Monday, 07 January 2008, 19:20:23 EST
I say good riddance to the year 2007. I know I didn't post much in 2007. There wasn't much for me to write about. I've been way too busy with school and business to come up with anything interesting. I've decided that, at least for the time being, I will write my opinions on current topics that I feel are important. To start, I will continue on with the digital television transition.
We are now 407 days away from the analog television switch off. It is now possible to apply for a DTV converter box coupon. I haven't taken the time to look in stores yet, but the eligible converter boxes should be appearing in them soon. For a box to eligible, it must only convert a digital signal to an analog signal. It can't do anything fancy like record programs, or something else. I imagine the boxes will retail for around $100. With the coupon, that means it will cost about $60 to get up-to-date without buying a new television. However, you will only be able to get two coupons per household.
I really think the switch to digital is a good thing. I've had some discussion with people who disagree. Their main argument is that it will confuse a lot of people. Also, that people who have come to rely on the evening news will be denied that resource unless they spend more money. I agree with the first point. The switch over has not been well advertised. Something needs to be done about that, and soon. As for the second part, well, television is a privilege, not a right. There are many ways to get the news without a television. I also believe that most of the people who rely so much on the evening news have a newspaper subscription.
I have encountered people who are against the transition simply because it will cost them money. My opinion is that change requires some sort of investment. No one is getting a free ride in this. Not the people broadcasting the content, nor the people watching it. Those of us watching it have a minimal cost compared to those who do the broadcasting. On top of that, what you get for your investment is so very worth it. As I write this, I'm watching a symphony on GPB in high definition with 5.1 digital surround sound — via a traditional rooftop antenna. You can't do that with the old analog signal. Even if you could manage to get a decently clear picture, the sound would still be 2.0 stereo, at best.
Speaking of PBS, the Newshour recently did a segment on their transition to high definition digital television. It's a pretty good summary of what is involved in the transition for all parties, and does a decent job of explaining it. You can watch the full thing via streaming video, listen to just the audio, or read the transcript. I recommend the streaming video. It's only eleven and a half minutes.