Making the “Switch”

I own 3 TVs. I watch one regularly, one occasionally and the other hardly at all. Still, all are connected to cable, so I’ll still have something to watch on Friday when “The Big Switch” to digital television finally happens.

Are You Ready?

Are You Ready?

I was ready back in February, when the switch was supposed to occur, but was put off in consideration of people who might have missed the announcement.

I view that last sentence with a little amusement.  How do you miss something that’s been so heavily advertised and promoted?  The government and the television industry have actually done an excellent job of promoting the upcoming change from analog to digital.  Not only have there been a plethora of PSAs, I heard that one of the network soap operas actually worked it into a story line this week, having a character install a converter box.

A number of smaller European countries made the switch in 2006, with several others, including Germany, changing over since then.  I haven’t heard, but I don’t think there have been serious problems in any of them because somebody didn’t get the word.

Don't gimme no static!

Don't gimme no static!

Still, big chunks of the news coverage voices concerns over the poor or the elderly ending up watching screens full of static because they were somehow unaware of the change.

I’m not feeling it.  The government is pretty much giving converter boxes away, and it’s not like they’ve been secretive about letting people know.  They’re using TV to tell people about the change! People aren’t stupid, although I know a lot of times they just aren’t paying attention to what’s going on around them.  They ignore information until they actually need that information.

Oops!

Oops!

When the “check engine” light comes on, some people end up ignoring it until the car sputters to a stop.  Then they sputter about “not knowing anything was wrong.”

Sorry, still not feeling it.  Poor does not equate to stupid.  If someone lacking the resources to have cable or satellite TV wants to keep watching their stories, there have been enough spots on every broadcast channel letting them know something’s going to change.  Same thing with older people.  They must be fairly bright to have lived so long, so I’m giving them credit for having common sense.  But, if you know someone who needs reminding – remind them.  If they can’t get a converter box, here’re some do it yourself instructions from Makezine.com on building your own digital TV antenna.

I accept the reasons for the switch.  The picture is brighter and clearer.  More information can be sent digitally, which means stations can broadcast more than one program at a time (great – more channels with nothing good on them!).  I guess I can accept the government forcing full-power television stations to switch; if left up to private business, they’d switch if they saw a profit in it, but not until.  That would only happen today if broadcasters still had divisions making TVs (like NBC and RCA or CBS and Hytron in the old days).

Anyway, if you turn on the TV Friday and don’t see anything but static, it should only be because you forgot to pay your cable or satellite bill, not because you “didn’t know” about the switch.  Although I’m pretty sure I’ll see someone on the news that day crying that tune.

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3 thoughts on “Making the “Switch”

  1. If there are people who can honestly claim they didn’t know about the switch, it seems to me that begs the question how aware are they about other important events like, say, election days?

  2. They aren’t aware at all. That’s part of the reason there are DEAD people voting in Memphis. Heck folks who are NOT capable of fogging a mirror are smarter than some of these nimrods who will be surprised when their soaps aren’t on anymore.
    Regards

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