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Senate Passes Bill to DELAY USA Digital TV Switch

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The Senate passed a bill on Monday to delay the nationwide switch to digital TV signals, giving consumers nearly four more months to prepare.

The transition date would move to June 12 from February 17 under the bill that was fueled by worries that viewers are not technically ready for the congressionally-mandated switch-over.

It also would allow consumers with expired coupons, available from the government to offset the cost of a $40 converter box, to request new coupons. The government ran out of coupons earlier this month, and about 2.5 million Americans are on a waiting list for them.

Senate Commerce Chairman John Rockefeller said delaying the TV switch is the right thing to do because the United States is not yet ready to make the transition.

"The Senate acted responsibly to give the Obama administration time to attempt to bring order to a mismanaged process," the West Virginia Democrat said in a statement.

Many lawmakers worry that an estimated 20 million mostly poor, elderly and rural households are not ready for the switch, which requires owners of older television sets receiving over-the-air signals to buy a converter box or subscribe to cable or satellite TV.

Broadcasters are moving from analog to digital signals to give public safety officials more spectrum, especially useful for emergencies, and to improve viewing quality.

Momentum had been building for a delay since President Barack Obama backed it earlier this month.

The digital TV bill also would extend the licenses of AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications, which are waiting for the airwaves to be vacated when all TVs convert.

The companies, which paid $16 billion for the public airwaves in an auction last year, would get 116 extra days on their licenses under the proposed legislation.

CTIA, the wireless trade association, has said a delay could hurt confidence in the FCC's spectrum auctions.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090127/tv_nm/us_dtv_congress

I think this shows that even if Americans want "change", that in our society and population size it comes very, very, VERY slow. B)

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The Senate passed a bill on Monday to delay the nationwide switch to digital TV signals, giving consumers nearly four more months to prepare.

The transition date would move to June 12 from February 17 under the bill that was fueled by worries that viewers are not technically ready for the congressionally-mandated switch-over.

It also would allow consumers with expired coupons, available from the government to offset the cost of a $40 converter box, to request new coupons. The government ran out of coupons earlier this month, and about 2.5 million Americans are on a waiting list for them.

Senate Commerce Chairman John Rockefeller said delaying the TV switch is the right thing to do because the United States is not yet ready to make the transition.

"The Senate acted responsibly to give the Obama administration time to attempt to bring order to a mismanaged process," the West Virginia Democrat said in a statement.

Many lawmakers worry that an estimated 20 million mostly poor, elderly and rural households are not ready for the switch, which requires owners of older television sets receiving over-the-air signals to buy a converter box or subscribe to cable or satellite TV.

Broadcasters are moving from analog to digital signals to give public safety officials more spectrum, especially useful for emergencies, and to improve viewing quality.

Momentum had been building for a delay since President Barack Obama backed it earlier this month.

The digital TV bill also would extend the licenses of AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications, which are waiting for the airwaves to be vacated when all TVs convert.

The companies, which paid $16 billion for the public airwaves in an auction last year, would get 116 extra days on their licenses under the proposed legislation.

CTIA, the wireless trade association, has said a delay could hurt confidence in the FCC's spectrum auctions.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090127/tv_nm/us_dtv_congress

I think this shows that even if Americans want "change", that in our society and population size it comes very, very, VERY slow. B)

Holdup, ATT and Verizon? Hmm, I think I'll fire up the old scanner, mb theres some cool stuff to be heard :)

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I was half expecting something like this to happen. Apparently the government can't allow all those millions of Americans to be stuck without access to critical television advertising!

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Forgive me for not being fully briefed on all the critical developments concerning TV - as I only use it for local news - but who is going to be using the analog signals after the switch? Can I set up my own pirate TV station and fools my elderly neighbors into thinking they're still watching CBS?

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Forgive me for not being fully briefed on all the critical developments concerning TV - as I only use it for local news - but who is going to be using the analog signals after the switch? Can I set up my own pirate TV station and fools my elderly neighbors into thinking they're still watching CBS?

I like where this is going...

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I'm sure they'll be reassigned by the FCC, but for what?

Maybe www.fcc.gov might hold the answer.

Edited by Colonel Panic
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I'm sure they'll be reassigned by the FCC, but for what?

Maybe www.fcc.gov might hold the answer.

Last time I heard, they're putting the MHz up for grabs to the highest bidders. Good ol' American capitalism.

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I'm sure they'll be reassigned by the FCC, but for what?

Maybe www.fcc.gov might hold the answer.

Last time I heard, they're putting the MHz up for grabs to the highest bidders. Good ol' American capitalism.

The article at the top of the post mentions companies that have paid 16 billion $ for the spectrum. Not sure.. I think it's for personal communications. The frequencies in question penetrate walls pretty good. That's why they were chosen in the beginning for TV... -or so I read elsewhere.. if wrong.. someone let me know.

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Seriously, they've only been talking about this for a couple years now. If you haven't heard by now, an extra 4 months isn't going to help.

And anyway... get cable or satellite or just get rid of your TV altogether. No reason to delay everything just because Ma and Pa Kent can't be bothered to stop watching their 2 channels on the moving picture box.

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Forgive me for not being fully briefed on all the critical developments concerning TV - as I only use it for local news - but who is going to be using the analog signals after the switch? Can I set up my own pirate TV station and fools my elderly neighbors into thinking they're still watching CBS?

only the lower channels will not be able to use digital. typically 2-5 all the other channels will able to transmit on digital. i'm guessing that 2-5 will be used for state broadcast, or data or something like that. Or maybe a 24/7 Obama channel..... he has already had a infomercial...... lolz

Edited by UTS_HOST
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Forgive me for not being fully briefed on all the critical developments concerning TV - as I only use it for local news - but who is going to be using the analog signals after the switch? Can I set up my own pirate TV station and fools my elderly neighbors into thinking they're still watching CBS?

only the lower channels will not be able to use digital. typically 2-5 all the other channels will able to transmit on digital. i'm guessing that 2-5 will be used for state broadcast, or data or something like that. Or maybe a 24/7 Obama channel..... he has already had a infomercial...... lolz

Don't get me to excited with that Obama channel now. :P

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as one of the affected masses (only broadcast tv) I am a bit aggravated by this whole thing. We mainly watch pbs and to continue to do so, i either have to buy a new tv or buy a new device that i am going to have to turn on when I want to watch tv. They auctioned off this spectrum and gave me a $40 discount card, but i am going to have pay out some of my money to get the thing. I also live in an area where reception isnt all that great. I grew up without cable or satellite so I am used to the snow, with digital its either on or off and I do not know if i will be able to get pbs at all.

I am a big fan of less government, I see a reason for the FCC, but selling really good spectrum to specific companies? How is that good for the people, it sounds good just for that company.

Also you can find lots of info on the FCC's website, but it doesn't include how to recycle my tv. I don't live somewhere this is required, I can just go throw it in a dumpster. I know this is nitpicking, but its a real problem. My tv was saved from being thrown out when I found it.

So the nerd in me wants to see what cool devices can take over this spectrum, but the everything else in me thinks its a waste of money, electricity, and is just going to make us more of a disposable culture.

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It passed the senate, but it was killed in the house. Carry on, there is nothing to see here.

-un

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I had heard somewhere that the bandwidth would go to cell carriers. However this may just have been a guess, based on who normally has a few hundred million dollars burning a hole in their pocket, and the need to "buy" the use of microwave communications frequencies... :-P

Edited by Skunkworks
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as one of the affected masses (only broadcast tv) I am a bit aggravated by this whole thing. We mainly watch pbs and to continue to do so, i either have to buy a new tv or buy a new device that i am going to have to turn on when I want to watch tv. They auctioned off this spectrum and gave me a $40 discount card, but i am going to have pay out some of my money to get the thing. I also live in an area where reception isnt all that great. I grew up without cable or satellite so I am used to the snow, with digital its either on or off and I do not know if i will be able to get pbs at all.

I am a big fan of less government, I see a reason for the FCC, but selling really good spectrum to specific companies? How is that good for the people, it sounds good just for that company.

Also you can find lots of info on the FCC's website, but it doesn't include how to recycle my tv. I don't live somewhere this is required, I can just go throw it in a dumpster. I know this is nitpicking, but its a real problem. My tv was saved from being thrown out when I found it.

So the nerd in me wants to see what cool devices can take over this spectrum, but the everything else in me thinks its a waste of money, electricity, and is just going to make us more of a disposable culture.

Oh you're gonna love these converter boxes.. if you leave it alone, you'll have to turn it on again every 6 hours or so.

I have two of them here.. One I bought, one was given to me. The Insignia picks up signals better then the Apex. Both of these were had with the coupons. I built one of those new fangled tv antennas from some site I found.. it's the one with the 8 - 14" pieces of wire bent into 'V' shape (I used 3/8 copper tubing, maybe that was a bad idea) and a 300-75 ohm wally-world splitter. It doesn't work as good as when I just used a single piece of 32 awg wire about 20 inches long wrapped around the center leg of a 4' piece of TV coax. -go figure.

I have not tried the smart antenna feature of the Apex.

And God, why the hell do you have to have a church station with 8 sub channels?? why lord why?

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Really, sad-but-true, anyone still affected by this, after all of the annoying warnings every two minutes that I saw on tv when I was vacationing in America last month isn't important enough to matter.

It's not like there aren't /many/ alternatives, paid or free, legal or otherwise.

Legit: convertor boxes, bluray/dvd/vcd/vhs, itunes, FttH - IPTv, satellite, cable, on-demand programming? Less-so: Pirate-satellite, Pirate-cable-box, unfiltered-cable or torrents?

Local news is worthless and I rarely watch broadcast/cable television directly unless I am visiting friends, though when I do the level of obnoxious advertising is outstanding.

Dvr/mythtv, tversity/twonky, rssfeeds, ps3; for the win. Hulu not acquiring/able to acquire foreign rights or local music-rights, forcing non-american users to proxy or them to not carry certain episodes, for the lose.

Interesting side-story, the techs who set up the cable pay-per-view in my friends community misconfigured it in such a way that scanning through the higher-end digital channels, as long as someone ordered that channel you can watch it. Someone in the neighborhood orders the-big-game and anyone who decides to flip to that channel on their receiver can watch it for free.

That being said, it's a bit disturbing to see the neighbors go from kids-movies to hardcore porn. :lol:

Edited by jabzor
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Just rebuilt the DTV antenna using 14 gauge wire stripped from some romex.

Big difference. I have all our local stations from probably 50 miles away except PBS.

Don't use copper tubing. I had poor luck with that. But an old bed slat with wire sticking out the sides works pretty damn good. It's ugly.. but cost me nothing but a 300-75 ohm splitter. The wire was salvaged from scrap at a job site.

oh.. I am at the top floor of a two story apartment building and the antenna is leaning against my couch so I can spin it.

It doesn't really matter what way it's pointing except for a couple of stations.

edit -typo

Edited by PurpleJesus
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