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[ EEPI-Discuss ] Re: Hypocrisy in Analog TV Cutoff Debate

Just a couple of minor comments, here:

>Date: Sat, 15 Oct 2005 16:41:13 -0700
>From: Lauren Weinstein 


>I assert that only a tiny percentage of U.S. viewers have any concept
>that the federal government is getting ready to obsolete all of those
>otherwise working televisions.  People continue to buy all manner
>of analog TVs every day, totally oblivious to this issue.

This is certainly true, however, if a hard deadline were set, then TV
sellers would be able to label TVs according to obsolescence date, and
people would be aware and able to distinguish value on that basis.  Until
there is a hard date set, this cannot happen.  Kind of a chicken-egg issue.

>I also find it remarkable -- given the press of other budget
>priorities like war, hurricane relief, etc. -- that Congress is
>seriously considering actually subsidizing the cost of converter
>boxes as well, when most people already have televisions that would
>continue to work just fine if this forced transition weren't being
>rammed down their throats.

In the proposals that I've read about, those viewers getting TV off of
cable or DBS would not be eligible for subsidized converters.  (Cable/DBS
would handle the DA conversion within their service somehow, though whether
at head end or user end has not been settled -- user end would be better
for creating an expanded market for digital-capable TVs in the retail
market, and would allow those who so chose to upgrade to digital quality
without the DAC.)

Only viewing households that get TV off the air exclusively could get the
subsidized converter, and those might be further means-tested for low
income recipients only, and then only one converter per household would be

I'll grant that Congress has placed itself between a rock and a hard place.
The question is, is there any solution that does not involve some sort of
hardship?  After all, we'd be better off with digital broadcasting in terms
of media quality and bandwidth-per-data ratio, if we can figure out how to
get there from here.  (How long can the market endure the inefficiency of
dual-casting?  Analog could go on for years and years and years, if people
using analog sets keep using them as long as they keep working.)

As long as we can continue to avoid the horrors of broadcast flag...

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