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Television Media

Jan 2009 Deadline for HDTV Cutoff 585

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the gimme-1080i-now-already dept.
stlhawkeye writes "Broadcasters have recently accepted a deadline of January 2009 for the mandatory end of analog television signal broadcasts. Broadcasters have expressed concerns that those without subscription television services will see blank screens unless they buy new units. "
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Jan 2009 Deadline for HDTV Cutoff

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  • 2009 will be the perfect time to officially throw away your TV (Well, keep it for parts) and curl up with a good book.

    Oh, but I know what you're thinking: "But HyperChicken, I need my PS3/Xbox360/Revolution". So hook them up to a monitor.
    • by macrom (537566) <macrom75@hotmail.com> on Wednesday July 13, 2005 @12:26PM (#13054427) Homepage
      2009 will be the perfect time to officially throw away your TV

      I doubt it. I'm sure we'll see this in July of 2008 :

      Broadcasters have recently accepted a deadline of January 2012 for the mandatory end of analog television signal broadcasts.

      Add 3, wash, rinse, repeat.
      • Wasn't this originally supposed to happen this year? Or was it maybe earlier than that even? Personally I don't think anyone really needs to be forced to switch to digital...it's already happening and people will eventually realize the difference. You can already find most stations broadcast in and HDTV version. And the less people that are still using old NTSC TVs, the less likely it is for broadcasters to continue supporting it.
        • by dgatwood (11270) on Wednesday July 13, 2005 @01:03PM (#13054875) Journal
          My greatest fear is that I have trouble picking up all the major networks right smack in the middle of Silicon Valley with rabbit ears. There are networks where I can only pick them up as a sideband of another TV station because their main tower's ATSC feed doesn't have enough power to reach here. The NTSC feeds reach me for those stations just fine, albeit with some multipath distortion and/or other noise. Basically, ATSC requires an exceptionally clean signal (at least with my tuner hardware) to be able to resolve a signal.

          Now I think about my parents in rural western TN. There are three stations (NBC, ABC, PBS) within an hour. The other network stations are between 2 and 3 hours drive away. They can pick up some of those stations in NTSC (albeit noisily) with rabbit ears, and halfway decently with an external antenna, After the NTSC cutoff, judging by what I've seen with my receiver out here (comparing to the analog signal strength), my guess is they -might- be able to pick up the stations an hour away with the external antenna. The signals from two hours away will be weak enough that you'll just see a black screen.

          Basically, the ATSC switch had darn well better be accompanied by new FCC rules that regulate cable companies like telephone companies, requiring near-free basic universal service across the country. If not, there are a lot of people who won't be able to find out even basic weather forecasts because ATSC just plain sucks in anything remotely approaching fringe reception areas.

          • by Detritus (11846) on Wednesday July 13, 2005 @01:50PM (#13055386) Homepage
            It's just one data point but my analog reception is marginal due to distance, geography and being limited to an indoor antenna. I get better reception of the digital signals. It isn't perfect, but it's much more watchable than analog. It eliminates all of the snow and ghosts.
          • "My greatest fear is that I have trouble picking up all the major networks right smack in the middle of Silicon Valley with rabbit ears. There are networks where I can only pick them up as a sideband of another TV station because their main tower's ATSC feed doesn't have enough power to reach here. The NTSC feeds reach me for those stations just fine, albeit with some multipath distortion and/or other noise. Basically, ATSC requires an exceptionally clean signal (at least with my tuner hardware) to be able
          • a lot of people who won't be able to find out even basic weather forecasts because ATSC just plain sucks in anything remotely approaching fringe reception areas.

            I can pick up the weather forecast in my car using FM or AM radio. There's also NOAA Weather Radio [weather.gov]. We don't need new FCC rules.
        • by Xibby (232218) <zibby+slashdot@ringworld.org> on Wednesday July 13, 2005 @01:37PM (#13055265) Homepage Journal
          Digital is not HDTV, though HDTV is a digital signal. Digital Broadcasting uses the radio spectrum more efficiently, so by mandating that broadcasters change over to digital now freed spectrum can be auctioned off at insane costs for other forms of wireless communication.

          This mandated switch is more motivated by money than it is superior technology. The US wants the billions in revenue that the auctions will bring in.
          • Thank you. (Score:3, Insightful)

            by mjpaci (33725) *
            One of things people forget when talking about DTV is this:

            All High Definition TV is Digital TV. Not all Digital TV is High Definition.

            People who have older, analog only sets will need to purchase a new TV that can decode digital signals or a set top box that can decode and output to the old TV.

            People who have cable or sattelite will only need a new box if they want HDTV.

            --Mike
            • Re:Thank you. (Score:3, Insightful)

              by HFXPro (581079)
              Actually there High Definition TV doesn't necessarily have to be digital. It could be done using analog. Technically, digital TV still passes over amazingly enough... an analog wave. Also, people say that digital is more efficent use of the spectrum? Is that because the pictures and all are now lossily approximated and compressed rather then being the highest resolution of a signal possible? These are the things that keep me awake at night.
              • Re:Thank you. (Score:3, Informative)

                Yes the signals are compressed in a lossy way, but that doesn't mean it isn't higher quality. Would you rather look at a 1MB uncompressed bitmap or a .5MB JPEG. I garuntee the JPEG contains a lot more useful information to the human eye.
  • Not an HDTV cutoff. (Score:5, Informative)

    by sweeney37 (325921) * <mikesweeney@gmail. c o m> on Wednesday July 13, 2005 @12:19PM (#13054358) Homepage Journal
    this is the cutoff to convert to DTV not HDTV. how is the public supposed to figure it out if even the nerds can't get it right?

    Mike
    • This deserves +10 informative mod. Christ, do these editors do anything anymore? In the last two days there have been numerous mistakes, plain retarded stories, and at least one glaring dupe. Failures.
    • That's the point. This way, TV manufacturers can scare the uninformed public into buying the super-hi-def-SDTV-HDTV or whatever the hell they'll be calling it by then. People will buy it just so they don't take the chance of not being able to watch TV in 2009. For the average American, imagine their horror upon finding out they can no longer watch TV!
    • by crow (16139) on Wednesday July 13, 2005 @12:27PM (#13054450) Homepage Journal
      Yes, technically it's the elimination of NTSC broadcasts, with only the new digital ATSC broadcasts. However, at least in Boston, most ATSC broadcasts are in 720p or 1080i only, so they are HDTV (even if they're just upsampled SDTV shows). That's probably true in many places.

      So the distinction between DTV, ATSC, and HDTV from a broadcasting perspective is really just a nitpick that can be ignored for all practical purposes.

      (Of course, from a television perspective, there's a huge distinction between simply displaying ATSC, and displaying HDTV resolutions.)
      • So the distinction between DTV, ATSC, and HDTV from a broadcasting perspective is really just a nitpick that can be ignored for all practical purposes.

        But from a consumer perspective, a "Jan 2009 deadline for HDTV cutoff" sounds like, "Hmm, I need to buy one of those HDTVs because my old one won't work anymore."

        In reality, by that time, at most, you will have a rabbit ear converter to take the DTV signal from the air and convert it to NTSC for your TV to display. I would guess that cable and satellite p
    • This is Slashdot - what do you expect???
    • by Chosen Reject (842143) on Wednesday July 13, 2005 @12:49PM (#13054711)
      Except that DTV and HDTV are the same size in terms of radio spectrum. HDTV = High Definition Television, which is done digitally. DTV = Digital Television. So HDTV is a subset of DTV. No one is ever going to be forced to broadcast HDTV. They are being told by the FCC to go digital. That is all. There is no cutoff to switch to HDTV. Some stations are even planning on still broadcasting at low resolutions and thus be able to fit in the same spectrum different shows (it's called multi-casting http://www.pbs.org/opb/crashcourse/digital_v_analo g/multicast.html [pbs.org]). What resolution a broadcaster decides to send their signals in is their choice, but they must do it in digital.
  • Great... (Score:5, Funny)

    by lucabrasi999 (585141) on Wednesday July 13, 2005 @12:19PM (#13054361) Journal

    Millions of people now HAVE to buy new TVs. Is it time to invest in Sony?

    • No, millions of people now have to buy (or more likely, rent from their cable companies) set top boxes that can convert the signal.

      Besides, 4 years is ample time to save the money to buy a new TV.

      I just wish they'd hurry up and add more HDTV channels and programming in the US. Why are Americans so resistant to change??
      • Re:Great... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by lucabrasi999 (585141) on Wednesday July 13, 2005 @12:32PM (#13054507) Journal
        Why are Americans so resistant to change?

        Sorry, but that is the wrong question. The correct quesions are: Why are we being forced to spend our money on a TV or a set-top box? Why are my tax dollars being spent on subsidizing the purchase of a set-top box?

        • Re:Great... (Score:5, Informative)

          by MindStalker (22827) <mindstalker@nosPAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday July 13, 2005 @12:55PM (#13054788) Journal
          Simple, radio spectrum is valuable and limited. Analog TV uses a lot of radio spectrum. One they get rid of Analog there will be a lot of spectrum available for the government to resell to others. Effectivly the FCC is saying that in 2009 all broadcasters will be revoked their license for existing analog spectrum. It will be resold at a much higher price, and used digitally so many more things can use it. Hopefully much of it will be allotted to the public for things like WiFi, but that is yet to be seen.
        • Because America is run by corporations.
        • Re:Great... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by huge colin (528073)
          The correct quesions are: Why are we being forced to spend our money on a TV or a set-top box?

          You're not being forced to do anything. If you want to view broadcast TV (which is completely free), you need to have the hardware appropriate to the infrastructure. We're changing the infrastructure because:

          (a) long-distance analog signal transmission is a terrible, terrible idea, and
          (b) we have a finite amount of useful space in the RF spectrum.

      • Re:Great... (Score:5, Funny)

        by Shadow Wrought (586631) <shadow...wrought@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday July 13, 2005 @12:34PM (#13054522) Homepage Journal
        Why are Americans so resistant to change??

        Considering that a good portion of populace is still fighting against evolution, I think it might be pathalogical at this point.

      • Re:Great... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by drakaan (688386) on Wednesday July 13, 2005 @12:38PM (#13054572) Homepage Journal
        They're not resistant to change, they're resistant to being forced to spend money.

        Here's the problem you're going to run into, although it'll be a small problem by that time. Right now, the *only* people in the US that know about analog broadcasts going away in 2009 (or the fact that that's a new deadline) are the broadcasters and the geeks that read sites like slashdot.

        My wife is reasonably well-informed (she reads the news online and browses fark every day), and had no clue what I was talking about when I mentioned it a few weeks ago. My neighbors are clueless, and looked at me like I was crazy when I told them that it was a good thing they had satellite TV, etc.

        Here's what I'm guessing: The broadcasters are betting that by 2009, just about everyone will have cheap satellite or cable TV, and (as someone pointed out to me in a previous story on this subject), the people that don't are probably limited enough in purchasing power that it'd be worth the risk to ad revenue to go ahead with it anyway.

        You'll hear one or two stories on the news saying "Still using rabbit-ears? Not for long...", then make a small stink about being forced to do it, so people will be mad at the FCC for "springing" it on them, and life goes on as normal.

        • Re:Great... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by juanfe (466699) on Wednesday July 13, 2005 @01:04PM (#13054883) Homepage
          Here's what I'm guessing: The broadcasters are betting that by 2009, just about everyone will have cheap satellite or cable TV, and (as someone pointed out to me in a previous story on this subject), the people that don't are probably limited enough in purchasing power that it'd be worth the risk to ad revenue to go ahead with it anyway.

          That's precisely the issue--that a technology architecture and phase-out process was taken that can have, as a net result, excluding those who cannot purchase new equipment because they are on limited incomes or can not afford or cannot receive services such as cable or satellite.

          I think we need to remember that that the public airwaves are a public good that has merely been loaned out to broadcasters, and that they need to treat it as more than a vehicle to peddle their wares. They can and should serve a public need--i.e. emergency broadcasting, public television, network television, etc, and transition plans to DTV should have a clear path for making sure that large groups of people aren't systematically blocked out from what is, nowadays, an essential medium.
      • Why are Americans so resistant to change??

        Because some systems that we interact with on a daily basis are very simple to purchase and use (TV, appliances) and other systems (computers, cell phone plans/companies, frequent-flyer miles) involve difficult purchasing decisions, often resulting in confusion, frustration, and sub-optimal results. For the last 20+ years, there was only one dominant differentiator for TVs: size (minor factors: stereo, PIP, etc. were very much secondary).

        The uncertainty surroun

    • Re:Great... (Score:5, Funny)

      by wiredlogic (135348) on Wednesday July 13, 2005 @12:34PM (#13054521)
      ...HAVE to buy ...

      Because as we all know, human civilization will collapse without television.
    • Re:Great... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SydShamino (547793) on Wednesday July 13, 2005 @12:41PM (#13054619)
      I dunno. Does WalMart sell Sony TVs? Find who they resell and invest there.
    • Millions of people now HAVE to buy new TVs

      No, they won't. How many people actually watch broadcasts via an over the air antenna in the US? Not many. Those that do will need to either purchase a converter or a new TV capable of receiving digital signals.

      For the vast majority of the population, though, chances are your cable or satellite company will provide a box that handles it for you.
    • Re:Great... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by StormReaver (59959)
      "Millions of people now HAVE to buy new TVs. Is it time to invest in Sony?"

      No. If you had read the story, you would have seen the part that said a digital to analog converter box can be had for (currently) $50. By 2009, the price of that box will go down to something around $35. What you will see is one of three things to keep analog TVs working:

      1) People with analog TVs will go out and buy the converter for their existing TVs.

      2) People will buy new analog TVs with the converter box already integrated
  • Not sure but maybe in all Europe. Anyway, I think that date will be postponed

    M.

    • In the Netherlands, digital TV is being setup as a commercial parallel service to analog TV. It is meant to be a competitor to cable (but so far it is available only in about 1/3 of the country).

      Being commercial, it requires a subscription to be paid, like for cable. Even for state TV and radio channels. Freely receivable signals are only analog.

      This is bad for several reasons: it holds back adoption of digital reception, and it means that only a few channels are available so the streams are overly com
  • by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann@slashdot.gmail@com> on Wednesday July 13, 2005 @12:21PM (#13054376) Homepage Journal
    Here's the suggested output that will be broadcasted into analog TV's:

    "Nothing for you to see here.
    Move along."
  • by Lothar+0 (444996) on Wednesday July 13, 2005 @12:22PM (#13054384) Homepage
    All I use my analog TV for is watching stuff I downloaded to my computer anyway.
  • 2009 isn't that far away, and plenty of people have portable TVs or good old fashioned rabbit ears. A lot of that will just be junk without an aftermarket tuner. Radio Shack will probably do a bang-up business in cheesy HD-to-NTSC widgets. Hell, an entire province in China could live for a decade off of this decision.
  • by homerules (688184) on Wednesday July 13, 2005 @12:23PM (#13054399)
    Broadcasters have expressed concerns that those without subscription television services will see blank screens unless they buy new units.
    Those without HDTV will see a huge jump in programing quality.
  • by defile (1059) on Wednesday July 13, 2005 @12:24PM (#13054407) Homepage Journal

    If there was no longer a need for something, it would become obsolete on its own. Demanding that something become obsolete is quite suspicious.

  • by alvinrod (889928) on Wednesday July 13, 2005 @12:26PM (#13054425)
    While analog could still be used we're trying to move technology forward.

    In a similar sense, sure people can get by using their 56k lines, but wouldn't it be a lot better if everyone had access to fiber, cable, or something else along those lines?

    It seems to me that at least part of the reason that America isn't the most technologically advanced nation in the world is because we like to hold on to dying technologies. In the next few years we're going to be seeing HD-DVD and Blu-Ray technology emerging into the marketplace, but a lot of people will still be using VHS.

    We might take a hit in the pocketbook, but isn't it time that our country got with the times? I don't mean that we should adopt every new technology even if it's only marginally better, but we shouldn't cling to old technology when there are clearly better alternatives out there.

    • but wouldn't it be a lot better if everyone had access to fiber, cable, or something else along those lines?

      If all someone does is check their email and visit less than 10 sites, what benefit can they gain by going from 56K to a high-speed connection? They certainly wouldn't be utilizing the bandwidth and gaining those extra few seconds would probably not be worth it to these individuals.

      Not everyone has to have the latest and greatest. Besides, unless the price of the high-speed line is the s

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 13, 2005 @01:15PM (#13055015)
      "We might take a hit in the pocketbook, but isn't it time that our country got with the times?"

      No. I have to make ends meet. I don't care about owning the newest and latest technology, I care far more about putting food on the table. Amusing that I'm posting to Slashdot, but I do like to know what is going on -- regardless of whether or not I'm interested in buying anything.

      I am not interested in someone spouting off that other countries are better off. You like it? Move there. I'm happy not being force to waste money every time someone decides that a current technology is obsolete and everyone should be forced to upgrade! Waste your own damn money, I have better things to use it for.
      • I'm happy not being force to waste money every time someone decides that a current technology is obsolete and everyone should be forced to upgrade!

        They're not deciding it's obsolete. They're deciding that if they lobby The Powers That Be to force you to switch to an incompatible technology (and thereby make a purchase), you'll probably eventually cave and buy one of their products, thus lining their pockets.

        And The Powers That Be are deciding that this is a Good Thing[TM] because it lines their pockets a
  • For years we've been hearing that the HDTV cutover date was sometime in 2007. What happened??
  • by stlhawkeye (868951) on Wednesday July 13, 2005 @12:30PM (#13054478) Homepage Journal
    ...this decision is being pushed by the government because they want control over the current analog frequencies, which they will then resell and lease to private industry to generate another revenue stream for the government. And who is payinf ro it? As usual, we are.
  • Quite heavily at TV Snob.com [tvsnob.com] and boy are people confused on even what to buy - if they can convert their existing sets, or if they even want to continue watching TV - just kidding on that front. I think this is a total disaster for TV - there should be more options for people and legacy is legacy - it should still work somehow.
  • Arg.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dustinbarbour (721795) on Wednesday July 13, 2005 @12:34PM (#13054531) Homepage
    Is it just me or has the TV-viewing American public gotten totally fucked or what? First we have free TV.. all we needed was a TV and an antenna. This, of course, was supported by advertising. Fair enough.

    Next comes cable TV. Sweet! Immunity from foul weather, better content (at least initially) and no commercials! "What's that you say? No commercials? Sorry buddy, I see commercials every damn day on cable TV." Ah yes, friends.. if my recollection is correc, cable TV was supposed to be commercial free as it was a subscription service. But oh how the mighty dollar wins all. We now get 20 minutes of television entertainment for 30 minutes of viewing time (for thsoe wihout a DVR) AND we pay for it!

    The boss is calling.. gotta run.
  • One of the intresting things about HDTV is that analog broadcasters can send out multiple streams, one the local stations around here has a 24hr radar view. Which is kind of intresting.
  • by KillerBob (217953) on Wednesday July 13, 2005 @12:40PM (#13054596)
    High Definition TV != Digital TV. You require a digital framework to provide HDTV, but having a digital framework does not imply HDTV. Sets aren't going dark when it comes into effect, but the quality of signal is going to improve greatly.

    Canada has had this in effect for a while. The deadline was January, 2005, and as of this writing, all TV channels are available digitally. Except, of course, some of the channels that come from the US. The difference in signal quality is very noticable when watching one of them. Most of the networks are already digital, BTW.

    It's still compatible with OTA transmission, as well as analog cable signals. Old TVs can still see it, because the mandate was not to eliminate analog signals, it was to ensure digital availablility. Those of us who have an HDTV, or a digital/satellite receiver have a digital signal, complete with better sound and picture. Those of us on analog still have analog TV.
    • Sets aren't going dark when it comes into effect, but the quality of signal is going to improve greatly.

      Well Canada, you don't seem to have much idea what's going on here. Analog sets are going to be dark.

      Old TVs can still see it, because the mandate was not to eliminate analog signals

      The 2009 deadline IS THE MANDATED DATE TO ELIMINATE ANALOG SIGNALS.
  • silly timeline. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday July 13, 2005 @12:40PM (#13054601) Homepage
    the fun part is that NEW analog tv sales STILL outpace HD or even Digital capable Tv sales significantly.

    Also digital Tuners that will convert to analog are still INSANELY priced.

    when I can get a DTV to ATV tuner for $99.00 then I'll agree that it's a good time to switch.

    with DTV's still well over $800.00 and DTV transmitters still 5X the price of the analog gear it is not going to happen.

    and everyone forgets about the small town UHF channels. Who is going to buy them a new transmitter when they can barely afford pro-sumer 4 year old camcorders for their news?

    Oh and the small college tv channels? what about them?

    Who is going to buy them 20 million dollar transmitters?
    • when I can get a DTV to ATV tuner for $99.00 then I'll agree that it's a good time to switch.

      For most people, that price is going to be more like $5-10. Anything more than that and I begin to wonder why we are being forced to change something that isn't broken.
  • You find me a God damned $50 converter box. Try $200+ (more than most TV's)

    These people have their heads planted so far up their asses that they don't have the slightest idea what the market is like. At least they are finally figuring out that 99% of their advertising cash was about to disappear.

    Consumers don't give a shit about HD. They want better programming and cheaper TV's. Period. Videophiles want better quality but that's only a small percentage of the viewers.

    It is a completely fabricated ba
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 13, 2005 @12:42PM (#13054626)
    I was born in 1971 and didn't have a TV until my second year in college. (1990). This was a concious decision by my parents. I saw a little TV at my friends' houses. But as a family, we did just fine without one. The notion that tax payer dollars should pay for converter boxen is ridiculous. I would venture to say that if you're the type of person who needs taxpayer dollars to keep your old set running, you're probably the type of person who would be better off throwing your TV in the garbage and going outside for a walk.
  • The broadcasters don't want users blaming them for not having TV, so they go to congress and ask them to pass the law. So now, when all the poor people can't watch TV, they can say "it wasn't our fault, congress made us do it"

    lol
  • Another pet peeve of mine. Its not that they're required to switch to HDTV, its that they're required to switch to digital broadcasts, which dont necessarily have to be Hi-Def (720p/1080i/1080p).
  • From the article "Congress also wants to auction the spectrum to wireless high-speed Internet services. Such an auction is expected to raise up to $30 billion for federal coffers." Which I'm sure will be applied to our ballooning war debt.

    As an added incentive, there's all the campaign contributions that the Washington hoi-poloi will get from hardware manufacturers, cable providers, wireless wanks, etc. ad nauseum.

    But the long and short of it is that that cute little portable all in one TV [target.com] will be rele
  • by papasui (567265) on Wednesday July 13, 2005 @12:51PM (#13054729) Homepage
    It frees up wasted analog RF spectrum space, this can be as much as 6x less when moving to digital format. The upside to this for end-users is that the picture and sound will be much more reliable in the sense that noise that can be seen in the channel currently should be eliminated. There still can be tiling due to transmission problems, but in general the quality is much improved. I'm sure some company will offer a digital tuner that makes the conversion from over the air digital to analog for older tv sets. If people continue to waste RF space by supporting old and unefficient systems it will really stiffle wireless innovation.
    • What you fail to mention is that broadcasters get multiple channels of bandwidth or the fact that HD signals (not DTV) take up a lot of bandwidth. Those add up to roughly the same amount as an analog signal so it is really more of a shift in spectrum, not making more efficient use.

      I'm not sure how you rate "reliable" but with analog, you could get full clarity or levels of bad all the way down to snow. Digital is either all or nothing. So much for emergency weather alerts.

      The clarity of HD signals also
  • right. (Score:3, Funny)

    by illtron (722358) on Wednesday July 13, 2005 @01:03PM (#13054871) Homepage Journal
    I'll believe it when my screen goes blank.
  • by hacker (14635) <hacker@gnu-designs.com> on Wednesday July 13, 2005 @01:56PM (#13055450)

    Now I know exactly when to throw out the old TV, cancel our cable television service and drop the NetFlix subscription... that should save us about $100/month in subscription fees alone. We could use the extra $1,200/year to put into our other projects.

    January 2009, check. Thank you for the reminder.

    My daughter will be 4, and that's just enough time for me to educate her about the corruption in mass media and broadcast television.

    With the broadcast flag being fully entrenched by that time (whether passed via a rider on some unrelated bill or otherwise), and media being contorted to represent the "Truth" as given by the current administration in power (can you say "Al Jazeera"?), there really is no point to watching TV.

    We can't control our media (even media we've bought in the store, er, I mean "rented"). We can't even skip past the commercials on DVDs now. How long before we can't skip past commercials on television too?

    • Will the broadcast flag enforce that too? Maybe we can change channels, but it will force our sets into Picture-in-Picture mode, with the second channel playing in the little window in the corner, with volume dedicated to the commercial.
    • Will mute even work for commercials?
    • What about time-shifting television programs?
    • Will the new sets allow programs not "authenticated" for playing at a different time work?
    • Will all media just become "pay-per-view" like it is in the hotels?

    The best HD reality shows lie right outside my front door.

  • by dj_virto (625292) on Wednesday July 13, 2005 @02:49PM (#13056100)

    Current FM in the US is 88-108 MHz... a mere 10 MHz.. Imagine how many stations we could have, including non profit public interest stations, unlicensed local low power stations, etc with another 29 MHz!?!?!

    In medium sized to major cities the FM territory has been maxed out forever. There is clearly purpose, demand, and need to having more stations. The technological cost of extending FM receivers and setting up transmitters is relatively minimal.

    Of course we'd have to fight broadcasters for the same reason we've fought them, and lost, on digital radio- more stations make their "property", the existing licensed stations less valuable.

    Yes, I use and love internet radio, but FM radio is what the vast majority of people have easy access to. It's what you hear when you eat out and when people drive by with their radios cranked up. At least with massively more stations it wouldn't be the same old 'format'ed sh*t.

    And the benefits to letting schools, community groups of every stripe, and pretty much anybody operate low power FM stations with a range of 1-5 miles would be enormous just in terms of the cultural development it would bring. Information wants to be free, but your average 'born in the ghetto' gangster, just to choose an example, doesn't know it because he grows up listening to Ninety-Whatever The Box where he's just a groomed product for the advertisers looking for the 16-29 urban male.

    Come on.. auctioning everything off to the highest bidder just ensures that the highest bidder runs society.. and occasionally that turns out to be good, often is ok, but also frequently sucks bigtime.

    -dj_virto

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