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Television

DTV Transition - One Year Later 431

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the just-switch-to-cable dept.
commodore64_love writes "One year has passed since NTSC-analog television died (R.I.P. 6/12/09 — aged 68 years), and the new ATSC-digital television became standard. According to Retrovo, the transition had some successes and failures. Retailers saw this as an opportunity to sell new HDTVs and 46 million converter boxes, while cable providers advertised rates as low as $10/month. One-third of the converter boxes the US subsidized — approximately 600 million dollars worth — were never used by purchasers. Overall 51% of Americans felt the DTV transition was good, while 23% said it was not. 12% of respondents report that since the switch they have worse reception. Others received better reception, gaining 24-hour movie channels, retro channels, foreign programming, and other new networks that had not existed under the old analog system."
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DTV Transition - One Year Later

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  • Fill 'er up! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Itninja (937614) on Monday June 14, 2010 @11:49AM (#32565898) Homepage
    The best (read sucky) part are all the perfectly functional, yet completely useless, "old" analog TVs that have been dumped (often illegally) in landfills. I have two that can't even give away.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Your sig is very appropriate for your post, considering the converter boxes mentioned in the article summary prevent said TVs from being "completely useless".
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Itninja (937614)
        The tricky part is Comcast. Comcast decided to do their own 'digital conversion' as well. So far I have not been about to string the comcast converter with the universal converter. So I wither get OTA digital (which isn't possible is my area) or Comcast digital (which requires a digital TV to view).
        • Comcast's cable box is not capable of downscaling to 480i? I find that hard to believe.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Sir_Lewk (967686)

            They absolutely are. I worked in the department that develops the guide software (all of the gui shit) on comcast settop boxes. All of the settop boxes I saw while working there had at least composite output. Hell, I did the majority of my testing on SD televisions.

            What the GP seems to be refering to is Comcast moving to only digital signals over their lines, requiring people with SD televisions who previously only watched analog channels to get a settop box. (up until now, if you only watched analog ch

            • Re:Fill 'er up! (Score:4, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 14, 2010 @02:11PM (#32568014)

              . . .They absolutely are. I worked in the department that develops the guide software (all of the gui shit) on comcast settop boxes. . . .

              * Licking chops *
              So you're responsible? Well Mister Comcast Guide tester, I will politely tell you that the Comcast on-screen guide sucks donkey balls.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by h4rr4r (612664)

              Which they demand you rent, but fail to include in the advertised cost of cable. If I need it to get your damn cable then it is part of the cost.

              This is another reason why I switched to netflix + Internet streaming TV.

            • Re:Fill 'er up! (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Itninja (937614) on Monday June 14, 2010 @04:32PM (#32570292) Homepage
              The need to a box has taken the cable television back to 1985. The 'cable ready' television was great because you didn't need a box. Now if you have 6 TV in your home....guess what? You need 6 mammoth cable boxes (or at the very least 6 cable cards). Of and BTW, they cost about $60 a year each. Welcome to the New World Order.
          • Re:Fill 'er up! (Score:4, Informative)

            by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Monday June 14, 2010 @12:37PM (#32566586) Homepage Journal

            Comcast's cable box is not capable of downscaling to 480i?

            It is, but 1. renting the cable box costs a significant amount of money per month, and 2. subscribers are no longer capable of scheduling the cable box to be tuned to a given channel [slashdot.org] for use with a third-party DVR.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              For the second point, isn't that what a serial cable or IR blaster are for? Your DVR just tells the cable box to change channels immediately at the start of the recording time by firing up the IR blaster or sending a signal over the serial cable. You can omit a serial port, but there's no way anybody can prevent somebody from using an IR blaster to automatically have a DVR change the cable box channel. It's impossible to determine if it's a human pressing on a remote control or a computer hitting an IR blas

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by nabsltd (1313397)

                It's impossible to determine if it's a human pressing on a remote control or a computer hitting an IR blaster changing the channel.

                I suspect that cable boxes and their remotes will eventually have something like the "rolling codes" system that garage doors and cars use.

                Then, only companies with lots of money to license the technology would be able to build universal remotes that work with the cable box. And, if you design a workaround, you get a DMCA lawsuit. All so that the cable company can charge you $10/month extra for their crappy DVR.

        • by Lumpy (12016)

          Yup comcast took advantage of this to screw all the DVR and analog TV owners out there.

          They advertised that "we wont abandon you" and then turned around and ran all the customers over with a big truck.

          The claim was for "more and better" programming. yet the more or better has not surfaced and will never surface. Now users are stuck with a super crappy free box or pay $5.00 a month for a less crappy box.

        • My thoughts on Comcast are summarized in my signature: "My [brother's] analog cable for $64/month was phased out. The new digital cable requires boxes for 4 sets. Cost $85."

          I don't have cable because I get about 40 channels for free: 3,6,8,10,11,12,13,15,17,21,27,29,33,35,43,45,48,49,51,57,61,65 plus various subchannels (48-2, 48-2, 48-3, 48-5, 48-5) with small network like "Wellness Channel" "this" movie channel, "PBSarts", "Global" "linkTV" "qubo" "JCTV", Telemundo, and so on.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by shoehornjob (1632387)

      The best (read sucky) part are all the perfectly functional, yet completely useless, "old" analog TVs that have been dumped (often illegally) in landfills.

      I would argue that they're not always completely useless. I work for a cable network (name withheld) and some of my customers are still using the analog boxes with a set top box to do the signal reception and transcoding. Obviously they're not getting hd but that doesn't always matter to everyone.

    • Can't give them away? Ever heard of craiglist? You can get rid of any junk for free. Just list it with an address and say it is on the curb. It will disappear in less then a day.

    • by MightyYar (622222)

      Put it on Craigslist. I bought one for $100 last year - saved me at least 5x my money, and honestly a regular definition WEGA is just fine compared to a cheap LCD, especially from way across the room. Eventually I'll spring for a flat-screen, but I have other spending priorities and the nice old tube TVs are practically free.

    • by Patch86 (1465427)

      Can't you just hook a digibox (digital tuner) up to the TV?

      In the UK, where the digital switchover is still going on, I'd wager that there are more people running an "old" TV with a digibox than there are who own a digital-ready TV. I haven't spoken to a single person who has replaced their TV for the sole purpose of the digital switchover.

    • I have two that can't even give away.

      Where do you live? I listed mine on Craigslist-Free and they were both gone within 45 minutes...

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Monday June 14, 2010 @11:50AM (#32565916) Journal
    Me, personally, I think it's great and had to be done. Recently got a tiny DTV to USB tuner (~$20) for my computer and think it's fantastic. No doubt everyone's heard this viewpoint.

    But let me relay the experiences of my grandmother who lives in the middle of nowhere mid-west. She didn't get new channels. She didn't get 24 hour movie channels. She didn't get better reception. What she got was yet another box for me to put in the chain between her television and the antenna attached to the pole shed. She now has another remote. Her checklist of things to go through when she wants to program a recording just got one longer as well as things to check when it's not working. And when she records it, she can only do one channel at a time as that's what the DTV box has to be set on since her VCR can't control digital signals. She was already getting analog distortion or static when she recorded her soap operas and I think she had learned to cope with this kind of distortion when viewing them intently. Last I checked up on her she complained that the digital distortion (specifically the audio distortion) was much harder to work through at times as opposed to fuzzy static. The clipping of the voices seems to ruin her enjoyment of a cookie cutter three quarter view emo meltdown between two hams.

    So I think a lot of the views you're hearing are people who are connected to the internet and the unspoken voice of someone who has neither the internet nor a cell phone is actually a large consumer of the programs on air wave TV and products advertised on nationally broadcasted programs. Just something to consider, after helping her through this change I would be doubtful that she is alone or unique to her age group.
    • I don't know if she has anyone around to help her, but if she does she might want to buy a big HDTV antenna and ditch the current VCR, maybe you can get her this one as a gift http://www.frys.com/product/5634671?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN_RSLT_PG [frys.com] ? This site also looks like it has some good resources for you to look through http://www.antennaweb.org/aw/welcome.aspx [antennaweb.org] .
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by natehoy (1608657)

      She didn't get better reception. What she got was yet another box for me to put in the chain between her television and the antenna attached to the pole shed.

      Then she's one of the lucky ones.

      My mother spent some money on upgrading her TV instead of doing the subsidized tuner box, and went from four channels (three clear, one slightly fuzzy) down to one VERY clear channel (Public TV, with a .2 channel that shows exactly the same thing as the .1! Yay!), one that's OK and gives her the news and weather plus some sort of 24-hour teen angst .2, and one channel that is basically unviewable due to a 3-4 second breakup every ten seconds or so (in other words, not as vie

    • by igb (28052)
      A solid-state recorder is £40 (say, $55) in the UK. Why don't you get her the US equivalent and get rid of the VCR?

      http://www.technologyinthehome.com/Shop/TV-AND-Visual/310-Mini-Scart-Freeview-Digital-TV-Receiver-AND-Recorder.html [technologyinthehome.com]

    • DTV to USB tuner (~$20) for my computer

      Before the transition:

      • NTSC compatible portables were inexpensive, small (e.g. pocket TVs...) and lasted hours on a few AA batteries.
      • Battery powered portables provided everyone with a cheap way of seeing localized weather information (compare NOAA 162.xxx MHz non-localized audio with local TVs radar/satellite map including commentary and I'll take the latter any day.)
      • Anyone could implement an NTSC compatible, TV, Tuner card, PVR, camcorder... without paying anyone royalties.

      After the transition:

      • Most
      • by MoonBuggy (611105)

        Your criticisms seem somewhat fair, but you must admit they're fairly niche. Sure, pissing off even that niche might not be considered worthwhile if the only advantage were "the right to see when their newscaster needs more makeup and a shave", as you put it, but the increased picture quality is almost an ancillary benefit. The main point is the vast swathes of spectrum that are now free for new and interesting uses - something that I would consider worth the minor sacrifice to a small segment of the market

        • by jedidiah (1196)

          We went from a technology where people had handheld TVs 25 years ago to one where we might replicate that functionality in 5 or 10 years.

          Ignore enough "niche" use cases and eventually your own requirements won't be supported anymore.

      • by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Monday June 14, 2010 @01:12PM (#32567114) Homepage Journal

        Anyone could implement an NTSC compatible, TV, Tuner card, PVR, camcorder... without paying anyone royalties.

        Unlike copyrights, patents expire. For the first decade or so, NTSC color TV required a patent license from RCA (who incidentally sold its consumer electronics division to the company that now controls the MP3 patent). Unless you're fairly old, your reference point for comparison is probably sets produced in 1973 or later, over 20 years after NTSC was standardized. Likewise, ATSC is based on the same codecs as DVD (AC-3 audio and MPEG-2 video), so essential codec patents will expire within the next half decade.

    • by eln (21727) on Monday June 14, 2010 @12:30PM (#32566474) Homepage
      This sort of story happens whenever a major technological shift occurs. When TV first became popular people were going out and buying TVs and ignoring their radios, and so programming began to shift from radio to TV. All of the serial programming, news shows, and all the other rich programming that used to populate the radio waves all moved to TV, leaving nothing but political talk and music on the radio. Certainly some older consumers ended up getting stuck because they didn't want to or couldn't move to TV, so they stuck with their increasingly useless radios. People that are having trouble with this switch are people that have had the same TV set for 20 years or more and are still watching entirely over-the-air programming even though more and more programming has been moving to cable and satellite for decades. These tend to be older people as a general rule, although not all old people get stuck. My grandmother has a nice new HDTV with a DVR, and my grandfather just got DirecTV hooked up, although he still uses his old 20 year old VCR.

      Technological progress moves on, and you either move on with it or get stuck with increasingly useless old tech that you have to jump through more and more hoops to get to work properly. My TV in the living room died just a couple of months ago, and instead of getting a cheap SDTV I went ahead and bought the HDTV because I figured with more and more programming going to HD, the SDTV will become more useless over time. Eventually as programming continues to move to HD, I'll have to switch out the TV upstairs or end up watching all of my programming with the sides cut off. We grumble about these things, but it would be absurd to halt progress just because not everyone is ready or willing to go along with it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by biryokumaru (822262)
        That would only be a comparable analogy if congress had made it illegal to broadcast over the radio once TVs were invented.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LordSnooty (853791)
        Maybe you could explain to granny how losing the ability to record two channels at once is "progress" - and how the kind of artefacts seen on digital TV with a poor signal is "progress", when before one could at least watch through the analogue snow. As eldavajohn says, not everyone is suitably comfortable enough with new technology to splash around money they don't have on products with abbreviations they don't understand. Especially when it reduces your choice.
    • by westlake (615356) on Monday June 14, 2010 @12:44PM (#32566680)

      What she got was yet another box for me to put in the chain between her television and the antenna attached to the pole shed.

      Nowhere, Nebraska implies legacy - low power - VHF broadcast and UHF transponders.

      Trash the old - likely decades old - antenna.

      Mount a new one, designed for fringe area reception. Mount it high. Don't cut any corners. Work strictly by-the-book. If you aren't comfortable with heights, let a pro do the job.

      Consider installing a very low-noise pre-amp.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Or, read a book. Less expensive and ad- free.

        Why TV Corp believes that it's the consumers' responsibility to provide them with a business model is beyond me.

  • by tverbeek (457094) on Monday June 14, 2010 @11:50AM (#32565918) Homepage

    For me it's been a true analog-to-digital conversion. I no longer sort-of-get any TV stations; I either get them or I don't. The stations I used to pick up pretty well, I now get perfectly. The stations I used to pick up poorly, I now don't get at all.

    • by Aladrin (926209)

      Sadly, all my channels are just on the edge of clarity. That means that I get 98% of the video, but 2% of the time it glitches and I miss a few seconds. It effectively ruins the broadcast.

      However, this is partly my fault for using a small indoor antenna. If I really cared, I'd get a better antenna. Or cable.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by biryokumaru (822262)
        No, that's not the correct response. The correct response is that the new technology is markedly inferior to the old, in that you need additional receiving equipment to reach the same level of operation. If digital television was better, you would get more channels clearer using a smaller antenna, instead of fewer, unwatchable channels using a new, better designed antenna.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by WillAdams (45638)

      I wish I were in that situation --- there are a couple of stations which we only get if the weather is perfect, several which we'll get if I position the antenna which I had to make ( http://current.org/ptv/ptv0821make.pdf [current.org] ) just so and one station (broadcasting on 3 channels) which we get fine so long as the weather isn't bad.

      The reason for this is the TV stations reducing broadcasting power --- when the local PBS affiliate switched to digital and other stations were still analog we received their signal p

      • by Bakkster (1529253)

        I noticed a similar problem. The issue for my local NBC channel was a channel-number collision (another station was changing channel numbers), so our channel 12 had to reduce its power so as not to interfere with this other channel 12. Add that the NBC channel's antenna was the lowest on the tower, and broadcasting a full order of magnitude lower power, and with a standard that is less tolerant of noise and suddenly it no longer is received.

        The worst part is that this change happened the day of Game 7 of

    • by Toonol (1057698) on Monday June 14, 2010 @12:36PM (#32566570)
      Yeah, I've lost NBC for good due to the digital conversion; nothing I could do would get me more than a screen full of squares. I live in an apartment complex, so mounting a real rooftop antenna is out of the question.

      I did, thanks to this, discover that I can greatly increase my antenna's signal by placing my wok behind it. I guess a wok is close enough to a parabolic reflector to function as one. I have to do that to be able to watch Fringe, which amuses me.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by frostfreek (647009)
        I would be willing to bet that it is not increasing signal, but rather, decreasing the noise coming from the other direction. You could test my theory by trying (just keeping with the cooking utensils) a baking sheet, or a piece of aluminum foil.
        I put a wire mesh behind one of these, and it improved my reception.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWQhlmJTMzw [youtube.com]
        (coat hanger HTDV antenna)
    • by RJFerret (1279530)

      Yeah, I have no idea who thought it was a good idea, analog cable was beautiful, reliable, worked even in bad conditions. Digital cable was more expensive, would regularly be unwatchable and had compression artifacts. Result? Expensive downgrade.

      Analog TV was beautiful and worked even in bad condtions. Digital TV? Had to buy a converter box for more than the rebate coupon. Couldn't receive a single regular channel so had to buy an amplifier, still couldn't receive a single regular channel. Result? Ex

  • by SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) on Monday June 14, 2010 @11:51AM (#32565920) Journal

    Unfortunately for the article submitter, there are no ATSC VIC-II chips in production...

    • I doubt there are any real C64 users left. I have a couple Commodores that I keep for nostalgia. Both of them (a 64 and 128), work with my new digital TV. I assume most new TVs work with analog signals, though I guess this is just temporary. Even cable providers are trying to go all digital. That said, there is always a market for closed circuit security cameras, so you could probably find monitors for those for a long time.

      Barring that, just keep an old small TV around. I've got two analog tubes t
    • The Atari 800 (and XL/XE computers) had a monitor jack. While it pre-dates the s-video and composite jacks, the signals are compatible, so you can wire a plug to connect to a modern TV using either input. The Atari 2600 game system has the same signals, but they aren't routed to an external port, so you have to take it apart and solder in an s-video and audio jack.

  • I bought my TV in 2002, and it's served me well - except now that I'm thinking of dumping cable, I wonder if I can still get a converter box?

    There are fewer over the air stations here in Springfiled, because with analog you could pick up Champaign and Decatur stations. People I know with digital TVs can't get those stations any more.

  • Meh (Score:2, Redundant)

    by Pojut (1027544)

    We STILL don't have TV service. If it isn't available on Netflix or Hulu, we don't watch it. I highly recommend you folks do the same. Getting rid of TV service was one of the best things we ever did.

    • You realize the only way to get rid of broadcast tv is to move to the middle of nowhere, right?

      • by Pojut (1027544)

        I meant we don't have cable or satellite. We could very easily pick up broadcast, but (purposely) don't have the hardware to do it.

        I know there is a lot of good stuff out there, especially on things like History Channel and Science Channel. Still, we haven't had TV in close to three years, and I don't miss it one bit.

    • Re:Meh (Score:5, Funny)

      by 0racle (667029) on Monday June 14, 2010 @12:08PM (#32566166)
      http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/01/26/28-not-having-a-tv/ [stuffwhitepeoplelike.com]

      You're one of those people, STFU.
    • Re:Meh (Score:5, Informative)

      by qengho (54305) on Monday June 14, 2010 @12:11PM (#32566212)
    • It's been a year? Yeah, I meant to fire up the TV in antenna mode and see if we get anything worthwhile, but I just haven't gotten around to that yet. When we signed up for Broadband via Cable, they added basic analog TV service (10 channels) for $3/month (after decoding all the packages and their net effects on the bill), so we took the 10 channels and might watch 10 hours a year - $3.60 an hour still seems kind of high for the cra- that we do end up watching via broadcast, especially if we can get those
      • by Pojut (1027544)

        Between our laptops and gaming systems, We have "Watch Instantly" available on every screen in the house. That, combined with 6 disc-at-a-time, we go through a lot. We generally have a documentary series, a BBC TV series, and an Anime series going on at once (plus the occasional movie thrown in).

  • I was among those who got worse reception, unfortunately. I recall getting something like ten channels with reasonable reception prior to the switchover, and now I get five channels with one of them (the only HD channel) losing reception regularly.

  • Digital reception is so bad here in North Little Rock that after spending up to $60, $70 dollars for increasingly weird looking antennas, I just gave up and got cable.

    I never liked analog static, but digital distortion is far - far worse... and that's assuming you can get any kind of digital signal at all.

    Also... 600 million?!
    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Which is your problem...

      you MUST buy a outdoor antenna unless you live in a metropolis with all the TV stations within 25 miles of you.

      Get the Antenna 40 feet in the air outside, out a preamp after it and a distribution amp in the house.

      Oh add a rotor if you cant figure out how to stack antennas.

      The places that sell that crap that sits on the TV need to be shot. those NEVER work unless you live in a big city or near the transmitter.

  • You must have one *hell* of a good antenna to be able to pick up foreign programming from the USA (unless Canadian counts, to me it does not.)

    Anyway, complaints are on the high side, especially for people who used to be OK with watching a half-static station. It's simply time to get a more specific antenna (since the frequencies for the new ATSC range are closer together) and a cheap amplifier (most cheap antenna kits now come with them) and see what that can do for you. I am 10 to 30 miles away from my r

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Lumpy (12016)

      Nope. little tiny 32" round one. Point it east towards. Telstar 12 and get a lot, I can get a crapload of FTA stuff all over the sky from a tiny little 18" dish, but I find the low end small dishes suck compared to a nice 32" one with a decent quality feedhorn.

      I've even got HD MPEG4 stuff in the open.
      sonicView8000HD reciever works incredibly well. and it will scan the sky for me finding all the channels.. nothing but the initial dish alignment required... the dish positioner even will self align.

  • Debugging problems (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Qzukk (229616) on Monday June 14, 2010 @12:02PM (#32566088) Journal

    Nobody seems to know why things go wrong anymore or how to fix them (not that anyone really knew before, other than "wiggle the antenna a bit and then stand right over there"). In my case, I get great reception on most of the channels I got before. The HDTV thinks its getting one channel that I kind of got before (shows up when I scan for channels) but it just shows a black screen for about 5 minutes before it admits that it can't find the signal (same with the subchannels). But the weirdest is one channel (and all of its subchannels) that plays audio properly, but the video plays too fast, before freezing every second or so to let the audio catch back up. No idea if its something the network is doing on its broadcast, a weird artifact of bad reception, or if my TV just isn't processing the video data right or what.

  • So, I say let's do it again with IPV6? The complications would be a little bigger. The payoff would be much bigger.
    • by Aladrin (926209)

      Really? Switching to IPv6 would let the government resell tons of radio bandwidth? It would improve the connection speed or clarity of youtube videos? Maybe HighDef internet?

      No, IPv6 will allow more IPs without using workarounds like NAT. It's specifically because there isn't much improvement that nobody has really moved on it.

  • Major Improvement (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tau Neutrino (76206) on Monday June 14, 2010 @12:04PM (#32566116)

    Comcast wanted to triple the rate to go from minimal analog to the equivalent digital offering. We said, "No thanks," and disconnected completely. Even my ten-year-old son was on board with the decision.

    We watch a few shows on Hulu, get movies from the local library, and don't miss standard television at all. Much much better.

    • I am getting Satellite as Comcast is too damned expensive for my tastes these days, I was paying 65 for just plain analog and now they went digital rendering all of my DVR equipment not working. They digitally encrapted regular commercial channels I used to be able to tune with my old analogue TV, I can't even view them with my new LCD TV with Digital QAM/ATSC decoder because they WANT me to use their silly idiotic converter box. Why not just encode those channels I used to get with ATSC or QAM standard

  • by Stormwatch (703920) <rodrigogirao AT hotmail DOT com> on Monday June 14, 2010 @12:09PM (#32566188) Homepage
    What's this "TV" thing you speak of? Oh, right: the screen for the game consoles!
    • by kimvette (919543)

      It's the device you will be using to watch Futurama when it returns on June 24, 2010. :)

  • by Revek (133289) on Monday June 14, 2010 @12:18PM (#32566304) Homepage

    I work for a small multi system cable company. We have several headends servicing small towns in south eastern Arkansas. Our primary problem is co channel. There are fewer DTV channels available so they gave out the same frequency to multiple stations. Also the range for DTV is much lower than the old VHF analog spectrum. With the old analog system Co channel was mainly a ghosting on the screen. With DTV it results in a complete loss of signal. We have tried several different types of antennas with no change in the problem. What we need to fix these problems is for the FCC to remap the frequencies they hand out to the stations. However they are not planning to do that blaming instead the cable operators for not fixing the problem.

  • Now I can watch Judge Judy in HD...whoopee!
  • I don't live in the middle of nowhere, I live in a small college town with a population of 113,000. We used to sorta get 8 or 9 channels but since the switch-over we're down to 2 channels. The signals from Atlanta don't reach us unless I bought a fancy attic antennae.

    Now, instead of watching OTA TV we turn on the Boxee and watch whatever I've downloaded.

  • We just have a PBS translator and a begging for jebus channel. Oregon Public Broadcasting has only converted a small number of their 40 translators throughout the state. In the case of my area they also have to move their intermediate links from 800 to 2000 Mhz, so it could be years.
  • The stated purpose of the mandatory conversion was to get better service to outlying rural areas. Of course this was a total joke. It is the outlying rural areas that got much worse service as a result of the conversion. In my area three stations converted and three did not. When I still had the tv, I had to get up and swap cables to change channels. A neighbor tells me that with a fancy outdoor antenna he can still get PBS (which converted) but I've never been able to get it.
  • Retailers saw this as an opportunity to sell new HDTVs and 46 million converter boxes.

    Nevermind the channels that once came in(less than perfect) that now do not at all. I've got all the time in the world for those pregnant pauses that makes flipping through channels a slow, laborious game of 'wait & see'. Please lock the cat outside during Survivor Bachelor's Got Talent, wouldn't want her walking to the food bowl and dragging the signal below acceptable display threshold when someone's about to win something for nothing!

    Sure the solution is to pay more for a monthly service. Even if pay

  • by lurking_giant (1087199) on Monday June 14, 2010 @12:34PM (#32566536) Journal
    The Cincinnati Enquirer reported on May 31st that http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20100531/NEWS01/6010323/Forger-s-company-got-562K-stimulus-contract/ [cincinnati.com] a local company, Tekreation Center LLC, recieved $562K in federal stimulus money to provide installation demonstration services to those who needed help getting the converter boxes to work. Demonstrations! Not actual installations. Tekreation reportedly performed 1,453 demonstrations for installing a digital-to-analog converter. $562,000/1453=$386.79 per demo. The could have bought a decent digital TV for that price. Another massive waste of your tax dollars.
  • Cue the beeping sound of the trash truck dumping out these poll "results"...

  • I have a friend who gets over-the-air TV. (I have FIOS)... He used to get about a dozen channels badly between VHF and UHF, now he gets about 5 channels intermittently.

    The picture either comes in great or not at all. The audio gets chopped up so badly, it's like those old cell-phones "be -... ch... ack... fu... da... cuh..." there's not enough to even guess what the person is saying. And don't even try to read lips, because the audio, even when it's coming in good, is out of synch with the image.

    But the wor

  • by sprior (249994) on Monday June 14, 2010 @01:14PM (#32567140) Homepage

    In the analog days there were effectively three tiers of programming on cable - broadcast channels, cable only non-premium stuff, and premium channels like HBO. Since it was hard to encrypt a channel the middle tier channels were left in the clear. So as long as you had cable ready TVs you only really needed a cable box for the TVs you wanted to be able to watch the premium tier channels on, secondary TVs like kitchen, home office, workshop TVs could work just fine without one.

    With digital that changed, so instead of just switching from analog->digital the cable companies are switching from analog->ENCRYPTED digital and telling the public that it had to be that way all along - it didn't. So except for the broadcast networks which are required to be in the clear soon you'll need a cable box for EVERY TV in your house, not just the ones you wanted the premium channels on.

    And what did the FCC do for us on this?? Cablecard was a failure and when they were available at all the only Cablecard equipped TVs were the high end ones - WRONG!!! For the really big TVs in your house having a cable box is less of a problem than it is for the small TV in your kitchen/office/workshop. The FCC mandated that every HD TV have a digital tuner, and that seems to include a tuner for unencrypted digital cable channels, but the cable industry is making sure that there won't be many of those, so that tuner is all but useless unless you get your signal over the air.

    The FCC tried to use Cablecard so we wouldn't have to rent as many cable boxes. The result? You'll need more cable boxes than you ever did before.

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