It's no secret that, over the last century, radio and TV have played a huge role in the
global culture. The United States (insert waving American flag here) pretty much
led the way in developing the technology and bringing it to the world, with
media's enlarging scope making it more democratic. Now... the U.S. is leading the
way into digital television and democracy has nothing to do with it.
Anyone who's been to an electronics store in the last several years has
probably seen the promotions that HDTV has been getting (especially leading up
to the SuperBowls). More recently have we seen the PSAs talking about the
shutoff in February next year. The day is coming! Is your TV DTV,
No. But, during CompUSA's liquidation a couple of months ago, I baught a PC
Tuner so I do technically own one (requires WinXP SP2, so it's not usable until
I upgrade a second computer). I've logged my first TV DX of 2008 and am taking
measures to monitor for ye olde analog DX as much as is practical this year...
the last season for analog DX outside of Cuban tropo and Canadian E-Skip. I'm
eager to make '08 a decent season, hopefully better than '06; unfortunately,
this year has resembled '07 up to this point... and that year was horrible.
I'm not clinging to old technology, I know things must advance and move on;
but, DXing hobby aside, I am upset at how this transition is being
handled. <rant> In democratic and free economies, consumers get to vote
with their wallets: if (digital - ooh, shiny) 8VSB outsells (analog -
politically incorrect) NTSC over a few decades, then broadcasters have little
reason to keep analog on the air and the transition occurs naturally (or, if
8VSB flops, it would have been the will of the people). Here in the United
States, lobbyists swayed the will of the FCC (whose commissioners weren't
elected by you or me) to force the transition to HDTV... to heck with the
American Public. Hard as it is to believe, not everyone can afford to go out and
buy a new plasma screen... and there are still people who use antennas (gasp).
Digital doesn't cope with weak signals as well as analog does, so some people
will lose stations regardless. And what about their emergencies and other public
interests? Ummm... tell it to the Federal Communications Commission of seventy
years ago, when those things meant something. </rant>
I'm getting one of those $40 coupons (my tax money, might as well) for a
converter box. Many in the WTFDA have successfully taken up DXing digital TV and
I've decided to give it a try... though my emphasis will remain on analog for
this year, especially E-Skip since that will never be the same anyway.
So, if your TV isn't DTV, spend your money on one right now... that's
an order from your
elected government officials and
National Assoc. of Broadcasters
Federal Communications Commission