Surprise: House Says No To Digital TV Transition Delay

from the wow dept

When the Senate unanamously agreed to delay the digital TV transition to June, it seemed like a formality that the House would agree as well. Apparently not. Plenty of people have spoken up about how silly it is to delay the transition, and it appears that our Congressional Representatives actually have voted down their version of the bill, meaning that the transition date is still on for February... for now. It wouldn't be at all surprising to see some horse trading, where some Reps get some sort of payoff in order to change their vote.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 12:07pm

    Well thank god, they finally set a deadline and now they are at least trying to stick to it. People aren't going to switch until they are forced to anyway, no point in delaying any longer. The coupon campaign is broke, and the commercials are annoying for the,what 90%, rest of us who it doesn't affect.

     

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  2.  
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    John Doe, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 12:14pm

    Yea, we need the economy stimulated now, not 4 months from now. Make the switch and watch the TV's fly off the shelves. ;)

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 12:19pm

    Not trying to change the subject...

    But does anyone know why the Blackberry Storm is being snubbed by the C/Net and others when it comes to touch phone comparisons? The latest article is an all iPhone and Pre love fest and says that the Blackberry doesn't even rate. I don't really care what others think about stuff I own and like, but I am curious why it is being snubbed? The Storm blows the doors off my previous Win Mo phone and while I have only played with an iPhone for a few minutes, I can't imagine the Blackberry not being a strong contender. What say you that have used both the Storm and the iPhone?

     

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  4.  
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    WTF, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 12:30pm

    For now...

    Wait until the Senate throws a little pork and a few ear marks in there to sweeten the deal for the House, then it'll get passed.
    stupid... it shouldn't have been an issue in the first place.

     

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  5.  
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    interval, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 12:45pm

    Re: For now...

    Well of course, when is it NOT normal to grab an ace for later use in Congress.

     

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  6.  
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    James Saunders (profile), Jan 28th, 2009 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Not trying to change the subject...

    Not trying to change the subject, but aren't puppies cute.

    Back to the original subject, it certainly is refreshing when our elected officials actually get something right. Let's see if they stick to their guns on this one.

     

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  7.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 12:49pm

    Re:

    And it's really annoying for the 90% of people it does affect and already know about it.

    Wouldn't the phone companies be throwing money around to get this denied? Don't they have a lot of money riding on getting those frequencies?

     

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  8.  
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    Lonnie E. Holder, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 12:53pm

    Re: Re: Not trying to change the subject...

    Note that our elected officials actually DID NOT "get something right." As noted in the post, 100% of the Senate voted FOR the delay. The majority of the House of Representatives voted FOR the delay. The delay needed 290 votes in order to pass, and received 258. So "getting it right" actually means that the minority withheld just enough votes to avoid the 2/3 majority necessary to pass the delay. Had the delay required only a simple majority vote, it would have passed.

     

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  9.  
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    John Duncan Yoyo, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 1:01pm

    Re: Not trying to change the subject...

    Congratulations on your entry to the American Non-sequitor society.

    FWIW they apparently screwed up the interface. Blackberry people wanted a real keyboard with buttons not a touch screen. And they have failed to make the case for the digital transition of buttons to screen taps. The digits were repelled by the transition.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 1:13pm

    The only channels I have ever seen air the commercials for digital conversion are cable only channels... Not once have I seen them on PBS or local airwave stations.

    Maybe the should air them during The Price Is Right, that would get some attention. LOL

     

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  11.  
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    Ima Fish, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 1:21pm

    "Not once have I seen them on PBS or local airwave stations"

    God, the broadcasters in my market are totally hyping the changeover. Maybe I just live in an ignorant part of the country.

     

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  12.  
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    Darren, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 1:24pm

    Thank God, only 20 days left then the irritating commercials will end!!!

     

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  13.  
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    Neil (SM), Jan 28th, 2009 @ 1:43pm

    Good. I'm fairly certain the folks who weren't ready for the February switch wouldn't be ready for the June switch either. There's only so much hand-holding they can do.

     

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  14.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), Jan 28th, 2009 @ 2:12pm

    Very Complex / A Country That Prioritizes TV Over Health Care

    Who wants a delay and who does not is a very complex question. Here are some points:

    AT&T: wants a delay. Even though they are the next leasees of some TV spectrum, and intend to use it for 4G wireless services, they are not really ready to use it yet. Plus, the notion of launching and investing in 4G services during this economic climate is less attractive than it was when they won the auction a year ago. A delay for them isn't so bad, especially since it would mean their licenses are extended on the back end, so are not any shorter in duration.

    Verizon: Basically the same as AT&T. Although they initially opposed a delay, they came to realize it actually was in their interest, for some of same reasons as AT&T.

    Qualcomm: This firm is ready to launch a mobile TV service on their 700MHz spectrum, so the delay hurts them. In fact, it helps their competition by "equalizing" the playing field and holding back the faster players.

    Cox Cable: Cox won spectrum and is planning to offer cellular service in the areas where they offer cable TV. The delay will delay their ability to offer a competing cellular carrier, hurting Cox, benefiting existing carriers, and hurting overall competition.

    Advertisers: Having their crap broadcast on digital and analog is good for them. Any reduction in people able to see their ads is bad, so they will encourage delays until every person in the US is digital ready...i.e.forever.

    TV Producers: More viewers, same as above.

    TV Broadcast stations: These guys are angry that they had to give the spectrum back to the FCC for re-auction. They think they have a god-given right to the spectrum they were given free of charge in the 1940s, and should never have it taken away. It's happening, but they'll delay it every step of the way just on spite. They've done this for 10 years, why stop now?

    90% of Americans: About 90% of us get our TV from satellite or cable. More and more are getting it from Internet sites like Netflix. Of the remaining 10%, some have digital TVs and don't need to worry, some don't give a @#$ about TV. This group in total makes up over 90% of us who are ready to switch to digital NOW, ready to move into the 1980s and out of the 1940s, ready to accept new services that will be offered on the freed spectrum, ready to get more unlicensed spectrum in white spaces, ready to get better First Responder radio systems. We want the change to happen last decade. Get on with it.

     

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  15.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), Jan 28th, 2009 @ 2:32pm

    Re:

    Not once have I seen them on PBS

    All three of the PBS station I now get with my digital converter box (purchased with a coupon a few months ago) have a two-hour long show about the whole transition with a couple of guys explaining in layman terms and even interviewing local tv sales dudes.

     

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  16.  
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    Mischa, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 2:51pm

    Re:

    Here in Oregon, OPB (Oregon Public Broadcasting) is airing commercials about the change over at least once every hour.

     

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  17.  
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    Your Gawd and Master, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 2:52pm

    ahem..

    You need a bit of a history lesson.

    We didn't start this HDTV thing 10 years ago but over 20 years ago. We saw Japan had it and Reagan decided that we had to have something like it and set the wheels in motion. They didn't have a method of actually creating or upholding the standards back then and not-so-surprisingly, they don't have a method of doing either today. And before you chime in that they do have the standards, maybe you should do some research about the 720p and1080p issues that cable companies and broadcasters are just now coming to grips with. Those aren't going to be resolved any time soon and my prediction is that they won't be solved ever.

    The thing is that this is one step in killing off useful television. Before WWI there was a HUGE number of radio stations but after the war the FCC decided to change the band for AM and most of the stations never updated because of the financial burden the government put on them. Radio never recovered to what it was before WWI. What we're going to see happen with DTV is that the broadcasters are going to get a lot of requests for the unused resolutions and they are going to find a solution that, not so surprisingly, will not involve the technology they're currently using so everyone will be forced to buy yet another television or another converter and stations will be required to upgrade which will put us more along the lines of post-WWI.

    After that, everyone will have turned to internet-only entertainment and so when a local emergency hits and people die because they weren't notified, it won't look good.

    And 90% of Americans do not in fact get their TV from satellite or cable. I don't know where you got that number but 50% of my town doesn't have either and we've had cable since the early 80's. If your numbers were correct the major networks wouldn't bother broadcasting OTA at all since it wouldn't offer them enough viewers to make it worth it.

    Regardless, there still won't be a switch for stations that HAVE to broadcast in analog because their viewers don't have line-of-sight with a transmitter e.g. people who live in mountainous regions, or they are stations used to translate into second languages, etc. Bet ya didn't know anything about that.

    When the first tornadoes hit this year and people die because their TV's didn't work, I'm going to encourage everyone of them to sue the FCC for instituting a "standard" that doesn't work in protecting the people.

     

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  18.  
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    nasch, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 3:25pm

    Re:

    Yes, you do. Note I don't need to know what part of the country you live in. ;-)

     

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  19.  
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    Steve Jones (profile), Jan 28th, 2009 @ 3:25pm

    Re: Very Complex / A Country That Prioritizes TV Over Health Care

    Couldn't have said it better myself...

    The only thing I'd add is that for those that paid for the spectrum, it is NOT FAIR to change the rules mid-stream.. Good for some (the slow) and bad for others (the ready) but not fair, none the less..

    I am convinced that there's not a SINGLE person who wasn't ready a month ago, but that WOULD be ready if given a years more time. DO IT ALREADY and let's get on with some important topics..

     

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  20.  
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    Simple Cynic, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 3:26pm

    Failure of Manufacturing, Stoopid free market

    The legislation should have been there years ago making it illegal to sell a TV without a digital tuner, and before that, all analogue tuners sold with a "use by" date warning.

    Delay is fine, but agree to do something to other than point the finger. Technologies change, people are a little slower.

     

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  21.  
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    nasch, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 3:29pm

    Re: ahem..

    When the first tornadoes hit this year and people die because their TV's didn't work, I'm going to encourage everyone of them to sue the FCC for instituting a "standard" that doesn't work in protecting the people.

    Yeah that would be appropriate. Because TV is the ONLY way to get information about weather conditions. Right? And if anyone dies, somebody has to be held accountable, it can't just be something bad that happened. Right?

     

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  22.  
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    Mike (profile), Jan 28th, 2009 @ 4:06pm

    Re: ahem..

    You need a bit of a history lesson.

    I would argue that might apply to you, actually... given...

    We didn't start this HDTV thing 10 years ago but over 20 years ago.

    Um. This has *nothing* to do with HDTV.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous12, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 4:10pm

    @Your Gawd and Master: So much MISinformation! Where to start Mr. Internet "gawd":

    maybe you should do some research about the 720p and1080p issues that cable companies and broadcasters are just now coming to grips with. Those aren't going to be resolved any time soon and my prediction is that they won't be solved ever.


    Famous last words. Saying something will never be solved is basically handing someone the keys to a locked door of knowledge. You're practically begging for a solution. Also, while there may be different issues between different resolutions, somehow that hasn't stopped millions of people from recieving higher resolution than ever. Funny how that works huh?

    war the FCC decided to change the band for AM and most of the stations never updated because of the financial burden the government put on them. Radio never recovered to what it was before WWI.

    This is basically a blatent lie. Radio today is probably more popular than ever. There's AM,FM, with huge followings of shows on AM, and FM for things like sports shows, political talk radio, music etc,. Then there's "internet radio" , plus satellite radio. If you mean traditional radio, again, there are still tens of millions of listeners.
    If by recovered you mean technology actually marches on..WELL DUH! What the hell are you a luddite? Anyway, it seems you have a lot to "master" still.

     

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  24.  
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    The Dude Abides, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 4:24pm

    One thing is consistent...

    ... whining liberals. Thank goodness the Republicans blocked the passage of this delay in progress. We won't be one iota more ready in several months than we are now for the transition.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 5:01pm

    Re: One thing is consistent...

    that's what we need - more partisan BS

     

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  26.  
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    Gini Voigt, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 6:59pm

    House vote on digital tv law

    Hoorah! It is encouraging the house had sense enough to let the change take effect now. We don't need to re-live that for another 4-5 months. The same people would not be ready in June either!!

     

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  27.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), Jan 28th, 2009 @ 7:03pm

    AM Rules Emergency Broadcast Situations

    RE # 17 "When the first tornadoes hit this year and people die because their TV's didn't work, I'm going to encourage everyone of them to sue the FCC for instituting a "standard" that doesn't work in protecting the people."

    Surely you are familiar with radio, right? Radio IS the de facto emergency broadcast lifeline. A battery operated AM radio has been part of the recommended Emergency Preparedness Kit for my whole life. I don't remember every seeing a TV recomended on any lists I've gotten from the fire dept, the state govt, homeland security, etc. TVs, as it turns out, are not as good on batteries as radio, have shorter signal ranges, and are "less local" than radio. AM and FM have a plethora of local stations in big cities, and even in smaller towns that just can't support a TV station. AM bounces off the ionosphere and has a heck of a good range.

    So when the tornadoes hit, you can watch Ugly Betty, and I'll find out where the emergency support is on my trusty crank-wound AM.

     

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  28.  
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    ToySouljah, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 7:26pm

    Out of money?

    If the government claims to be out of money for the coupons, then why are they wasting money in Washington on trying to pass a delay (every session or meeting costs taxpayer money) instead of using the money to make more coupons and send them out to the ones that actually need them the most? Also, there are those that abuse the system as well and got their 2 coupons that didn't even need them because they were already a cable/satellite subscriber or they had sufficient funds to purchase their own converter boxes without the need of the coupon. The coupons should have only been given to those on (low) fixed incomes, the elderly, and disabled.

    The switch has been announced for the past 2 years or so. If people are not ready by now then they will never be ready until they are forced to switch. This is not something that was just thrown in our face at the last minute, and so there is really no excuse for a delay.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2009 @ 4:16am

    Re: Re: Not trying to change the subject...

    But this is where you are wrong. I am a new Blackberry user because of the touch interface. This thing is awesome compared to a Win Mobile phone and seems to be very close to an iPhone.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 29th, 2009 @ 4:17am

    Re: Re: Not trying to change the subject...

    Yes, puppies are cute but they can't send text messages. No thumbs.

    But back to the original hijack, what about the Blackberry vs. iPhone vs. Pre?

     

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