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Emergency Brodcasts and DVR's


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48 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   deltafowler

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 11:29 PM

Here's a question for you to ponder:
With so many households now enjoying the benefits of watching pre-recorded television via a DVR, should there be a means by which providers can break in and alert us to potentially life-threatening emergency situations?

As a subscriber, I would vote to allow such a service in cases where the lives of myself or my community may be at risk.

What say you?

Edited by deltafowler, 14 February 2009 - 11:35 PM.


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#2 OFFLINE   houskamp

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Posted 14 February 2009 - 11:38 PM

friggen siren is a block from my house.. I always know :eek2:

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#3 OFFLINE   jclewter79

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 12:11 AM

I actually think this could be a good idea you have come up with. I was actally cathing up on some dvr shows the other night when the storms that ravaged southen Oklahoma came though. I am a good ways from lone grove but, a cell did come though here that jaked the wind up to about 80 mph for a minute without any tornados and it did make me switch to the local channels to see what was going on. This remindes me of when I was a kid my dad recorded the movie "Mary Poppins" for my brother and I off of the local NBC channel. The night that he happened to record it on the old VHS there were some storms. The local news broke into the show once to tell about what was happening. When we would watch the tape my brother and I would look outside to see where the storm was :)
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#4 OFFLINE   deltafowler

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 12:17 AM

friggen siren is a block from my house.. I always know :eek2:


That really doesn't apply to everyone, does it?
Does the siren sound when terrorists have set off a dirty bomb in a nearby city, or when a local chemical plant leak has a toxic cloud leak headed your way?

I'm not just talking about tornadoes here.
Some nights, all we watch for hours is DVR programming.
The emergency broadcast system is rendered useless.

#5 OFFLINE   Mark Holtz

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 12:34 AM

You can purchase emergency radios with SAME decoders so that you get the weather reports. That way, you get alerted about emergency situations.

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#6 OFFLINE   deltafowler

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 12:41 AM

Yes, I know there are emergency radios. :rolleyes:

That's not the question.
The question is, should there be a means by which television service providers can interrupt DVR playback to alert subscribers to emergency situations?
It seems to me that it's one of those those things that no one really thinks about until something happens to prove its worthiness.
Then everyone wonders why it wasn't already in place.

#7 OFFLINE   houskamp

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 01:16 AM

That really doesn't apply to everyone, does it?
Does the siren sound when terrorists have set off a dirty bomb in a nearby city, or when a local chemical plant leak has a toxic cloud leak headed your way?

I'm not just talking about tornadoes here.
Some nights, all we watch for hours is DVR programming.
The emergency broadcast system is rendered useless.

actualy they will go off for those reasons.. they are actualy "civil defense sirens"...
But anyways It could be an idea but I'm not sure how bad the logistics would be.. A lot of different areas and different size areas..

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#8 OFFLINE   djlong

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 09:30 AM

Absolutely. The government should mandate devices that allow them to lock your refrigerator and send an electrical charge through the toilet to alert you that you should run for your lives. Maybe they should be able to flash all the lights in your house and tune all your radios - even the ones in the cars in your driveway that are turned off - to the Official Channel. Every fireplace should be equipped with fire extyinguishers so that if you're not eating, cooking, listening to radio or watching TV, they can extinguish the fire to get your attention. Wait! They should install electrodes in your brain so that they can wake you and alert you no matter WHAT state you're in!

Or maybe you should just use common sense and have one of those radios handy if you live in a danger area.

#9 OFFLINE   dennisj00

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 09:50 AM

The emergency radio makes the most sense. Your TV isn't always on -- I assume! So any effort through the DVR is quickly useless.

I've had one for years but bypassed the alarm because of too frequent alarms in the bedroom. I recently updated to one that has battery backup and SAME selection. I think it was $26 or so.

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#10 OFFLINE   deltafowler

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 10:28 AM

These days, anywhere in the world is "the danger area".
We don't all have civil defense sirens in our neighborhoods and towns.

All we have is a volunteer FD, and that siren blows every time someone's leaf burning gets out of hand or one of the old people at the home tries to sneak a cigarette.

We have an emergency broadcast system already in place, but it can be rendered ineffective by pre-recorded programming.
The ridiculous statements above about refrigerators and toilets are a lame attempt at grandstanding, maybe even humor(?), but there is a very serious side to this discussion.

It's a dangerous world, and there are more than just meteorological threats to be concerned about.

No one's saying that we should give the government anymore access to our lives than they already enjoy.
Hey, if NH wants to live free or die, then I say good riddance anyway.
See, I can make lame jokes too. :lol:

#11 OFFLINE   houskamp

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 11:24 AM

To me the biggest trick is how to set what is an alert.. I have yet to see an app, even for computers, that works right..
I live within a couple miles of a major river... However floods are not a concern at my house (think last flood here was in the time of noah :) ) I had to turn off the alerts on my weather program due to constant popups of flood warnings..

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#12 OFFLINE   djlong

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 12:50 PM

Don't get me wrong - I agree that there should be an alert system. But trying to think of every possible way to protect someone from their own ignorance is, IMO, the wrong way to go about it.

If you live in a danger area, you should have the common sense to have an emergency radio. I live in New England. The biggest risk we have here are snow and ice storms, though I've lived through two hurricanes that made it this far north.

If I lived where my Mom lives in Indiana, you're damn right I'd have one of those radios to hear any alerts.

The point is that people should have COMMON SENSE and not always depend on someone else to protect them in every situation.

#13 OFFLINE   deltafowler

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 01:35 PM

I don't think the point is getting through.
I'm not just talking about natural disasters here, so planet Earth is the "danger area".
The world is becoming a nastier and meaner place to live.
Sooner or later, bio or nuclear technologies are going to fall into the hands of someone who wants to do harm on a large scale.
Being aware of what has happened, and whether you are downwind (or downstream) or safe for now could save thousands.

And yes, I agree that you can't have a system that alerts everyone all of the time. But to ignore the opportunity to reach thousands or even millions who are already sitting right in front of the largest mass-communication system on the planet could prove to be quite boneheaded, especially in the infinite wisdom of hindsight.

#14 OFFLINE   RobertE

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 01:36 PM

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#15 ONLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 02:27 PM

Lots of folks have the caller ID feature enabled, which will popup a message on the screen identifying an incoming phone call on their receiver (with Dish anyway). So for those folks, I can't imagine having a similar popup for Emergency Broadcasts would be a problem.

There should be a way to disable it as long as you click-through some sort of disclaimer that says you are knowingly disabling the Emergency popups... but I would like to see the feature myself.

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#16 OFFLINE   fluffybear

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 02:35 PM

Yes, I know there are emergency radios. :rolleyes:

That's not the question.
The question is, should there be a means by which television service providers can interrupt DVR playback to alert subscribers to emergency situations?
It seems to me that it's one of those those things that no one really thinks about until something happens to prove its worthiness.
Then everyone wonders why it wasn't already in place.


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#17 OFFLINE   deltafowler

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 02:44 PM

Lots of folks have the caller ID feature enabled, which will popup a message on the screen identifying an incoming phone call on their receiver (with Dish anyway). So for those folks, I can't imagine having a similar popup for Emergency Broadcasts would be a problem.

There should be a way to disable it as long as you click-through some sort of disclaimer that says you are knowingly disabling the Emergency popups... but I would like to see the feature myself.


That's an excellent idea on how to tie it into existing equipment.

#18 OFFLINE   deltafowler

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 03:13 PM

According one article I found, DVR's are now (actually, October 2008) present in one out of every four households in the US.
In those households, the trends for watching time-shifted programming or on-demand programming is growing from about 6% now to 16% by the end of 2012.

I actually think this estimate is low.
As DVR saturation grows, more DVR savvy users will begin to watch more and more recorded content, rather than live TV.
But even at 16%, that's a heck of a lot of people to potentially leave clueless by not reaching them with the EBS broadcasts.

#19 OFFLINE   jacksonm30354

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 03:14 PM

I am not sure why the emergency alert radio would not suffice. They may say weather radios but they are actually for all emergencies. I get child abduction alarms all the time.

#20 OFFLINE   houskamp

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 03:16 PM

So, question: How many people have checked outside due to weather warning on a recording? :lol:

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