v'ܩ The Real Reason Everyone is Worried About the DTV Transition
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The Real Reason Everyone is Worried About the DTV Transition

January 10th, 2009

I woke up Friday morning and did my usual perusal of the news. With all of the action taking place in Gaza this past week I expect to see plenty of news about this. The headline that greeted me, however, was one mentioning that Obama wanted the DTV Transition to be pushed back. According to the media, and a number of U.S. senators, we cannot risk millions of Americans going dark on February 17th. This is all so silly I’m not sure where to start.


Obama’s Priorities

The fact that Obama has this on his agenda is pretty ridiculous. This is of such low importance given everything going on in the world I can’t imagine why he needs to have an opinion on this. He has remained almost entirely silent on Gaza but THIS he is working on before he takes office. Some will say that this is very important because of the budget implications. The problem with this line of thinking is that while the budget for this particular program is running out Obama’s new budget is going to have much larger issues than this.

The Media is Fear Mongering Again

We can always count on the Media to scare us into a panicked frenzy. What’s interesting is that only 14% of homes in America don’t have pay TV service. Oh sure, there may be a lot more people, the article says it could be as many as 34% of U.S. households, who have at least 1 TV that will no longer work. What this means is that there are only 14% of homes that need to worry about ‘going dark’. The emphasis on this idea that we will be ‘going dark’. These are the types of phrases used to illicit fear and our leaders and news agencies must be more careful when using them. Last I checked my old AM/FM radio still worked using the same D batteries I put in it 3 years ago and it will do a perfectly fine job of getting emergency information to me.

The Real Issue Here.

What is really going on here is that there are a number of people who don’t want to risk losing access to the Americans that sit in front of a TV all day. The statistics for TV usage in America makes it clear what this is all about. The amount of time the average American spends watching TV is at an all time high and TV advertising is a 180 billion dollar industry expected to reach 198 billion dollars in in 2010. This means that everyone from the broadcasters to the networks need to reach the most people they can in order to increase the value of their ad time. No one is concerned about your family not getting emergency announcements because your analog TV won’t pick them up. The only thing anyone is worried about is how to use the TV to peddle their shoddy goods to you and your family.
Creative Commons License photo credit: theogeo

Author: T.J. Seabrooks Categories: General Politics, Media Tags: , ,
  1. arcospark
    January 10th, 2009 at 09:26 | #1

    With all the money the TV industry spends on advertising their product, why don’t they pay to ensure that everyone is able to watch it? Seems like the private sector should be budgeting to fix this and not the government.

  2. January 10th, 2009 at 09:29 | #2

    While I agree that Obama is not handling the digital transition well, I’m not sure I follow your rationale for the fear of the transition.

    Moving to digital would allow anyone with rabbit ears to enjoy HDTV without paying for cable, as little percentage as that may be. It’s more cost-effective for the television stations to produce a digital signal and the resolution is also much clearer. Freeing the extra bandwidth will also allow more products to use the frequencies.

    Mike’s last blog post..Questionable motives for Obama inauguration

  3. January 10th, 2009 at 09:58 | #3

    I think the politicians and various corporations want to scare people into a panic about the impending transition ebcause these companies are going to not be able to reach some people with their advertising due to some confusion. Certainly in the long run it will be good for all of us to have the freed up bandwidth. But you have to think that if 15% of people advertising on major network television currently reaches are no longer reachable come February 17th the cost of those ad spots may fall 15%. It will end up being cheaper in the long run for broadcasters to get rid of the old analog equipment but in the mean time they have a customer to please and that customer wants to reach the most people as possible. You have to remember you and I aren’t the customer for the broadcast industry. Advertisers are the customer and we are what they sell.

  4. matt
    January 10th, 2009 at 10:07 | #4

    This is why I don’t watch TV anymore.

  5. Alex in Toronto
    January 10th, 2009 at 19:18 | #5

    It is truly telling that the amount of ads that are shown each hour on each station(even the premium ones) demonstrate that the medium is more for the advertisers than the poor viewers who pay to receive cable and satellite programming.

  6. January 19th, 2009 at 00:33 | #6

    14% don’t get pay tv service and a great majority of those are the ones that Obama needs to keep programmed. Now his ignoring Gaza for the DTV transition makes perfect sense!

    Chris in NC’s last blog post..So, what did Bush do right?

  7. January 19th, 2009 at 00:38 | #7

    “Moving to digital would allow anyone with rabbit ears to enjoy HDTV without paying for cable, as little percentage as that may be. ”

    Hi Mike. I don’t think that’s correct. Digital TV and HDTV are two separate things. Digital can be received with an open air, but I don’t think high def can. It takes a high def tuner. The box for the TV for this switchover is just a converter that takes a digital signal and converts it down to an analog signal for TV’s that don’t have digital. It’s why if you have a standard definition LCD tv from a couple years ago, you have a digital receiver built in already. At least that’s what I have been led to believe.

    Chris in NC’s last blog post..So, what did Bush do right?

  8. January 19th, 2009 at 00:41 | #8

    “You have to remember you and I aren’t the customer for the broadcast industry. Advertisers are the customer and we are what they sell.”

    TJ, that is the best phrasing of that fact I have seen. Well put.

    Chris in NC’s last blog post..So, what did Bush do right?