Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Television Media Government United States Politics

US House Kills Proposed Delay For Digital TV Transition 664

Posted by timothy
from the very-little-soup-for-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Digital TV transition delay bill has failed to pass the United States House of Representatives. By a vote 258 to 168 in favor of changing the date, the bill has failed as two-thirds of the votes are required for it to pass. The delay bill was once perceived as inevitable, [but the House] has now apparently made February 17th the date of transition once again. Now the question remains, will they attempt to pass it again by the deadline?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

US House Kills Proposed Delay For Digital TV Transition

Comments Filter:
  • Who cares? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by javelinco (652113) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @03:48PM (#26643229) Journal
    What's the big deal, anyway? I'm wondering if I just don't understand something about how this is going down.
    • Re:Who cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by kcbanner (929309) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @03:53PM (#26643309) Homepage Journal
      Yea, I don't understand why they are opposing this. Is it because people won't be able to afford the converter boxes for their old TVs?

      Alot of technology-illiterate (or people who don't really care) might not know this is going down, but it has been a long time coming and people have had quite a while to get their stuff in order.

      Enlighten us.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Moryath (553296)

        I got fucked by this crappy legislation.

        Put in for our household's DTV converter box coupons... someone stole them in the mail. Called up to ask where they were, was told "by the terms of the law, we aren't allowed to issue a replacement if yours are never delivered to you."

        Yeah, I can probably "afford" the converter box. Still pisses me off to have that happen and the gov't say "too fucking bad" about it.

        • by kcbanner (929309)
          So someone was desperate enough to steal your DTV coupons...do they even let you use multiple coupons on one purchase?
        • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by DrVomact (726065) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @04:49PM (#26644301) Journal

          I got fucked by this crappy legislation.

          How come you feel that the government owes you a converter box in the first place? You don't have to watch TV. (In fact, I don't know why anyone would want to, but that's a separate issue.) Watching TV is not necessary for your well-being. You obviously have a computer, or access to one, so you can get your news off the internet, or that old-fashioned thing called "radio". (NPR actually does a pretty good job of reporting the news ever since the Republicans spanked them back in the 80s).

          So, why does the government owe you a converter? If it weren't for the government, TV programs would have been exclusively digital before this. Maybe you have good reasons, and I'm missing something, but I'd like to hear what they are.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            If it weren't for the government, TV programs would have been exclusively digital before this

            This. My local NBC affiliate has been running a nearly-unused digital broadcast for years.

          • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by afidel (530433) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @05:27PM (#26644893)
            Because the government seized a public asset (the radio spectrum) and sold it to a private entity (the entertainment and telecommunications companies) and so they have some responsibility to make the public whole.
    • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hansamurai (907719) <hansamurai@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @03:53PM (#26643311) Homepage Journal

      Senate wants to allow procrastinators to procrastinate even longer, House doesn't.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mcgrew (92797) *

        No, it doesn't have to do with procrastinators at all. They ran out of coupons, and the three million Americans who didn't get a coupon who rely on analog antennas will not be able to use the TV they bought, thanks to the government's decision to switch completely to digital and their complete and utter lack of foresight.

        Originally, there were supposed to be both digital AND analog signals, but lobbyists got the FCC to auction off the spectrum.

        I say shame on them. It won't affect me, since I switched from r

    • by A Commentor (459578) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @04:18PM (#26643745) Homepage
      Why not just keep one of the channels in all the major markets broadcasting a continually loop telling people what they need to do if they want to watch TV... after a few months turn that off too.

      This transition has been communicated to everyone for a long time. Delaying it will just add to the confusion.

  • I sure hope he's Wesley Roberts otherwise that's a pretty obvious copy-and-paste from the article.

  • Good thing (Score:4, Funny)

    by Cornwallis (1188489) * on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @03:49PM (#26643243)
    the idiots have solved all the real problems so they can waste time with this!
  • good god (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cavtroop (859432) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @03:49PM (#26643247)

    ...just do the cutover, get it over with. Sure, a short term pain, but I'm sick of hearing about it.

    Really. Just do it already.

  • A simple answer (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ameyer17 (935373) <slashdot@ameyer17.com> on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @03:49PM (#26643255) Homepage

    will they attempt to pass it again by the deadline?

    Probably.
    Will it pass?
    Probably not, unless they cram it in a popular bill.

    • Re:A simple answer (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Rinisari (521266) * on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @04:02PM (#26643473) Homepage Journal

      One Subject at a Time Act [downsizedc.org] by Downsize DC would prevent that!

      Call your Congresspeople and tell them to support it!

    • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @04:04PM (#26643509) Homepage

      I say pass a bil that requires ALL analog transmitters to stay online for 1 month.

      Broadcasting a red screen with "If you did not expect this, YOU ARE STUPID!" on it in flashing black letters.

      Most cool Japanese products never get here because they are convinced we are really dumb and could not understand them. And honestly I'm starting to understand why they feel that way.

      • Most cool Japanese products never get here because they are convinced we are really dumb and could not understand them.

        True, but at the same time I fail to see the need for anything more than a "flush" button on my toilet. (Although, now that I think about it, an air freshener button might be a good idea.)
      • by tonsofpcs (687961) <<slashback> <at> <tonsofpcs.com>> on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @04:11PM (#26643649) Homepage Journal
        I'd support this except for a few key issues (you clearly haven't thought this out):
        1) Reds in NTSC are either illegal (out of gamut) or very close to black (bad for black and white sets)
        2) solid color borders and constant flashing cause bandwidth issues to crop up, making the content illegible
        3) Part of the issue with delaying the shut-off is that MANY full-power TV transmitters are on their last legs and new parts are unavailable.
        4) You don't need the "If you did not expect this, " part.
        5) You are stupid.
        • Re:A simple answer (Score:5, Informative)

          by swschrad (312009) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @04:58PM (#26644451) Homepage Journal

          red is a pivot color for the two difference signals Y and I, so you might get more noise from interference with the sound band. the buzzing that changes with flashing black letters would be a good thing with "you are stupid."

          red does look like high modulation on a scope, but that's deceiving. reason is that BLACK is full power in NTSC, and white is no power in the video channel. what color is your static? so going to black is pure evil, if it persists for more than a minute or so, you will start tripping transmitters.

          if the system doesn't trip out, of course, from overload, then you lose output tubes, possibly transformers, and any weak spots in the RF cage can get trashed. they don't like less than 20% modulation, aka 80% power load, on a sustained basis.

          io fact, 20% is the "pedestal level" at which the CRT electron guns should be cut off, full received black.

  • by Ron_Fitzgerald (1101005) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @03:50PM (#26643263)
    being wasted over this is insane in my opinion.

    The television is an entertainment device, nothing more. We have so much more to worry about in this country other than if someone will continue view ads on the tv when we move on from an archaic system.

    Do I have this wrong? Is there something else about television that I am forgetting?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bilbravo (763359)
      Local news? National news? These are available in other places, but anyone watching network television over the airwaves is likely not going to have access to those other means (internet, for example).
      • by DrLang21 (900992)
        What about a newspaper? Are we assuming they are illiterate as well? There's always the radio. They still broadcast news on that believe it or not.
        • by bilbravo (763359)
          I believe it. The OP suggested that he may be forgetting things on TV that are worthwhile, just in a snarky way. I provided an example.

          I don't understand how what I said would imply these peole are illiterate or that I believe they are illiterate. It just means I think people may use the TV for more than reality television and police dramas.

          Additionally, not everyone has the home paper delivered and I know several elderly (and not so elderly) people who rely on television for news because they do not r
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Are we assuming they are illiterate as well?

          Considering the way lazy teachers use a diagnosis of dyslexia as an excuse for not doing their job and teaching all their students to read, they may well be. (Yes, I do know that there really is such a thing as dyslexia -- I have a friend who's severely dyslexic [He still reads more books every year than most people because he doesn't let it stop him.] -- but most children who are diagnosed with it can and do learn if they ever encounter a teacher who's willin

    • by FatAlb3rt (533682) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @03:57PM (#26643387) Homepage

      There is a significant part of the population that uses analog TV as their primary point of communication to the outside world. Think emergency scenarios like tornado warnings, 911-type events, and the Cardinals having a shot to win the SuperBowl.

      Not that I agree with the delay - just saying TV isn't just entertainment.

    • by athakur999 (44340) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @04:00PM (#26643433) Journal

      TV is the primary source of news for a large amount of people. It's probably the only source of local news that is completely free aside from having to pay for the electrity to power the TV.

      TV news is also invaluable if you live some place with frequent storms (e.g. anywhere in tornado alley). The local news often has more up to date and relevant information than the web. Radio is a fallback but the old saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" definitely applies to weather maps.

      • by Jon_S (15368) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @04:08PM (#26643581)

        "TV is the primary source of news for a large amount of people."

        That's sad. I'm a news junky, and I would never think of getting my news from the TV. They don't really have news there. Just infotainment and sensationalism. Seriously. Have you ever looked?

        Maybe PBS, but that's about it.

        If people are relying on TV for news, it might be good to make them read the newspaper if they haven't gotten a digital tuner yet.

        I don't have cable, but I doubt it's much better there based on what I've seen while staying in hotels. But in any event, we aren't talking about people who have cable since the DTV switch over doesn't apply to them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by vlm (69642)

        TV news is also invaluable if you live some place with frequent storms (e.g. anywhere in tornado alley).

        You should be happy they are shutting down the analogs in mid February. There are so few February tornadoes that the NOAA lists all of them on one page.

        http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lmk/?n=tornado_climatology_february [noaa.gov]

        I have not checked, but I imagine the complete records of all June 'nados would probably be hundreds of pages not just one short page.

        Also you have to be realistic. People have been getting warnings about the analog shutdown for YEARS. They do not get YEARS of warnings for a tornado strike. Thus

    • A shocking number of people (especially among the demographic that will be most affected by the transition) get their information from the archaic information delivery device. Most people in other income/age brackets have shifted those boxes into entirely entertainment devices.
    • The television is an entertainment device, nothing more... Is there something else about television that I am forgetting?

      The news seems to me more about being informed than being entertained (though admittedly that might depend on the network). Plus, there's the whole emergency network broadcast stuff, like, by the way, there's a big-ass hurricane coming on Saturday and y'all better get your fannies off to higher ground, pronto, or, we've spotted a tornado touching down five miles west of town, and it's mo

    • by Golias (176380)

      Right.

      Also, can somebody please tell me why the government owes anybody a free converter box? If such a thing is too great of an expense for you, maybe you should turn off the TV and take a second job or something.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Imagix (695350)
        Because the government is requiring the broadcasters to stop using analog? This isn't voluntary on the part of the broadcasters. Because if it was, theoretically some would continue to broadcast in analog to service those users remaining, which would leave a choice for people. The government is requiring a path that has no choice.
        • by Golias (176380)

          Hey, if you want to talk about eliminating the FCC and simply auctioning off all available bandwidth as if it was real estate, I'm totally on board.

          But as long as we're going to use a heavy-handed bureaucracy to manipulate the market "for the public good", having to buy new equipment to keep up with their decisions once every 50 years or so seems far less burdensome than certain other federal departments I can think of.

        • by ArsonSmith (13997)

          Watch the new signal or not at all. That's the choice.

      • by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @05:07PM (#26644597) Homepage Journal

        Your Uncle Elroy paid good money for a perfectly functional television, and the government broke it. It's up to them to fix what they broke, and to pay for fixing it.

    • Spectrum. It's a valuable public resource. NTSC is pretty wasteful.

      -Peter

    • being wasted over this is insane in my opinion.

      The television is an entertainment device, nothing more. We have so much more to worry about in this country other than if someone will continue view ads on the tv when we move on from an archaic system.

      Do I have this wrong? Is there something else about television that I am forgetting?

      Television is rapidly replacing radio as a standard, baseline means of keeping up-to-date with what's going on in the world.

      Local news, national news, political coverage, important informational announcements, emergency information...

      Yes, you can get all that on a radio. Or the Internet. Or a news paper. But that doesn't mean that all television is useless fluff. And there are a lot of people these days who don't own radios, don't have bandwidth, and down get newspapers. Like it or not, television is n

    • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @04:21PM (#26643807)

      If you take away the people's circuses, they may actual do something...like sit around, take a look at the world, and decide some kind of action needs to be taken.

      Did we not learn anything by watching Rome?

  • How lame (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @03:52PM (#26643293)
    The government doesn't realize that the TV companies have teams ready to go for Feb 17 and all this flip-flopping costs them money in rescheduling, etc..
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by HTH NE1 (675604)

      The government doesn't realize that the TV companies have teams ready to go for Feb 17 and all this flip-flopping costs them money in rescheduling, etc..

      Why should they reschedule? There's nothing that says they can't make the switch before the deadline, and some already have. The only reason broadcasters should take advantage of a delay is if they aren't going to be ready by Feb 17.

      The only benefit for consumers in extending the switch date is the extending of the availability of the coupons for converter boxes.

  • by stinerman (812158) <nathan.stine@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @03:54PM (#26643329) Homepage

    Thomas [house.gov] says this is a rule suspension vote [house.gov]. It takes a 2/3 vote to suspend the rules and pass a bill. Usually this is reserved for bills that are not very controversial and have broad support.

    This failure just means that the bill will have to go to the rules committee. After a rule is passed and the bill is brought up under that rule, a simple majority is all that is needed to pass the bill.

    This is just a very small bump in the road to extend the deadline.

  • by TreyGeek (1391679) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @03:55PM (#26643333) Homepage
    In the Houston Chronicle this morning there was an interesting blurb about the delay. Basically, the networks want to delay the switch-over because they don't want it to happen in the middle of the season. They are afraid of losing viewers (and thus advertising dollars) from people who aren't ready for DTV. They'd rather wait until spring/summer when they are airing re-runs.
  • Good. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by holmstar (1388267) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @03:56PM (#26643375)
    Lets get it over with already. The people who don't have converter boxes can just... *GASP* read a book, or do something productive instead.
    • Exactly. Now where did I put that book that contains all the important stuff that happened today in my town that was delivered to my living room for free?
  • That's weird (Score:4, Informative)

    by Thelasko (1196535) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @04:03PM (#26643487) Journal
    considering the Senate passed the bill unanimously, [loc.gov] I figured it would easily make it through the House.
  • by timholman (71886) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @04:20PM (#26643777)

    As so many others have pointed out, It doesn't matter if the switchover happens 3 weeks, 3 months, 3 years, or 30 years from now - you're going to have millions of people, most of them elderly or low income, who are going to turn on their TVs and say "What's wrong with this damn thing?" They don't read the news, they have no clue the switchover is coming, and they will scream bloody murder when it does.

    The ONLY way to keep that from happening would be for the U.S. government to send teams of technicians to every household in America to verify the converter boxes were installed. Even then you'd have a lot of elderly shut-ins who would call the police to arrest the "intruders" at their door.

    Time to bite the bullet and switch over NOW - waiting any longer will do nothing but delay the inevitable.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Cro Magnon (467622)

      As so many others have pointed out, It doesn't matter if the switchover happens 3 weeks, 3 months, 3 years, or 30 years from now - you're going to have millions of people, most of them elderly or low income, who are going to turn on their TVs and say "What's wrong with this damn thing?" They don't read the news, they have no clue the switchover is coming, and they will scream bloody murder when it does.

      Yeah, the networks really should have bombarded everyone with constant notices that the switch was coming.

  • by leonbev (111395) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @04:21PM (#26643805) Journal

    Hawaii already made the switch to digital TV on January 15th. I haven't heard any newa about their state having any major problems with this transition, so why are they making a big deal about this now?

  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @04:49PM (#26644307)

    How many prison TV are ready? February 17th may be a bad day to be a prison guard.

  • by SlappyBastard (961143) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @05:26PM (#26644869) Homepage

    This is all going to be moot. The FCC database is being flooded with STAs providing proper notice of early shutdown pre-emptively in the face of the new legislation.

    In the end, it will all be moot, because a number of stations are not even properly budgeted to continue transmitting. Most current UHF stations are going to see their electric bill drop 80% when they turn off their analog. They have no incentive to continue transmitting analog.

  • by FudRucker (866063) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @06:05PM (#26645503)
    delaying it is like pulling a bandaid off a wound slowly causing the pain to be prolonged and more acute, when just grabbing the bandaid and ripping it off completely gets it over with quicker, sure there is going to be some pain but you get it over with quicker and can get on when cleaning & dressing the wound with antibiotics and a fresh bandaid...

    either way there is going to be some pain but what would you prefer? get it over with quicker? or prolonged and more acute pain?
  • by Nyrath the nearly wi (517243) on Wednesday January 28, 2009 @06:30PM (#26645871) Homepage
    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/01/4g-war-conflict-of-interests-loom-behind-possible-dtv-delay.ars [arstechnica.com]

    Basically they are suggesting that the WiMax people are lobbying Congress to delay the switch to DTV.

    Their rival, Verizon, cannot deploy Verizon's 4G Long-Term Evolution wireless broadband network until the spectrum is freed up by the elimination of analog TV signals. The longer the delay, the more market penetration for WiMax, and the more trouble for Verizon.

Reference the NULL within NULL, it is the gateway to all wizardry.

Working...