Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Taurus, Dec 13, 2007.
"U.S. lacks plan for digital TV switch: study"
I just saw my very first PSA on TV last night informing viewers about the digital changeover. It was pretty well done, featuring an elderly woman standing next to an old 1950s style console TV, with a blank screen, explaining what would happen in 2009.
Still, I don't care how many of those PSAs they run in the next year, there are going to be a ton of technically-challenged people, especially the elderly, who are going to get caught by surprise on this, and they are going to be unhappy. My guess is the switch was planned to happen just after the '08 elections, so that unhappy TV viewers didn't rebel at the voting booths.
Maybe it's different where I live, but a vast majority of TV users in New England are getting their signals from cable. The switchover to all digital broadcasting has little to no effect on cable subscribers. It only affects anyone who watches TV over the air.
I haven't had an aerial on the roof of my house for the last 30 years and I don't intend to.
The watchdogs here have been saying the same even though we're bombarded with 'digital switchover' trailers and we've just switched off the analogue transmitter in Whitehaven, Cumbria last month.
The main issue here is the number of people who find installing and using the equipment difficult plus issues with existing antennas (condition, gain, frequency grouping etc).
HD by antenna = amazing!
I'll never pay another dime to the cable companies. My rooftop antenna and HD receiver work just fine in conjunction with my 7.1 home set up.
I've known about this change for years and have reminded family and friends about the positive aspects going digital will entail. If the Government Accountability Office is so concerned about this issue, they better get off their collective butt's and work harder. They have a little over a year to do it and it should'nt take that long.
And Congress better not even think about another postponment.
Rip off that Band-Aid. Make the switch tomorrow. Some people don't learn unless its painful.
I'm not so sure about that. I still see several issues.
First of all, where will the cable operators get their signal? Currently, the major networks are running both a digital and an analog signal. More important, many of the digital signals are widescreen in format. After the switch what will happen to the 4x3 broadcasts? If they're totally gone, there will be nothing left for the major networks but wide screen programming.
If this is true, it means that the satellite and cable broadcasters will only have the widescreen programming to provide to their customers. That would seem to indicate that all of those folks with non digital TV sets will have to watch their programming in leter boxed form. And when the broadcasters do indeed have 4x3 programming this would seem to indicate that those viewers would be getting both letter boxing and pillar boxing. Those folks with small analog TV's will be getting a postage stamp sized picture in the middle of their sets.
Of course it is possible that the new set top boxes will have the ability to zoom the picture so that it fills their screens. But if this happens, their programming will be cropped sort of like pan and scan, but most pan and scan is dynamic in that the image is constantly shifted in an attempt to convey as much of the original signail as possible. A clinical cropping will not seem to be nearly as satisfactory. Also keep in mind that since the majority of viewers still watch at 4x3, most broadcasters who put out widescreen programming are careful to frame their shots with that in mind. After the transistion, will this still be the case?
Here is another major problem as I see it. With analog, if you are in a fringe location you generally can still get a signal. Granted it may be a poor signal, but a poor signal is better than no signal. With digital, many of these fringe viewers will get nothing. I'm a prime example. I'm surely in the broadast range of many of the LA stations, but I can't get them all digitalaly to save my life. I get Channels 2,5,9,11, 28, 50, and 56, but can't get channels 4, 7, and 13 on a consistant basis. Not a big deal in my case since I have other way's of getting those channels, but many will not be able to get them after the transition.
I predict major outrage when this day finally comes. OTOH it will be a windfall of sorts for me. I have quite a few hotels who will lose their local programming unless I upgrade their head ends to get local channels from satellite.
We have the pillar boxing issue here and it sure is irritating on small 4:3 sets.
Some of our STB's (digital convertor boxes) do a full screen option for 4:3 but I find often they crop out the first few characters in captions or sports scoring so letterbox tends to better on genuine wide-screen program.
HD by antenna = "You already have a digital tuner so the switchover is not a problem"
My antenna is on the side of my house. It's a little squarish thing about 20" x 20" on an arm like satelite dishes sit on. Nobody'd know I had an antenna unless I tell 'em. Big antennas are only needed for fringe areas.
Many people still don't pay for digital cable service for all their TVs. I have four TVs, but only one has digital service. The rest of my TVs only have basic (no cable box and no digital tuner). Comcast charges by the TV for the boxes, so I'm sure there are others that are the same as I am.
Say hay! It should'a been done a few years back.
Body waxing only stings just a momennt or so....
I think that immediately after the switch is thrown all analog channels should broadcast a text and voice message explaining the change. This message should be continuously broadcast for at least a month, IMO.
Cable companies are not required to provide digital signals, only broadcasters. If you have basic cable, your provider will likely still be providing you with analog signals over your cable line. How they handle/format the local channels will be up to them, but you should still be getting them over the analog cable line.
I live in a fringe area, and had to buy one of those big *** old school looking jobs, a rotator, and even that wasn't enough. I had to add a signal amplifier, and I still occasionally loose NBC. ABC and PBS are simply unobtainable off air. I have DISH, but they have not yet offered Hi Def network broadcasts.
A friend of mine went to Best Buy to ask about the issue of she would need to watch OTA TV with an analog TV after the cut-off date. Surprise, Surprise, the associate at BB gave her incorrect information. He told my friend that the only thing she would need as a digital antannae hooked up to her analog TV, and nothing more. He said the antannae would convert the digital signals to analog. I was able to straighten that out with my friend.
I'll keep my rants about BB to myself But it's nice to know there are good persons like you to straighten a friend out. Keep up the good work
I actually had a few people tell me that they thought using a Winegard 'digital ready' antenna was all one needed to get the digital broadcasts. I'm sure when 'color' ready antennae came out some people also though their black & white TV's would get color programming.
Part of the blame has to go to Winegard and others for fairly confusing labeling on their 'digital ready' antenna boxes. Most in the know realize that all one needs is a UHF antenna to get digital broadcasts as long as they have a digital set and signal coverage. I can't think of any difference between a UHF antenna and a digital ready antenna other than the labeling.
I guess this is not too different a concept than 'digital ready' speakers.
There are DAC's for playing over the air digital tv on analog sets, yes?
Thanks for adding this. I thought this was obvious, but apparently it had to be stated clearly.
FWIW, "Digital cable" is a marketing tool. If you have a "Digital cable" package but the set-top box is hooked up using coaxial cable, you are simply tuning in a digital channel and running it through a D/A conversion. You are watching it with an analog signal (usually modulated to channel 3 or 4 on your analog set).
FWIW, I have tuned a digital 480i channel using a set-top box and sent to my old Sony digital/analog TV using both a DVI cable (digital) and a coax cable (analog) and there was no noticeable difference in the picture. 720p & 1080i is a different matter.
The switchover to digital broadcasting does not equate with HD. Stations will still broadcast a 4:3 480i picture, they'll just be doing so digitally.
I agree 100% with this prediction. If my grandmother were still alive, she would wake up to a blank screen, unless I or some other relative had bought the converter box for her.
Same here. I have a digital box down here in the basement but my parents TV upstairs has just Basic cable. Not only does Comcast charge for boxes they also charge for remotes.
And how exactly will they be doing this for the major networks who broadcast in HDTV?
The analog channel will be gone and the digital channel will be used for their HDTV channel. I'm pretty sure that a full HD 1080i picture requires the full 6 Mhz channel bandwidth.
Sure they could devote a subcarrier to the old 4x3 image but that will severly compromise their HDTV broadcast and or provide a poor quality 4x3 image. It will also mean that they can't run their present sub carriers without further degradation.
I see this as a huge mess and I don't think these problems have all been dealt with yet.
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