Digital TV Delay

Posted by Thoughts and Ramblings on Wednesday, February 25, 2009

As I am sure many are aware, the digital TV changeover has been delayed. Several broadcasters elected to change to their digital transmissions on Feb 17th anyway, while others delayed. So what are the results of this delay?

While I was at my parents’ in the country, I did a quick scan of the analog and digital transmissions. My parents are about an hour or hour and a half drive away from two large cities, and before Feb 17th, they could only receive one station in digital (because it was more local). I discovered that the remaining stations fell into one of three categories:

  • Transmitting their content only in digital, but their analog transmitter was busy transmitting instructions for installing a converter box. Several were doing this. Their digital transmission did not come in.
  • Continuing their concurrent digital and analog transmissions as they did before Feb 17th. Their digital content did not come in.
  • Eliminated their analog transmission altogether, and transmitted only in digital. Some of these did come in.

What did this delay of the digital TV transition accomplish? Most of the stations are no longer transmitting their content in analog anymore. So if someone did not have the ability to watch digital TV, this delay saved them very few stations. Chances are, the content they wished to watch is no longer available to them. The end result is this delay accomplished very little for the consumer.

What did this delay hurt? Any station that is transmitting in both digital and analog has to operate two transmitters. Often, in this case, the digital transmission is lower power. If a station transmits only in digital, they can save transmission costs by only running a single transmitter as well as the ability to run their digital transmission at higher power. I’ve already seen a few stations whose digital transmission was not even detected by a tuner that now comes in nearly perfectly after the station shut off their analog transmission.

Thanks Obama, for taking a slightly problematic situation, and making it worse. Now several stations which could be accessible via digital transmissions outside of the city are now completely inaccessible due to the fact that they’ve elected to keep their analog transmission active running useless instructions. You’ve effectively removed stations from the list that consumers could watch as a result of this delay. Furthermore, consumers must now continually have their tunners rescan the airwaves for digital signals since a station may do it’s changeover at any time. This, combined with the fact that several tunners “forget” digital signals they did not detect in the previous scan, makes the situation even more painful and confusing for the consumer. Lastly, now we have to endure more annoying ads concerning the digital tv changeover.

This is just one example of the things this new administration has done to completely tick me off. Many others have angered me to the point where I’ve seriously considered leaving the country. It’s only been one month. How much more will the people endure?

Legacy Comments:

Chris D. - Mar 8, 2009

Graham, I don’t believe for a second that you’ve seriously considered leaving the country after a month of Obama administration policies. If you’re that sensitive to the misjudgments of the executive office, there’s no way you’d have survived the past 8 years.

Graham Booker - Mar 12, 2009

Chris, Believe it. I’m about to enter the work force, and I don’t want to pay for all the crap he just signed into law. My soon to be tax bracket is going to see a tax hike (despite the “promise” of only raising taxes on those over $250k). What’s the incentive to work hard when I won’t see any additional benefit from it? I’m sure I can find another country where my skills would be better appreciated instead of penalized.

Paul - Mar 19, 2009

I’d be interested to hear which country you are thinking about. I am originally from the UK, and they definitely do not reward. The US has already started taking action (even if its expensive) to build a new economy. Europe is just coming to the realization that there is a problem, and Asia . . . . well, just look at the mess Japan is in. Not sure about Canada, but they are probably a bit too socialist. The next few years are going to be tough, but we need to do our best to get through them, not run away. I certainly agree that the DTV should have gone on regardless of all the idiots who did not get their acts together, but it sounds like there were enough concerns higher up that the final decision was the lesser of two evils considering what might happen if a national emergency occurred and 50% of the analog people had not converted.

Graham Booker - Mar 20, 2009

Paul, The US is taking the wrong action. Bailing out failures is not the correct course to take. I’m just concerned the US is simply taking one more step toward it’s eventual socialism (as I will outline in the post I’m currently writing). Anyway, I would argue a majority have not gotten the converter boxes simply because they don’t need them. Remember, these are only used for those watching off the air, and those with cable/satellite don’t need them (though, my parents got them anyway). We’ve had well over a year of commercials outlining the necessity of these boxes and several years of availability. I can just see the argument for another delay in a few months.