Analog to digital, I have some doubts.

On February 17, 2009, federal law requires that all full-power television broadcast stations stop broadcasting in analog format and broadcast only in digital format.

I don't know the genesis of this analog to digital conversion legislation but it seems the prevalent discussion right now is about what to do if you need a converter box.

This disturbs me. Wasn't it just months ago that Navy shot down a damaged satellite? If that was a harder mission to accomplish that it seemed to be, I might not have the qualms I do but at least they made it look easy as pie. What if communication satellite were war targets? Knocking out key satellites could bring a nation dependent on television especially in times of distress (people were glued to the TV through 911 and Katrina) to its knees.

I love the variety we get on our satellite package but a simple thunderstorm can knock out the signal just when it's needed it most, in a storm. Tracking dangerous storms with radar is an amazing technological feat but without that tenuous connection, what good is it?

During Katrina, a lone low power radio station was the only signal that stayed on the air through the worst of it. What will become of the low technologies that have served us so well in the past?

And last but by no means the issue of the public airwaves. I recall one of the debates in Nevada, earlier this year, in which Dennis Kucinich was excluded even though he was polling beyond the threshold because of a technicality in his campaign structure. The argument went like this

FCC broadcast rules do not apply to cable TV networks, Campbell said, adding that forcing MSNBC to add Kucinich or not broadcast the debate amounted to prior restraint and would be a “clear and unequivocal” violation in First Amendment press freedom.

The cable companies rights? What about the public's right to be informed voters? We are having a similar discussion in the thread on Mike Munger's situation. Privatization vs We The People. I can't find much discussion on these themes with regard to this impending change. Is this another right we are ceding without so much as a whimper?



It is insane. And short sighted . . . because it doesn't preserve options. One of the marks of stupid public policy is it's inability to keep options open.

We still have NOAA weather radio

You're right that digital signals don't degrade "gracefully" like analog signals do.

On the other hand, using a television, analog or digital, as one's primary means of reception for emergency information is not wise--mainly because the television can be turned off*.

NOAA weather radio is not being phased out and is still good old reliable, gracefully-degrading analog.

People should have battery-backed-up weather radios in their homes. They're as important as smoke detectors.

Now, as for why people are getting vouchers to help them purchase outboard digital-to-analog converter boxes for use with their old TV sets, but not vouchers to put weather radios in their homes...

...well, that just speaks to James's point. Profits over people. Nobody's hearing advertisements on weather radio, so fuck 'em.

* Now, perhaps I am a member of a tiny minority who actually does turn the set off from time to time. More likely, I'm a member of a significant plurality who has the TV set to a non-broadcast input source a large part of the time, which amounts to having it off for purposes of receiving emergency broadcasts.

recently transplanted from Indianapolis, IN to Durham, NC

I wouldn't recommend drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me. -- Hunter S. Thompson

Garner, NC

I wouldn't recommend drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me. -- Hunter S. Thompson

We've got one

You can even crank the thing up if the batteries go bad. We made fun of my dad when he gave them to all of us at the start of the Fall one year - and then we had an ice storm that knocked our power out for week. We hadn't bought batteries. We were glad to have the hand-cranked radio.

Can we, instead, start talking about "for the good of North Carolina?" --Leslie H.
Pointing at Naked Emperors

I've got one of those, too!

I love it. Never had batteries in it. None of my little POS radios in the house can get NPR so I use it for that on Saturdays. The kids got it for me last year for Christmas. It was the only thing I asked for. ;) I am a simple woman.

"It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." - Harry Truman

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

one nice thing about new TV technology

Thought of something else...

My wife and I didn't want to move our big old heavy-ass CRT television from Indy to Durham, so we sold it off cheaply to my brother-in-law, and bought a new LCD set when we got here.

Now, it has been my practice for a few years to have my A/V components plugged into a UPS, because A) that gets me some surge protection and B) I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate resetting clocks, and everything has a clock in it these days. Now, the UPS isn't too big, just 250VA or so, so I of course just had the stuff with clocks plugged into the battery-backed-up outlets, and left that big old CRT back in Indy on surge protection. You'd have to have a honkin' huge UPS to keep a big (30"+) CRT going. But after moving here, just grins I figured I'd experiment and stick the LCD TV into one of the battery-supported plugs.

Last weekend we had a power failure thanks to a storm. So all the lights in the house go out, but the cable box (which has a clock) and the LCD TV--not a small one because I insisted on 1080 lines of vertical resolution--kept right on truckin'.

I practically gurgled with glee as even that small UPS kept the TV going with no problem. I then shut the set off (technically, put it on standby) to stretch the time I'd have backup power, in case the outage lasted more than a few minutes (which it did, well over an hour, an exhausted the feeble reserves of that small battery--oh, well).

But not everyone has disposable income to throw around on home theater components, let alone battery backups for same. That's why I preach the weather radio gospel. I have some measure of redundancy in my TV for the scenario lofT describes, but too many people don't. It's wrong to just write those people off.

I guess the reasoning is, if they're killed by a tornado or flash flood, they won't be on the welfare rolls anymore--which validates a principle I formulated years ago:

Branden's Law of Conservation of Darwinism: The quantity of Darwinist concepts in the human brain is constant; those who reject the biological principle of evolution through natural selection compensate for their deficit by adopting a social Darwinist ethics.

recently transplanted from Indianapolis, IN to Durham, NC

I wouldn't recommend drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me. -- Hunter S. Thompson

Garner, NC

I wouldn't recommend drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me. -- Hunter S. Thompson


I guess I'm missing the big deal. Maybe I'll read over it again.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.