Without sounding like a complete Luddite, IMO mainstream television has been going progressively downhill for some time. Internet service providers diss dial-up subscribers, folks with land lines and regular network television viewers, pushing packages that incorporate broadband/cable/cellphones . . . even the candidates and parties holding debates seem to do so only on cable or streaming internet so that the poor and least able cannot easily view them. Instead, we get a constant lineup of "reality" shows, Inside Edition, 20/20 which has devolved into sensationalism and a very few interesting series slanted toward the paranormal, hospital and law enforcement.
Now that the government has decided to sell the public's analog access to the highest bidder and force us into either buying $60+ digital converters or new high definition television, we're looking are more expense and red tape just to watch the same dreck in higher resolution.
As far as I am concerned, I won't be watching televison after "DTV Day". I don't watch it much as it is. I was unhappy to hear that DVDs will also be converted to the new high definition and DVD players will also require some kind of upgrade to play them. I haven't heard about whether playing these new DVDs on a computer will be a problem.
Supposedly the United States government has set up a special Web site with lots of information about the mandated transition to digital television. Because each analog television will require a converter box to receive the new digital signals, the feds claim to have a program in place to allow low income people to buy the converter boxes at a discounted price. There's a single telephone number which should be about as easy to get through on as the number the IRS gives out each year that is supposed to help people prepare their taxes. Since only low income people will be eligible for the discount coupons, they will have to apply in some way and show that they qualify. More paperwork, more expense, more humiliation, more waiting.
I can see several groups doing a land office business before "DTV Day": the folks selling the adaptors and the new TVS, their stockholders and the service people who will be busy installing the adaptors and the sophisticated sets because John or Jane Q. Public will not be able to do so him (or her) self. And the cable or satellite businesses.
The junk yards will also be dealing with mountains of abandoned television sets.
"Oh," you say, "I already have a high definition set. No problems, right?" DTV is not necessarily the same as HD-TV.
HD-TV is high definition television. HD-TV is an enhanced version of DTV. Not all digital television signals will be in high definition formats. Because of this, you may still need to subscribe to a high definition service through your cable or satellite provider, which may require the use of a High definition cable or satellite box. The following is a summary of the different types of digital television transmissions. Standard and enhanced digital television are not high definition.
Why not allow the transmission of both analog and digital television signals? The answer to this is the reason that the government has placed a deadline on the conversion of the signals and insists upon a mandatory change. The government expects to pull in billions of dollars in revenue when it auctions off the old analog frequencies. In fact, this anticipated revenue is a factor in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 and will be applied toward that goal.
So, if you have been thinking about showing your television with its surplus of junk food programming, pharmaceutical commercials and bad journalism, consider bidding your television, "Goodbye" on DTV DAY. Read books, write, take a walk, spend time with friends and family, meet your neighbors, reach out to the world around you in a personal way.
To me, DTV Day is "Dead TV Day."