Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Time to dump analog and jump on the digital train (sorry poor and rural people)
The conversion from analog TV to digital is big news for the whole nation. If you haven't heard the story, it sums up like this: Four years ago, congress decided to convert all of the over-the-air (rabbit-ears) TV stations in the country to digital on February 17th, 2009, today. The TV stations will be able to spend less money on sustaining power for analog signals, and the "airspace" will be able to be used for emergency channels and new high-speed wireless networks.
However, the big transfer is being delayed. A fund that was created a few years ago to help supply people with digital cable boxes if they did not already have them no longer has any money in it (who knew?). Also, it turns out that millions of Americans still aren't prepared. So congress hurriedly passed another bill saying that stations could switch on February 17th if they wanted to, but REALLY everyone has to get it done in June.
Now... some people paying attention to the details have noticed that this whole ordeal is hardest on poor families (mostly minorities). Also, the details coincide with corporate investments. Verizon will make lots of money from the switch, but, aha, AT&T will make MORE money from the delay.
Now, do you think this plan and its delays are really based on the situations of the consumers? Most of the news articles cite consumer-based reasons (not enough money to give people discounts on cable converter boxes, not enough people are properly educated). However, there are far more Americans unprepared for the switch than the proposed minimum when the plan for the change was first developed. And yet it pushes onward. And what about the activities of the congress members and corporations involved? It is very difficult to find articles about them. What is it that makes people pay less attention to these things, and more likely to not believe them when they hear them, if that is the case? Is this whole thing going to affect you?
Here are some articles... The Associated Press article: http://tech.yahoo.com/news/ap/20090206/ap_on_hi_te/tec_digital_tv_international
An article about the effect on minorities: http://www.redherring.com/Home/25249
And one about corporate activities: http://i.gizmodo.com/5132137/the-analog-tv-shutdown-is-a-flustercuck-of-corporate-money-no-one-cares-about-consumers
(Image of antique TV (and old-fashioned solution for poor reception) borrowed from: http://www.precisenetworking.com/~mcgatney/analog-tv.jpg)