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A waste of taxpayer money

Discussion in 'Legislative and Regulatory Issues' started by News Junky, Oct 24, 2005.

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  1. News Junky

    News Junky Icon

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    Mar 16, 2005
    C&P from: http://money.cnn.com/2005/10/21/technology/digital_tv.reut/


    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens said Wednesday he plans to propose a $3 billion subsidy program to ensure older television sets still work when the transition to better quality, digital broadcasts is completed.

    Stevens, an Alaska Republican, said the estimated cost of a box to convert the new digital signals back to analog so existing television sets continue to work is $50 each and he proposed the government subsidize $40 of that amount.

    "We plan to provide a set-top box...to everyone who has a TV that needs a box," Stevens said at a luncheon sponsored by the Free Enterprise Fund. "It may be we have to set a limit."

    Stevens has proposed legislation requiring television broadcasters to end analog broadcasts and only air digital by April 7, 2009. His committee plans to vote on setting the deadline and the subsidy amount Thursday afternoon.

    However, Republican Sen. John Sununu of New Hampshire may propose an amendment paring the subsidy fund to $1 billion, according to a list of expected amendments obtained by Reuters.

    Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, also had planned an amendment to cap the program to $500 million but now may not do so, according to a source close to the issue.

    The money for the subsidy would come from selling some of the old analog airwaves at auction for commercial wireless services. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated a sale could raise $10 billion if the airwaves were made available in 2009.

    There are approximately 21 million homes in the United States that rely solely on broadcast television, while most households subscribe to cable or satellite services.

    The National Association of Broadcasters, which represents most television stations, has estimated that there are about 73 million television sets in homes in the United States that are not hooked up to cable or satellite service and rely solely on broadcast.
     
  2. HIPAR

    HIPAR Icon

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    May 15, 2005
    I don't know how all of you 'out there' are thinking but, myself, I'm sick and tired of a growing socialist movement that expects the Government to pay for every disruption in our lives. But I am not exactly 'poor and disadvantaged'.

    Yes, buying set top boxes is a waste of taxpayer's money. Just how important is the DTV changeover? I couldn't care less if it never happens and I just bought a HDTV set!

    If the transition is certain, lets set a hard date for it to occur on Dec 31, 2014 and enforce the mandate for all TVs sold to include ATSC tuners during 2007. That way, we have about 8 years for all of those NTSC sets to 'burn out' and be replaced by their owners leaving the taxpayer 'off the hook'.

    --- CHAS
     
  3. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Hall Of Fame

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    Jan 15, 2004
    That is a WILDLY inflated figure intended to justify delaying the conversion for as long as possible. :mad:
     
  4. FTA Michael

    FTA Michael Hall Of Fame

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    Jul 21, 2002
    I don't think it's widely inflated, I just think it's misinterpreted. Just in one household (mine), counting the TV cards in my computers, I have at least four TV sets that "rely solely on broadcast". I don't watch 20 hours per year on those four sets combined, but they really exist.

    A more meaningful number would be the households that rely solely on broadcast. I'd guess that would be about 15% of US households, and maybe half of those decline cable even though they can afford it.

    For a working poor household, relying on local PBS to get the kids ready to read, I'd hate to be the guy to have to tell them that their TV is worthless without a $50 adapter. If there were a needs-based government program to deliver one adapter per household, would that be a waste of taxpayer money? It all depends on your priorities.
     
  5. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Hall Of Fame

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    Jan 15, 2004
    Yes - I agree. If I had to answer the question literally, only 1 of the 4 in my house have a current DBS hookup. HOWEVER, one is a PC used for vidcap, one is a test set I use in the field, and the third is just unused.

    The point is, the NAB would count that as 3, while a more realistic count is ZERO.

    I feel this is a DELIBERATE misdirection by the NAB - just like much of the other stuff they do.
     
  6. greatwhitenorth

    greatwhitenorth Godfather

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    Jul 18, 2005
    I don't have a link here, but I did see a study that states that 85% of all households have pay-TV, either cable or DBS. The other 15% are broadcast only, and the study stated that these 15% will probably never pay for TV. Maybe we should ding the broadcast stations for the costs of the adapters (like the NAB would ever let that happen!).
     
  7. kenglish

    kenglish Icon

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    Oct 2, 2004
    Salt Lake...
    Whether you watch them several hours a day or one hour a year, they still won't work after the magic date.
     
  8. FTA Michael

    FTA Michael Hall Of Fame

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    Jul 21, 2002
    I agree completely, or at least mostly. (I plan to pop them open and try to solder some sort of RF adapter when they become doorstops.)

    But the context of the discussion is whether the government (aka We The People) should subsidize or hand out adapters when the time comes. My implied point is that I don't think I have a right to an extra government handout just because I got a free portable B&W set with my office supplies order last year, and that counting the number of "rely solely on broadcast" sets doesn't illuminate the discussion.
     
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