DTV: What Will Happen
in 372 Days?
The clock on the FCC DTV website (and the NAB website linked above) report 372 days until the DTV transition. A New York Times article entitled "Many Obstacles to Digital television Reception, A Study Says" is not too optimistic about what will happen. While the broadcast establishment likes to project that the Docket 04-186 TV whitespace device (WSD) proposal is the biggest threat to "free" over-the-air home TV reception, the article says,
"The study by Centris, a market research firm in Los Angeles, found gaps in broadcast signals that may leave an estimated 5.9 million TV sets unable to receive as many channels as they did before the changeover. It may affect even those who bought the government-approved converter boxes or a new digital TV. To keep broadcast reception, many viewers may have to buy new outdoor antennas, the study found.The technical finding are based on studies by Dr. Oded Bendov a TV technology specialist who recently published a one sided critique of the WSD proposal in IEEE Transaction on Broadcasting. Dr. Bendov is quoted as saying,
The Centris study predicts greater disruption of service than government agencies like the Federal Communications Commission have acknowledged."
“For the people with rabbit-ear antennas, I would say at least 50 percent won’t get the channels they were getting. I would say a lot of people are going to be very unhappy.”Fortunately, almost no one watches over-the-air broadcasting anymore as FCC itself has documented and the numbers who do have been decreasing for a decade.
The ongoing 700 MHz auction , "$19,229,168,700 and counting" shows the huge value of UHF TV spectrum for nonbroadcast applications. I'm glad I won't be FCC chairman when 2/19/09 rolls around. Fortunately, many of the key players involved in planning the DTV transition have gone out the "revolving door" so they can just criticize the FCC and absolve themselves of all blame.
Meanwhile the dysfunctional pair of national spectrum management agencies, FCC and NTIA, continue the silly game of feuding DTV websites (www.dtv.gov and www.dtv2009.gov) : How many US Government websites does it take to inform the public about a DTV transition?
2/13/08 Update (370 Days to Go)
Chairman Martin's Statement Before the Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, U.S. House of Representatives.