Today is a big day in broadcasting history. There is a monumental change coming down the pike several years in the making. Unless you've been incarcerated at Guantanamo, you probably already know: Television is going digital.
The reason for the changeover is that the FCC already has tenants waiting to move into the bandwidth that will be created by the changeover. Cellphone companies have already bought leases on those frequencies, and the FCC raised 19 billion dollars auctioning off that bandwidth (and probably spent every single dime of it on TV ads and converter-box coupons.)
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Strange that Americans have been able to pick up on HDTV without coupons or awareness campaigns. Millions of people have educated themselves on HDMI cable, anamorphic output and Blue Ray discs with little or no money from the government. Those who couldn’t figure it out created a market for professional tech support companies like the Geek Squad.
Is it really possible that there is anybody left in America that doesn't know about it? Congress sure thought so. On February 4th of this year they passed an emergency extension, and a $650 million dollar funding supplement to allow the program to continue.
The extension was probably unnecessary. I think everybody already knew about the transition way back in February. In fact, I think the reason why Congress voted for the extension and the funding is because all the people who work at the Department of Analog to Digital Conversion want to hold on to their cushy Government jobs just a little bit longer. Perhaps if they make the case that the transition isn’t going smoothly, they can stay even longer… perhaps long enough to collect a generous Federal pension.
It is also possible, that there are people still uncertain about the transition, only because the media is hammering it so hard. For instance, my mom has cable. She's all set. Yet I have to reassure her CONSTANTLY that she is all set. Coming from a Depression Era/WWII mentality of independence and self-reliance, the notion that something so inconsequential would be repeated so often is inconceivable to her. (Heck, they only test the air-raid sirens once a week in her town.) So every time she sees one of those commercials, it makes her wonder. I think at this point those PSAs are generating more problems than they are alleviating-- especially for the seniors.
Here is a point that we should all understand: This is how stupid and helpless the government employees in Washington (read: Democrats) think we are. It is the reason why they want to regulate every aspect of our lives, from the safety equipment on our cars, right down to the choices we make when we plan our dinner.
That's change you can bank on!