subscriber help

such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

question of the day: How will the transition to digital TV affect you?

A nationwide transition to digital TV broadcasting, which was scheduled to occur on February 17, looks likely to be postponed to June 12, if a bill that passed the Senate on Monday gets through the House today. Some locales have already switched over, though, and even if the delay to June 12 is approved, it means only that the deadline for making the switchover is postponed — broadcasters could make the changeover at any time between now and then.

The switchoff of all analog broadcasting will impact anyone with an older TV that doesn’t include a digital tuner who gets over-the-air broadcasts. Anyone with cable or satellite service, regardless of their age of the TV hooked up to it, will be fine.

How will the transition to digital TV affect you, if at all?

I have cable service, so I’m all set.

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me.)

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  • Katie Dvorak

    My TV is less than five years old so unless Comcast wants to fuck its (forced) subscribers over in another way I’m all set.

  • bitchen frizzy

    I have cable. I’m ready.

    Digital’s the way to go into the future, for a lot of reasons. I’m irritated by Congress’ postponement of the change.

  • Jim Mann

    I’m fine.

    I’m also a bit puzzled by this push to delay the transition. For a year, we’ve been bombarded by ads warning of the transition. Anyone who needs to get a converter box has had plenty of warning.


  • Ken

    I won’t be affected at all, since I have cable. This reminds me of an amusing flowchart The Consumerist posted recently, so I figured I’d share:


  • markyd

    I’ve got Directv, so there’s no concern here. I really don’t get the bumping back of the transition date. Like Jim said above, people have been warned for a long time about this. If they haven’t done anything about it by now, what makes the government think that they will do anything by June?

  • Personally, it doesn’t affect me – I’m in a cable household.

    Professionally (at least for now, layoffs are eminent) it’s been a pain in the backside for the past decade.

    Being a public broadcaster, we have a duty to serve the under-served and will not turn off our analog until we absolutely have to (February, June or when the old transmitter pops it’s tubey clogs…)

    Stretching this until June is placing an economic hardship on us in this hard economy, but we’ll cope (I did mention layoffs are eminent…)

    I’m sure if one of those telco’s that desperately want our old frequencies next month were to donate several million dollars to us…

  • bitchen frizzy

    The bill was defeated in the House.

    There’s a possibility of Congress and the White House having another go at it. Let’s see if they can resist the temptation to make this into a big political issue to distract the public.

  • Kevin

    If I recall correctly, the point in the delay was regarding the discount coupons for buying digital converter boxes for those (like me) who use antennas for reception. They ran out of money for the coupons (which work like debit cards), and so they can’t guarantee that everyone gets them before the transition, and thus can’t guarantee that everyone’s set for digital by the transition date.

    Is it a big deal? Maybe or maybe not. I’m not sure what proportion of those on antenna-only already have converter boxes.

  • Mike Brady

    If anything, this might finally convince me to ditch cable. HD signals on all broadcast channels? For free? Yes please!

    I think I’ll wait for Battlestar Galactica to run its course first. Yes, I will miss the Sci-Fi channel. Maybe BBC America too. But that’s about it, and that’s certainly not worth $80/month. Everything else I watch is on broadcast channels (a few of which have been slow or unreliable adopters so far) and if I can get it in every bit the same jaw-dropping quality as I would over cable there’s no reason to stick around.

    I am still waiting on my converter box coupon, though. Our main TV has a built-in tuner but the others in the house are older technology. I thought I had applied before the cash ran out on that program, but maybe I’m out of luck.

  • Chuck

    The conversion will have no effect on me at all. I don’t watch TV. Or at least I don’t watch TV on a television. I get my entertainment on the interwebs. I’m particularly fond of Hulu, it’s where I get my (admittedly day late) dose of Daily Show and Colbert Report.

  • Mimi

    Glad you asked, Mary Ann. It will f* up my situation, big time, and I’m annoyed about it. We live in a condo in an urban area and get our TV over-the-air, with an antenna. I know, it’s retro, but with Netflix and not a ton of free time, it’s great. And free. And the cable company here is evil (aren’t they always?) and I love not giving them my money anymore.

    Then we installed our converter box. And we now get maybe half the channels we used to get. Oh, sure, the channels we get have a secondary feed where I can see 24/7 weather radar (wee hee…). But oops, no more PBS! No more CW! Etc. And there’s basically nothing we can do about it, because as urban condo-dwellers, we can’t stick a roof antenna outside.

    Haven’t decided yet if this is just a sign that I should watch (even) less TV-on-TV (and watch more via Netflix and online)… or if we’ll decide to cave and get satellite. Probably the former. We’re stubborn that way, and if there’s 57 channels of crap available to me, I have a hard time not watching them.

    But yeah: this DTV transition took my un-broke system and “fixed” it in the most aggravating way…

  • JasonJ

    Doesn’t matter, I am on Directv. Even with digital, I would only get like two channels because I live in the mountains with bears and yaks and shit.

  • We live in a rural area and only just got high-speed internet, and that’s where we’ll be watching/downloading our tv from now on. We can’t afford satellite (assuming we could even get a decent signal) and getting a digital antenna would costs around $600, not including the cost of installment, and we’re still not sure we’d get, once more, a decent signal.

    I’ll definitely miss the local PBS stations, but so it goes.

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