Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Digital Schmigital

Old people and the impoverished aren't the only ones ill prepared for the digital switch.

I am also holding on to analog for dear life, and I don't plan on buying my converter boxes any time soon.

The digital conversion was officially slated to take hold of the American airwaves after the clock struck midnight early this morning, but thankfully a few wise politicians realized millions of folks are woefully ill prepared for this cataclysmic change of channels and signals.

The government missed the mark in their assumption that people from Maine to Miami would instantly rush to Target, Best Buy and Circuit City (oops) to snag millions of converter boxes lying in wait ahead of the conversion. No, the official "planners" of this conversion had lofty expectations for the very couch potato people who prefer flipping a remote to change a channel over lacing up their sneakers to take a walk.

And so now we're left in this predicament - millions of converter box coupons have expired (aside: who was at the helm of the brain trust who decided to put a three-month time period on said coupons?), millions of converter boxes lie unused, and millions of American homes are playing chicken with the progress intended to free up some of the bandwidth permeating the airwaves.

I didn't run out to get my converter boxes.

In fact, I let my original coupons expire - because, like many other people, the digital switch was the last thing on my mind last September.

Last September, I was more concerned with gas prices, my plummeting 403b and IRA accounts, and general financial stability. Sue me, FCC.

Congress delayed the digital conversion to June 12, though 400 broadcasters decided to go ahead with the new signal early this morning - including five in Ohio. The list of Buckeye broadcasters bucking the delay include Cincinnati's WSTR Channel 64, home to such rousing programming as Judge Hatchett, Maury Povich and Legend of the Seeker.

Apparently WSTR has a more significant viewership than I would assume, because the general manager says the station's phones are ringing every 20 seconds with viewers trying to voice displeasure at WSTR's decision to convert to digital earlier than schedule Or is it on time?

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports only 12 percent of television viewers in Greater Cincinnati watch television programming by antenna - the remaining viewers have cable or satellite.

I guess I'm really in the minority on this one.

Thankfully, a kind co-worker offered up her digital coupons to me. Now they're sitting in a pile of mail somewhere in my living room, and I am vaguely aware of their March expiration date.

I certainly intend on using them, I just don't know when - I guess it all depends on when I decide to get up off the couch.


Kelly said...

I am an antenna girl, and I love my converter box! It gives me the CW and two radar stations (I was glued to those during snOMG), plus a whole channel devoted to PBS children's programming. If PBS put out a dedicated food channel, I'd never even consider getting cable again.

Also, I can switch between full-screen and letterbox on certain shows. Neat!

The only trouble is that it shuts itself off after half an hour, so I can't tape stuff anymore. But I get by. I think you'll like it when you get one.

5chw4r7z said...

You remind me of people who call and complain that dialup isn't working, we still have around 100 people using that.

k said...

my husband has had to "fix" the tangle my grandparents have created with their various remotes, converter box, and dvd player over the last month since he hooked up their box. he spent a couple days setting up converter boxes for various elderly relatives and friends of elderly relatives. i guess i wonder who this conversion to digital is benefiting.