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why is US switing from analog to digital Tv transmissions in '09?

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High Def, better quality digital even w/o HD, more channels, freeing up bandwith to resell for billions. Need more?

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High Def, better quality digital even w/o HD, more channels, freeing up bandwith to resell for billions.

Of course, only the latter part is relevant for imposing the new system by law. Technical progress should be capable of imposing itself on the market, if the consumers want it. That is the tricky part of the issue.

I wonder what will happen if FM radio is abolished by law in Europe, in 2012 (if it is not delayed again). Almost nobody is interested in digital radio and wants to replace all the old analog radios. In fact almost nody knows what digital radio is.

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so digital transmissions go by cable and not by air? is that it?

I don't know about the US, but in Europe, digital TV will go by cable, satellite and air (DVB-C, DVB-S and DVB-T).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DVB

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I may be wrong, but it seems that when the Telecommunications Act of 1995 was passed, Clinton made no bones about the reason behind the switch, which was in order to give Japan a "pay back" of sorts during a time when U.S./Japanese relations were soured. It dates back to the "format wars" between VHS and Betamax, which ultimately ended up with the technically inferior VHS the victor. The VHS format was owned by RCA, and Betamax by Sony. Here's where I'm especially fuzzy on the details, but somehow Japan has a vested interested in some technology involved in digital television, so passing this bill was essentially offering the Japanese an economic windfall at the expense of people like myself who barely watch television, as it is, and are perfectly content with analog television. My feeling has always been that whenever the switchover takes place, I'm going to just switch off, for good.

Let me reiterate, however, that my memory of this issue is quite fuzzy and some of the details may be incorrect. I was not able to find any information online to back this up, though I didn't spend a great deal of time searching. Regardless, the old saying "follow the money" is certainly applicable here.

Edited by Frankie Machine

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We will all need to buy new TVs at some point whether we want to or not. Gee whiz, could that be a motivating factor for the switch?

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Pre digital: about 10 channels, lots of good stuff to watch.

Digital: about 1000 channels, diddly worth watching, turn TV off and put on some sounds.

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We will all need to buy new TVs at some point whether we want to or not.

No, only a set top box (less than $100) will be necessary in order to receive digital TV. A new TV set is only necessary if you want to benefit from HDTV quality.

Edited by Claude

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If I remember correctly, it's an issue of bandwidth and revenue...

They can transmit 100's and 100's of channels digitally using about HALF the amount of bandwidth needed currently for just ONE analog channel. (Or something like that, I can't remember the exact figures.)

By going digital, the FCC can then auction off the use of 95% of the current bandwidth required by all of the analog stations. I seem to remember this was expected to be a windfall for the government in terms of a close to a billion dollars or more in revenue.

That, and you really do get far better picture quality (not that I care). Also, they can transmit several lesser-quality channels (in terms of video quality), in the same space needed by just one HD channel. PBS, for instance, is likely to have one big HD line-up of programming in the evenings, but then something like 4 separate non-HD channels during non-primetime hours, all with different programming.

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If I remember correctly, it's an issue of bandwidth and revenue...

They can transmit 100's and 100's of channels digitally using about HALF the amount of bandwidth needed currently for just ONE analog channel. (Or something like that, I can't remember the exact figures.)

By going digital, the FCC can then auction off the use of 95% of the current bandwidth required by all of the analog stations. I seem to remember this was expected to be a windfall for the government in terms of a close to a billion dollars or more in revenue.

That, and you really do get far better picture quality (not that I care). Also, they can transmit several lesser-quality channels (in terms of video quality), in the same space needed by just one HD channel. PBS, for instance, is likely to have one big HD line-up of programming in the evenings, but then something like 4 separate non-HD channels during non-primetime hours, all with different programming.

Great. Five times as many pledge drives. :rolleyes:

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We will all need to buy new TVs at some point whether we want to or not.

No, only a set top box (less than $100) will be necessary in order to receive digital TV. A new TV set is only necessary if you want to benefit from HDTV quality.

They're estimating now that the digital converters will cost from $30-50 and the gov't has pledged 2 $40 rebate coupons to each family in the U.S. So the cost outlay to consumers should be minimal. As for the tech itself, I haven't met a single person who hasn't been impressed by the quality of high def.

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They're estimating now that the digital converters will cost from $30-50 and the gov't has pledged 2 $40 rebate coupons to each family in the U.S. So the cost outlay to consumers should be minimal.

But the cost outlay to taxpayers won't be...

Guy

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I don't have cable.

Can I still get by with just the converter?

Bertrand.

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I don't know how this is being implemented in the US, but there is digital TV over satellite and terrestrial transmission.

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I assume in the end satellite is the only option... really ugly things going on here, consumer protection offices had to step in (they asked 300€ or something crazy for these boxes, argumenting with the small size of the swiss market - as if that kind of thing wasn't globalized anyway).

Provider(s? is there more than one big one operating in Switzerland, I don't know for sure) take down tv and radio channels and narrow the analogue offer more and more, sort of forcing people to go digital... or buy a satellite and be done with all the provider's crap for some years...

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yeah, sure, but as long as some radio stations still offer live jazz broadcasts, I am still interested in that part... and digital there is only an option if transmitted @ 320 or higher, I think... and there are many doing 192, too (that applies to sat as well, it seems).

most folks screw quality but not tv, I guess...

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I really object to having to pay any amount of money, no matter how small, in order to pick up local (commercially sponsored) television. I haven't had cable television in 5 or 6 years, and I've gone through periods of several years at a time where the only television I watched was college football games. I could care less about the quality of high def.; I have a cheap, bulky off-brand CRT television set with a set of rabbit ears that I use to pick up maybe six channels tops, on a good day. It suits my needs just fine; never has the thought occured to me that I need better picture quality. I just don't invest much time in looking at the thing; I'd much rather listen to music and read. But I should be able to turn the thing on and watch the local news without it costing me a cent. For those of us who don't need $5K flat screen TVs and 300 channels of shit, this is a raw deal.

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It's primarily a bandwidth issue. The FCC has been pressured quite a bit by folks who need more bandwidth--cellphone providers, people with all kinds of wireless shemes--to do something about the large amount of bandwidth currently taken up by analog TV signals.

See image here.

(AM, which also takes up quite a bit, is less desirable for technical reasons, I believe)

By switching to digital, they'll be able to jam a whole load of higher-quality signals into a much smaller bandwidth and then auction of the remaining unassigned bandwidth to folks with other ideas.

FM radio doesn't take up that much space and (my bet is) probably won't be forced to go give up its analog signal for some time to come.

As with every change, some people will lose out. I can't find my favorite brand of big salty pretzels here, anymore. Raw deal for me, business as usual for Frito-Lay, which seized its shelf-space.

--eric

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this is a raw deal.

When the time comes, I'll loan you the ten bucks... :rolleyes:

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i can honestly say that HD is not that great. I've seen it and I dont get why people shit their pants over it.

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i can honestly say that HD is not that great. I've seen it and I dont get why people shit their pants over it.

Unless you're watching on a very small set, my experience is just the opposite - it's a dramatic difference to me and most. Hate to say it, but are you set up correctly?

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