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Location: Vero Beach, Florida, United States

My name is Pat and I live in Florida. My skin will never be smooth again and my hair will never see color. I enjoy collecting autographs and playing in Paint Shop Pro.,along with reading and writing. Sometimes, I enjoy myself by doing volunteer "work" helping celebrities at autograph shows. I love animals and at one time I did volunteer work for Tippi Hedren's Shambala Preserve.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

So much for progress..

Yesterday, Donna over at My Country Life, talked about television and the fact that this new digital way of watching television has taken over. She had a link to the article but I thought I'd put the whole thing up here for anyone interested. I already knew of the new HDTV and such, but for some reason this article just seemed to push some of my buttons.. so please take a to read this and tell me your thoughts.. I'll mention mine at the end of the article.
THE END OF ANOLOG TV..The only digital televisions on sale thus far have been big-screen, high-priced HDTV sets. Not until next year will manufacturers start selling smaller-screen sets with digital tuners — and under current law all sets won’t have digital tuners until 2007. Thus at present there are only about 30 million televisions with digital tuners in American homes, out of a total of several hundred million installed sets.
That’s where the Congressional loophole comes in. Congress can ignore the end-of-2006 cut-off if fewer than 85 percent of households have digital television sets.
But Congress needs to do something nonetheless. For starters, there’s the remarkable fact that Americans are still buying over 20 million analog sets each year, all of which could be obsolete rather quickly. If Detroit was selling cars that used a type of gasoline that would soon no longer be available, consumers would expect to be informed. Thus analog sets clearly need some kind of warning label, and proponents of a “date certain” say this will make the labels far more meaningful: i.e., “This television will no longer receive over-the-air signals after December 31, 2006.”
The really big question: What will happen to all those old-fashioned television sets we’re still buying when the analog transmitters go off the air? To continue to receive free broadcast television via antenna, you’ll have to buy a digital converter box; cost estimates range from $100 or so in 2006 down to $50 by 2008. (Those converters won’t turn older sets into fancy high-definition sets; they will only restore conventional TV service, in digital format. The picture quality will be fairly comparable to today’s analog version, although there will be some improvements for people who use antennas — no “snow” or “ghosting.” On the other hand, when digital signals are weak, there is often no picture at all.)
Many analog television owners won’t need a converter: 85 percent of Americans now get all their television from cable or satellite providers, so for the most part the change-over won’t affect them. (A lot of those households, however, also have second and third sets in basements or bedrooms that do rely on over-the-air signals.) The real problem is the 15 million or so U.S. households whose only television service comes over the air. For these people, predominately lower-income and disproportionately black and Hispanic, the cut-off will be bad news indeed.
Most discussions in Washington contemplate some sort of free or subsidized converters for low-income households, paid for by the government, perhaps with the help of broadcasters or consumer electronics manufacturers. Estimates for the costs of that subsidy range from under one to several billion dollars — the cost declining as the cut-off date is moved further into the future. Proponents argue that the cost of the subsidy is small compared to the economic benefits, although last year the Bush administration indicated it was not in favor of subsidized converters.
(Ok, here come those buttons I mentioned..)
First of all, let me say that aside from cell phones which i totally dislike, I think I'm fairly ok with progress, such as it is .. . Now that that's out of the way.. I think I have a beef with our latest technological advancement into television..
I have come to accept that when new "things" come out, that they are expensive and eventually the price comes down.. this I consider fairly normal, don't you? A new toy or gadget comes out and if you want it, you pay for it..
Ok, so what about when something is free? Do you then expect to pay for it later? Well, I don't! It seems to me in the case of HDTV we are being (excuse this word, but there's just not another to replace it) screwed ! (yet again).
I was born in a generation where once you were lucky enough to afford a television.. the shows on it were FREE. (free, free, free). All you needed was an antenna or at least a small one called "rabbit ears".. the signal got picked up and you got to watch tv. (unlike saying all you need is a converter and you will get your basic channels for free.. because that isn't the case)
Then came Cable and Satellite... very costly I might add.. but (BIG BUT).. you still could have the basic channels.. FREE if you had an antenna. So.. this was an ok deal because, you weren't robbed of your freedom of choice to Pay or to watch Free, therefore... it was affordable to everyone. Including the poor, and including the elderly on low fixed incomes. Maybe they couldn't have it all like those who can afford Cable.. but at least they weren't totally thrown out and forgotten like usual. If you had the money you could pay and have MORE of a good thing. But without money.. you still had a good thing, everyone knows the "rich" have MORE then the poor.. duh.
Ok.. so now, along comes HDTV.. is it a choice? Some will say it is because you don't HAVE to buy it. You can get the Converter and still get CABLE OR SATELLITE shows.. ummmmmmmmmmmmm... and those who can't afford cable or satellite?? The others considered poverty level folks? and those on very low fixed income?? It sounds to me like not only are they getting screwed out of what little entertainment they may have in their meager lives, but also getting screwed out of their "freedom of choice" (admitting choice mostly means: can't afford it).. Still, it is a freedom pulled away from all of those except the ones that can afford cable or satellite. (once again the rich get richer and the poor get.... stepped on)
Do most people have cable or satellite? Of course they do.. but not everyone, so the bottom line is that a freedom of choice is taken away from.. the poor.and the low fixed income elderly. (what else is new?) the Bush administration indicated it was not in favor of subsidized converters.
Gosh, how can anyone "not" love the President, he has such a big heart.
It may be just me, or my age .. or the combination there of.. but I really don't like it when I have no choice.. especially when it's one I've had all my life, and at this stage of the game you are taking it away from me!
I'll admit the moment my living situation allows me to watch cable television and i enjoy it. The day is coming when this situation will change and i will be left to survive on SS... 620.00 a month folks. Why do I think that although I will own a television.. I will no longer be able to afford to turn it on, because there will be no more "free" television..? Wow.. coming from someone who has grown up with free television... I never thought the day would come when this great GIFTwould be TAKEN AWAY.
Do I expect or want progress to stop? Of course not.. but don't take away my "freedom of choice".. not when you gave it to me so long ago. I'm sorry, converters or not, I just see this as a big money deal for someone, and it just doesn't sit right with me that what was once given, should or could be taken away. It should work that your old basic channels are given to you free as they always were.. and if you can afford it then you can "pay up" and get the cable or satellite channels... just like it was before.
I wonder when only Satellite radio will be around and you can't listen to free radio anymore? ... and what will follow that? (I smell a Monopoly..and I don't mean the game, sanctioned by our government... the same government who"insists" there be no monopoly... yeahrightsure!)


Blogger Charles said...

"Free" TV will still be out there, you will just have to pay for a converter that won't pick up all the signals for your analog television. Which sucks by the way.

So I bought a new TV last year for nothing. I think the government owes me big time. They need to let people know that they are wasting there money. Everyone might as well start saving up for there HDTV's now.

I think at the rate the world is going there won't be any "democracy". It's going to all about the class system. Your either rich or your poor. I hope i'm not alive when this happens, the U.S. is already starting to remind me of a "third world" country.

12:10 PM  
Blogger Karen Funk Blocher said...

As I understand it, people with analog TVs will be able to watch the broadcast stations without cable or satellite. They just have to buy the converter box to do it. The broadcast stations will simply transmit a different kind of signal from what they used to send out. And as the article says, if you're too far from the transmittter, the signal may not come in at all, rather than coming in all snowy.

2:26 AM  

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