Nielsen is reporting that 2.5 million homes still haven't switched to a digital TV or bought a converter box, even though that original switch date was extended to last Friday. I'm wondering why these people haven't switched yet. I'm not talking about people who have a TV but really don't watch it because they read books (as if you can't do both, but that's another rant). I'm talking about people who watch TV a lot and haven't made the switch yet.
It was intended as a way of being able to watch television during high school (and to show how dated the set is, the screen is black and white). It does actually still work, if the purpose of the set is to produce a screen of snow.
Here are some ideas that I could now use the set for:
- As a TV (all I need to do is crack it open and hook up a digital converter, which kind of ruins the portability aspect of the device)
- Target practice
- Handy object to throw at my oppressors (if I ever have any oppressors)
- Tree ornament
- Abstract art
- Flashlight (if I turn off the sound)
- Fencing practice (the antenna is pretty long)
- Prop replica of a Sony Watchman
- Brick replacement
For those of you who have already made the transition, you'll notice that there are some extra channels on your TV, maybe with names like 2.1 or 2-1 or 12.13 or 13-12 or whatever. Some channels have taken advantage of the extra bandwidth DTV allows by broadcasting extra channels of specialized content. But are they worth watching? At this point, not really.
For most, the switch from analog to digital signals will go unnoticed. But if you're unsure whether you'll be affected, here are a few helpful hints to get you through the day:
-- If your TV is connected to cable or satellite, you will still see channels after the switch is complete. This also applies to anyone who has a digital TV (As of March 2007, a law required all TVs to be built with a digital tuner. To find out whether your TV is digital, check the labels, manual or call your manufacturer).
Seriously, though, will it matter if the transition date is February, June, or sometime in Obama's second administration? At this point, even the most casual observer has figured out that the transition hasn't been communicated very well to the American public. People who have cable or satellite still think that they need to buy a new HDTV or upgrade to digital cable in order to be compliant with the conversion, people who got discount coupons for converters early on have found that the coupons have expired and they can't get more, and the people who have converted are being surprised that some weak stations won't come in due to the "digital cliff effect."
The Obama transition team is asking Congress to extend the deadline because the way the transition has been handled hasn't been the smoothest: there's been a problem with the coupons that the government is giving out so people can get a converter box, the education on the new technology has been inadequate, and the government doesn't have the funds to make the current date a reality. Consumers unions are also asking for the date to be extended.
My sister asked me if I was ready for the digital transition, and I told her that I've been ready for years. Then I met someone last week who says she still has a small portable TV with rabbit ears. Are you ready for the change?
Given the show's solid fan base, a fourth season seems like a probability. And it'll be interesting to see what the freedom of the direct-to-video format -- no standards and practices, remember -- will give the show's creators. Sure, they'll reshoot scenes to show on SciFi, but who knows what we'll see on the DVD version? Maybe some naked Cylons, perhaps?
The transfer to DTV will allow broadcasters to have one of two channels in HDTV or several channels in standard definition. Broadcasters are being told to ditch their frequencies this year, or when digital TV reaches eighty-five percent. In addition, congress will be setting up a program in which a family may be eligible for up to $80 to convert their sets to digital.
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