>>In essence, i fail to see what good this did anybody except the corporations looking to free up air space for cell phone and internet sales. The new TV seems worse in quality than the old; the new services are going to be on a cost basis; a lot of people specifically said they weren't going to screw around with upgrades that weren't working anyway, and would just buy either cable or satellite. So people got the opportunity to buy satellite or cable TV, to get fewer channels than ever before and with crappy quality if they chose to stick with converter boxes, and to buy more cellphones and internet if they wanted it. Hurray for the opportunity to spend more money while the economy turns to shit.>>
Cell phones and the Internet are used by far more people today than over-the-air TV, and therefore (in my opinion) have a better claim to spectrum. Cable and satellite have more channels, more niche-oriented content (BET, Telenocitas, the Gay Catholic Serbian Folk Dancing channel, CSPAN, your local public access channel, etc.), less censorship, more creativity and free speech. What’s not to like? Cable is also potentially two way, enabling you to talk to other people and become a content creator yourself – something that would never come from over-the-air TV, which is inherently impoverished and impoverishing.
Congress isn't supposed to give a crap about these giant companies. Congress is supposed to be looking out for the people and their needs, not the wants of big corporations. I should also point out that from what I heard/read/saw a year ago, the assistance for buying the damn boxes was an afterthought in response to a lot of pissed off people complaining about having to buy the boxes.
Last sentence is right. Early on, Congress assumed that the over-the-air guys would leap at “new and better TV” and that everyone would buy a “new and better” TV. Then, as noted above, once the old TV guys secured their spectrum from the encroachments of the cellular and Internet people, the oldsters went back to sleep. They had to be dragged into moving to digital TV and people had to be dragged into buying new sets.
>>It's also been poorly managed; a lot of people got screwed because they were initially told broadcasting would be in both UHF and UHV format, so either antennae would work; then suddenly a couple months ago all transmission in one type (I forget which) suddenly ceased without warning. My mother knows of at least one person who know owns a fancy $500 antenna that works as well as a pile of horseshit with a coat hanger stuck in it. So antenna dealers made out well, too. >>
Go with new technology – cable and satellite. If I were King and you were poor, you’d have got a $100 monthly coupon (see below).
>> so, yeah. the big companies made more money, thousands of people lost their chief source of information, everyone else got stuck with TV that never works properly, and more pork got slid through Congress. What exactly am I supposed to like about this?>>
The Big Galoots who made obscene amounts of money over the years were the over-the-air TV stations and networks, who should have been put out to pasture in the 1970s, by which time it was clear that cable was a superior technology.
Congress cares about a lot of different companies and people. This whole story is a wonderful example of how Washington really works. Personally, I wish that we had shut down over-the-air TV totally; given over-the-air channels carriage rights for 10 years on cable and satellite systems; auctioned off all the TV spectrum to the highest bidder; and, with 1% of the revenues we’d have gotten from that auction, given each poor family in America $100 a month in “Information Stamps” with which they could buy any combination of telephone, TV, and Internet service they wanted. Now THAT’s “Power to the People.
But what do I know?
This is exactly my point, by the way. Urban dwellers are reaping lots of benefits, and rural America, most of which relies on TV for its information, lost much of its sources for said information. Meanwhile, rural Americans, who are by and large having a mucvh harder time than city dwellers, and are therefore not exactly rolling in extra money, are being tolds that they benewfit by having the chance to buy more airspace for personal use. If you're a struggling farmer in Vermont, or a laid off factory worker, or any of a hundred other things, you are not going to be able to go out and buy more airspace. So you got screwed.
It's misleading, very misleading, to consider the 11% national statistic as a refutation of my comments about 40% of Vermonters. Unlike the population of everywhere else, or at least the US as a whole, most of Vermont's population is still rural. Which means a higher percentage of VERMONTERS is without TV now, versus the national numbers, which of course is smaller.
However, on an interestring note, one of the first things I discovered when I moved into my newish household in September was that a whole chunk of Portland is without TV unless those people buy satelite and cable--which many of them had never had to do because so many channels came in without it.
This is not at all the same thing as milkmen or elevator operators becoming obsolete. This is potentially dangerous. This cutting off a large piece of the country's population off from the outside world. One is forced to ask, if this is such a great idea, why haven't the highly enlightened and generally more intelligent Canadians jumped on the same bandwagon?
What you are proposing is that people like my parents wouild be better off having no way of knowing if say, a moassive natural disaster was to strike New England, or if someone detonated a nuke in New York and the wind happened to bew blowing Northeast. My yes, that'd be a BRILLIANT way to deal with our communications system.
I really hate how urban-dwellers get so thoroughly wrapped up in their own immediate surroundings and spare no thought to people who might have a different financial, social, or geographical situation from theirs. This is part of why Portland makes me want to puke, and why every serious conversation I have with anyone these days tends to just piss me off.