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  #1  
Old 02-09-2006, 01:29 PM
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korben_dallas korben_dallas is offline
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Post Feb 17 2009 - Bye bye analog broadcast tv

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"President Bush on Wednesday signed into law a bill that sets Feb. 17, 2009 as the last day that U.S. broadcasters can continue to transmit analog signals. The law sets aside $1.5 billion to help people buy settop converters if they do not own digital TV sets by then. The current analog broadcast spectrum will be auctioned to wireless broadband providers. The Consumer Electronics Assn. hailed the president's action as an "important milestone" and called for "all industries involved in this transition ... to educate consumers about this exciting new era in television."


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Washington (DC) - With the signing into law of the budget reconciliation bill today, the 17 February 2009 "hard date" for the transition of US commercial analog television broadcasting, is now fixed in stone. Unless Congress would like to start the whole debate over again (it has before), the end of VHF and most of UHF is at hand.

Getting off one final shot, National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO David K. Rehr applauded the bill's signing, saying, "We have crossed an important threshold." Praising Congress for adopting several pro-consumer measures in the final legislation, Rehr fired off, "We're encouraged that the bill thwarted cable industry attempts to degrade the quality of HDTV pictures to consumers." However, the final legislation in HR 4241 made no mention of whether to extend the "must-carry" requirement that cable operators must carry broadcast signals over their services, in the wake of enhancements to digital signals that enable up to four "sub-channels" per channel. Separate legislation to tackle this issue may be forthcoming.
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  #2  
Old 02-09-2006, 02:18 PM
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Cable will most likely have to move over to fiber optic after all fiber link offer over 1,000 times more bandwidth and over 100 times further distances over Coax.
But there a chance that Cable operators may move to MPEG-4 (H.264) like the Satellite operators are start to do after lower bandwidth mean more channel and still keep High Quality Picture at about 40 to 60% less bandwidth.
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  #3  
Old 02-09-2006, 07:05 PM
ldavis ldavis is offline
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OK, to me it is great news that the digital revolution is pushing forward. However, I have gt to rant a little about this quote
Quote:
The law sets aside $1.5 billion to help people buy settop converters if they do not own digital TV sets by then.
Now by 2009 the price of these boxes will be $50 and probably less. Do we really need to buy that many boxes (30 million if my math is right). Where is watching TV a right. Glad to see my tax dollars at work.
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  #4  
Old 02-09-2006, 09:41 PM
stevech stevech is offline
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somehow, out of the demise of free broadcast TV, I think we'll all see double the cost for minimal cable and satellite TV service.

Because they can.
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  #5  
Old 02-09-2006, 11:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevech
out of the demise of free broadcast TV
Broadcast TV will still be free. You will be required to purchase a digital tv or digital converter set top box. This is no different than being responsible for purchasing your current analog TV and analog antenna.

Heck, they're even subsidizing 1.5 billion dollars, so you may get the set top box for free.
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  #6  
Old 02-10-2006, 01:14 AM
ke6guj ke6guj is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ldavis
Now by 2009 the price of these boxes will be $50 and probably less. Do we really need to buy that many boxes (30 million if my math is right). Where is watching TV a right. Glad to see my tax dollars at work.
They can justify funding the $1.5 billion due to the fact that once the TV stations digital transition is complete, they have to give back the analog frequency back to the FCC. The FCC will then auction off the analog spectrum for stuff like cellular, pagers, radio services, etc. There will be more than enough revenue to fund the $1.5 billion.
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  #7  
Old 02-10-2006, 07:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by korben_dallas
Heck, they're even subsidizing 1.5 billion dollars, so you may get the set top box for free.
Actually the stuff I've read expect the boxes to be $80 and their subsidy will be a $50 coupon to buy one. They aren't actually sending you the box. So anyone that wants a box will still spend some money out of pocket. It probably won't be tax free either, so tack on another few bucks.
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  #8  
Old 02-10-2006, 02:06 PM
stevech stevech is offline
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the two reasons I don't have a set top box (cable box) are
1. Content. What I get now with extended basic cable is more than adequate.
2. Slow channel surfing. Last time I had a box, the time to change channels was like 3 seconds. My wife jumps from one show to another, esp. during commercials and she much prefers the near-instantaneous switch in analog cable. Is still the case today?

We're not into HD - again, due to content.
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  #9  
Old 02-10-2006, 03:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevech
somehow, out of the demise of free broadcast TV, I think we'll all see double the cost for minimal cable and satellite TV service.

Because they can.
The sad thing is there's almost nothing worth watching on OTA TV.

The other sad thing is that building our own PCs for use as DVRs will be illegal after the transtion to all digital. Only approved, licensed complete PCs will have ability to use DCAS (replacement for Cable Card), at least that's how the article below makes it sound.

http://arstechnica.com/guides/other/cablecard.ars

The good news, if there is any, is that three years is almost an eternity in the tech industry so anything could still happen.

As for the cost of cable, it will double anyway because there is no effective competition.

You have to remember that the rules are written by the monopolies. The FCC is just as corrupt as Congress.
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  #10  
Old 02-10-2006, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith
The sad thing is there's almost nothing worth watching on OTA TV.
Interesting, almost everything I watch is on channels that are "available" OTA. Unfortunatly I'm far enough that reception would require a 15' antenna on my roof and still would be pushing it.

Quote:
The other sad thing is that building our own PCs for use as DVRs will be illegal after the transtion to all digital. Only approved, licensed complete PCs will have ability to use DCAS (replacement for Cable Card), at least that's how the article below makes it sound.
This may not be the case with DirecTV as they haven't released any details as to how their tuners will be available. They did say later this year, so I'm hopeful that it coinsides with the release of cablecard.

There are also conflicting reports about if it will be available to homebrews. Since ATI has plans of a retail release of their tuner I'd say that at the very least we'll see some sort of hack, be it software or hardware to make the pc think it's not homebrew.
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  #11  
Old 02-10-2006, 04:58 PM
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The thing you have to remember about Cable Card, is that you can't just go get one and plug it in - a tech has to come out to your house to enable it - for a hefy service fee. And if you replace the tuner card, the Cable Card will have to be re-activated. For another hefty service fee.

So a multi tuner box will set you back $40 per Cable Card plus the monthly *rental* fees for the card(s).

Feels like we're going backwards in time rather than forward.

It's getting to where it may be easier/cheaper to just rent a multi-channel DVR from Comcast (shudder at the thought). But then that's really the point, isn't it. That's what "they" want us to do. And they're using all their muscle to force us to that point. That and "Viiv"...

I really hope Sage can find some powerful lobbying friends.

Keep an eye on the litigation situation in France...let's hope it sets some good precedents (P2P content sharing has been ruled legal in France - so if sharing shows is legal then there may be grounds for class action suits against copy protection schemes like cable card, DCAS, etc..but then I'm probably hoping for too much). I don't care about downloading or sharing, what I want is an end to the madness with digital cable. </end rant>
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  #12  
Old 02-10-2006, 06:10 PM
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Cable companies will not be running fiber to houses anytime soon. Once analog goes out the window, they can consolodate almost 600+ Mhz of bandwidth down to just 100 Mhz (6 digital channels fit in 1 analog channel). Then they'll have an insane amount of bandwith left over for HDTV and Docsis 3.0 (100+ Mbs downloads) which will make for a fantastic viewing/dowloading experience without laying any new cable or buying any new test equipment.
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  #13  
Old 02-10-2006, 06:16 PM
stevech stevech is offline
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The whole cable infrastructure is based on almost no upstream bandwidth.
A few MHz around 30MHz. Bi-directional amps throughout the system are locked into this paradigm.
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  #14  
Old 02-10-2006, 07:55 PM
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This legislation gets rid of analog "Broadcast". This does not change anything in terms of analog cable. The cable company can continue to transmit the majority of there progams in analog form...I have digital cable but only select channels are actually digital. The cable companies can even down convert the digital to analog. In fact the cable company can even down convert the local broadcasters digital stations to analog so that you can still watch your locals on a cable ready TV. Now the odds are that Cable companies will use it as an excuse to get rid of analog cable all together an force all there customers to use set top boxes.

John
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