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Old 07-27-2007, 08:37 AM   #1
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Exclamation TV 'Train Wreck' ???

Senators Worried About TV 'Train Wreck'
Associated Press
July 27, 2007

WASHINGTON (AP) -- On Feb. 18, 2009, tens of millions of televisions that are not equipped to receive digital signals will become useless pieces of furniture. The government is spending $5 million to let owners know so they can do something about it -- not enough, critics say.
While the government has committed $1.5 billion for viewers to spend on converter boxes that will translate digital signals for older televisions, it is largely relying on the broadcast industry to spread the word about the changeover.

John Kneuer, chief of the federal agency tasked with ensuring a smooth digital transition, told the Senate Commerce Committee on Thursday that the government will be leaning heavily on broadcasters.
''It's not only their own responsibility, it's in their own interest,'' said Kneuer, assistant secretary in the Commerce Department and administrator of the National Telecommunications Information Administration.

Some committee members were clearly worried. A poll released in January by the Association of Public Television Stations indicated 61 percent of respondents had ''no idea'' that the digital transition was going to take place.

There is a ''high potential for a train wreck here,'' said Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.

A 2005 report by the Government Accountability Office said 21 million households -- roughly 19 percent of the nation -- rely on an antenna rather than cable or satellite to receive television signals.

The digital transition, once complete, will lead to clearer sound and a sharper picture for television watchers. It will also make better use of the airwaves, freeing prime space in the electromagnetic spectrum that will be auctioned early next year for other uses.

A number of organizations are concerned that many people, particularly the elderly, the poor and minorities, will be caught off guard when the change occurs.

''These consumers will be confused, frustrated and angry that this important information and entertainment source in their home is no longer operational, through no fault of their own,'' said Nelda Barnett, a member of the board of the directors of the 39-million-member AARP.
After the first of the year, the government will be making available to each household two coupons worth $40 each that can be used to buy two converter boxes. Congress has set aside $1.5 billion to pay for the coupon program.

Initially, $990 million will be used to pay for coupons and cover administrative costs, which are capped at $110 million. An additional $510 million may be allocated, but those coupons are reserved for households that have only over-the-air television.

Three manufacturers have committed to making the new converter boxes. LG Electronics USA estimates retailers will sell the company's converter box for about $60 beginning sometime early next year.
The government expects the boxes will be sold by the nation's major electronics retail chains. A new antenna is not required to receive a digital signal.

The transition has already begun in some key areas. Cathy Seidel, chief of the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at the Federal Communications Commission, said that as of March 1 all television receivers shipped in the U.S. were required to have digital tuners.

In April, the agency required retailers to disclose to consumers that televisions that can only receive analog signals are not equipped to receive over-the-air signals beyond Feb. 17, 2009.
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., is concerned that consumers who don't get the word will take it out on their elected representatives. ''They're not going to call you,'' she told Kneuer. ''They're going to call me. And they're going to be mad.''

Dennis Wharton, a spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters, said television station owners are highly motivated to get the word out.

''Our very business is at stake here,'' he said.
Wharton said stations will begin airing public service announcements worth ''tens of millions of dollars'' beginning in December.

''Broadcasters will do our dead-level best to educate Americans on this transition,'' he said.

The digital transition is a bit more complicated when it comes to cable television. Digital cable subscribers with analog televisions need not worry. The digital box acts as a ''down-converter.''
But analog cable subscribers who do not have a digital cable box will either be supplied with a box by their cable company or their signal will be converted at the ''head end,'' the source of the signal.
Regardless, the industry has promised there will be no interruption in service.

''Cable companies have committed that customers will be able to view the signals even if they have analog TVs,'' said Brian Dietz, vice president in charge of communications for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.

Satellite television subscribers will be unaffected.

Will broadcasters and TV sales, make this perfectly clear to the public during this transistion? Or, will there be an ''out cry'' from the general public before they know the details?

TV sales, Dish and Direct TV will be helped by this?
Sure just like ''record player'' companies went to ''tape players'' and then we had to do it all over again..........and get a ''CD player''......

C'est la vie!
Remember the 78 RPM?

Remember you saw this here, maybe not first....but you did see it
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Old 07-28-2007, 01:15 AM   #2
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The US goverment had planned on turning off analog signals last year but the high definition / digital tvs had not caught on as fast as they had hoped so they extended it.

I still have a 36" sony that I have had since 1999 that looks good. I would like a HDTV but have not put the expense out yet. I know I will need to soon. I have a Disnetwork so it isn't as much hurry since as long as the reciever works, I can get my picture BUT if the receiver goes out after the deadline, it has to be digital.

Word of Advice: If you buy a HDTV, please make sure it has a HDMI plug on the back. The HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) has/is becoming the standard for the plug of the digital age. There is at least 1 other plug type but that order had about 4 or 5 wires vs 1 wire for HDMI. That one plug can carry picture and sound in high definition format. It is easier to plug and is more compatable. Also the computer industry is talking about changing the VGA plug for a HDMI plug for new computers because the plug (about the size of a current USB plug) can carry more data/faster than a vga and since new LCD monitors are coming out which are actually HDTVs, one plug can be used for computer OR tv and you can already buy a switch at Walmart to switch.
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Old 07-28-2007, 07:18 AM   #3
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Okay, here I am with my usual response to this type of thing: HUH?
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Old 07-28-2007, 07:34 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by engel View Post
Okay, here I am with my usual response to this type of thing: HUH?
Me too.

I have an old TV, actually 2 of them...old cheapies...from WalMart...and have had them for at least 7 years..........or more. So they are the big ones............next I'm getting one that I can lift and carry around...FLAT ...Hubs has one that weighs 11 pounds in his truck...great picture.

I want a little one for the bedroom too...........but you know til the lightening wipes them out....and they are half decent looking...I don't change.

Son, here, got one that is 52 inches............HOLY CATS...but they have a cathedral ceiling room group in the main area of home.........it's the size of a cathedral also...so the room supports this window sized TV....other Son has a 42 inch, same style, but it fits their home better..........daughter has an old RCA console from the 80s...works like a champ............FOR NOW.

Supposedly...I am on DISH Sat...so I don't have to worry?
Cause Im not paying 1000 bucks for a TV...NOT IN MO where lightening has a way with them...........SNAP...and they are gone.

Thanks for that information kbradelyar.........I had a feeling you'd come in with some techy stuff....and I really appreciate your knowledge.

I don't always understand it, but I read and learn, and an education is such a bonus here............and, I jot the info down in my ''notebook'' and it does help when I have to use it.

Visual: Cheesecake cartoon, with a + where her eyes should be, and a big dusty cloud hanging over her head, but she is !
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Old 07-28-2007, 08:30 AM   #5
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Thumbs down

I'm sure this TV transition will go very smooth...I heard the same guy doing the passport thing is in charge
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Old 07-28-2007, 09:23 AM   #6
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This proves how little attention the American people pay to the news and what is going on around them. This has been in the works for years.

Channels 3, 10, 21, 27, 31, 33, etc will GO OFF THE AIR at a predetermined date, sometime in the next year or two I recall. All signals will be digital, and without a converter box your TV if not equipped for digital will not receive anything. PERIOD. The Channels if received out of the air will be up in the 60' channel numbers. The old VHF Channels will be sold, and NEVER to return.

So, if you are not aware of what is going on, better get informed or you soon may be looking at snow on the screen. It will not affect dish subscribers or likely cable subscribers, but if you receive your picture on an outside antenna, it will soon be gone.
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Old 07-28-2007, 10:19 AM   #7
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As Countryman said: Really the only people that will be affected immediately are the people with a TV antenna and getting off air (free tv). After the deadline, all the channels 2 thru whatever will not be broadcast. They will all be broadcast using a High Definition TV Tuner. Channel 4 will still be channel 4 but it will be 4.2 or 4.4 (they added the decimal point which is used in large cities to have a english channel on .2 and maybe a spanish channel on .4, etc).

Currently the converters are $200-$500 but most experts say by 2009 they will probably be between $50 - $99. This converter will make the digital HD signal show up on the old tvs in DVD quality. I was in Portland Oregon 4 years ago. They were one of the test cities for HDTV and you can buy a little circle antenna and a box ($500) and get the signal. The box would output in HDTV and analog (old tv).

If you have a cable box: You will be fine for a while. The cable company is pushing people to add a digital receiver anyway. This isn't the same but it is a step in the direction. They figure in 2 more years they will slowly change out the receivers. Also currently if you buy a HDTV, you can get a HD cable receiver (in some areas) for a few dollars more. My uncle in his 70s bought one last week. I am jealous because he BEAT ME TO HDTV.

Dishnetwork / Directtv are not affected by the conversion BUT because the TVs are slowing going to High Definition, they figure in 2 years a large majority of customers will change from to new receivers. They are offering to upgrade for free or less than $100. I have had Dishnetwork and I get cards/letters all the time telling me I can get 4 HD receivers installed for free.

Most HDTVs, Plasma, LCD or Projection now have the receivers built in for both analog and digitial. But there was been a fight over the PLUG that the TV will use if connecting other equipment (VCRs, game consoles, etc). There are 2 competing plugs. Component Input and HDMI.

Component Input: I have never used a component cable but it came with my Xbox360 and PS3 (I like toys). It has 4 or 5 wires for the video. The sound has to be ran using another 2 cables or a fiber optic.

HDMI: This has became the standard (or is quickly) in the HD connectors. It is one cable about the size of a USB cord for your computer. The plug even looks a lot like USB but that one plug that goes between devices carry both picture and sound. It is also like a USB device (plug and play). There are still some problems with some devices talking but a new format/standard came out with the PS3 and all the problems are supposedly fixed so any new TV bought this year on if it has the HDMI plug, it will be as simple as running the cord between the 2 devices.

A lot of the cheaper HDTVs only have the old plug (component) and I saw one at Walmart that didn't even had that. I got to looking and it said PLASMA TV. It didn't say HDTV. It was a plasma analog tv with the same plugs as my 8 year old tv has (video, Coaxal, Svideo) so be careful. Make sure any new HDTV has a HDMI or at least Component but I have heard the component may be fazed out as soon as this year leaving just the HDMI. This same thing happened with computer. At one time each device had it own cord (Keyboard, mouse, serial devices, printer cords). Now they all run off the same USB cord. It made it easer for user connecting the equipment. Same design, same principal.

Last edited by kbradleyar; 07-28-2007 at 10:22 AM.
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Old 07-28-2007, 02:34 PM   #8
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I don't watch television. Don't even have one any more since I gave it to mother. There are more important things to do.

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Old 07-28-2007, 04:09 PM   #9
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We are in the process of buying a new HD TV and I thought I would NEVER learn all you need to know to purchase a TV now! Gone are the days of walking in and saying "I like that model, it'll look good in my living room, bringing it home, plugging it in and it worked!!

I had to try and learn the difference between Plasma, DLP, LCD, LCoS and then from that to the resolution, 720 or 1080, etc. And then finding the top brands in analog are not the top brands to buy in HDTV.... it all about gave me a headache!

We finally decided the best for us is a 50" Sony Grand Wega 1080P Sxrd.
It'll run about $1,400. delivered, installed, set up and adjusted.

We are going next week when hubby gets home to make the purchase.
I sure hope I like it because I am throually sick of trying to "get it" all.

And it doesn't end...now too, we are told too, we need to upgrade our Direct TV system to HD and to get a "blue-Ray" disc player and then only buy only blue-ray tech DVD's ...etc, etc...

And that is not to mention I had to change my entertainment center to accomodate this new thing.

I loved my old 36" Toshiba, it still has a crystal clear picture and except for weighing a ton see no advantage in the new set we are getting ...I hate the new picture quality on the big screens compared to my present TV, but hubby wants this new one and it's his money. *SIGH*

Last edited by linron; 07-28-2007 at 04:12 PM.
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Old 07-28-2007, 05:50 PM   #10
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We bought our daughter a flat screen for her room. I really like it. Her dad bought this thing so we can hang it up in the corner of her room. Her tv is nice if you don't angle it a certain way. Then it is hard to see the picture clearly. She loves it.
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Old 07-28-2007, 11:28 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by linron View Post
And it doesn't end...now too, we are told too, we need to upgrade our Direct TV system to HD and to get a "blue-Ray" disc player and then only buy only blue-ray tech DVD's ...etc, etc...
I am not trying to hijack the thread but this is still part of HDTV. Talk to Direct TV. They offer HD receivers and dishes kits. It depends how long you had your dish. A friend had DirectTv for 3 or 4 years and he called and they sent him a new receiver/dish and a guy came and switched out the receiver/dish for free. He pays a few dollars more for the HDTV package (I think he was paying $5 for first X number of months, now he is paying $15 more than before).

I have a blueray player in my PS3. I took the PS3 and HDMI cable and plugged into the above friend's new TV. It IS better because it is outputing in the full HD resolution. DVD had 500 lines this has 1000 or more. I haven't looked at the specs yet sorry.

I am a very picky video watcher. I was one of the first people in the USA to have a DVD. My first DVD player cost $700 which the same machine quality can be bought a Walmart for $30 now. I checked all the black levels, image quality, etc and it was good but not worth purchasing a Blue Ray player for $500-$600. There is also the HD-DVD which is a HD format also.

There is a format war going on between Blue Ray and HD-DVD. Currently the Blue Ray is winning but that could change soon. Both formats are about the same quality. I have seen both and I can not tell which is better. Some techs say one is better than the other but the differences are not visible by a human eye. I would not recommend ANYONE buying one until the war is over. Whichever format looses will become the BETA of the 21 century and be completely obsolete. That format will die and any disks will become collector's items but not playable.

The only reason I have a Blue Ray is because I bought the PS3 which has one built in. I don't even have a HDTV yet.
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