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Television Media

Who Cares if Analog TV Goes Dark? 827

AVIDJockey writes "Take this with a grain of salt, but earlier this month the Consumer Electronics Association giddily released data showing that of America's 285 million TVs only 12 percent (33.6 million) are used for watching OTA broadcasts. In a further revelation, the CEA's numbers say that approximately 3 million (around 10 percent) aren't used for viewing broadcast television at all. Instead, the electricity gobbled up by these sets is used to play videogames, watch movies on DVD, or view old Jane Fonda exercise tapes."
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Who Cares if Analog TV Goes Dark?

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  • -1 Troll (Score:5, Insightful)

    by XorNand ( 517466 ) * on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:18PM (#12943773)

    Only 12? Funny perspective you seem to have..

    If a CEO embraced a plan to cull 12% of the company's existing customer base in one fell swoop, the board would having him packing his office into boxes the next day. Bah... consider the source: Home Theater Magazine. This article is just brash, elitest techogeek strutting: "Well, who doesn't have a digital capable TV nowadays anyhow? Luddites!".
    • Re:-1 Troll (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Dukael_Mikakis ( 686324 ) <andrewfoerster@NOSpAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:31PM (#12943952)
      I agree. First, 12% means that a lot of sets will be effected, but the additional problem in in who will be effected.

      By now most Americans won't even notice because they receive their television through cable or satellite, but the people who would be effected (still receive analog television) are more likely to be lower class and the overhead of upgrading (however small it might seem) might actually mean a great deal to these people/families.

      The point is, those who still rely on analog are probably already somewhat disenfranchised because of their likely economic class that this conversion (however "progressive") might serve to disenfranchise them further.
      • Re:-1 Troll (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bhtooefr ( 649901 ) <bhtooefr AT bhtooefr DOT org> on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:39PM (#12944062) Homepage Journal
        I'm in an interesting situation. I've got cable Internet access, but no cable TV - can't afford it, and don't see the need for it.

        I can pick up NBC, ABC (sorta), CBS, and PBS (kinda) with my antenna. Between NBC and CBS, I've got enough to watch (yes, I watch the lame shows.)

        However, when analog broadcast goes dark, I'm simply not going to HAVE a TV. I've got cable Internet - if I want to watch a certain show, I can run BitTorrent.
        • Re:-1 Troll (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Dukael_Mikakis ( 686324 ) <andrewfoerster@NOSpAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:41PM (#12944091)
          True. But what about those who can't afford a computer or the internet (or don't know how to use them effectively) who still watch a 20 year old set and for whom upgrading will be a significant expense?

          You and I probably have very reasonable alternatives to analog TV (I have cable, you can BitTorrent), but I'm sure that many of these 30 mn sets still on analog don't.
      • Re:-1 Troll (Score:4, Funny)

        by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:42PM (#12944093) Homepage
        Do advertisers really give a crap about reaching poor people? I mean, the poor...the thing is, they have no money.
    • Re:-1 Troll (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drakaan ( 688386 )
      Umm...that's not a troll, overrated at worst.

      Seriously, 33 million people is not a trivial number. If the industry thinks it *is* trivial, I suggest they look into how much it would cost to purchase set-top converter boxes for those televisions. Even at $50.00 a pop, that's a healthy sum.

    • by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:37PM (#12944042) Journal
      In related news, the Cable & Satellite Higher Subscription Fee Association released figures claiming that 72 percent of subscribers felt they were paying too little for their monthly programming. 18 percent said they'd gladly pay twice as much if the level of customer service could be lowered. Surprisingly, a full six percent indicated that they'd rather watch TV from cable or satellite than eat or have sex. (The margin of error for the survey is +/- 100 percent.)

      That about covers it for me

    • Re:-1 Troll (Score:5, Funny)

      by Fear the Clam ( 230933 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:37PM (#12944044)
      You don't know much about Web design do you? CEOs routinely blow off Mac users when they design banking and e-commerce sites.
      • 12% vs. 3% (Score:4, Informative)

        by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:47PM (#12944162)
        This article is talking about blowing off 12% of a customer base. Apple, by most accounts, only counts for 3% of all PC users [forbes.com]
      • Re:-1 Troll (Score:5, Funny)

        by nomadic ( 141991 ) <nomadicworld@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:47PM (#12944168) Homepage
        You don't know much about Web design do you? CEOs routinely blow off Mac users when they design banking and e-commerce sites.

        Mac users don't have any money, they spent it all buying their macs. And any money they get after that gets blown on gourmet coffee and avant-garde theater.
    • We do it all the time, here. How many games are released for Mac and/or Linux? How many websites *still* only work properly in IE?

      Hell, at least there are technical issues with those. How many times have you seen an application Windows-only, when it's a simple recompile and a few tweaks to make it run under Linux? I've seen a lot of formerly closed source apps that fit this category quite nicely.

    • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @03:43PM (#12944874) Homepage
      Yeah, let's screw everyone who can afford a one-time purchase of a TV (analog color TVs are cheap) but can't afford monthly digital cable bills.

      This is absolutely eltists trying to widen the tech gap by eliminating the trailing end of the curve. Things are already headed in that direction; let's not try to deliberatly speed it up, okay?

      Whore cares if analog tv goes dark? They answered their own question: 33 million households care, asshole!

      You're absolutely right, this is a troll. A self-serving corporate-whoring troll.
    • digital tv (Score:3, Insightful)

      by falconwolf ( 725481 )

      "Well, who doesn't have a digital capable TV nowadays anyhow? Luddites!".

      I don't and I'm not a luddite. Then again I mostly watch movies and some CNN. I'd love to have a bnig screen HDTV but I can't afford it and if I could then I'd get more photography equipment, cameras such as Canon's 16 MP EOS 1Ds Mark II [canon.com], Mamiya's 23 MP Mamiya ZD [mamiya.com] medium format digiatl camera, and a bunch of lenses for them. Then instead of watching a bunch of movies I'd be spending a lot of tyme out and about taking photos or

  • by Shkuey ( 609361 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:19PM (#12943774)
    Roughly 12% of television owners?
  • by ericspinder ( 146776 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:19PM (#12943776) Journal
    In related news, the Cable & Satellite Higher Subscription Fee Association released figures claiming that 72 percent of subscribers felt they were paying too little for their monthly programming. 18 percent said they'd gladly pay twice as much if the level of customer service could be lowered. Surprisingly, a full six percent indicated that they'd rather watch TV from cable or satellite than eat or have sex. (The margin of error for the survey is +/- 100 percent.)
    Ah, responsiable journelism. When I first read that last paragraph, I did a double take, but with the variance of 100%, it's got to be a joke. **But I saw it online, it's got to be true, I mean the site even looked really professional and everything**
    • Obviously, the last paragraph is a joke. (I'm astonished that that's not the part that made it into the Slashdot blurb..) The rest of it, the part that treats over-the-air and analog as interchangeable terms, is AFAICT for real.
    • > The margin of error for the survey is +/- 100 percent.

      There must be some error even in the margin of error! A 100% margin of error on a 72 out of 100 statistic... wouldn't that be impossible?
      • Can they really do that? I mean, it's obviously a joke, but what if there is a "association for higher fees" that gets pissed off that they said anything. I could see the meeting now. "The games up, we've been slashdotted. Everyone knows now." The law suits to come would be equally silly.
  • by justforaday ( 560408 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:19PM (#12943779)
    Instead, the electricity gobbled up by these sets is used to play videogames, watch movies on DVD, or view old Jane Fonda exercise tapes.

    Surely this must be code for something else...
    • Surely this must be code for something else...

      Perhaps, but do you really want people to know about your "Richard Simmons -- Disco Sweat" DVD?
  • 12 percent

    In Business, 12 percent is alot.

    So tell me, who's going to be the first major television broadcaster to completely shut down their analog over-the-air broadcasts and lose 12 percent of their viewers?

    Personally, I think paying $300+ a year for cable to PAY for the privledge of watching television is completely stupid.
    • i think your logic is completely stupid, no offense, but you're going to use that argument. you don't pay for the priviledge, you can get over the air for free. you pay for the channels. cable channels aren't operating gratis; they couldn't do it for free. paying a monthly subscription to cable pretty much guarantees that the channels will have business, and they can stay in business without much flux. you pay for quality, content, and ease of use. i'm happy to pay $40/mo not to have to adjust an antenna t
  • OTA = Over The Air
  • I don't think I'd miss it that much. I haven't bought an HDTV yet, and I'm not planning to in the next couple of years. I've already let go of cable, and have probably run my TV for about an hour this week.

    I can live without it.
  • Yep. I don't have cable. Nor do I want it. But if something big happens, I want to see it on TV for sure. If there's a good show going to be on, well, I want to see it. But wait. I haven't watched broadcast television in over 2 months. We use our playstation 2 for entertainment, and listen to the radio and use the internet for news. So, As one of the 12%, I guess I DONT care if it goes away. It serves no purpose that can't be picked up by a good AM News Radio station.
    • Amen! I don't have cable either. My rabbit ears get me 7 channels. I can find something to watch most of the time. When I can't, I turn it off and do something more productive.

      Oh, and I have dial-up internet too :-)


    • Your subject: As one of those 12%, I care.

      From your post: So, As one of the 12%, I guess I DONT care if it goes away.

      Perhaps more editing is in order.

      • we get to see him actually grow as he processes the siutation live on the dot.

        i'm more interested in the top response where the guy ordered internet and gets cable t.v. through the wire...... where'd i put that little combo wrench?....
    • by Dukael_Mikakis ( 686324 ) <andrewfoerster@NOSpAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:38PM (#12944051)
      Yes, but there are a great many Americans who do rely on television to stay connected to the world because they can't afford/don't have access to/don't know how to use the internet and for them television becomes less of a luxury than a necessity, and from what I've read this is one of the big concerns regarding the conversion.

      Granted the news on television (and even on the radio) tends to be softer than that of a newspaper, but it probably is their strongest connection to the nation/world. Simply because almost all of the middle/upper class won't notice the conversion (and might even benefit from it) doesn't mean it won't have its consequences.
  • by American AC in Paris ( 230456 ) * on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:20PM (#12943801) Homepage
    Well, me and the other owners of those 33 million TVs might just give a hoot. Not everyone [wants|can afford] cable or dish service, y'know.

    Just how much will I need to spend in order to keep watching TV once they ram this through?

    (To Darryl Wilkinson, the author of TFA: At what point in your youth did you decide you wanted to grow up to be a condescending prick?)

    • Hopefully it will not be too expensive. You'll need an over the air digital tuner with a built-in DAC. Currently I think these run about forty dollars, but there have been talks about the government footing the bill for a mass production to make them extremely cheap for this change over.
    • Well, me and the other owners of those 33 million TVs might just give a hoot. Not everyone [wants|can afford] cable or dish service, y'know.

      Lets see, 33 million? That's a lot of people when you think about it. New York state only has 19.1 million people in it. 33 million is more than the population of most states.

      Just how much will I need to spend in order to keep watching TV once they ram this through?

      Depends on how much a D/A downconverter box costs at that point. At Best Buy [bestbuy.com] the Funai ATSC/HDTV
    • by grammar fascist ( 239789 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:40PM (#12944083) Homepage
      (To Darryl Wilkinson, the author of TFA: At what point in your youth did you decide you wanted to grow up to be a condescending prick?)

      I'm very sure the article is satire. From the end:

      In related news, the Cable & Satellite Higher Subscription Fee Association released figures claiming that 72 percent of subscribers felt they were paying too little for their monthly programming. 18 percent said they'd gladly pay twice as much if the level of customer service could be lowered. Surprisingly, a full six percent indicated that they'd rather watch TV from cable or satellite than eat or have sex. (The margin of error for the survey is +/- 100 percent.)

      He also uses phrases such as "CEA giddily released" and "in a further revelation." These aren't the words of a writer who agrees with the CEA.
    • I certainly give a hoot. Heck, I'd like to have digital reception, but a new TV is not in the budget and I've yet to see an affordable set top converter box. I say keep the analog signals going until the local brodcasting stations no longer feel its worth the cost to keep them up.
  • view old Jane Fonda exercise tapes

    Yeah, that's what I tell my wife too.

  • In a further revelation, the CEA's numbers say that approximately 3 million (around 10 percent) aren't used for viewing broadcast television at all. Instead, the electricity gobbled up by these sets is used to play videogames, watch movies on DVD, or view old Jane Fonda exercise tapes.

    So the electricity usage would be better justified somehow if those televisions were tuned to local stations? (I'm sure the advertisers feel that way...)
  • good (Score:2, Redundant)

    make room for better use of the spectrum.
  • by yagu ( 721525 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [ugayay]> on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:21PM (#12943813) Journal

    Somebody help me out here. I thought standard television was going away, not analog! There's a difference at least from the information I'm able to find. It's possible for HD to be broadcast analog, and it's possible for standard television resolution to be broadcast digital.

    So, I'm not entirely sure what this article is trying to say (but, I'm not an expert in tv formats and broadcast formats).

    The most telling information (in my opinion) from the article:

    • 60 percent subscribe to cable
    • 24 percent subscribe to digital satellite

    Neither of those stats imply that noone is watching old standard television with their old sets.

    • by Wesley Felter ( 138342 ) <wesley@felter.org> on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:25PM (#12943868) Homepage
      In the US, HDTV is digital. Analog TV really is going away.
    • Who is going to pay $100/month for cable and hook up rabbit ears to an extra TV?

      If your TV is so old it can't take a cable input, it probably isn't working so well anyway. It might be time to replace it with the $40 TV from Walmart.
    • Analog is going away, not standard definition. This is to free up the broadcast spectrum for other uses. I believe the plan is to auction off blocks of the spectrum, and I read somewhere that they estimate all of it together will rake in billions.
    • I thought standard television was going away, not analog!
      Analog is going away too. In Germany, the process of replacing analog over the air TV with DVB-T (Digital Video Broadcasting - Terrestrial) has already begone. In 2003, Berlin was the first area to completly stop analog broadcast.

      As DVB-T allows 30 channels in DVD-quality over the air with only a very small reciever, cable & satellite got an interesting contestant.
    • by caudron ( 466327 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @03:35PM (#12944766) Homepage
      Somebody help me out here. I thought standard television was going away, not analog!

      They don't make it easy to figure out, but this is the deal:

      The FCC is mandating that analog signals go the way of the DoDo once a certain minimum percentage of digital viewership exists (theyfirst set firm dates for this, then realized that no one cared about their dates).

      The FCC could not muster less concern for whether or not those digital broadcasts are HD, ED, or SD. They only care that they are digital, becuase the digial signal allows them to parse the signal in ever finer ways to auction off and make more money.

      Most people assume that this means the broadcasts will be HDTV, but in fact the only /mandate/ is for digital signals. Those local broadcasters are leasing their bandwidth off to make some extra green on the side as well. That leaves them less badwidth to transmit their own signal, which means that even if they do claim HD, they often do so with a noisy comprression ratio.

      Locally (Virginia Beach, VA), for instance, the only station to really stick to the idea of very high quality HDTV signals is PBS. Nova looks fscking STUNNING on my HD screen. As for the rest? Well, at least the signal is clear, but as for just how HD it is...I can say it's better than SD and often better than ED, but flipping to PBS shows just how downgraded the HD signal is on local stations like NBC, CBS, and ABC.

      Note that locally I have access to every broadcasting network in digital and (ostensibly) HD quality to compare. This means, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, WB, UPN, and PBS.

      Also, I have no cable or satellite service. I only watch OTA TV and movies from Netflix. Using a digital receiver, I can get crystal clear pictures that are better than the lossy encoded signal the cable and sat companies give us(though I do miss The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) and I pay nothing. I can wholeheartedly recommend it.

      I hope that helps clear up some of the confusion.
  • ...But I care if analog cable goes dark. I'm just not ready to go digital yet... at least not until the following requirements are met:

    1. PC Cable Cards
    2. Linux Drivers for said cards.
    3. Bright House Cable supports said cards.
    4. Price stays comparable.

    Till then me and my MythTV box will stay Analog Cable.
    • math (Score:2, Insightful)

      by kram.me ( 870005 )
      Consumer Electronics Association giddily released data showing that of America's 285 million TVs only 12 percent (33.6 million) are used for watching OTA broadcasts. In a further revelation, the CEA's numbers say that approximately 3 million (around 10 percent) aren't used
      10% of 285 million = 28.5 million
      3million = 1% of 285 million
    • Nobody has proposed outlawing analog cable.

      BTW, CableCard has so much DRM and "robustness" in it, don't expect to ever connect one to your computer.
  • If you simply have *no other option* then yeah, I guess it's ok.. if you even bother to watch TV at that point, and if you can get any broadcasts at all under that rock.

    I know 1 person that watches TV and doesn't have cable. they get maybe 3 channels with the antenna (this is in the Silicon Valley, too) and they're always full of static.
    Comcast basic cable costs about $15/mo.

    In other news, people are still watching Jane Fonda workout tapes? Then again, maybe they were trying to illicit an inflammatory res
  • I don't find cable tv or satelite for that matter to be worth the extra money as I never get the amount (in hours) of entertainment as I have to spend (in hours) of work to earn the money to pay for it. There just isn't enough programming on cable/satelite to justify the high costs. If I want to watch a movie, I will either rent it or go see it at the theatres. Besides, I feel like I am already paying for the analog tv because of all of the commercials I have to sit through and I do actually buy some of tho
  • the whole thing looks to be some kind of joke based on the end

    But if they killed analog broadcasts and my bunny ears bringing t.v. into my home, they would probably be doing me a favor more than anything else.

    Last week I ordered cox for internet and phone service but I see no point in getting t.v. from them.
  • Elder Viewers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thegoofy ( 301855 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:24PM (#12943846)
    You have to remember who is in that 12%. Most elderly viewers are the ones less likely to spend money on a new TV Set or that fancy shmancy cable. They are also the most likely to vote.
  • ...these sets [are] used to play videogames, watch movies on DVD, or view old Jane Fonda exercise tapes.

    That would explain the new DVD my wife got, "Jane Fonda's Fragging to the Oldies."

  • There is a very big difference between taking back the analog spectrum from broadcasters and rendering all analog TV useless. If the FCC took back the analog spectrum today, it's true that I would not be affected even though I own no HDTV tuners. That is because the cable company would presumably continue to send me a wire full of analog TV. That does NOT make my analog TV go dark. If it does, well, then I'm 100% against this scheme.
  • by FerretFrottage ( 714136 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:25PM (#12943861)
    "Surprisingly, a full six percent indicated that they'd rather watch TV from cable or satellite than eat or have sex."

    These were the 6 percent that just found out that Firefly was going to air on SciFi in its intended order.

  • only 12 percent (33.6 million) are used for watching OTA broadcasts

    yeah, the responsible poor.

  • OTA still used (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NoodleSlayer ( 603762 ) <ryan AT severeboredom DOT com> on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:26PM (#12943881) Homepage
    As one of the people that has three TVs that are still hooked up to a Over The Air Antenna, in fact we get more local/broadcast stations from the antenna then the dish, because we get a number of Sacramento stations on top of our local San Jose/SF stations from the antenna, not to mention that we only have one DTivo/Sattelite reciever in the house, the rooftop antenna still gets quite a bit of use.
  • by davidwr ( 791652 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:29PM (#12943926) Homepage Journal
    Before you kill off analog broadcast TV, industry must do the following:

    1) provide a dirt-cheap converter box so over-the-air digital signals can be used with older TVs and VCRs. Dirt-cheap being under $20 - with remote control. $20 is the "poor elderly woman" price - depriving Granny of her TV is political dynamite.

    2) provide converters that are suitable for "embedded" TVs like those in older RVs and vans

    3) provide converters that are suitable for hand-held TVs.

    #2 and #3 will be a lot more than $20. Also more expensive will be ones that broadcast all channels at once, so they can work seamlessly with today's analog VCRs.

    #2 and #3 may also be workable by making equipment that broadcasts a low-power signal over the air, one that reaches several tens of feet.
  • by AtariDatacenter ( 31657 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:31PM (#12943948)
    ... in that subsidised housing area, over the air television is common. Extremely common. More common than cable theft.

    Really, these aren't the people you want to take television away from. I'm talking about the impoverished senior citizens as well as the young thug types who have nothing better to do. Two groups you don't want to pull the plug on, for totally different reasons.
  • Well duh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by deacon ( 40533 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:32PM (#12943971) Journal
    The internet is just a easier way of getting the information you want. Why wait for a push system when you can pull the info with no ads or other irritants? And why have someone read information to you off of a telepromter when you can read it yourself faster? I won't even get into all the bais and plain misinformation which is passed of as "news".

    Uses for TV: The DVD player and Netflix, or public library.

    Uses for internet: everthing else.

    Uses for cable: don't have it, use DSL.

    It makes no sense to wait up to watch OTA TV to find out what the weather is. Same for the news: I don't care about Michael Jackson, or the white blond female kidnap victim of the week (tm)

    [Ever notice there are few/no non-white, non-cute, non-female kidnap victims on tv? If you think that's because male minorities are not victims of crime, think again!].

    I theoretically could use Tivo to timeshift this info, but why bother when everything I want to know about is available online.

  • by CrazyTalk ( 662055 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:32PM (#12943977)
    Those 12% watching TV over the air are the ones that will be hurt most - they are the folks that (in general) cannot afford cable, and certainly not a new TV.
  • Will it grow? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by paul248 ( 536459 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:35PM (#12944009) Homepage
    I've seen OTA digital myself, and it's pretty awesome. I would have never imagined being able to pick up full-resolution HDTV with a set of rabbit-ear antennas.

    I suspect that these new broadcasts will lead to a mass exodus (or at least a minor exodus) from the cable and satellite networks as people realize they can get better quality with no monthly fee.

    Granted, you won't get as many channels, but there are a lot of people who only really watch the network channels anyway, and switched to cable/satellite because they think the fuzzy analog TV only belongs in trailer parks.
  • by i2878 ( 736937 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:52PM (#12944251)
    Slashdot Poll:

    Most common use of your TV:
    1.) No TV - just a HDTV tuner in my PC (geek answer)
    2.) DVD viewing (Dad's answer)
    3.) PBS viewing (Mom's answer)
    4.) Porn viewing (Slashdot answer)
    5.) Stand for my other TV (redneck answer)
    6.) Football viewing (no-neck answer)
  • by rkhalloran ( 136467 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @02:55PM (#12944277) Homepage
    It's from a videophile magazine who no doubt consider that anyone not watching their local news in HD on a 60-inch flat-panel is a neo-Luddite.
    My 70-plus mother on the NJ shore finally broke down and went to cable only about three years back; her local reception was fine, she just wanted the extra channels.
    For my part, seeing Sturgeon's Law [wikipedia.org] implemented so exquisitely in the choices available to me on television, has delayed my shelling out for HD equipment.
  • by Insightfill ( 554828 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @03:08PM (#12944461) Homepage
    When I was younger, and OTA was what we had, picture quality was affected by passing planes and poor television signal locking.

    Now, years later, OTA is barely watchable in the same house (line of sight to Sears Tower, Chicago). The picture shakes, wobbles, and sometimes cuts out entirely for no apparent reason.

    Questions: 1) Have the TVs changed so that they're less tolerant of OTA signals? 2) Have TV broadcasters dropped signal strength because "it's just being watched on cable anyway"? or 3) Has the signal noise floor risen over the years with a proliferation of cell phones, garage door openers, and keyless remotes?

    Or lastly: has our tolerance for poor signal dropped over the years, where we expect nothing but razor sharp pictures from our TVs?

    All I know is that I've had to get cable and satellite over the years when all I've really wanted were the local channels. However, I was able to convince DISH Network to let me keep the local channels for $5/month and drop all of the rest. Which is what I wanted all along.

    • However, I was able to convince DISH Network to let me keep the local channels for $5/month and drop all of the rest.


      That's nothing, I was able to "convince" DISH Network to give me their America's Top 120 package for $37.99/month. Now that I've done that I'm going to try to see if I can get them to give me the Top 180 package for $47.99/month.

    • No... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gerf ( 532474 )

      Picture quality has gotten better. You just rely too much on bunny ears. At home, we get TV stations from quite a distance. Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, Fort Wayne, Lima, and even sometimes Detroit and Cleveland.

      BTW, I still use Over the air TV. Why? All I do is catch some news, maybe watch a little PBS, and the occaisional NBC/CBS/FOX/ABC/UPN or WB show. Why the hell would I pay 30 bucks a month for something I barely watch?

      On another hand, you can't just cut people off like this, and expect them to

  • by fjf33 ( 890896 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @03:14PM (#12944531)
    What people has to realize is that there is a big chunk of the airwaves that are being wasted by analog TV. The FCC can make a lot of money taking that back and reselling it at auction. By going to digital TV they can cram more channels at the same (or worse quality) over the same frequencies with maybe a couple of high definition channels to keep congress happy but it is all about big business and setting up the field to show that analog is really just a waste of resources and that people don't care if they go out.
  • by Dzimas ( 547818 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @03:24PM (#12944642)
    I'm in Canada. The main reason I have cable (analog, btw) is because the signal quality from my local OTA analog stations is dismal. I live in the suburbs of a metropolitan area (approx 1 million people), yet several of the stations are snowy, ghosty messes. Several of my friends have confirmed similar results in other areas of the city. We're significantly behind the USA in the roll-out of digital OTA. I can't wait. I'm hopeful that digital error correction will give me decent off-air signals that allow me to ditch my basic cable and spend the extra $280/year on important things. Like RAM. Or single malt scotch.
  • The sky is falling (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArmorFiend ( 151674 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @03:27PM (#12944677) Homepage Journal
    Wow, can you imagine, when we had 0% television, we fought ourselves free from Britian, abolished slavery, created a inclusive democracy, and defeated fascism.

    Since we got 100% broadcast television, we haven't won any war that's gone on more than 12 months, and our electorate is getting increasingly fuzzy on the theory of evolution.

    Am I the only one seeing a relationship here? We should pray for all TV to die. We should wish TV on our enemies.
  • Who cares? I do. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hey! ( 33014 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @03:51PM (#12944963) Homepage Journal
    But nobody cares about me because I don't like to spend money.
  • by cmholm ( 69081 ) <cmholm.mauiholm@org> on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @04:51PM (#12945516) Homepage Journal
    IIRC, for a local broadcast tv station to make it onto basic cable, they've got to be ... broadcasting. This issue first raised its head when the FCC was considering reallocating ("selling") most of the UHF bands. In most communities this meant PBS and the small guys were going to take it in the ass, since if they weren't on the air, they weren't a manditory carry on basic cable.

    Back then, the big broadcasters didn't care. But, I'd bet they care now that VHF is in play, unless the laws regarding cable access have changed.

  • by nsayer ( 86181 ) <[moc.ufk] [ta] [reyasn]> on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @05:01PM (#12945584) Homepage
    It's not a TV anymore. It's just a monitor.

    My new Samsung 50" DLP device is great. I have a mac mini plugged into the DVI port and a DirecTiVo into the HDMI port. And nothing whatsoever connected up to the RF port. The tuner is analog only, so I have no use for it. The part that kind of sucks is that although they have a setup menu that allows you to exclude any ports from the input selection rotation, there is one port that cannot be excluded.

    Which one? Take a guess.

    So whenever I flip from the mac to the TiVo, it's two clicks instead of one, with a blue screen inbetween.

    So I say to any TV manufacturers listening: Do not center any part of the UI around the tuner. It is optional. If I could have paid the same price for a monitor only, I would have done so happily.

    You're welcome.
  • by BFaucet ( 635036 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @05:16PM (#12945710) Homepage
    TV is more than simply entertainment. Sure 99.99% of it is pure stupidity but every now and again a major crisis will occur and everyone will tune into their local NBC or whatever so they can remain informed on the progress of whatever event.

    Be it the hurricane that's moving into your beach-side town or the crazy riots down the road... sometimes TV is a very good way of keeping up on things. Seems like a bad idea to leave the poor in the dark.

It's a poor workman who blames his tools.

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