Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The switch to digital

I'm sure by now everyone has heard about the "switch to digital" -- TV stations will be turning off their analog signal and broadcasting only a digital signal after February of 2009 (ostensibly, so that we all get "better" picture and sound quality, but in reality, so that they can make more money.) If you already have digital cable or a digital TV, you won't even notice a difference, but for people like me who don't subscribe to cable and whose TV set was purchased in the early 1990s, it will mean losing our signal unless we purchase a "converter box."

So, if I still want to watch TV after February, I'm going to have to shell out money: either I'll have to replace our perfectly functional TV set, subscribe to digital cable (no way), or buy a converter box (the cheapest ones I've seen run about $46.00). The federal government is offering $40 coupons, for every household in the USA, towards the purchase of converter boxes. I don't know if it's more disturbing that the government has decided we must all watch digital TV, or that they're going to subsidize the switch. The same entity that refuses to provide health care to its citizens will happily assist us in converting our TVs, because as we all know, TV is much more important than our health and well-being. Kids in schools don't have all the supplies they need, there aren't enough police on the streets, the soldiers fighting in Iraq don't have the proper protective gear, but by god, the people will have their TV!

I'm certainly not ready to give up TV completely; I do enjoy watching House and Grey's Anatomy, and I watch the news each night. However, I can get all those programs online, in their entirety, without upgrading anything. I'm perfectly okay if my TV just becomes something on which to watch DVDs and play video games. It's certainly more appealing to me than spending $46 to upgrade my set (or asking the government for TV assistance.)

Matt, on the other hand, says we should just suck it up, get the coupon, and buy the converter box... he doesn't want to miss the Sunday afternoon Phillies games ;)

5 comments:

Rach said...

You know I'm in the boat with you on this one, dear. I can certainly go full days or an entire weekend without turning the tv on (I'm often just not home, but even if I am...), and it does annoy me that this is a gov't-sanctioned and -subsidized thing. Supply and demand. I don't know the minority percentage (of those without cable, that is), but I am sure the majority of those people will buy the box and *suck it up*. My parents will use the vouchers, but, then, they're home more often than not in the daytime and evenings when my dad isn't working and like to watch the news and whatever sports come on "regular" tv. If I can get a voucher, I suppose I'll do it so I, too, can view baseball and football in the comfort of my own home. While it's not high on my list of priorities, I don't like it. People have ribbed me for years (YOU DON'T HAVE CABLE???) but my response is always, "If you pay for it for me, I'll have it."

And, just to give a little bit of perspective - if I've never mentioned this before - the English pay a tv tax.

Misty said...

yep... exactly.
my argument was for the healthcare thing too. funny our priorities...
Psssh...

Lauren J said...

I hadn't thought about the absurdity of the government subsidizing digital, but you are 100% right!

Ty-Anna said...

hadn't given it any thought at all...pretty much ignored the whole thing. But you have a very valid point! - This bugs me...

Anne said...

Hmmmm....healthcare, television...healthcare, televisions...you mean, you don't think they hold the same importance? lol! These are the times I just shake my head and say, "oh, what a world!"