Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ode to Rabbit Ears

If you have rabbit ears, you will see
The digital change will black out your TV
The conversion dates and times are a changing mush
Maybe better your TV you crush?

The digital TV switchover is getting more & more complicated.
February 17 was the deadline for the changeover.
It was announced for three years. Major PR blitz.
Last week Congress voted to delay the change to June 12. Not enough people had converted. The Federal coupon program ran out of money.

I am an analog holdout. We just did not want to pay to watch TV. We realize there is better programing, reception, and variety- oh & C-Span pure live coverage without the talking heads. But I can get that on the Internet.

That being said all this week, our local station scrolls the message that they ARE going to the digital conversion as originally scheduled. They claim "people here are prepared and ready to go". A local media rep said it would only confuse people to change the date. I don't know if this TV station rep listens to the news, but our county unemployment rate is at 9.5 percent, according to the state Employment Department. It was the county’s highest December rate in 24 years — since it hit 10 percent in 1984, the department said.

There were 17,711 people unemployed in this County in December. That’s 2,162 more than in November. The county lost 4,200 nonfarm payroll jobs last year — half of them in manufacturing. Ready!

Congress' action gives local stations the option of keeping the Feb 17 deadline.

So rabbit ears are "out" & become obsolete, and converter boxes are "in" till a digital TV replacement happens.

We have a back up little solid state portable TV, so old, it does not have a remote!
You have to get up off your ass to change the channels, and the dial is a hard click to change the channels. Yes it is a color TV.... Our main TV is converter digital ready, but as the main breadwinner in our house is on a temporary layoff that has been extended 4 times now, we are not spending money on a 2nd digital converter at this time.
Old reliable is going to the dark ages on Tuesday, the 17th.

The times they are a changin'


Spadoman said...

You said, "You have to get up off your ass to change the channels..."

Now, is that such a bad idea?

Just kidding Fran. The whole thing is a ruse to make money for someone that sold the FCC and the elected officials a bill of goods.

Remember, planned obsolesence was suppose to render the old analogue TV set inoperable by now. They haven't been making them for years. It's the old sets that people still use, the kind you mention, with no remote control. The Chinese had something to do with it, and Wal Mart selling the Chinese made digitals. Lots o' money there you know.

I have to be honest, I have a TV, a large one so I can see the puck. Yes, I like to atch hockey and other mindless sports. It's entertainment. Movies too. But not constantly. In my own defense I will say that I never watch TV during the daytime, and I also sit around and read instead of watching Tv on many evenings. We went without ANY TV for quite a spell when we lived at the Cabinette on the Great Lake Superior. In those days, I played radio 24/7. One or two stations, one was public, the other small town local.

It's good to be home. I've missed my many friends, you being one of them.

Peace to all.

Annette said...

I hate this switchover too. I maintain it was just another way for the government and big business to get money. Force you into cable or satellite teevee in order to make you pay to watch.. if not that you had to pay for their stupid box... and I refuse to do that. Since I had to have the internet I got the smallest cable package I could get.. and use the internet through that.. Yeah it is giving in but only as much as I have to.

Dr. Know said...

Gee, and I thought I had a huge collection of... um... old crap.

Spadoman, those companies would primarily be Sarnoff labs, Zenith (dismantled and sold to Korea), and legions of cell-phone providers who want the LO-VHF bandwidth. It's all a crock - they could have added the digital stations and left analog alone as a lower tier service. They both use the same 6mHz bandwith and could have co-existed, dropping off over the years as they saw fit. But AT&T et al. wants the penetrating, non-directional bandwidth, and we know how important they are...

It'll be a cold day when I throw out a perfectly good 50" BS and two 32" DV sets (plus whatever else) so I can watch really bad TV shows bloated by even worse commercials on a $2,000 LCD with a 30 degree viewing angle. You can bury me in the big one... Since the news, PBS, and Movies are the only thing I can stand to watch, and the DVD player works fine, I'm done - Mr. Luddite it is.

Thank [insert the diety of your choice] for Ham Radio - after the Big One we'll be the only ones who can communicate with what is left of the the world's civilizations. The masses will be walking zombies staggering around with non-functional cell-phones stuck to one ear while being rounded up into internment camps. And there will be no one to listen to their hue and cry... Bla bla bla...

Dr. Know said...

Oh, I forgot to mention; if the poetry is yours, Fran, don't give up your day job. ;-)

Christopher said...

Are you able to get many stations with analogue?

If and when you switch to cable, I think you will be blown away by the picture and sound quality. It's so immediate and crisp.

When we moved last, we had rabbit ear for a few days (more like a rabbit's tail) and the reception was just awful. Do you have DSL or Road Runner for the computer?

Don't tell me you still have dial-up? No, no, no, Fran!

Dr. Know said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr. Know said...

At the going rate of $99 a month for cable TV + HS Internet, I can understand why people chose to opt out of cable.
You want me to PAY for 24 minutes of commercials per hour? Hardly...

Fran said...

Spado! Welcome back, Happy New Year, hope all is well. I was just laughing at the old technology where you do have to get up off your ass to change the channel. No it's probably not a bad thing, but who can argue with that divine invention of the MUTE button, where a simple tap can silence commercials or blowhard talking heads! I always mute the commercials. I like the idea of a smart TV that does not allow the volume to exceed whatever you set it to... so when the Used Car salesman ad Yelling "COME ON DOWN" will not eject you off your chair, or wake you up from a sound sleep. Hrumph!
I am a news junkie, but have a few favorite shows I like & they are NOT daytime TV!

Annette: I hope perfectly good TV's do not wind up in the landfill as a result. It does seem like a covert marketing scam. You have staged your own revolution! Good for you!

Dr K: All hail the mighty AT & T! They would love for you to think LCD is inferior & to upgrade to an even spendier HDTV or plasma unit. Now you are falling in line with the plan. Your "they can bury me in it" remark cracked me up. HAM radio operators will eventually rule the world! HAM radio operators have a handle on it. (pun intended!).

Yes, I agree, keep the day job, as my poetic attempt was feeble at best. In my defense, this is the result of choosing a graphic first, and writing the poetry to fit.

Christopher~ We can get 6 stations on analog. I live in a valley that gets decent reception. My internet connection is lightening fast broadband via landline ~ so I am not totally living the Jurassic life!
No dial up for us!
I have tried to promote getting a cable or dish connection.... I would love to get History, Science, Ntl Geo. as well as Comedy Central & other higher quality options like C-Span.... but each time we considered it, something else came up that thwarted the effort. Lately some local stations dropped off broadcasting on dish that has subscribers ticked off. I'm sure once you do cross over, there is no going back.... but I have heard people say 132 channels & nothing good to watch!

Dr. K: I'd seriously consider paying $100 bucks a month to have commercial FREE viewing.

Anyway, what with the lay off, we are more focused on the roof over the head, than the TV offerings.
Plus the internet covers much of the gap for me.

Dr. Know said...

They would love for you to think LCD is inferior & to upgrade to an even spendier HDTV or plasma unit... Now you are falling in line with the plan.

They're not fooling me any, I've been in the broadcast video/electronics biz for 30 years.

They're all HDTV now - smaller sets tend to be LCD, larger displays tend to be plasma. There is also a HP "solid state" mirror unit still being used in some rear projection units.

The problem with LCDs is that the manufacturing yield rates for large displays is poor, therefore most large sets are plasma by necessity. LCDs also have narrower viewing angles and color shift artifacts due to the polarizers.

The LCDs are lower in power consumption and the display life is a known entity; the plasmas use more power, generate more heat, and the displays can be iffy in the life span department at this time.

Another issue with "marketing" is that a 20" 16:9 screen seems far "smaller" than an old 4:3 20" display (more like a 16") - even though it is wider - because they are measured diagonally. And yadda yadda...

Dr. Know said...

And the pun was much better... ;-)

Christopher said...

It's true, Fran.

There are times when we start at channel 4 and go all the way up to channel 598, look at each other, shrug and watch a DVD.

I think you would like C-Span.

Unknown said...

Please remember that even if you get a converter box, you will still need your rabbit ears! All the digital box does is convert the digital signal to one your TV can understand; you still need an antenna to receive the signal.

In my experience, you will actually receive more stations better with the digital box than you did without it, even with the same antenna in the same position.

So let's put away the myth that digital TV makes rabbit ears obsolete, ok?

Fran said...

I can view C-Span & C-Span 2 on the internet both live & events of the day & I really like having the raw footage of hearings & such w/o the talking heads. Just roll the cameras & STFU... we can interpret the event later & amongst ourselves.

Too funny! 598 channels & nothing good to watch!

Kelly~ I thought the converter box replaced the rabbit ears, so thanks for the tip.

Billie Greenwood said...

Nice to know that Mr. B.E. and I are in your good company on the analog TV scene.

Mauigirl said...

We were holdouts until about 4 years ago when we finally decided to get cable, because we wanted to get the high speed internet and figured if we had to have a cable run we might as well have cable TV. And Christopher's right, sometimes there's nothing on despite all those channels. But I do like watching MSNBC (Keith and Rachel) and Comedy Central (Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert).

Fran said...

Border~ Just learned now 2 of the 4 local stations are now NOT going to do the Feb 17 conversion. I guess the FCC is requiring some in each area must wait. So we shall do the halfway conversion on Tuesday.
Should be interesting.

Maui~ I would like the Comedy & Keith & Rachel fixes-- for now I get them on the Internet.

Funny that little old RCA really has a nice clear picture- and it's really old.

It will eventually be a museum piece!

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