Tomorrow is the day. No more Rabbit ears TV reception without a funky digital box. It is a serious move. Some reports put the number of families that will be without TV tomorrow at 2 million. Actually I view that as a low ball number. There are many households that have a TV set or two that is not hooked up to the cable, it sits in the basement, the family room, the kitchen. As of midnight tomorrow, they are useless.

The subject of moving on air TV to digital makes little sense to most of us. There are huge bands in the radio/tv world that a underutilized. Of course this move has a political and economic aspect to it. By forcing this change, an entire generation of TV sets are rendered obsolete.

How long before they decide that digital radio is the way to go? Lets get rid of FM and AM radio. Just think of the money you could make with that move? Virtually every car that is more than 2 years old would be up for an upgrade. What a stimulus package!

The regular arguments put up for the move to digital are, better service, as in better reception, this signal will take less band width, and so more channels can be squished into the wavelengths available for off air broadcasts.

These are all BS. Yes digital is better than analog, yes, there is no degradation in signal, it is either as good as the original, or you don’t get it at all. Digital TV has built in a few modifications, in a nutshell, if you have crappy reception today, you will have crappy reception tomorrow.

More channels? Oh keep wishing. I have heard of no company that wants to jump into this market. Cable is the game, in fact most of the stations that offer off air would prefer not to.

So what will happen with this bandwidth that has been freed up? Nothing, absolutely nothing. The FCC will sit on it, and at some point in the future rent it out to whoever has the most dollars. The FCC themselves have a very checkered history, set up as a watchdog for consumers, it is stacked with communication big wigs, it is the golden parachute of the telecommunications world. Here is a link to an interesting book.

Simon Barrett

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