Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Digital TV is costing us a fortune

My column in the Toledo Free Press this past weekend was about the switch to digital TV, "Government meddling in digital television costs billions."

The General Accounting Office reports that the commitment from the federal government for advertising this switchover from analog to digital TV is $1.4 billion for educational purposes.

As I've been suffering from the flu, I've had the television on more than normal and was not amused by the commercials warning me of this dire occurrence: that if I have an antenna and not cable, I could be in danger of losing my television signal.

Oh, the horror of not being able to see a television program!

And, just to make sure I suffer no negative consequences of this government mandated change, they'll give me a coupon so I can buy a converter to handle the new signal.

So, your tax dollars and mine are going into advertisements to warn people they might not be able to get a TV signal after Feb. 17 and, to make sure they survive this drastic change, to give them a coupon so they can get $40 off a converter.

Original estimate for the subsidy? $3 Billion.

So, even though we make a decision to purchase a cable service in order to get the channels we want, we are now also paying for other people to get a converter so they won't have to be without a television when this switchover occurs.

How did this become the role of government? Do we really think our tax dollars are best spent subsidizing someone else's ability to see TV? Where is the outrage?

4 comments:

dusty said...

The government claims that "The Big Switch" is to clear up our air waves. I think that's BOLOGNA! Think about it. The majority of America'a population is viewing TV via cable or satalite. So I'm sure fewer air waves are being used today than 20 yrs ago for television viewing. It really angers me that our government is forcing us yet into another situation that cost us money.

If they want to free up air space just put an age limit on cell phones and the amount of time a person can talk on a cell phone every month. That should free up plenty of air space. LOL

skeeter1107 said...

Let's not forget that those converter boxes are probably Chinese imports.

Kadim said...

The only note here is that, hypothetically, the government will make more money selling off the old spectrum than it will spend in subsidizing tv viewers.

If it actually worked that way, it might even make sense. People who were dependent on that spectrum are being reimbursed for their loss (by the new users of the spectrum) so that they can continue their life normally.

Something like that.

AlonsoDelarte said...

It may also be about making money for some weird brands you wouldn't buy otherwise. Supposedly, you can watch DTV with any old antenna, but when the reception fails to deliver anything other than a blank screen, you go back to the store and they want you to buy a Terk-brand unidirectional antenna that looks like a fish skeleton on a column. You don't want your cats or dogs knocking down something like that.

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