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I like to watch TV or Why are we switching to DTV?

televisionI think it’s one of the dumbest moves ever:

Why are we switching to DTV?

An important benefit of the switch to all-digital broadcasting is that it will free up parts of the valuable broadcast spectrum for public safety communications (such as police, fire departments, and rescue squads). Also, some of the spectrum will be auctioned to companies that will be able to provide consumers with more advanced wireless services (such as wireless broadband).

Consumers also benefit because digital broadcasting allows stations to offer improved picture and sound quality, and digital is much more efficient than analog. For example, rather than being limited to providing one analog program, a broadcaster is able to offer a super sharp “high definition” (HD) digital program or multiple “standard definition” (SD) digital programs simultaneously through a process called “multicasting.” Multicasting allows broadcast stations to offer several channels of digital programming at the same time, using the same amount of spectrum required for one analog program. So, for example, while a station broadcasting in analog on channel 7 is only able to offer viewers one program, a station broadcasting in digital on channel 7 can offer viewers one digital program on channel 7-1, a second digital program on channel 7-2, a third digital program on channel 7-3, and so on. This means more programming choices for viewers.

That reads like gibberish to me. But, I’m sure it makes sense to someone out there. OK — I lied; I get it. But it still doesn’t make sense with the current economic climate.  Who makes watching television difficult just when life is REALLY difficult?

Maybe it doesn’t seem important in the grand scheme of things.  But, I’m curious about how many people are going to be taken by surprise on February 17th.  How many people are going to come home from work (if they HAVE work) and find zzzzzzz.

Nothing on TV.

(This is an Open Thread)

41 Responses

  1. Heh

    Maybe some of them can be weaned off being media zombies. It may be a blessing in disguise. Without KO to give them their opinion they may actually have to form their own opinions.

    It should be interesting.

  2. I turned off the TV when the MSM started bashing Hillary. I haven’t missed it a bit. The GF has turned it on a couple of times to watch the “Girls Next Door”. I haven’t watched TV news for a year.

  3. I’m buying a big, honkin’ TV for the basement this week just in time for the Superbowl, which the Stillers are going to win so you Arizona people might as well get over it now.
    I’m looking for a big honkin’ TV stand right at this very second. Linnarp by Ikea is looking like a winner.

  4. RD,
    Get to the important stuff, what will you be serving for food during the Super Bowl? mmmmmmmmmm yummy, yummy food it’s the best part of football.

  5. Pretty TV stand

  6. I regularly read fiction & non-fiction and news. I’m not going to apologize for liking television. I watched the first part of The Last Templar with Mira Sorvino and really enjoyed it. Tonight’s the last half and I’ll be watching it too.

    I love popular culture — the saddest time of my life (in MANY ways) were the years I spent without a television in the house. After 10 years, I finally rebelled and bought a tiny black and white television. And happily watched The Scarecrow & Mrs. King & Moonlighting.

    Do you wanna make something of it?

  7. We got a similar stand at Ikea a few years back – sturdy and looks good – have fun this weekend with your new TV.

  8. SHV: Who needs to watch the news? It’s propaganda 24/7. I used to rely on The News Hour then they brought in Brooks and Shields and couldn’t take it anymore.

  9. I watched it too Katiebird – it got pretty sinister towards the end of the first half – I’ll dvr it tonight as we want to see the new Closer episode.

  10. How many people still use rabbit ears? They’re the only ones who’ll end up without a signal on Feb 17th. And it’s not like this is a new development – people have had years to get ready. I hardly watch television and even I’ve seen the commercials announcing the switch to digital. In the larger scheme of things I’m not sure I can work up enough sympathy for people who find they can’t watch Oprah anymore. Maybe Barky can do the switch for them, right after he pays their rent, and fills up their car tank.

  11. DYB, I think a lot of people will be giving up Pay TV in the next year. But, it’s not just about them. It’s about older people who don’t feel as comfortable with wires and hookups as we are.

  12. I still use rabbit ears. Haven’t had cable since the 70’s. Comcast is a rip-off. I have my converter boxes, but fear I will not get much of a signal here among the mountains. I will miss TV, but I think digital is a great idea.

  13. Since this is an open thread I thought people might be interested to know that Thomas has the results up of the Senate vote on Geithner. Unfortunately, Geithner was confirmed (another case, IMO, of “it’s okay to break the law if you’re in government”). But, most interesting to me was that Feingold voted *against* Geithner.

    Feingold has occasionally driven the fauxgressives crazy in the past by voting for certain appointments that liberals felt were questionable. His expressed opinion has been that the President should have wide latitude in appointments, regardless of who is President. It strikes me as significant, therefore, that Feingold voted against Geithner–especially with the appointment requested by a Democratic President. (Sanders, Byrd and Harkin were other Dems who voted against Geithner; Brown and Wyden didn’t vote.)

  14. Although I have a flat screen TV for DVD watching, I don’t have cable (worthless stations and why pay for non-stop advertising, they should pay me to watch), but did buy a converter for a little color analog TV I have.

    Without cable, I didn’t get any decent reception. I bought some rabbit ears. That gave me one station with noise. With the digital converter, I get incredible reception on the stations that are digital. I watched PBS last night and watched a little of 60 Minutes, the first time in years. It would be nice to see it clearly after the conversion.

    BTW, Andy Rooney thinks everyone must like the new prez, or they’d be dumping on him like some always do on a new prez. I thought how the racial advantage works here. Any dislike of the man or his policies is interpreted as a slur on his African genes, not his “Kansas/Hawaiian” genes, and the messenger is perceived as a racist.

  15. I count Sanders as a Dem because he caucuses with the Dems.

  16. I love the new digital! I have my converter and get around 12 channels and with clarity like satellite! I will not pay to watch tv otherwise.

  17. grayslady, Confirming Geithner definitely sends the signal that cheating on your taxes is nothing to get excited about. Integrity is so passe.

  18. Katiebird – I finished a post – when would it be a good time to publish since this is an open thread and all….

  19. My local NBC affiliate has been featuring a little bit of BO each evening for our watching pleasure. He took his first ride in Air Force One; I’m sure everyone is dying to know. I’m thinking of starting a Prezy’s Album. I want shots of his taking his first unassisted step, and I can’t wait until he’s eating solid food.

  20. katiebird, on January 26th, 2009 at 7:11 pm Said:

    DYB, I think a lot of people will be giving up Pay TV in the next year. But, it’s not just about them. It’s about older people who don’t feel as comfortable with wires and hookups as we are

  21. We are switching to digital so the tv signal will not be effected when electric companies and co-ops start using unshielded overhead wire to transmit broadband internet. Catch a Whirlpool ad for appliances that you can program thru the AC electrical outlet.

    Besides, digital tv is where it’s at………bread and circus’s (cicuses? circeese? circuss? help?)

  22. Aw shucks, no one here.

    K-bird, I’ll post it, but let me know if you want me to take it down, ok?

  23. OK…(hopefully katiebird agrees)

    NEW POST ???

  24. Rich, I love BAR. This is why I gave up all TV 5 years ago:

    “Broadcasters have no idea how they will fill the extra channels they’ll get on February 18, 2009,” Communications Workers of America’s Carrie Biggs-Adams told BAR. They don’t have the content and they don’t have a clue. There are only so many reruns, reality shows and home shopping networks.”

  25. ok so what is so bad about comming home and not finding KO Tweety Or Jack Cafferty on TV?

    I would rather watch static….

    NO Kathy Griffin? Now them is fighting words

  26. Purplefinn: “Confirming Geithner definitely sends the signal that cheating on your taxes is nothing to get excited about. Integrity is so passe.”


  27. “Synchronicity strikes again!” (see below). Interesting to read these commentaries on the role of TV in your daily existence. Perhaps someone can make some recommendations, be they ethical, or heck, consumer picks!

    Yesterday, I tried to turn on my 31″ 1997 Zenith TV (manually)* in the living room, to no avail. The on/off switch doesn’t work. Believe that’s what I replaced about 4 years ago, but it cost $200, and weighs a ton when hauling. Thus, I’m left with 14″ 1990 Sharp portable back in the bedroom that needs a converter box to get all the cable channels I subscribe to now. Can just pull the box from the LR to BR. Otherwise, I can look forward to getting rid of the big old box, and upgrading to HDTV, but here’s the moral dilemma…

    Should I invest in a new TV, or can I use the fact of the main one out as an opportunity to boycott more of the MSM, and be less TV dependent, etc.? Would limiting, or eliminating my TV watching make me a more enlightened being? And yet, if we’re on the Internet, aren’t we similarly screen-dependent?

    Another reality: Along with many of us here, I’m already much more selective in TV news watching ever since the Primaries. And gosh darned, I do enjoy a good movie! If company comes, they expect a TV to be available (whether we watch it or not). Note: I have friends – couples – who ban TV from their homes; they read alot, write notes and letters with old fashioned fountain pens (no kidding) or are on the Internet – albeit a different screen – often watching You Tube, too.

    Alas, I’m on my own, and understand the social comment made way back at the advent of commercial TV: It’s one of the greatest cures for loneliness.

    Agree with this curious Universal Phenomenon – you can have oodles of channels, but still find nothing worth watching on television.

    So much for the ethical debate – anyone bought a good HDTV lately? 32″ – 40″ would be my size and price range. Pains me to think of spending close to $1k on a box, so looking for value, bargains. – thanks!

    TV Program note: Bernie Goldberg is supposed to be on Hannity tonight, and say Hillary would/should have been POTUS, if not for the MSM’s liberal bias, and favoring Obama. Don’t know if he’ll acknowledge sexism and misogyny or not. Give him credit for acknowleging the media elite bandwagon bias though, IMHO.

  28. 1) I thought they were going to postpone the digital switchover.

    2) Not that it would matter to anyone, but please do not let the salesguys at BestBuy convince you that going digital means you have to buy either flat panel TVs or TVs that provide high definition content. As DYB says above, going digital only effects rabbit year TVs, and you can buy a digital converter for those. If you have cable or satellite piping into your TV, you are fine. Finally, if you are thinking of getting a high def flat panel TV (looking at you RD), remember only 20% at best of your cable channels will have high def programming. The channels that don’t, you will have to watch on 4:3 aspect ratio while the screen will be 16:9. Basically means you will have these annoying vertical blank bars on the left and right of the picture. You can stretch the picture out horizontally to fill the entire screen space, but then everyone looks fat, including Oprah regardless of her diet strategy.

    3) There is potentially a small social/political aspect to this switch to digital. One has to look at the demographics of the people who do get their TV content with rabbit ears on their traditional CRT boxes. They are likely to skew working class and minority. Not sure anyone’s looked into that yet. Though crap content is crap, no matter how big your TV screen.

  29. Bernard Goldberg says the media trashed Hillary? How times change! Here’s an article from The Daily Howler in 2003 about Goldberg’s bashing of Hillary. And Margaret Carlson’s bashing of Hillary back in the day:

    Bernie Goldberg is up to old tricks in his clowning new pseudo-book, Arrogance. Two years ago, Goldberg clowned his way to the best-seller list with the ludicrous work he offered in Bias. And success hasn’t changed Bernie Goldberg! Consider his rage at the press corps’ great bias in favor of Hillary Clinton.

    Who is the corps’ biggest Hillary suck-up? In Arrogance, Goldberg devotes a chapter to the topic, and he makes an odd choice: Margaret Carlson. Here is the passage where he makes his award. By the way, note the rancid tone Goldberg brings to his book—a book in which he weeps and moans about the lack of polite discourse by liberals:

    GOLDBERG (page 148): Still, Nina Burleigh, Carole Simpson and even my ex-colleague Leslie Stahl all take a backseat when it comes to painting Hillary’s toenails. They are all runners-up in the “How May I Serve You, My Queen?” Sweepstakes. Because none of them—not even Newsweek contributing editor Eleanor “Rodham” Clift—can rival Margaret Carlson, who does commentary for TIME magazine (and is a regular on CNN’s Capital Gang) for sheer devotion to Ms. Hillary. If they gave out Nobel Prizes for Hillary-gushing, Margaret Carlson would be on her way to Stockholm.

    Like many other Angry Male Pundits, Bernie Goldberg has a hard time being polite to liberal or mainstream female journalists. The name-calling is quite frequent, as are the lightly sexist remarks. But then, feminists are truly the source of all evil. “It is no coincidence that the beginning of the collapse of the old [New York] Times standards coincided almost exactly with the rise of the liberation movements of the last sixties and early seventies, particularly feminism,” Goldberg writes. So don’t be surprised when he invents mocking names for Clift—and when he invents silly tales about Carlson.

    At any rate, Goldberg says that Margaret Carlson is the Mother of All Hillary-Gushers. Here at THE HOWLER, we found this odd, because we had recently noted Carlson’s exuberant bashing of Clinton. Carlson’s autobiography, Anyone Can Grow Up, appeared in your bookstores just last spring. In it, Carlson trashes the Clintons up and down, and yes, that includes her Queen Hillary. In her book, Carlson makes it sound as if Hillary’s friend, Vincent Foster, blamed the Clintons in his suicide note. And she offers mocking, foolish accounts of Hillary Clinton’s conduct and character (links below). Soon after we reviewed Carlson’s book, we also noted the mocking comments aimed at the Clintons when Carlson appeared on Charlie Rose (link below). If you want to retain an ounce of respect for Rose, we suggest you avoid our report.

    Yep! When Margaret Carlson wrote her life story, she filled it with mocking attacks on Hillary. But Goldberg tells readers that Carlson would win the “Nobel Prize for Hillary-gushing!” How did Goldberg reach such a judgment? Unsurprisingly, when we looked at his “evidence,” we found the same sort of insolent clowning that made his previous book such a sick joke.

    On what basis does Goldberg award his prize? He clips three quotes from Carlson’s writing—quotes designed to show what a Hill Shill she is. But alas! Although Bernie is much too slick to tell you, two of the quotes come from profiles in early 1993—profiles written at a time when controversies about Hillary Clinton had barely begun. Even there, Goldberg has to fake his second quote, eliminating material—without an ellipsis—that wasn’t sufficiently positive. But how fake and phony is Bernie Goldberg? Here is the third quote he cites to show what a shill Carlson is:

    GOLDBERG (page 148): And on the new Clinton home in Washington, Margaret Carlson offers this: “Secluded and quietly elegant, it has a spectacular garden in the back, with a poll tucked in among hundred-year-old trees…Hillary wanted an instant Washington salon, as grand as her health care plan, with as many rooms as her ambition.” [Goldberg’s ellipsis]

    Of course, if you’ve followed the Hillary critique, you’ll know that references to her health care plan and her massive ambition are rarely intended as flattery. In fact, this quote comes from a piece Carlson wrote in January 2001, just as the Clintons were leaving the White House. Needless to say, the piece was far from flattering. Here’s one representative excerpt:

    CARLSON: Although the Clintons can’t take the butlers with them, they may well be taking the things that caused them so much trouble. Each Clinton has a character flaw that gets in the other’s way. His is a sloppy self-indulgence. Hers is a haughty grandiosity—the tendency to think that because she is devoted to doing good, she is also entitled to do well. Biographer David Maraniss reports how she complained about not having a pool at the Governor’s house in Little Rock. There wasn’t a lot of surprise in Arkansas over the disclosure of her shady cattle-futures investment or their Whitewater deal.

    Goldberg—playing his readers for fools—clips a quote from an unflattering piece about Hillary’s “haughty grandiosity.” Incredibly, he tells readers that this very piece shows us that Carlson is Hillary Clinton’s biggest suck-up! According to Goldberg, this unflattering exit profile showed us Carlson’s “sheer devotion to Ms. Hillary.”

    It’s hard to find polite English words to describe Goldberg’s utter contempt for his readers—or to describe his contempt for American democracy, which he’s determined to shit on again. All this week, we’ll showcase his clowning. But the question must be asked: This time around, will Goldberg’s reviewers tell their readers just how badly they’re being misled? Will TV pundits—Chris Matthews, for example—dare to tell their trusting viewers that Bernie Goldberg is at it again?


  30. I’m in moderation at 7:55

  31. To me FOX news is the most fair and informative. Is this true or am I totally missing it?

  32. I have a 50” flat plasma in my NYC apartment. Hey, why not! and I tend to watch television stretched out. It’s bad to have the bars on plasma for long periods of time because of risk of burn-in. So I don’t know what Gene Rayburn and Brett Sommers and Fannie Flagg actually looked like.

    More and more channels are offering HD versions of their programming, although it doesn’t mean your cable company will feature those channels, at least you might have to wait. And you have to pay extra to your cable company to get HD channels.

  33. Yes, I’ve experienced the burn-in too DYB. Wife does not mind watching people look wider than they actually are, I do. We argue about this alot. In the long run, if you must to flat, LCD is the better way to go than Plasma. Prices are running pretty much the same these days for equivalent sizes of both technologies. LCDs also eats less power, which makes Al Gore happy.

  34. IS there anything on TV worth watching? I’ve never owned a TV. I never seem to have the money, time, or space for one.

    But I do have books, computer, sound system, iPod.

  35. Betty,

    I don’t find any of the News outlets fair or balanced, that includes FOX News. I agreed with their position this cycle. I still understand that they lied through their teeth during the Bush admin though.

  36. Puma
    I enjoy, Heroes, as do our children. The hubby is a Burn Notice fan. House and Monk are pretty entertaining. For background noise I will watch HGTV or Food Network.

    We’d probably get rid of the TV if our cable modem wasn’t included in the package. I’m not sure I would survive without a computer anymore(I still laugh because hubby practically had to twist my arm to get our first one).

  37. ThreeWickets> I settled on plasma because I think the picture quality on it is better than LCD. And being a movie buff with a huge DVD (and now blu-ray collection) I find that trumped everything else. On TV it rather depends on what I’d be watching. The thing with most of what I watch coming through my cable box – it doesn’t matter if “The Match Game” is stretched. If I was watching a movie (I have no premium film channels) I’m sure I’d switch to regular mode. I certainly watch my DVDs and blu-ray in their proper aspect ratios. And burn in is not the issue today it once was. I think you’d now have to have a steady image for abut 8 hours before it burned in. But I haven’t tested that theory. When I watch a 2:35 film I find that I have slight burn in on top and bottom for a short while, but it flushes away when I turn on cable with a moving image all over the screen.

    Is there no moderator here? I still have a post in moderation at 7:55 which quotes from an old Daily Howler post about Bernie Goldberg and his feelings about Hillary Clinton. (Plus, Margaret Carlson’s feelings about Hillary as a bonus.)

  38. Great, now we have to flush our TVs too.. 🙂

  39. Google is part of a consortium to use some of the freed-up spectrum to create free wireless broadband internet access.

    Add in $100 to $200 netbooks, and the internet will be available to almost everyone.

    Carolyn Kay

  40. Two things –
    1. They are switching to digital to data mine.
    2. Contrary to what the commercials say – your TV doesn’t “quit working” – how stupid is that to say that? It will still turn on – the pic will be fuzz.

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