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Breaking News: Senate passes another DTV Delay Act, Goes to House Floor


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#61 OFFLINE   jpl

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 12:41 PM

My comments are:

1. Some TVs don't have a coax input. They'll also need an adapter.
2. What about VCRs? You'll also have to train people how to use their VCR in a different way. And did they buy a converter box with timers for VCR use?
3. That tiny print scrolling across the bottom of the screen can't be read by many people due to poor eyesight.
4. That tiny print scrolling across the bottom of the screen can't be read by many people because while they may understand conversational English, they have no idea what many of the words in the scroll mean.
5. That tiny print scrolling across the bottom of the screen can't be read by many people because while English is their only language, they have no idea what many of the words in the scroll mean.
6. Some people's most complex electronic device is the TV. The toaster is the next most complex electronic device they own. My Grandma has never owned or driven a car, doesn't own a VCR or microwave, and doesn't even own a toaster. For her, the bedside clock is the next most complex device she owns. And she can't set the time on it.
7. Some people may need new antennas. Their old antennas may be fine now, but they may need new antennas on the cutoff date. They may now need to be installed outdoors. In the middle of winter.
8. Some broadcasters may need more time. My digital signals go out all day once a week on my FOX and CBS affiliates.
9. Some people are physically unable to install the new box due to medical issues.
10. The message of "perform a rescan on Feb. 17" isn't getting out to anybody. In many areas, rescans will have to be performed. I think this would cut down on a lot of the phone calls.

I also know of at least 12 people who still do not understand the analog shutdown is taking place. I've tried explaining it to them, and they just don't get it. And only four of them have cable.


And a delay of 4 months is going to help these people... how? Nevermind the fact that this bill will still allow stations to shut down their analogs if they want. If this whole situation is confusing now, can you imagine if you see the news that there's been a 4 month extension, and you wake up on the 18th, you find that your stations are shut off anyway? How in the world does this delay help? THAT'S the question that Congress needs to answer. No one has convinced me, yet, that the problem with all this is that there hasn't been enough time for people to get ready. If that was the issue then I would agree with a delay. That isn't the problem - so a delay isn't going to help. It will just cost more money, and make things even more confusing.

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#62 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 01:02 PM

When the official transition occurs will all stations simply shut off their analog signals?

Just over 800 stations qualify to continue analog service for 30 days beyond the deadline (current or changed) with transition information and any emergency information (should an emergency occur).

Very few stations have expressed interest in remaining on the air beyond February 17th. Over 300 stations have already silenced analog or will by or on February 17th.

#63 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 01:08 PM

Is is possible that the low power stations will have to still adhere to that original date which will be earlier than June 12? What I don't know is if the low-power rule is an FCC thing vs. a legislative thing.

There is no date set for ending analog low power/translator service.

The FCC began accepting translator applications at the beginning of the month for post-transition digital translators to "fill in" any coverage lost between analog and digital patterns. But there is no date certain for ending LP analog.

Getting the full power analogs out of the way would help end the LP analogs.

#64 OFFLINE   Tom Robertson

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 01:21 PM

Most of the broadcasters in Utah decided yesterday to switch off on Feb 17th come what may.

The UBA (Utah Broadcasters Association) got together and voted, the two PBS stations are the only holdouts citing the Federal Money they get as one of the reasons (although not stated in the article below).



http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_11584425


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#65 OFFLINE   hasan

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 01:52 PM

Threre is no question there are going to be problems with the transition, no matter what date is involved. Many people (and I deal with them daily), don't understand ANYTHING about the transition and the implications of going digital versus just turning on a TV and changing to a channel number (as under the analog system). No amount of time is going to help these people. They need to be instructed "by the numbers" how to do it. This isn't going to change.

The best justification for the delay was given by Press Secretary Gibbs in the daily briefing today:

It was recommended by the transition group (whoever they are) to delay because:

1. They are over a million coupons short of current need.
2. The call center (FCC) that was set up to allow people to order the coupons via telephone was grossly underpowered, and left many with no "simple" way to get coupons.

Both of these are seen as "no fault" of the consumer, but rather of the system that was set up to serve them.

What doesn't make any sense at all, if the above two points are accurate, is allowing the digital switch over to take place on the 17th of Feb, on a station by station basis. If a given locality decides en mass, to switch on the 17th anyway, it leaves those afflicted by 1 and 2 above with no recourse.

What does make sense is to mandate a push back of the date to June 12, or whenever they can make 1 and 2 above non-factors.

I don't like it, but I do understand what they are trying to do, as poorly thought out as it appears to be. Either we go forward and let those left out deal with it, or we push it back until the "no faulters" can be included. Doing it half-baked is going to mess a lot of people up and as a result, they will have even less confidence that the government can get anything right (if that's even possible):)

Maybe we can use some of the bail-out bucks to compensate stations for the increased power bills resulting from keeping analog on the grid.:)

We could take the millions of dollars of bail-out bonus dollars that executives gave themselves and their cronies to pay a lot of power bills.:P

More seriously, this isn't an easy problem to work out. No solution I've seen is going to make everyone happy, and depending on which constituency one gores, they can be very loud. The people on these forums are very loud, even though minimally gored. The station owners are loud. The general public often gets lost in the shuffle. This whole mess is yet another case of the road to hell being paved with good intentions.

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#66 OFFLINE   n3ntj

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 01:58 PM

A local station (WGAL) did a story yesterday about state prisoners having TVs in their cells that are antenna only and only something like 10% have bought converter boxes. They gave this as another reason to delay the analog shutdown until June. My question is, why are earth do we care if prisoners can watch TV after the 17th?

Just stick with the original date (Feb 17th). Why change the rules at this late time (just weeks before the shutdown that everyone know about years ago)? If you think there will be people 'confused' on the 18th if the analog channels do shut down (claiming they never knew of DTV), think of the confusion if they don't shutdown on the 17th after they've been telling us for years it was going to shutdown on the 17th.

Not having a gov't coupon doesn't mean you can't get a converter box. It just means you can't get something for nothing from the gov't. If you waited this long to get a converter box and sign up for a free coupon, and can't get a coupon, go out and just buy the $60 converted box yourself.

I just called and emailed my congressman to ask that any attempt to delay the conversion again be voted AGAINST.

IF a bill does get introduced in the House again, let's hope someone sticks some other pork in the bill making it different b/w the two Houses and the bills have to go back and forth...maybe all of these delays will take us past the Feb 17th date and the issue will be moot.

Edited by n3ntj, 30 January 2009 - 02:10 PM.

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#67 OFFLINE   James Long

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 02:07 PM

I believe I understand why the first bill required suspension of the House Rules (so that bill is completely dead, by the way). House Rules are "pay as you go" and one of the modifications to create the new bill was:

(d) Condition of Modifications- The amendments made by this section shall not take effect until the enactment of additional budget authority after the date of enactment of this Act to carry out the analog-to-digital converter box program under section 3005 of the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005.

which allows normal bill processing in the House.

Technically, the senate is not permitted to spend money. Spending bills must come from the house. Because of that rule I agree that suspension of the rules was more than just suspending the committee process. I kinda wish they would STATE which rules were suspended. :)

#68 OFFLINE   loudo

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 02:23 PM

It was recommended by the transition group (whoever they are) to delay because:
1. They are over a million coupons short of current need.
2. The call center (FCC) that was set up to allow people to order the coupons via telephone was grossly underpowered, and left many with no "simple" way to get coupons.

I heard an interesting story on TV this noon. They said that there was originally enough coupons, but many of the coupons that were given out and never used. Looks like many people applied for them that never had any intention to use them, or bought new TVs and never used the coupons. They said if you needed a coupon check with friends and neighbors to see if any of them had gotten them and not used them.

If the call center was messed people could have used the Internet to order them also. https://www.dtv2009.gov/

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#69 OFFLINE   hasan

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 02:35 PM

I heard an interesting story on TV this noon. They said that there was originally enough coupons, but many of the coupons that were given out and never used. Looks like many people applied for them that never had any intention to use them, or bought new TVs and never used the coupons. They said if you needed a coupon check with friends and neighbors to see if any of them had gotten them and not used them.

If the call center was messed people could have used the Internet to order them also. https://www.dtv2009.gov/


The very people who wanted to use the phone order system are exactly the people who are not internet savvy, or may not even have internet connections available to them. Many local people have complained they could barely understand the "simple" phone order system.

Certainly many people ordered coupons and did not use them. Many others ordered them, received them, but there were no local stores that had the converters in stock before the coupons expired. Stock was very limited in this area for a six week period, and that was followed by no stock for three more weeks. The fact is, there have been problems, not all of which are attributable to the consumer.

This whole process has been difficult for a large segment of the viewing public. There wasn't much that could be done to make it easier, other than not running out of coupons and having call centers that could process the volume of calls.

There is no doubt that many people have no one to blame but themselves. It is equally certain that others were without fault. Therein lies the rub. Cavalierly dismissing their situation does us no credit.

No matter what side of the debate one finds oneself on, we are still left with only three options:

1. Let them eat cake
2. Half-baked analog turn off
3. Full push back.

The only way this is going to happen as quickly and "clearly" as it can is to proceed with the 17 Feb shut down of analog. I don't envy those left out in the dark through no fault of their own.

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#70 OFFLINE   hasan

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 02:45 PM

From the Director of Engineering and Technology at Iowa Public Television (today):

"IPTV will continue to operate analog services until the mandated analog shutoff date whether that is February 17, 2009 or the proposed June 12, 2009. There is indeed an added cost to maintaining two operations and our costs are amplified due to the fact that we have 9 full powered facilities statewide that are each operating two transmitters. Based on my experience doing DTV information sessions statewide (and out of state, I was just in Albert Lea on Tuesday) there are a great many people that rely on over the air television reception that are not ready. We think IPTV is better serving the viewer and communities that rely on us by continuing to operate analog for as long as possible to provide the most opportunity for people to get ready and deal with any reception issues. We recognize that even if we delay until June, we will still deal with the procrastinators but we would rather have them scrambling on their roofs checking antennas and cables in June rather than February."

<posted on AVS forum HDTV local Des Moines, IA>

Notice, this person is not interested in finding fault with the consumers, rather he is merely acknowledging that "a great many people ...are not ready", and is committed to serving them.

While I would prefer to go ahead with things, he makes a good point about antenna work (at least in Iowa). I find this abundance of concern for those left out (their fault or not), refreshing and admire this director for his commitment to the viewing public.

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#71 OFFLINE   jpl

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 03:05 PM

Technically, the senate is not permitted to spend money. Spending bills must come from the house. Because of that rule I agree that suspension of the rules was more than just suspending the committee process. I kinda wish they would STATE which rules were suspended. :)


Excellent point - and you beat me to it. All funding bills HAVE to originate in the House (the stimulus package is case in point).

#72 OFFLINE   Kansas Zephyr

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 03:10 PM

Notice, this person is not interested in finding fault with the consumers, rather he is merely acknowledging that "a great many people ...are not ready", and is committed to serving them.

While I would prefer to go ahead with things, he makes a good point about antenna work (at least in Iowa). I find this abundance of concern for those left out (their fault or not), refreshing and admire this director for his commitment to the viewing public.

He can apparently afford to be admirable. I guess that the State of Iowa does a superior job funding its Public TV stations. That is excellent, and praiseworthy.

However, commercial broadcasters don't have government funding, and corporate/public donations. They must deal with budgetary realities.

With declining local TV revenues, due to competition from cable, satellite, and Internet...even before the economic woes began, and the cost of the DTV transition, we are talking about cutting even more jobs to delay the end of analog.

That's why the overwhelming majority of stations have stated publicly that they are planning to go digital only on 2/18 regardless of a cut-off date extension.
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#73 OFFLINE   jpl

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 03:14 PM

The very people who wanted to use the phone order system are exactly the people who are not internet savvy, or may not even have internet connections available to them. Many local people have complained they could barely understand the "simple" phone order system.

Certainly many people ordered coupons and did not use them. Many others ordered them, received them, but there were no local stores that had the converters in stock before the coupons expired. Stock was very limited in this area for a six week period, and that was followed by no stock for three more weeks. The fact is, there have been problems, not all of which are attributable to the consumer.

This whole process has been difficult for a large segment of the viewing public. There wasn't much that could be done to make it easier, other than not running out of coupons and having call centers that could process the volume of calls.

There is no doubt that many people have no one to blame but themselves. It is equally certain that others were without fault. Therein lies the rub. Cavalierly dismissing their situation does us no credit.

No matter what side of the debate one finds oneself on, we are still left with only three options:

1. Let them eat cake
2. Half-baked analog turn off
3. Full push back.

The only way this is going to happen as quickly and "clearly" as it can is to proceed with the 17 Feb shut down of analog. I don't envy those left out in the dark through no fault of their own.


I'm not about to defend how the coupon program was administered, but this is a non-starter, to me. The same people that have no issue going out and buying a TV... paying for the electricity to watch said TV... are out in the dark with this? Even if it's true that they couldn't get through via the phone number, why in the world is that an issue? I understand there are people who are on fixed incomes... I get that.... but the notion that this can't happen because government didn't plan for every eventuality... every possible issue... is, to be honest, pretty flabbergasting. The coupon program was never meant to cover every case... it was never even meant just to go to the poor - or it would have required means-testing. No, it wasn't perfect - far from it - but the notion that people are just doomed if they can't get a coupon, when they can spend $40 to get a converter box. I'm sorry, but I really don't think $40 is all that much of a burden if you want to watch TV. For crying out loud, is it really that much to ask that people take a little responsibility for themselves on this?

I don't know the first thing about car repair, but if my car has a problem I don't just sit around bemoaning that the government didn't do enough to cover whatever problem I had - I go to someone who knows how, and I get it fixed. Sometimes it's more than I want/can afford to pay for the repair, but the incentive is great enough for me to get the car fixed.

I was ok with the coupon program to begin with because this change is government-mandated. I never applied for any coupons myself, even though I had a spare TV that could have used one, because I have no issue going out and spending $40 to keep the TV going should I desire it.

#74 OFFLINE   hasan

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 03:15 PM

He can apparently afford to be admirable. I guess that the State of Iowa does a superior job funding its Public TV stations. That is excellent, and praiseworthy.

However, commercial broadcasters don't have government funding, and corporate/public donations. They must deal with budgetary realities.

With declining local TV revenues, due to competition from cable, satellite, and Internet...even before the economic woes began, and the cost of the DTV transition, we are talking about cutting even more jobs to delay the end of analog.

That's why the overwhelming majority of stations have stated publicly that they are planning to go digital only on 2/18 regardless of a cut-off date extension.


...and I applaud them for doing it. Don't misread my respect for IPTV as pro-pushback. I think any commercial station that runs analog one minute more than absolutely necessary is nuts. It is a waste of money. IPTV can, as you noted, raise money from its subscribers, many of whom would approve the concerns the director listed, and willingly have some portion of their donations used to subsidize analog for a short period of time.

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#75 OFFLINE   Upstream

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 03:29 PM

I was against the extension. But it seems that the extension also includes a provision to allow reissuing of expired coupons. That's a free $40 for me. So now I'm in favor of the extension (unless there is no money for the reissuing of coupons, so I can't get my free $40, in which case I'm still against the extension).

:)

#76 OFFLINE   capegator

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 03:32 PM

From the Director of Engineering and Technology at Iowa Public Television (today):

"IPTV will continue to operate analog services until the mandated analog shutoff date whether that is February 17, 2009 or the proposed June 12, 2009. There is indeed an added cost to maintaining two operations and our costs are amplified due to the fact that we have 9 full powered facilities statewide that are each operating two transmitters. Based on my experience doing DTV information sessions statewide (and out of state, I was just in Albert Lea on Tuesday) there are a great many people that rely on over the air television reception that are not ready. We think IPTV is better serving the viewer and communities that rely on us by continuing to operate analog for as long as possible to provide the most opportunity for people to get ready and deal with any reception issues. We recognize that even if we delay until June, we will still deal with the procrastinators but we would rather have them scrambling on their roofs checking antennas and cables in June rather than February."

<posted on AVS forum HDTV local Des Moines, IA>

Notice, this person is not interested in finding fault with the consumers, rather he is merely acknowledging that "a great many people ...are not ready", and is committed to serving them.

While I would prefer to go ahead with things, he makes a good point about antenna work (at least in Iowa). I find this abundance of concern for those left out (their fault or not), refreshing and admire this director for his commitment to the viewing public.


Which will be hurricane season in other areas of the country. Do you think maybe some of these folks that only have analog also may rely on TV for emergency information? I'd also hate to be on my roof checking an antenna during a tropical storm. Oh well, the acting chairman chairman of the FCC, Michael Copps, blamed it on Bush today. http://www.pcworld.c...an_for_dtv.html

#77 OFFLINE   davidatl14

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 03:38 PM

The very people who wanted to use the phone order system are exactly the people who are not internet savvy, or may not even have internet connections available to them. Many local people have complained they could barely understand the "simple" phone order system.

Certainly many people ordered coupons and did not use them. Many others ordered them, received them, but there were no local stores that had the converters in stock before the coupons expired. Stock was very limited in this area for a six week period, and that was followed by no stock for three more weeks. The fact is, there have been problems, not all of which are attributable to the consumer.

This whole process has been difficult for a large segment of the viewing public. There wasn't much that could be done to make it easier, other than not running out of coupons and having call centers that could process the volume of calls.

There is no doubt that many people have no one to blame but themselves. It is equally certain that others were without fault. Therein lies the rub. Cavalierly dismissing their situation does us no credit.

No matter what side of the debate one finds oneself on, we are still left with only three options:

1. Let them eat cake
2. Half-baked analog turn off
3. Full push back.

The only way this is going to happen as quickly and "clearly" as it can is to proceed with the 17 Feb shut down of analog. I don't envy those left out in the dark through no fault of their own.



Of the above choices put me solidly in the #1 camp.

LET THEM EAT CAKE

If you aren't ready for this, you can make a further evaluation after access to your Local TV stations are cut off.

This is nobody's fault except the individual(s) in question.
May The Best of Your Past be the Worst of Your Future!

#78 OFFLINE   txtommy

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 03:41 PM

My comments are:

1. Some TVs don't have a coax input. They'll also need an adapter.
2. What about VCRs? You'll also have to train people how to use their VCR in a different way. And did they buy a converter box with timers for VCR use?
3. That tiny print scrolling across the bottom of the screen can't be read by many people due to poor eyesight.
4. That tiny print scrolling across the bottom of the screen can't be read by many people because while they may understand conversational English, they have no idea what many of the words in the scroll mean.
5. That tiny print scrolling across the bottom of the screen can't be read by many people because while English is their only language, they have no idea what many of the words in the scroll mean.
6. Some people's most complex electronic device is the TV. The toaster is the next most complex electronic device they own. My Grandma has never owned or driven a car, doesn't own a VCR or microwave, and doesn't even own a toaster. For her, the bedside clock is the next most complex device she owns. And she can't set the time on it.
7. Some people may need new antennas. Their old antennas may be fine now, but they may need new antennas on the cutoff date. They may now need to be installed outdoors. In the middle of winter.
8. Some broadcasters may need more time. My digital signals go out all day once a week on my FOX and CBS affiliates.
9. Some people are physically unable to install the new box due to medical issues.
10. The message of "perform a rescan on Feb. 17" isn't getting out to anybody. In many areas, rescans will have to be performed. I think this would cut down on a lot of the phone calls.

I also know of at least 12 people who still do not understand the analog shutdown is taking place. I've tried explaining it to them, and they just don't get it. And only four of them have cable.


Other than item #7, how many of these will change before June 12th?

On the 17th all analog stations should cease all normal broadcasting. In place of normal programming a short message stating that all transmissions are now digital and a simple message describing what needs to be done to resume reception of programming. The message should repeat over and over for several days and then shut down. That will get the message out to all those people who have somehow ignored it thus far. Suggested solutions listed in the message would include purchasing a box or calling a friend/relative who has some technical skills. If a friend, relative or neighbor called me I'd certainly be willing to pick up a box on my next trip to the store and show them how to hook it up. My Mom would have great difficulty understanding what needs to be done but would have little difficultly finding several people willing to hook it up for her at no cost.
“People ask me what I do in the winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.” -- Rogers Hornsby

#79 OFFLINE   Mark Holtz

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 03:47 PM

Which will be hurricane season in other areas of the country. Do you think maybe some of these folks that only have analog also may rely on TV for emergency information? I'd also hate to be on my roof checking an antenna during a tropical storm.

The last time I looked, I have a nice battery powered radio setting about three feet away from my desk at work that tunes in AM/FM, Weatherband, and TV band (although that's going away) in case power goes out in the building.

#80 OFFLINE   Pepster

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 04:41 PM

I was against the extension. But it seems that the extension also includes a provision to allow reissuing of expired coupons. That's a free $40 for me. So now I'm in favor of the extension (unless there is no money for the reissuing of coupons, so I can't get my free $40, in which case I'm still against the extension).

:)


If the reissued coupons are good for the same 90 days as the previous one, it only means another batch of people who will STILL PROCRASTINATE, NO MATTER WHAT DATE IS SET, will be put on hold.

You slow, you blow. Too bad, just wait for the next train.




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