Digital TV Converter Coupon Hullaballoo

Categories: TV Business

Written By

January 4th, 2008

converter-box.gifThere have been lots of reports in the media about a rush of requests for digital converter box coupons. [note the helpful countdown to digital TV from the government!]
Implied is that this rush of millions of coupon requests shows how the government is out in front of the big [yet, I believe meaningless] deadline to switch to digital TV in February, 2009. At least that's what the NTIA would have you believe.
Hogwash. I'd bet that most of those requests are coming from speculators that will hope to resell the coupons later on EBay. The people who really need them, the 15 million or so households receiving over the air broadcast television only, are way too unplugged to have responded so quickly to the offer.

UPDATE: Yet another reason it's likely the deadline will be pushed back, even if the word does somehow get out to everyone who needs one there won't be enough converters!

 
  • David

    Thanks for the reply. I’m hoping that cable companies (specifically mine) will not be in a rush to drop the analog channels. If they did that, it would make my DVR and the remote control for my TV almost useless since all channel changing would occur in the cable box. Fortunately, it would mean the same thing for a lot of other people, so I think the odds are on my side.

  • David

    Thanks for the reply. I’m hoping that cable companies (specifically mine) will not be in a rush to drop the analog channels. If they did that, it would make my DVR and the remote control for my TV almost useless since all channel changing would occur in the cable box. Fortunately, it would mean the same thing for a lot of other people, so I think the odds are on my side.

  • P. Karrer

    In my view – The big push for digital TV is to free up the VHF TV band (that’s channels 2 – 13). This will allow the Gov. to cut up and Auction off these frequencies. I do believe that the change to digital broadcasting is a great thing, but there will be many households that will have reception problems. These “set top converter boxes” will not give you a picture if you have a weak signal (digital is all or nothing). This means, households in fringe areas will need an outside (expensive) antenna.
    There is a lot of available frequencies in the UHF Band – The Gov. should allow these analog stations more time to convert. I am sure that most large TV stations have started or finished their conversion, but I just wonder how many small station will have to close. I have a question – what will the Gov. do with the VHF Band

  • P. Karrer

    In my view – The big push for digital TV is to free up the VHF TV band (that’s channels 2 – 13). This will allow the Gov. to cut up and Auction off these frequencies. I do believe that the change to digital broadcasting is a great thing, but there will be many households that will have reception problems. These “set top converter boxes” will not give you a picture if you have a weak signal (digital is all or nothing). This means, households in fringe areas will need an outside (expensive) antenna.
    There is a lot of available frequencies in the UHF Band – The Gov. should allow these analog stations more time to convert. I am sure that most large TV stations have started or finished their conversion, but I just wonder how many small station will have to close. I have a question – what will the Gov. do with the VHF Band

  • P. Karrer

    In my view – The big push for digital TV is to free up the VHF TV band (that’s channels 2 – 13). This will allow the Gov. to cut up and Auction off these frequencies. I do believe that the change to digital broadcasting is a great thing, but there will be many households that will have reception problems. These “set top converter boxes” will not give you a picture if you have a weak signal (digital is all or nothing). This means, households in fringe areas will need an outside (expensive) antenna.
    There is a lot of available frequencies in the UHF Band – The Gov. should allow these analog stations more time to convert. I am sure that most large TV stations have started or finished their conversion, but I just wonder how many small station will have to close. I have a question – what will the Gov. do with the VHF Band

  • P. Karrer

    In my view – The big push for digital TV is to free up the VHF TV band (that’s channels 2 – 13). This will allow the Gov. to cut up and Auction off these frequencies. I do believe that the change to digital broadcasting is a great thing, but there will be many households that will have reception problems. These “set top converter boxes” will not give you a picture if you have a weak signal (digital is all or nothing). This means, households in fringe areas will need an outside (expensive) antenna.
    There is a lot of available frequencies in the UHF Band – The Gov. should allow these analog stations more time to convert. I am sure that most large TV stations have started or finished their conversion, but I just wonder how many small station will have to close. I have a question – what will the Gov. do with the VHF Band

  • Rena Moretti

    Bill, thanks again for your very interesting response. :)

    I agree with you, the cable industry and the broadcasters are pushing for the change (in the same way, the lightbulb manufacturers have been pushing hard for banning the regular lightbulb in hopes of a windfall created by government intervention). The public’s apathy is what delayed it for so long.

    As for cable, I have to admit to my provinciality. My various cable companies over the years have never offered service without a box so I didn’t even think that you could get it that way.

    I happily stand corrected on that issue.

  • Rena Moretti

    Bill, thanks again for your very interesting response. :)

    I agree with you, the cable industry and the broadcasters are pushing for the change (in the same way, the lightbulb manufacturers have been pushing hard for banning the regular lightbulb in hopes of a windfall created by government intervention). The public’s apathy is what delayed it for so long.

    As for cable, I have to admit to my provinciality. My various cable companies over the years have never offered service without a box so I didn’t even think that you could get it that way.

    I happily stand corrected on that issue.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com/ Bill Gorman

    P. Karrer, I don’t know for sure what’s intended for the VHF band. I remember hearing that a single VHF channel would be broken up into 10(?) standard def digitial channels for the same broadcaster’s use, but my memory is definitely cloudy on that. I’ll see what I can find.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com/ Bill Gorman

    P. Karrer, I don’t know for sure what’s intended for the VHF band. I remember hearing that a single VHF channel would be broken up into 10(?) standard def digitial channels for the same broadcaster’s use, but my memory is definitely cloudy on that. I’ll see what I can find.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com/ Bill Gorman

    P. Karrer, I don’t know for sure what’s intended for the VHF band. I remember hearing that a single VHF channel would be broken up into 10(?) standard def digitial channels for the same broadcaster’s use, but my memory is definitely cloudy on that. I’ll see what I can find.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    P. Karrer, I don’t know for sure what’s intended for the VHF band. I remember hearing that a single VHF channel would be broken up into 10(?) standard def digitial channels for the same broadcaster’s use, but my memory is definitely cloudy on that. I’ll see what I can find.

  • jp

    hooray for digital tv. screw cable. cant wait.

  • jp

    hooray for digital tv. screw cable. cant wait.

  • jp

    hooray for digital tv. screw cable. cant wait.

  • jp

    hooray for digital tv. screw cable. cant wait.

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