Netherlands Turns Off Analog TV; World Doesn't End
from the news-at-11 dept
For years and years, the FCC has wanted to reclaim some of the spectrum currently allocated to broadcasters to broadcast analog (free, over the air) TV. They gave the broadcasters a bunch more spectrum to convert to digital broadcasts, which the broadcasters have dragged their feet on for a variety of reasons (in large part because they knew they held onto a ton of valuable spectrum that the government had given them for free, and they wanted to try to profit off of it for as long as possible). Originally, they only would have to return the spectrum once 85% of the country could received digital broadcasts -- meaning, as long as they took their time, they'd never have to do anything and could just sit on the spectrum. The government has been getting fed up and started putting deadlines on shutting down analog broadcasts, so hopefully we'll see that happen before the decade is out. This really only impacts a very small percentage of people: those who have old sets and watch over-the-air broadcasts, rather than cable or satellite TV -- but those folks tend to be vocal voters (often elderly) and politicians hate the idea of pissing off anyone's grandmother. Still, they should feel good that over in the Netherlands, they've successfully turned off analog broadcasts as of today, and the world hasn't ended.