January 29, 2009 9:26 PM PST

Senate approves digital-TV delay, again

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The bill is essentially the same that passed the Senate earlier this week, but with a few minor modifications from the House.
(From Reuters)

The story "Senate approves digital-TV delay, again" published January 29, 2009 at 9:26 PM is no longer available on CNET News.

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" transition date to June 12 from February 17 are fueled by worries that an estimated 20 million mostly poor, elderly, and rural households are not technically ready "

So between now and June 12th are we expecting that the ederly will die, the poor will somehow get richer, and somebody will start chopping down some trees so they're not so rural.

I don't get it!
Posted by someguy999 (182 comments )
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LOL funny. I agree. This delay is pointless. I hope all the broadcasters switch right on Feb 17th anyways if this thing passes. People have had way too long to switch. Stop putting it off, things will be no different in June than today... unless what someguy999 says happens :P
Posted by Sausagebiscuit (649 comments )
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THe poor will be able to afford.
Posted by basraw (310 comments )
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Putting it off is stupid, but the delay is meant to allow time for a vote to get further funding for the program that went broke. I think they hope the time will allow them to get more money into the coupon fund.
Posted by umbrae (1073 comments )
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See the only thing they got wrong was the amount of money allocated for this programme. Frankly i'd say kill all analog signals come febuary, if you didn't get a box when the program was first announced tough ****, you've had a year to get yourself ready. Thes boxes are $45 on retail, with some careful budgeting the average american can afford em, those ******** about this are the ones who were too lazy and waited too long to get the coupon order put in place.
Posted by ITcomposer (146 comments )
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The same people who aren't ready now, won't be ready in June either. It could be delayed for 100 years, and some people wouldn't be ready. Instead of worry about the procrastinators, the congress should be worrying about those who relied on the February date and the problems and costs to them that a delay will cause.
Posted by OldGrumpy (11 comments )
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6.5M households not ready out of about 100M households total in America isn't a bad ratio. Plus, an extra four months won't be long enough to get a significant number of those 6.5M people ready. At least this bill permits stations to go digital. It costs our local TV station here an extra $3-5,000 a month to dual-band broadcast their signal, and I'm sure they didn't budget an extra four month's worth of money for that this year.

I say if you're concerned about those 6.5M people, extend the rebate coupons for another six months or year, and shut their TVs off. That's probably the only thing that will get them to buy the box.
Posted by jskrenes (215 comments )
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To all television stations, make the switch! We are tired of watching those stupid count down till the switch happens public service announcements and watching someone go over how to buy the box and install it for 10 minutes for the thousanth time. Get over it, and move on!
Posted by Super2online (2665 comments )
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As someone who works in TV I can tell you that these spots are required by law. And yes, we too are just as tired of seeing these things.
Posted by 99Bruno99 (1 comment )
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I'm curious what other pork is attached to this bill.
Posted by joshsc (195 comments )
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This entire program is "pork." There are PLENTY of other government initiatives that can use the more than $1 billion that's been spent on this program already. If you want to watch TV people, find a way to get a converter box or get a new TV and cable. If not, tough luck.
Posted by cmstratton (68 comments )
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This delay is politically motivated and unnecessary. Anyone not ready by the Feb. date will still not be ready by the June date. And then they will be motivated to figure out their best course of action. There will be substantial costs to the delay and use of the spectrum for other public service needs will be delayed. Does anyone else remember the plan to convert to use of the metric system? Remember the delay? ARGHHHH!!!
Posted by techfinder (1 comment )
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I have an idea. Why don't all of the TV stations pay for the converter boxes for those who cannot afford them with the revenue they will gain by not playing all of those DTV commercials.
Posted by ctrue (19 comments )
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The biggest factor I've heard is that the program ran out of money for coupons. But, if you follow the string of stories since the coupons were first issued it sounds like the problem is how the program was run. The coupons were available before most of the boxes were out on the market. Since the coupons expired within 90 days of being sent many of the initial coupons couldn't be redeemed. But, the money in the "account" had to be earmarked because the coupon was issued. You'd think the earmarked money would be returned to the available pool within a few business days after the expiration date. For simplicity that probably happens in batches. Who knows how often that happens. So now, over time, and with the 1st wave of people coming back to try to get another coupon now that the boxes are available the "account" has run dry.

What I'm talking about is there was a complete lack of coordination between the program administrator, manufacturers and probably retailers (how many boxes are being liquidated at Circuit City? DOH). You would assume the amount of money made available for the program was probably an educated guess at how many coupons would be needed to support the public. Well, what happened? This is the part the media isn't covering. Did they miscount the number of people needing this coupons? Is the coupon per person/household above their projected ratio? Like 2.1 vs 1.3, etc. What about those early coupons that were issued but not redeemed? What happened to those funds?

I agree with the general sentiment here. Simply delaying the switch doesn't accomplish much. If there is a measure to secure additional money for the program then at least I could see they are trying to do additional things to help get people ready. Also, what about lessons learned from that first town that made the switch? Are there factors from that test that are also fueling the desire to delay? What are they? Maybe I just need to read other stories about this than just Cnet. You'd think there would be more detail covered on this. Tisk, tisk.
Posted by sdf0013 (1161 comments )
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At a recent meeting of consumer electronics executives from many of the manufacturers of these boxes it was noted the retailers have plenty of boxes on hand. When companies issue redemption coupons, they make some educated assumptions as to the number that will be redeemed and plan accordingly. That's too much to ask from our Congressional leaders. They assume 100% redemption and then wonder why they don't have enough. Its not the amount they budgeted, its the redemption rate that is wrong. Also, many of those who asked for boxes already have cable or satellite. I know many in the industry who got coupons and redeemed them that have cable or satellite. There must be a way to ensure only those who need them get them. e.g. cross check with cable and satellite customer lists. Also agree with all of the comments that more time (and money) won't help those who won't help themselves.
Posted by Thorn74 (1 comment )
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I'm in high school, and as such I can say this is just like any assignment. If your teacher tells your paper is due in five months, you're not going to start doing it till the day or two before. If she decides to delay it another month, you're still not going to start working on it until a day or two before.

This is a ridiculous idea, and people aren't going to be more responsible just because you've given them more time.

Posted by gbelk08 (122 comments )
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Looks like too many young and impatient people.

Remember when all radio was Amplitude Modulated? AM is also joked about as Ancient Modulation.
Remember when FM radio was on 42 to 50 megacycles per second (before Hertz whas honored)?
Remember when radio and TV all used vacuum tubes? Do you even know what a vacuum tube is?
Remember when TV was only black and white?
How about analog cell phones, stinkey car exhaust, FORTRAN instead of C++, and operator assisted long distance phone calls?

Sure, the airways are free, but you still needed to do more than just put your ear up to the wind to here anything. AM radios cost money. FM radios cost money. New FM radios cost money. TVs cost money. Color TVs cost money. Some people are still using their analog vacuum-tube round CRT color TV because their grandparents gave it to them. When is the last time you expected to travel across the country in a stage coach?

You can still do almost everything the old was, but it is just less rewarding, costs more, is less reliable, and more difficult to do. The "good old days" were not that good. Name five things invented in the last thirty years that you are now using and that you are willing to give up. Medical advances, hybrid cars, personal computer, fresh watermelon in February, or any of 100 other things?

Some people just like the past, it was comfortable and they forget the inconvient parts. A bumper sticker said it best, "The older I get, the better I was."

Quit whining about losing your old TV. Next year you will wonder why it took so long to get it done.
Posted by Been_there_Saw_it_before (465 comments )
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no one noticed the price of digital converter boy jumped to 40 dollars or higher when add campaine started i guess some free money for the companies was'nt enough they had to take it all plus more i remember when they where around 15 to 25 dollars im suprise cnet and other people have not jumped on this
Posted by superg05a (2 comments )
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