Latest TV Poop

To give perspective, the bill to switch to digital TV was passed four years ago, in 2005. The date was Jan 4, 2009 when they ran out of coupons, which drives the rest of the following nonsense.

Update – Hawaii converted to all digital and now all the little dark rump birds can rest easy.

Not so good on the mainland – As expected, the government is trying to delay the conversion to digital TV, until it can bail itself out. Seems like the technology is ready, the broadcasters are ready, the public is ready, but the politicians forgot to do their part. To be fair, they only had four years to prepare.

The transition team wants to delay from the current Feb 17 until June 12. This was voted down this week, but will be brought back next week for another vote. (The word ‘vote’ has taken on a new meaning, just like the word ‘illegal’ has. If you lose the ‘vote’ ignore the results like in California, or call for another vote until you get what you want.)

“Obama officials are concerned that the government is not doing enough to help Americans – particularly those in rural, poor or minority communities – prepare for and navigate the transition.”

Obama’s transition team co-chair Podesta says (without admitting any fault), “With coupons unavailable, support and education insufficient, and the most vulnerable Americans exposed, I urge you to consider a change to the legislatively mandated analog cutoff date.”

The various numbers are:

$19 Billion was taken in to the government from the sale of the analog spectrum to be used for additional wireless functions.

$1.34 Billion has been allocated and spent to date.

They (our esteemed elected officials) want another $650 million and are considering adding coupons to help pay for antennas in addition to the set top boxes. This is on top of the $1.34 Billion already spent by the government. Billion is such an overused word these days.

MSNBC says 20 million people do not use digital, satellite, or cable.

Nielsen says about 7.75 million people are not ready for digital TV and about 11 million still have at least one analog TV

2.1 million have applied for the coupon and not received it yet.

The waiting list at a program to provide subsidies for digital converter boxes may swell to more than 6 million requests in the next month, according to Podesta.

Many (unnumbered) could lose 1 to 2 TV stations, because digital signal does not carry as far as analog.

24 million people have requested 46 million coupons.

60% is the number of coupons that have been redeemed.

2.15 million calls to the call center expected the first week

10 million might not be ‘taken care of’ unless Congress ponies up another $1billion according to the Consumers Union

2,600 “low-power” television broadcasters will be allowed to continue broadcasting their signals in analog after the conversion to digital.

1 guy, Henry Waxman, D-Calif. has proposed that they overhaul the coupon program to make it easier (like having them available maybe? duh!)

1 guy, Democratic FCC commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, said “the program has been badly mismanaged. It’s not ready for prime time.”

1 guy, Murray, counsel for the Consumers Union said, “It’s no one’s fault that we didn’t realize how much demand for the converter-box coupons there would be.”

Bottom line – As usual, the numbers do not add up and they will piss and moan and blame Bush, then spend another billion bucks and delay another three to four months and we will all have digital TV, birds will sing, and life will be good.

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