Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ike Skelton reminds Death Of Free TV Is Coming

With a click, with a shock,

Phone'll jingle, door'll knock

Open the latch!

Something's comin', don't know when,

But it's soon --

Catch the moon,

One-handed catch!

Around the corner,

Or whistling down the river,

Come on -- deliver

To me!

-- "Something's Coming," West Side Story, Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein.

Ava and C.I. have warned you repeatedly what's coming around the bend (starting in December of 2005). For those who missed what ____ editorialized as "The Death Of Free TV" (their finest editorial and they vanish it?), it starts next year.

US House Rep Ike Skelton issued the following last week:

TV Viewers Should Prepare Now for Digital Television Transition

Today, television stations air programming in analog and digital formats and will continue to do so through February 17, 2009. On that date, however, full-power television stations, such as ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and PBS affiliates, will stop broadcasting in analog and continue broadcasting in digital format only. The switch from analog to digital broadcasting is referred to as the digital television transition or the DTV transition.
The digital television transition will provide many advantages for consumers: it will free up frequencies for use by police, fire, and other public safety officials; will allow broadcasting networks to offer improved picture and sound quality, as well as more programming choices; and will provide more robust wireless service offerings.
To prepare for the digital television transition, some consumers will need to take steps to continue to enjoy television. Cable and satellite subscribers should not be impacted by the transition, but if they have questions they should contact their service provider. Consumers who enjoy free over-the-air television should determine if they own a digital or analog television. Families who own a digital television will be able to continue to watch free programming after the transition. Analog televisions receiving free programming through an antenna, including outside antennas and “rabbit ears”, will not work after February 17, 2009. Consumers who rely on analog televisions to enjoy free programming must purchase a digital-to-analog converter box. A converter box is a product that will keep an analog television working after February 17, 2009.
Fortunately, Congress established a coupon program to offset the cost of acquiring a converter box. Until March 2009, all households will be eligible to receive two $40 coupons to be used toward the purchase of two converter boxes, which typically cost between $40 and $70 each. Coupons will expire after 90 days and will come with a list of retailers that are selling converter boxes in their neighborhood, as well as through the telephone and the Internet.
For more information about the coupon program or to obtain a $40 coupon, please visit the
Converter Box Coupon Program website or call the Program’s toll-free number at 1-888-388-2009. People who are deaf or hard of hearing may call their toll-free number at 1-877-530-2634.
February 2009 will arrive sooner than we think. Now is the time to prepare for the digital television transition. For more information about the transition visit the Federal Communications Commission's
Digital TV Transition website or call them toll-free at 1-888-225-5322 or toll-free through TTY at 1-888-835-5322.

The switch could leave an estimated 20 million Americans behind. The groups most effected are the elderly and the poor. One of our readers is a ninth grade science teacher and she's made this a lesson module for her class for a number of reasons including the opportunity to teach that the digital to analog shift provides as well as the fact that those most in need of help with the shift will be the elderly and grandchildren should be prepared to help out.

She cautions that people are thinking the antennas can be tossed and that's not so. The converter boxes will need to be hooked up to both the TV and any antenna.
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