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Reply #143: The bulk of the OP has been debunked [View All]

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onenote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-23-08 10:28 AM
Response to Reply #116
143. The bulk of the OP has been debunked
Edited on Wed Jan-23-08 10:37 AM by onenote
The author of the OP has admitted that the OP was incorrect in claiming that "real" reason for the digital transition is to give the govt the ability to pull the plug on tv and to faciliate DRM. But the author of the OP claims that nothing else in the OP has been debunked. Not so. TO review:

The "gist" of the OP is that the "only" message that the government is giving the public "ad nauseum" is that the digital transition is occurring because digital tv is so awesome, so much better.

Well, that's not what the government is saying, as has been pointed out. The FCC's website explains the DTV transition as having multiple benefits, starting off with making spectrum available for public safety and noting as well the improved picture and multicasting capabilities. (

NTIA, the government agency in charge of the converter coupon program offers a shorter, but similar explanation on its website: " What is the digital television transition?At midnight on February 17, 2009, all full-power television stations in the United States will stop broadcasting in analog and switch to 100% digital broadcasting. Digital broadcasting promises to provide a clearer picture and more programming options and will free up airwaves for use by emergency responders."

As for the ads that the OP cites, I don't know precisely what ads are being referred to, but the suggestion that they are government-produced is wrong. To my knowledge there are no government produced television ads relating to the transition. The ads I've seen have either been produced by the National Cable and Telecommunications Assn or by the National Assoc. of Broadcasters. The cable ads, not surprisingly, focus principally on the fact that if you have cable, you don't need to worry about the transition. The NAB ads focus on the improved picture quality that comes with digital, which is hardly surprising since, from their perspective, the public safety etc. issues are not relevant -- all they care about is ensuring that they don't lose audience because of the transition.

I should add that these ads are being run voluntarily -- there is no government mandate for the broadcasters, cable, or consumer electronics manufacturers/retailers to run ads at this point. The FCC is considering a proposal that would impose a "consumer education" mandate on these industries, but has not yet adopted it. WHile something will be adopted relatively shortly, I suspect, the reason it hasn't come out yet is that there are concerns about the extent that the FCC, consistent with the First Amendment, can dictate to private business when and how they have to promote the digital transition.

So, basically, the OP has been debunked in large part. Other statements in this thread have also been debunked, such as the claim that the transition is a bushco plot (its origins date back to the formation of the Advanced Television Systems Committee in 1982; the legislation mandating the transition from analog to digital first was enacted in 1997; other countries, including Germany, Japan, and the UK, are all in the midst of their own digital transitions). Also debunked -- the claim that the reclaimed spectrum is being given away to big corporations. The only spectrum that is being "given away" is a portion of the spectrum that is being reallocated for use by public safety providers. Other portions of the reclaimed spectrum are being auctioned -- not given away -- with the proceeds of the auction largely added to the federal treasury (but with a portion earmarked for use in paying for the coupon program). Another bit of misinformation: the converter boxes will cost a lot of money. In fact, one manufacturer already has announced that its going to make the boxes available for $39.95 --- so they'll be free to consumers with coupons.

All of that being said, I should add that those posters (and I'm one of them) that have pointed out that the transition is likely to be a mess are almost certainly correct. The 90 day expiration period for the coupons and the inherent difficulty of communicating with those most in need of information about the transition: the poor, elderly and non-English speaking, guarantees that achieving a smooth transition is all but impossible.

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