hear government subsidies a la converter boxes?
I think maximum peoples are not purchase this tv. because this tv is not useful every one. This tv is most useful for airlines.
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Delaying isn't going to help a lot. You think that people who haven't bought their Coverter Boxes so far(more than an year) are going to buy within a couple of months?? No Way! They will indeed pray for another delay.
The govt. should just do the transition, and then see how people get their beauty of their houses and buy a converter box out of their own pockets.
If you can't afford $40 for a converter box there is probably more important things you should be doing than sitting down watching tv, like working. If you don't feel like television is worth $40, then don't watch it. Problem solved, now get on with the conversion.
geebob: gee bob. I do not think anyone actually needs mobile TV and downloads when they can have all they want in the privacy of their own home.
Geebob: People need TV like people need the internet, hope you find the irony in that.
I think if the President wants to stimulate the ecomomy, perhaps he should not sign the delay. I wonder how many jobs would be created by not signing the bill. New products, new technology. And I can finally get all my channels in HD, why the hell did I buy all the HD stuff anyway, oh right so I could watch it in HD. Bring it on already!
The DTV transition has been public since March 1 2007. They gave people 2 years to make the switch. And it's not like it was a secret that only some people knew about. If you've watched network television in the last two years you knew it was going to happen. If some one hasn't switched by now I doubt they'll switch in the next 4 months. I think this is a waste of time, and it is slowing down technological advances. And mean while we're working on a stimulus package...while we're delaying companies from making money...****ing politicians.
I agree that we as the American public in general have had ample time to make preparations for the DTV switch. I also find the firm suggestion that people in low coverage areas will be adversely affected a little shortsighted. Does anybody actually remember what the original purpose of cable television was? Most people got their TV over the air unless they lived in a valley or such, locations which had natural features that blocked transmissions. A few enterprising folks came up with the idea to put "community antennas" up in nearby locations free of interference and then pipe the transmissions into "cable" which could be read by your TV or a converter box. CATV originally stood for Community Antenna Television. I'm sure that the same can be done with the new DTV air transmissions.
It is true that digital signals are much more annoying when they have interference. An analog signal may simply get a little fuzzy or gain white noise but even digital cable, paid for and received through a line into a box has its quirks. Its just the nature of stuff that "The more they overthink the plumbing the easier it is to stop up the drain." It may take a few years but we'll adapt. We always do.
I can't speak for anyone else, but Iv'e known about this 5 or more years. If THAT wasn't enough time for people to get ready, then 5 more months wont help.
The government states the following three reasons for the delay. This is why I say they are wrong.
- People did not get thier coupons
(If you can't afford $40, you don't deserve to watch t.v, you best be reading the want ads.)
- Boxes not regularly available
(Come on, these things are sold at at least 50 places within 5 miles of my house.)
- People don't know how to hook them up
(Really....... My grandmothers poodle could hook this thing up .... two wires!!!!)
Furthermore I am amazed that studies show that 5.1% of America is still not ready. Dosen't make sense to me that this amount of people still live in the stone age.
On the other side of the coin:
-It is important to have T.V because in the event of emergency most people would turn on the news.
The final words:
-America, Get into the 21st century
-Government, dont you have more important things to do!!! Really what do they hope to accomplish........
The reason that the federal government is helping citizens with non-cable (et al) non-digital TV is because over-the-air television is part of the nation's emergency communication network.
This program isn't requiring that the government borrow any money; our government SOLD (rather than licensed) this spectrum for almost $20 billion. The decision to sell the spectrum came in 1997.