Government Details Plans To Subsidize TV Converters

from the sounds-pragmatic dept

After much debate, the government has announced the details of how it plans to subsidize digital-to-analog converter boxes for those who still receive over-the-air television. There's nothing too remarkable here; households will be allowed to apply for up to two $40 vouchers, 22.5 million of which will be made available. If those run out, Congress is authorized to make another 11.5 million available. Although this should easily cover the estimated 19 million households that still watch TV the old fashioned way, some are not satisfied by the plan. An analyst at the Consumers Union argued that more should be done to make it easier for users to get boxes, noting that because the switch was government-mandated, as opposed to market-driven, consumers should not be forced to bear any costs. But it doesn't really make sense to talk about government vs market-driven switches when you're talking about wireless spectrum. By its very nature, such an event involves government regulation. On the whole, this sounds like a fairly pragmatic solution. It should satisfy most TV viewers at a reasonable cost, considering the enormous benefit to the public from opening up this spectrum.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    happymellon, Mar 12th, 2007 @ 6:04pm

    Yes, but where do you get them from?

    I still watch plain old analog TV. I haven't bought a digital TV yet. But I see no other choice, it's not like I've seen a single digital TV converter box, otherwise I might well have bought one by now.

    Does anyone know anywhere that sells them, I know my local Walmart doesn't carry them, and BestBuy.com only has an HD Tivo or a Samsung HD tuner. I don't care about it outputting in HD, just as long as I can get a digital signal, if I get an HD TV I'm making sure it has a tuner.

    It's one thing subsidizing. Another for them to actually be available.

    On a side note, wasn't there supposed to be labeling on standard definition TVs by now warning about them becoming obsolete? I haven't seen any.

     

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    GVDoubleE, Mar 12th, 2007 @ 6:12pm

    Re: Yes, but where do you get them from?

    My g/f just bought an analog TV, a month or two ago... The display unit didn't have the label on it. But, once we got the tv home, and took it out of the package, there was a small label with very fine print stuck on one of the front speakers.

     

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  3.  
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    MrScott, Mar 12th, 2007 @ 6:31pm

    I feel like I'm already prepared. I have an NTSC/ATSC video capture card in my machine already. I can watch analog broadcasts (NTSC) either through my cable or over-the-air, or the new digital (ATSC) either through my cable or over-the-air. I sometimes use the antenna to get some channels that my cable company doesn't provide in both NTSC and ATSC.
    I have the best of both worlds.

     

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  4.  
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    DittoBox, Mar 12th, 2007 @ 6:38pm

    This is so backwards

    What utter and complete bull crap.

    The federal government first declares HD over-the-air to be the proverbial bomb and thus tells all the stations which now lease radio bandwidth that they are going to make them move over in 2008.

    Fine, whatever. I could care less. They do this in the name of the consumer or something. Go figure.

    But now they're going to supply money to people who are going to out and buy converters to down convert over the air HD into SD to run on SD TVs? This makes no sense.

    If you're stupid enough to buy an SDTV right now, I don't feel the slightest bit inclined to have my tax money thrown away in your general direction.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 12th, 2007 @ 6:53pm

    Re: This is so backwards

    HD and digital television are not the same...do some research then open your yap.

     

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  6.  
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    110100100, Mar 12th, 2007 @ 6:59pm

    This socialist bullshit has to end...

     

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  7.  
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    happymellon, Mar 12th, 2007 @ 7:07pm

    Re: This is so backwards

    I bought my analog TV back about 3 years ago. There were no digital TVs unless you went HD. I still don't/can't spend $1500+ on an HD TV, I moved to the US from England so I know just moving digital is good enough for me. I don't watch nearly enough TV to make it worth my while. Why can't I watch digital (not necessarily HD digital) on my TV, I bought it to last me more than 3 years, maybe in a couple more I will replace it. But for the time being I'm fine. As I mentioned before, I would gladly go out and buy a digital tuner (if only to remove some of the interference). Perhaps you should pull you head out of your ass and see that not everyone cares about it being all HD. Wii anyone?

     

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  8.  
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    shonenfan, Mar 12th, 2007 @ 7:17pm

    won't work

    everyone will apply for these, whether they need them or not & sell them on ebay.

     

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  9.  
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    Ron Larson, Mar 12th, 2007 @ 7:37pm

    SD to Analog

    I'm in Australia. Last year I just went to Radio Shack (Tandy here) and bought an $80 digital receiver. I plugged it into my nice 26" Sony analog TV and I get all the channels in nice clear digital.

    The only thing I don't like is that I have to use two remotes, one to turn the TV on and off, and the digital receiver's remote to change channels and volume.

    Also, recording shows on my VCR is now a pain in neck because the digital receiver only puts out one digital channel at a time. So I can't watch one digital channel while recording another. I also can't program the VCR to record a digital program without having to also program the digital receiver to also capture the channel at the right time.

    What is needed is a cheap standard-def digital receiver that outputs all the channels on a analog coax that can go into the old analog TV and VCR antenna ports. That way it simply becomes a fancy antenna for your old non digital equipment.

     

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  10.  
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    Erv, Mar 12th, 2007 @ 8:55pm

    The govt could take 1 day off from fighting in IRAQ and the money saved could buy everyone a box

     

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  11.  
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    Jo Mamma, Mar 12th, 2007 @ 10:23pm

    This conversion blows

    As one of the people (I'm surprised there are at least a few on this board) who still watches over the air transmissions, I'm pissed I've got to go shell out money for a stupid converter. My TV in my bedroom cost about $35 at a garage sale, and that's just fine with me. The converter is going to cost more than my TV!

    Sure, I could fill out the form with the government, but I'm sure there's paperwork and plenty of BS to go with it.

    Yeah, I know opening the spectrum is going to be great for everything digital, it'll herald a new age, yada yada. But it's still a pain in my ass.

     

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  12.  
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    James Stevens, Mar 12th, 2007 @ 10:52pm

    Tv Scam

    and thats what it be.I have not the slightest interest in HD or digital tv or give a rats ass about it.I am not ever going to shell out bucks to pay for tv (Cable Or Dish) I did try for the basic cable but in a rural area here the line is across the street but they cannot cross and I would have to burn my neighbors woods down to get an opening for a dish.I watch/buy/rent movies and get local news on my local channels plus watch a few programs each week that are not homo or lesbian oriented or just plain bad shows.Public Tv was a big staple of mine for good tv programming but they really have taken a liberal stance with our tax funds so off they went in my house.I expect the converters will probably be at the welfare office first as those people who do not work will be taken care of first after they make sure the cheese eaters get their broadband internet to get their daily porn on in government supplied housing

     

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  13.  
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    Colin LeMahieu, Mar 12th, 2007 @ 10:55pm

    Laf

    "The government mandated it so consumers shouldn't have to bear any cost?" Hello! Taxes cost you! Even if you don't pay income taxes, taxes still affect you.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 12th, 2007 @ 11:34pm

    where are the links to get the rebate

     

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  15.  
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    110100100, Mar 12th, 2007 @ 11:40pm

    Rebate URL

    the rebate can be found at http://www.monster.com

     

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  16.  
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    Sean, Mar 13th, 2007 @ 4:22am

    Re: to erv

    Why do idiots have to bring the war in Iraq into everything. I am tired of this crap!

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2007 @ 6:00am

    Ron Larson: just go to Wal-Mart and buy a composite (yellow RCA) to coaxial converter. $20. Most also support s-video input, so if your digital receiver outputs that use it instead of the composite.

     

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  18.  
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    mousepaw, Mar 13th, 2007 @ 8:34am

    Had to post

    I know this won't get seen because as usual, I never get time to read these things...

    Anyway, to James Stevens: You d' man!! (Do we live in the same neighbourhood?)

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2007 @ 1:25pm

    Since when is TV a right??

    Since when is having TV a right that all citizens have?? Besides PBS which gets very little government funding, what other stations are tax payer supported? It isn't people's right to watch TV. If you're poor and can't watch TV anymore, too bad. Maybe you can use that TV time to get a better education or read a book.

     

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  20.  
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    Sandy B, Mar 13th, 2007 @ 3:33pm

    Digital converters

    I just did a Google and Ebay search for "digital TV converter box", and came up with nothing but links that hint at a converter box but lead to lenghty searches that have no end results.
    So, the US gov is going to spur the development of another gov paid for company to keep the economy running, huh?
    Why are these things so hard to find? Or, don't I know what I'm looking for?
    Personally, I could turn the TV off forever. I get most of my info by computer or radio. TV and it's programming stinks and belongs in no grade higher than 2nd -- that' the level it's programmed for. Duh, stupid, below the belt thinker types. But, my Mother is old and enjoys this trashy stuff,
    so I'm looking for a converter for her.
    I like this authors' attitude: 19. "If you're poor and can't watch TV anymore, too bad. Maybe you can use that TV time to get a better education or read a book."
    Any links, anybody?

     

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  21.  
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    Sandy B, Mar 14th, 2007 @ 3:11pm

    Re: This conversion blows

    Jo Mamma,
    I'm with you. And, it has nothing to do with (from my angle -- got the money) how much it costs, it's just the idea that we're being forced into being "consumers" of all the new crap that no one really needs. My analog TV works just fine. I don't need to diddle with my senses, doing digital mania, just to grab the news or watch PBS, which is all that's worth burning my electiricity for. And, that's going south fast too.
    This is just like the income tax statement that says that paying income tax is "voluntary". Yeah, right. Try that and see what happens to you. "You must now use digital" is the force-fed message-- BTW, that now includes radio broadcasts too.
    Hey, let TV die, digital and all of it. Then let's see where the military-industrial greed guys go to sell the drugs/pharmaceuticals and other toxic-to-everyone burgers and other obesity producing crap. It's become a trash-bin anyways. It's all stuff that my kids don't need to fill their minds with, nor be propagandized into being a sheeple that believes everything that comes out of the boob-tubes sound box. Let it die. Let it gos the way of the drive-in movies.
    And for those of you who want major visual stimulatiin to the max, have at it, but you pay for it.

     

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  22.  
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    BobS, Mar 17th, 2007 @ 7:23am

    Free to air & Digital TV - Fringe areas- Welcome b

    Digital TV in the fringe areas (45+ miles from the transmitter) works just like your cellphone in fringe areas. You either have the signal or you don't. This will give me possibly 2 or 3 usable channels just like we had in the 50's unless I bow down and start paying for free to air tv on cable or satellite and that is not going to happen. The government gets to sell more bandwidth and consumers in fringe areas will HAVE TO PAY for programs they are now getting for free. I don't consider this as progress.

     

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  23.  
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    justpassinthru, Mar 27th, 2008 @ 7:05am

    FCC coupons

    You can apply for the government coupon online at http:\www.dtv2009.gov. You can also find a list of the retailers and online sellers that accept the coupons. There is also a list of approved boxes for the program. It takes a while to get the coupons and once you do it will cost 10-20$ of your own money to purchase.

     

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  24.  
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    russell d knowles, Jun 24th, 2008 @ 8:58am

    I WAS LOOKING TO FIND WHERE I COULD GET MY MOTHER THE COUPON, INSTEAD, ALL I'M GETTING IS e-MAILS TALKING ABOUT HOW BAD THIS PROGRAM IS. I REALLY DON'T CARE ONE WAY OR ANOTHER ABOUT IT BEING A SOCIALISTIC PLOT ON AMERICANS, I JUST WAS ASKING HOW TO GET THE COUPONS FOR MY MOTHER WHO CANNOT GET CABLE WHERE SHE LIVES.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    russell d knowles, Jun 24th, 2008 @ 8:59am

    I WAS LOOKING TO FIND WHERE I COULD GET MY MOTHER THE COUPON, INSTEAD, ALL I'M GETTING IS e-MAILS TALKING ABOUT HOW BAD THIS PROGRAM IS. I REALLY DON'T CARE ONE WAY OR ANOTHER ABOUT IT BEING A SOCIALISTIC PLOT ON AMERICANS, I JUST WAS ASKING HOW TO GET THE COUPONS FOR MY MOTHER WHO CANNOT GET CABLE WHERE SHE LIVES.

     

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  26.  
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    lynn, Oct 21st, 2008 @ 3:39pm

    and don't forget .....

    about the info 'chip' that will be in all those gov't boxes

     

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