Slowest Common Denominator

So far Obama hasn’t done anything to really irritate me, but the democratic congress has.  One of the smaller pieces of legislation they’ve prepared that is misguided involves the delay to Digital TV, or rather a delay to allowing analog TV to shut down.  It bothers me because it is indicative of waste, slowing society down to the slowest, and a lack of personal responsibility.

Start with the assertion that there are some in remote areas, possibly low income, that haven’t yet made the switch.  Why is that?  If they haven’t been watching TV and didn’t get the notices, they can continue to not watch TV once we’re all digital.  When they choose to watch again, they go buy the $40 box.  For those that do watch TV, they have either made the switch, don’t need to switch (i.e. have cable or satellite), or they’ve ignored the incessant warnings for the past two years.  This gets to personal responsibility.  If someone can’t, over two years, get around to forking out $40 to preserve their precious TV, then they should be allow to suffer a bit.  (At which point they’ll get off the couch and go buy the box.)

Congress seems to treat TV like it’s electricity or running water: an essential service.  Sorry, it’s not.  We watch a few hours a week tops and survive.  So on one side of the equation we’re worrying about lazy couch potatoes experiencing a minor inconvenience.  On the other side, you have all of the stations out there who are screaming to turn off their analog transmitters.  They’ve already had to upgrade to digital, yet they’re still paying the power and maintenance bills for their analog transmitter.  So faced with the opportunity to remove a substantial, real cost for a lot of business, congress is on the verge of pandering to the irresponsible.  I think this is the wrong decision

Of course this a is relatively small matter in all respects, but the issues surrounding it are indicative of much larger problems.  I’m disappointed and worried that progress (and efficiency) is being held up by slowing everyone down to the slowest among us.  We need to do much better to get out of our various messes.

4 Responses to “Slowest Common Denominator”

  1. Christianon 04 Feb 2009 at 11:41 pm

    I was surprised myself, when I read that they are going to delay the switch for another 4 months. It’s sad that Congress is wasting time on these things while there are bigger fish to fry. With so many things coming out of Washington these days, common sense is taking the back seat.

  2. Joe K.on 09 Feb 2009 at 8:19 pm

    Hi, everybody.

    Long time reader, first time poster.

    I just wanted to point out something about the recent digital TV bill. The bill (now law) does not require stations to keep broadcasting analog alongside digital. Broadcasters may quit their analog signal prior to the deadline if they notify the FCC. The law just extends until June the deadline by which all broadcasters MUST kill their analog signal.

    By the way, I’m one of those people affected by all this business. We got our converter in the fall and digital TV really stinks, for several reasons.


  3. Jimon 09 Feb 2009 at 8:59 pm

    Thanks for the clarification, Joe.

    I just read http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/dtvdelay.pdf and you’re exactly right. I still don’t see the real point of the delay, but I see how the additional costs needn’t be incurred by stations.

    So what’s bad about the converter? The few personal reviews I’ve heard were pretty good. We don’t have one, and I’ve never seen the picture.

  4. [...] my rant about the slow take up of digital TV, I feel obliged to tell you that I just took delivery of two [...]

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