HD1080i De-mystify HDTV 1080i ::: know why before you buy

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

FCC and the DTV Cutover - NO ATSC converter for YOU!

This is going to be a bit of a rant... Its just so yet more BUSH administration botched performance in your face that its time to scrape that wound open, clean it out and finally let it heal. or something, anything?

Part of the DTV cutover from NTSC ( interlaced crappy analog broadcast video ) to ATSC ( somewhat less crappy still interlaced digital mpeg video ) is going badly for the FCC. The were offering $40 coupons for every american to get a new tuner for thier analog TV's that use over the air antenna as a source.

They Ran out of money.
And you thought i was joking.

see for yourself: https://www.dtv2009.gov/
Happy New Year. You Lose if you waited... but then again, there were hardly any ATSC tuners to actually buy until recently....

Any requests made after Jan 5th will get at "Raincheck" sort of waiting list response. This shouldnt be a problem actually because its kind of lame to not want a new TV flatscreen anyhow, and prices between 200-400 bucks for a new one are easy to find... however, we are in kind of a cashflow problem here in the states and saving money is smart. So we want our" Free" tuners please... You promised this would not be painful didnt you. You lied didnt you.

but wait... 40 bucks wont pay for the ATSC tuners you can actually buy. So the DTV cutover is not as promised, but is yet another consumer item "Tax". ( Read: ripped off again )

This would not be all that bad except for one thing. THE FCC auctioned off the analog bands freed up by the switch to DTV for BILLIONS. yes they pulled BILLIONS out of thin air. .. and kept it. No Free tuner for you mr & mrs 2009 and cant afford a new TV at the moment.

Blame game time:

This is FCC Chairman Kevin.
Say hi to ths nicely groomed howdy-doody smile here, he is rich and you are not.

he said "I am deeply honored to have been designated as the next Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, and I thank President Bush for this distinct privilege."

Here is more info about him ( from the FCC site )

Chairman Kevin J. Martin
Chairman Martin was nominated by President George W. Bush to a Republican seat on the Commission, and was sworn in on July 3, 2001. He was designated chairman by President Bush on March 18, 2005. Chairman Martin was re-nominated for a second term as commissioner and chairman by President George W. Bush on April 25, 2006.

Before joining the FCC, Martin was a Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy. He served on the Bush-Cheney Transition Team and was Deputy General Counsel for the Bush campaign. Prior to joining the campaign, Martin was an advisor to FCC Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth. He has also served in the Office of the Independent Counsel and worked as an associate at the Washington, DC law firm of Wiley, Rein & Fielding. Before joining Wiley, Rein & Fielding, Martin was a judicial clerk for U.S. District Court Judge William M. Hoeveler, Miami, FL.

Martin received a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Masters in Public Policy from Duke University, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a member of the District of Columbia Bar and the Federal Communications Bar Association.

Yes you read that right... Bush pushed him in, he used to be a clerk, worked on the republican campaign effort for re-electing Bush and the Lucky Guy to get gifted such a major role in our economy... boggles the mind. He is a lawyer. Does not know squat about Broadcast Technicals from any educational angle. Basically a dealmaker.

.. SO puleeeze kevin. do this right. You are pinned with your pants down.

Pony up th free ATSC tuners you promised while you were banking BILLIONS of dollars extorted from would be DTV broadcast kings and wireless digital companies. ( one pal of mine inside Cisco said that the FCC broadcast band auction was over 20 Billion that he knew about ) ... i think its more but i am no accountant and cannot prove anything. They can afford it.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Home Page ยท Telecom
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent US government agency, directly responsible to Congress, and regulates interstate and ...www.fcc.gov/ -Filing Complaints

Feel free to waste time here http://www.fcc.gov/
and get a chuckle out of inept website people here: http://www.dtv.gov/

and get on the waiting list here: https://www.dtv2009.gov/

Republicans have been crapping on middle america ( and the world ) for way to long. We know you, and we want you gone. Now is fine with us. Sorry but my appointee for broadcast band bucks bullshit meter went into the red and i couldnt let it slide.

Ok open question to all you readers out there...
does anyone have the grand total of collected $$,$$$,$$$,$$$ that the FCC got for the broadcast spectrum auction for all the newly freed-up channel space that DTV gave them?

Apparently the incoming OBAMA administration realizes all this ( please no comments on that ) and is suggesting that due to FCC funding misfires, and the understanding that middle america is not all Cable network connected, ... a delay in the DTV cutover is now on the table. KUDOS to team OBAMA for pointing that out... I agree... and i think that converter boxes should be covered by the coupons for VHF/UHF local user ATSC needs.

And its not that simple. we just tried one, and found out that the antenna impedance mismatch problems with digital signals is way more vexing than the average user would understand. Its very possible to plug in an ATSC tuner and get practically nothing for an image. When i find a good article DIY on that i will link to it.

Cory ( http://ondrejka.blogspot.com/ ) someone who helped build the Second Life that HD1080i also has a presence in ( and sometimes gets lost there ) noted today jan 13th, that Washpost reported Julius Genachowski is the Next New FCC Chairperson.


"I met Julius in April of 2007, early in the campaign process.

What struck me after we had lunch was:

a) how incredibly smart he was,
b) how quickly he synthesized new information, and
c) that if this was the kind of person Obama was attracting, then he would get my vote!

The Obama team continued to pull in amazing people and the rest is, as they say, history. It is all the more amazing given the many voices and directions percolating within the campaign at that time. Julius was a clearly a huge part of the process of pulling things together. I am certain he will be up to the challenges at FCC."

Ok i envy Cory that he got to meet that person, and i also respect his assessments, so for me anyhow, the light at the end of this tunnel is NOT an oncoming train, but an emergence from the parasitic dark ages of whatever that was we lived through for the past few years.




"With coupons unavailable, support and education insufficient, and the most vulnerable Americans exposed, I urge you to consider a change to the legislatively-mandated analog cutoff date," John Podesta, co-chair of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team wrote in the letter, which was sent to leaders of the Senate and House Commerce committees.

The government-mandated switch to digital television will free up wireless airwaves for public safety agencies and other advanced mobile services. An auction of those analog airwaves raised $19 billion for the government last year. Congress allocated $1.34 billion to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to distribute converter box coupons.

By early February, projections suggest the number of consumers on the waiting list to get a coupon could climb to 5 million, increasing by hundreds of thousands every day, the letter to Congress said.
Yesterday, Consumers Union urged Congress to delay the transition "until a plan is in place to minimize the number of consumers who will lose TV signals."

Lawmakers are looking for ways to make sure consumers who need coupons get them in time. "But with the date looming, moving the date back certainly warrants further discussion and may be a wise choice," Daniel Reilly, a spokesman for Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of the House subcommittee on telecommunications and the Internet, said yesterday.

Ok so it seems the info i had was about right and general knowlege for those in the middle of it.

A quick call to CES ( thanks rad & wingnut ) revealed that there are in fact ATSC cheapo tuners, but the request for subsidy to ramp up production quantity and shipping costs was denied last year and thats why basic fundamental ATSC unbranded tuners is not there. They would rather sell you a new TV.

Rad says that if walmart or the like slapped thier logo on one of the ATSC microboxes, they could have claimed a presence in the solution. Note to Walmart - RAD is usually right. If you step in and solve this then your markting loyalty will be on the top of everyday TV sets across america. ( note to self- buy walmart stock ) Brilliant. Buy him a beer.

Wingnut loves the 3-D Nvidia WOW demo. says Gimme Gimme.


Blogger Ahow said...

Are you saying that this problem is tied to the Republicans and not to politicians in general? That just sounds naive. Democrats would have (and have already) done the same thing.

6:22 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Fair enough.. this case of agenda puppet with the FCC is a Republican move, however, we will be watching everyone for sure... point is well taken. Obama seems to be picking qualified people, but we are worried that FCC type stuff is not high on the Obama to-do list, amd may well not get the attention it deserves.

We shall see & and thanks for reading the rant, I promise i will get the 120hz tech background thing done soon, it really is a hugely enablying tech ( and the 3-D finally doesnt suck )

8:51 AM  
Blogger Ahow said...

Do you have a (retroactive) solution which you think would have worked better? I've been thinking about this and the main problem you have is that CRT televisions have such a prolific lifespan that this digital cutover is going to be tough. If this was for cellphones, people drop them, the batteries stop charging, and eventually they get a new one for <$200. Unfortunatly, CRTs sit on a shelf, last for ages, and their replacements up until recently, where $700+. How do you fix that scenario? All my parents 4 TVs are over 10 years old and still chugging along (till Feb 17th anyway).

On a semi related note, start your watchin':


Obama is picking the RIAA's sue happy lawyer for a top DoJ position. While I like some of his picks, I think he is going to have just as many duds as anyone else.

10:12 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

excellent observations.
I Really have many gripes. #1 on my list is the Lack of coherent CRT Recycling that should be associated with a New Flat Screen replacement sale. I think the GOV such as it is should be stepping in on this since DTV cutover causes those that replace analog equipment to have a need for old TV recycling. I dont complain here on HD1080i.com for that though, i own www.ctngreen.com ( huge web property ) where i let loose on all such stuff eco/sustainable.

I agree about the longevity of CRT stuff.. i have a 50" rear projection ( 3 guns ) hitachi that has lasted 12 years and still looks great hooked up to Cable digital ( it smoothes the blocky 480i mpeg crap and sometimes looks nicer than the LCD )

The next FCC chairperson better have real broadcast history and technical experience, not some damn clerky lawyer.

That DOJ pick - yikes - thanks for the heads up. DMCA was a bad piece of work, still needs to be fixed.

I was happy with Dr Steve Chen for Energy Sec... i hope Obama realizes thet digital communication is as important as anything and the polocy makers dont suck like they have in the past... FCC needs well rounded leadership and accountability
( pardon my typos, bizzy here )

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got word that the total band availability was not that large, but the auction pricing was Lease only, and for astronomical pricing due to contract conittment durations. WAY over your 20 billion , but thats not today's money. Such contracts are payable over a long period so the FCC is NOT as rich as you mat think

5:38 PM  
Anonymous wingnut said...

Wingnut also says - 120hz displays are the way of the future - MUST HAVE 120 - repeat after me - " must have 120hz , must have ....."

6:15 PM  

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