Sun to set on common sense in 2009

A December 2005 headline read… Congress is poised to make Feb. 17, 2009, the hard-and-fast date for the national conversion to digital TV — ending the more than 60-year era of analog broadcasts and potentially making millions of analog TV sets obsolete…

Hard and fast date? Hardly. The date of the analog expiry date has been bounced around more than the average basket-ball at a Nicks game.
Why? Why the space race to land-fill 75 million analog TV sets in the U.S.A. ?
Well – The government and the FCC (once considered the same thing, now hardly!) hope to collect more than $10 billion by auctioning off the spectrum now used for analog TV, allocating some of it to emergency services. Brilliant economics?

According to the FCC, people who want to keep their analog sets will be able to apply for subsidies. Each household can get up to two vouchers, worth $40 apiece, that will help pay for boxes that convert digital signals to analog. The bill sets $1.5 billion aside for that purpose.

Now hang on one moment. I live in Canada and I view converted digital signals from my cable company down-converted from the slightly superior digital to the analog signals that my HD Ready Sony is more than capable of slurping up.

So. Instead of forcing 75 million household to ditch their classic TV’s or add yet another set top box to their already straining consoles… why not get the cable companies to do it for you with the option of buying a box for the extra features?

No. That would make sense wouldn’t it!?

In summary, this whole affair is considered one great big gift for the tech companies and cable monoliths – thanks in full to the highly cooperative FCC which is little more than an imaginary government agency in corporate clothing.