Digital TV Debacle

This article from Wired is about problems associated with the voucher program allowing consumer to get a coupon for the converter box so that they could watch digital TV broadcasts on their analog TVs.  The main point is how the program became overwhelmed by demand and how the public lost money on the government program that provided the vouchers, still had to pay another $20 – 40 out of pocket for the converter box in order to watch TV.  Meanwhile private industry continues to make money on the conversion as had the government when it sold the rights to the broadcasting spectrum in an auction.   And that the “delay” until June was costly and not particularly helpful.

I would add a couple details to this debacle as I worked with my nearly ninety year-old parents who are unable to fathom the technology involved in the transition.  First, while the FCC and the converter box makers had useful videos on how to install the box to the TV, they didn’t have any instructions about how to also connect the box to a DVD player.  It took me twenty minutes of Internet searching to find helpful instructions and I found that in a comments section to a blog. 

Next,  my parents favorite public television station didn’t delay its switch-over and suddenly they weren’t getting the signal for that station.  It took several days for them figure out how to select the right station from their converter box.  Now, I set up my parent stations.  I thought that I was selecting digital stations but I guess not.  Now I wonder about the rest of their stations.  Will they all need to be changed when the stations make the conversion?  Why aren’t there any instructions on that process when you setup the converter box?

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