Friday, January 09, 2009

DTV Cutover Delay?

Mr. Obama's administration thinks maybe February 18 is too soon to shut off old-fashioned, coal-burning, analog TV.

I'm finding particular enjoyment in this quote from the first linked article: Yeah, that's it, we'll kite a check! Funny, if you or I do that, the bank gets really peeved; if we do it a lot and/or on purpose, we get arrested and hauled up before the court on criminal charges. But Congress doin' it? Dat's ooooo-tay!

Rep. Markey (Short Bus Party, MA) goes on to admit moving the date (to sometime in June) involves "logistical challenges." Hel-loooo? Also four more months of massive power bills for TV stations, the smaller of which are already teetering on the brink of insolvency; four more months of maintaining two high-power transmitters when most stations have been patching up the old analog rig like a junker car, serene in the knowledge that it only has to last 'til February. June might be a bridge or so too far.

I called it. Not exactly; back when I was cautioning friends and co-workers not to be too confident about the change-over date, I expected a Democrat-dominated Congress (rather than an incoming Democrat President) to push the date back, frettin' about the "technologically disenfranchised poor," or, as PBS President Paula Kerger whines chides us,
she’s especially concerned that children in less-affluent homes that rely on free television might lose access to PBS educational shows for kids.
Especially Sesame Street. Awwww. How ever else will they learn that it takes a village -- or a city block of slum tenements inhabited by creatures from a drug hallucination -- to hammer a child's mind into uniformity and compliance?

Meanwhile, the National Association of Broadcasters is standing firm and proud, er, kneeling firm and proud, er, offering a tongue-shine to the shoes of the President-elect's Administration:
Today's (Thursday) announcement from President Obama's transition team reaffirms the importance of free and local broadcasting in the American life. NAB looks forward to a continuing dialogue with the new White House and new Congress to ensure a successful DTV transition.
Or so says NAB President David K. Rher, who did not add, "Please don't hurt me," but he might as well. Is there any other semantic content to that statement besides abject submission? It's sad.

America's TV station's have been running a heavy schedule of announcements, warnings and reminders about the End Of Analog Television. If the delay gets approved, they'll all be left with sickly grins, goin' on the air and admitting, "Oopsie, we kinda lied." Nice.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Semantic content from a NAB press
release (or most others)? Surely
thee jest.
Anon, Don

perlhaqr said...

I haven't watched TV in about 5 years, so I'm a bit behind on the news about them, but are the TV stations not allowed to change to HD until said date? I thought Congress had had to pass the law to force them to move to HD. Because legislating technical changes always works so well.

Old Grouch said...

Well, it's not quite what I'd expected: My scenario was that the Feb.18th switch-off would go ahead as planned, and on the afternoon of February 19th Congress, in response to an avalanche of "What happened to my TV and they said it's YOUR fault!" phonecalls would say "Put it back!"

Government mandates are fun, huh?

zeeke42 said...

perlhaqr: Most TV stations are currently running analog and digital in parallel. The date in question is when the analog stuff gets shut down to free up the spectrum for other uses.

BobG said...

Seems to me that if you can't afford $40 for a converter, maybe you should get a job, rather than using your time to sit around watching TV.

Eric said...

"Short Bus party" - now I've got Coke Zero all over my nice Lenovo keyboard!!

rickn8or said...

"Women and minorities hardest hit."

Hasn't the FCC already have the spectrum sold, signed contracts and all? And now they can't deliver?

And if you haven't found time in the last year to hie yourself to the liberry to sign up online for your coupons, you're too busy to watch TV anyway.

Old Grouch said...

@rickn8or,
Fair enough, but some of us signed up for coupons, only to be unable to use them before they expired.

@BobG
As I said in the linked post, "...the lack of that $40 subsidy won’t kill me. But it remains irritating that the government’s aribtrary deadline, coupled with roll-out problems from the vendors, will keep me from taking advantage of a chance to get some of my tax dollars back."

Ritchie said...

**when most stations have been patching up the old analog rig like a junker car**
Yeah, the only radio station in the Denver area with financial programs occasionally has some D-cells fall out of their transmitter and render them weak or unreadable. Conjures up images of Sparks in the Pacific Theatre trying to pull in the Yankees game.
And this after they said they got a new transmitter. Maybe a new one from Goodwill.

Anonymous said...

Wow... I didn't know television
was an entitlement! I may be between
jobs soon, but digital telly isn't
at the top of my list of quandaries.

73, Don 'doo

Kevin said...

That's Quote of the Day material right there!

Anonymous said...

I saw this one coming.