Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Digital TV switchover

It really looks like the change over to Digital is not going to go well.

One of the things people are failing to realize is the Digital "all or nothing" problem.

By this I mean, when you have a clean signal both Analog and Digital work great, Digital is much better image quality.

But with a weak signal, if Digital get's too many errors, you see black or jumbled up images.

Where with Analog, it degrades gracefully. The video just gets fuzzy and snow, but you can still have a viewable image long past the point where digital will stop working!

For people with Cable TV this is a non-issue, but for people that can't afford it, and live in outlying areas, they may not get any TV soon.


Conflict of Interest May Taint DTV Delay Proposal

Anonymous writes "Ars Technica has discovered that one of the Obama transition team members advising on the digital TV transition has a conflict of interest that would benefit WiMAX carrier Clearwire over Verizon. 'Barack Obama's call to delay the DTV transition would affect not only millions of analog TV viewers, but also powerful companies with a vested interest in the changeover date — including at least one with an executive on Obama's transition team.'"


DTV Coupon Program Out of Money

Thelasko writes "It appears that the US Government's digital converter box program is running out of money. If you sign up after the program runs out of money, you will receive your voucher if the program receives more funding. Older analog televisions will no longer work without a converter box after February 17."


Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Others Fined Over Digital TV Notices
On April 12th, 2008

Ian Lamont writes "The FCC has fined 11 retailers and television manufacturers for violating rules relating to the 2009 digital TV transition. Best Buy, Circuit City, Target, Sears, Kmart, and Wal-Mart supposedly failed to place notices near analog-only TV sets warning customers that the sets did not have digital tuners. In part, the required notice reads: 'This television receiver has only an analog broadcast tuner and will require a converter box after February 17, 2009, to receive over-the-air broadcasts with an antenna because of the Nation's transition to digital broadcasting. Analog-only TVs should continue to work as before with cable and satellite TV services, gaming consoles, VCRs, DVD players, and similar products.' The fines total $6.6 million."


The Digital TV switchover
by Matt Haughey January 13, 2009

I'm going to go out on a not-so-far limb and say the scheduled Digital TV switchover away from analog scheduled to take place next month on February 17 is going to be delayed again. Originally planned to take place several years ago but pushed to 2009, the early tests in various markets sounded problematic and I can't imagine what will happen on a national scale.

Obama's transition team has already recommended a delay, I bet one of his first actions as president will be to push it back to 2010-2012. The only weird bit is that Hawaii is scheduled to change over in two days, so if Obama does move it back another year or two, will Hawaii stay digital-only?


From John Sokol

Related Reading:


FCC's Digital Television (DTV) Regulatory Information, for the FCC's consumer-oriented DTV website.

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