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Television Media Government News

DTV Converters In Short Supply 192 192

Ponca City, We Love You writes with a New York Times story saying there could be a shortage of DTV converter boxes in addition to the problem with coupons. "At the current rate of coupon redemption, 115,000 per day, plus sales without coupons, that means the current stock of converters could be sold out by the end of this month. So what would have happened if the whole digital transition worked the way it was supposed to? Many of those 3.7 million people would be marching into their local Radio Shack and Best Buy stores trying to buy converter boxes next weekend right before the scheduled cutoff on Feb. 17. And if the electronics association's numbers are right, the boxes would have sold out." Good thing the extended cut-off date was approved.
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DTV Converters In Short Supply

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  • by sahonen (680948) on Saturday February 07, 2009 @07:24AM (#26762969) Homepage Journal
    The total cost of issuing the coupons for converter boxes is FAR less than the total amount of money raised by the government by selling off the spectrum formerly used by analog TV. The government actually made a profit on this deal.
  • by sahonen (680948) on Saturday February 07, 2009 @07:32AM (#26762999) Homepage Journal
    Because the spectrum has already been sold to companies that were promised they'd be allowed to use it as of February 17th. Delaying the cutoff means these businesses have to put their plans on hold. We're talking millions in lost revenue.

    Also, TV stations currently have to maintain both digital and analog broadcasting towers. The power bill for even one tower is insane, let alone two, and the additional cost of maintaining two towers for longer than anticipated can be crippling for stations who already have tight margins due to decreased ad revenue. And no, we're not talking about corporate conglomerates like Disney and GE (owners of ABC and NBC), the majority of TV stations are locally owned and operated and pay the networks for affiliation.
  • by arkhan_jg (618674) on Saturday February 07, 2009 @08:54AM (#26763237)

    Indeed - by setting up a transmitter of significant wattage, you're depriving everybody else in the public the use of that particular frequency. You're only one member of the public, and the rest of us get to have consideration too. Try looking up the 'tragedy of the commons' sometime.

    You get to use the frequency exclusively by paying the licence fee, thus compensating the rest of the public for their loss. That money goes back to the government, and ultimately (at least in principle) benefits all the public - including yourself. Yes, you get back much less than you put in as an individual; but with exclusive use of the frequency, the benefit you get is that much higher also.

  • by echucker (570962) on Saturday February 07, 2009 @09:27AM (#26763329) Homepage
    Local stations are still in better shape than public broadcasting stations. With recession-induced government funding, it's even harder for them to maintain dual broadcast formats until June. During the fund raising drive over the last 3 days, my local PBS station said it'll cost them an extra 60k in operating costs to broadcast in both analog and digital.
  • Re:DTV Shopping list (Score:2, Informative)

    by Comtraya (1306593) on Saturday February 07, 2009 @11:13AM (#26763837)
    Because TV stations still have the option to shut down their analog after February 17, and many are going to do that because running both an analog and digital transceiver is expensive.
  • DVB-T (Score:2, Informative)

    by muftak (636261) on Saturday February 07, 2009 @11:15AM (#26763857)
    Maybe America should have used DVB-T like the rest of the world, where there is no shortage of set top boxes, and they are about half the price of ATSC ones. Instead they have to be difficult and use their own standard again.

The tree of research must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of bean counters. -- Alan Kay