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Old 01-18-2008, 07:49 AM
 
Location: Amelia View
4,244 posts, read 12,768,423 times
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First of all, I have no interest in placing blame on one party or the other for this forced conversion/transition to digital TV. This query is strictly one of curiosity ...

What is so "wrong" with analog TV that the government has mandated the transition to digital? What's the true benefit? (I know I know - digital and HD look better - that's not what I mean by a "benefit" .) What's the government have to do with this? If, for whatever reason, the TV manufacturers and broadcasters want to go digital, shouldn't they be the ones to push the transition to make everyone want digital?

I guess I harken to the days when almost everyone had black-n-white TVs before more and more broadcasts went to color. The government didn't say back then that everyone must have a color TV - it was a choice and a natural transition. Key words: natural transition.

Isn't the analog to digital transition the same kind of thing that would happen naturally anyway?

I just do not get it -- unless digital is two-way, so the government will be able to see me sitting in front of the tube in my PJs ... lol ... just kidding.
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Old 01-18-2008, 12:00 PM
 
Location: Mableton, GA USA (NW Atlanta suburb, 4 miles OTP)
11,319 posts, read 22,740,732 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mawipafl View Post
What is so "wrong" with analog TV that the government has mandated the transition to digital? What's the true benefit?
Dropping analog TV broadcasts frees up the 700MHz band of the spectrum, and that band apparently has a much greater range and better penetration characteristics than the higher-frequency stuff used by Wifi, etc., making it relatively valuable property. This article might help explain part of it.

It may be simpler than that, though. Some people are willing to PAY for the rights to use this frequency range. Money talks. 'Nuff said.
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Old 01-18-2008, 12:43 PM
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Location: Ohio
16,903 posts, read 33,642,455 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcsteiner View Post
It may be simpler than that, though. Some people are willing to PAY for the rights to use this frequency range. Money talks. 'Nuff said.
There's no uncertainty to it. Congress uses billions in revenue from licensing the radio spectrum to balance a chunk of the Federal budget. Moving TV to digital opens up thousands of new radio frequencies that the government could auction off to new wireless services to make even more billions. AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and probably Google, among others, are going to
be doing their part to balance the Federal budget. To put it more simply, it may ultimately be the wireless industry that saves Social Security!
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Old 01-18-2008, 01:21 PM
 
Location: Amelia View
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rcsteiner - that's exactly the kind of info I was seeking - thanks for that link.

So, it IS all about money. But if as suggested that the auction of the bandwidth(s) can save social security (or something along those lines), well, I guess <gulp> gotta swallow it.

All this has prompted another "out there" question: who owns the radio broadcast waves? Granted, I will assume a radio station's operating costs are much less that a TV broadcaster's costs, but radio is free entertainment (obviously I'm not talking about satellite radio), and it's legal to buy even a simple radio and snag the waves. Will TV broadcasting be encrypted so that Joe in his garage can't build himself a converter to grab what's bouncing around out there?

I apologize if tech people are snickering at my question - I fully admit I don't know how it all works. However, the concept of free radio popped into my head when thinking about the folks who enjoy free TV now, but won't be able to do so next year.
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Old 01-19-2008, 06:27 AM
 
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If you have a tv that can read digital signals (most of the new tvs coming out) - you'll still be able to snag the "free" (local NBC,ABC, CBS, FOX and independent affiliates) stations in your area. If you have an older (analog tv) you'll need a converter box. That's why there are all the commercials now that warn about the switch and prompt you to call for a coupon - its a coupon off of a converter so that elderly and poorer people who can't afford new tvs can still receive local news etc..
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Old 01-19-2008, 11:42 AM
 
Location: Hopewell New Jersey
1,393 posts, read 7,118,162 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mawipafl View Post
.

So, it IS all about money.
FYI this type of thing with the FCC is far from new...

Long ago there was a TV channel # 1 ...Ever wonder about that..ie.. why do the channels start with #2...There was a channel #1 and it's frequency got used by radio service if I recall.
The the color TV thing you mentioned...back then there were a number of competing systems..The FCC ruled that any color system had to be compatible with the existing black and white system...which lead to the RCA NTSC system (analog) that is still in use...although fadeing fast..

UHF...remember when TVs didn't have UHF tuners and those that did weren't detented but were of the rotory dial type ?? The FCC got involved and made it manditory that all tv's have a detented UHF tuner. The goal was to promote low power local UHF stations...

The list is long but the Fcc has always "played" with the different services for many reasons.
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Old 01-19-2008, 01:05 PM
 
Location: Amelia View
4,244 posts, read 12,768,423 times
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Seriously, I have to thank you all for the great education I've received. I grew up in the days of black-n-white TV when "don't touch that dial" from show hosts made sense. But, I never thought about any of it. Until now, that is.

So, again, thanks!!!
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Old 01-19-2008, 01:36 PM
 
Location: Tucson AZ & Leipzig, Germany
2,618 posts, read 7,922,093 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mawipafl View Post
All this has prompted another "out there" question: who owns the radio broadcast waves?
We the general public own the radio spectrum in the USA. The radio spectrum covers a huge range of applications and services, from the well known broadcast radio and TV, to cellular phones, ham radio, marine and aviation communications, emergency services, CB, even garage door openers and home baby monitors. The federal government on our behalf regulates who and how those radio frequencies are used and allocated through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC has bureaus that deal specifically with radio frequency allocation. Several thousand government employees along with many more in private industry and law firms are involved in the process of radio spectrum use and allocation. It is now so intertwined with so much economic activity in our country that the stakes are enormous every time even a small detail of those regulations is proposed to change.
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Old 01-22-2008, 05:23 AM
 
Location: Mississippi
6,715 posts, read 12,377,962 times
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Working in the aviation industry, I can tell you that it's pretty highly anticipated that these frequencies can come available. With Air Traffic Control being at an all time low(or high depending on how you look at it) the frequencies are definitely needed. It's not just about money, although I'm sure that's involved too.
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Old 01-22-2008, 11:25 AM
 
Location: Jonquil City (aka Smyrna) Georgia- by Atlanta
16,248 posts, read 21,615,438 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bowie View Post
There's no uncertainty to it. Congress uses billions in revenue from licensing the radio spectrum to balance a chunk of the Federal budget. Moving TV to digital opens up thousands of new radio frequencies that the government could auction off to new wireless services to make even more billions. AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and probably Google, among others, are going to
be doing their part to balance the Federal budget. To put it more simply, it may ultimately be the wireless industry that saves Social Security!
That is true. These auctions are going to raise literally trillions of dollars. The spectrum being sold is so valuable that it is worth many times more than the TV stations that now occupy it. You have 2 groups of buyers with HUGE amounts of cash going up against each other to buy up this spectrum. One group is the NEW boys on the block like Google, Metro PCS, US Cellular and Microsoft. They want to buy spectrum to put new data and cell phone systems on it. The other group is the OLD boys like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast who want to buy as much of it as they can to keep it out of the hands of the NEW boys to keep them from expanding into the turf of the OLD boys. It is going to be a clash of titans!
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