Over-the-air broadcast TV: going away??

rooftop-antenna-24-elementAll of the broadcast stations across the country went digital-only this past year and millions were spent in the process by the feds and stations.
NOW, the FCC is taking some steps toward examining whether the broadcast spectrum should be reallocated for wireless broadband. This could, in essence, destroy or greatly restrict over the air broadcasting and could mean that any television watching in the future could be pay-only via cable or satellite.

In its five-page notice of inquiry, the FCC said it will consider “the value that the United States puts on free, over-the-air television,” as well as “market-based mechanisms for television broadcasters to contribute to the broadband effort any spectrum in excess of that which they need.”

This could restrict stations like WOSU, for instance, from carrying multiple digital channels. The WOSU lineup includes The Ohio Channel, WOSU Plus and our primary WOSU HD channel. It will also hamstring our ability to serve Ohio with statewide emergency broadcasts via our digital spectrum and restrict our move into new technologies, like Mobile DTV (see previous post).

The FCC said its inquiry grew out of the efforts to formulate a national broadband plan. “Parties have expressed concern…and have urged the Commission to make available more spectrum for commercial uses,” the notice of inquiry states.

The agency is seeking comment by Dec. 21 on these issues, including which factors should be considered when comparing the benefits of using spectrum for over-the-air broadcasting as opposed to wireless computing. “What would be the impact to the U.S. economy and public welfare if the coverage of free over-the-air broadcast television was diminished to accommodate a repacking of stations to recover spectrum?” the FCC asked.

The National Association of Broadcasters said Wednesday that it intends to file written comments before the deadline. “Broadband deployment to unserved areas is a worthy goal, and broadcasters believe we can help the FCC accomplish its mission without stifling growth opportunities of free and local TV stations and the millions of viewers that we serve,” Executive Vice President Dennis Wharton said in a statement.

Representatives of public television stations are also forming a coalition to comment on the FCC inquiry. Of course, there are powerful interest groups behind this call to reallocate broadcast spectrum and restrict free TV.
Our surveys in Columbus showed that over 150,000 households receive their local television without any subscription service.

Some proposals being floated by the FCC would eliminate high-definition broadcasting and multicasting altogether. Why on earth did we spend millions to get to digital television and provide HD and multiple free broadcast services, just to have the FCC come behind this process and take away the spectrum that stations rely on to deliver these services?

Want more on this?

Links to mediapost and Broadcasting and Cable Magazine articles.

Comments
  • Nick Kirby

    I personally like the digital over the air broadcast.I used to have satellite programming and it was a joke. I don’t want to have to pay for those stupid home shopping channels or that music they play on the others.If they discontinue the over the air broadcast I will just do without television.The only thing I will miss will be PBS and the local news.

  • Roger

    Shutting down the open air HDTV Transmitters and forcing every person in the United States to pay for cable or satellite Television is Totally Illegal and violates a U.S. Law which says or has a meaning that “there will be no law put into place that allows a company to make a profit.”

  • http://wosu.org tomrieland

    Appreciate the comments. I don’t believe free TV is a legal right, but it certainly should be. I wonder if the feds will consider subsidizing broadband and providing free basic broadband to anyone who wants it, just as we have free basic TV today. No way. This will leave behind those who choose not to have themselves and their kids exposed to commercial overload and to those who simply cannot afford pay TV.

  • David Flower

    Invested a lot of money (too me) in digital tv. My weather radio does’nt do enough to keep me informed I’m mad

  • Randy Davis

    Why not do away with over-the-air television. They’ve killed it for me and many others anyway. I, as well as my neighbors, cannot get a reliable over-the-air television signal now that there are no analogs left for me to watch. No signals when there is bad weather, selective fading, co-channel interference, rain static, etc. Analog signals were always viewable with reasonable quality. I’m 40 miles away from the broadcast antenna and my receiving antenna, on a rotor, is at about 50 feet. Most everyone I know has worse success than I’ve had in reliably receiving a DTV signal. Cliff effect and broadcast television are simply not compatible. Now that the govt. has made millions and millions of analog televisions obsolete, over the air has lost millions and millions of viewers. In an already fractionalized market caused largely by cable, the much weakened broadcaster now must say goodbye to all those reliable old analog viewers. So what’s left? Not enough left to pay the bills- no viewership. The promise of DTV was a farce. Yes, millions spent to finally wipe out over-the-air television and this action was legislated by our govt. Where was the engineering? Testing was woefully inadequate. I know, I witnessed some of it. The switchover should have at least been market driven. Everyone was brainwashed because this was supposed to be better…what a joke. If it is digital it’s better…right? I view the broadcast spectrum daily with one of the several spectrum analyzers I use in my lab. DTV, if this is the last hope for us, will certainly kill “free” over-the-air television. The distortions and interference experienced by the average over-the-air viewer are simply not compatible with our current standard and this standard will likely never be changed. Even now in it’s supposed robust form- it stinks! Maybe cofdm would have been better. This is what you get when salesmen advance to the office of GM and beyond. You can’t simply wave your hand and expect terrestrial signal distortion to simply go away. It is simply impossible to maintain that magical 20 db s/n over any significant period of time and over 6 mhz when you are miles away from the broadcast antenna! The result has left many of us without “free TV” and no way to turn back. Also, forget EAS. What good is EAS when you can’t get reception a good portion of the time? There were alternatives available compared to what we got. A lower data rate digital signal could have been piggybacked on the analog and used to provide a DTV playlist which could have been constantly updating in the background. Or maybe, even better, a standard that works! The initial DTV testing was a joke. I viewed the results of the testing and had many questions regarding the viability of the standard when exposed to the real world of radio propagation at VHF and UHF. I voiced my opion…loudly. Now, broadcasting may go down the tubes because of DTV much sooner than it may have without the transition. Maybe the DTV transition should be called the cable or satellite transition. Good job NAB, FCC, MST, Public Television, and Corporate broadcast TV- you’ve killed the business. You’ve allowed the govt. to lead you down the path to your own destruction. Oh, I almost forgot, a special thanks to Senator John McCain. I wonder what cable lobby lit his fire. Oh, if you don’t know what I’m talking about and receive over-the-air television as reliably as you received the analog…consider yourself very, very lucky. Now that this has failed do you know what the real cop-out is? It is time to shut down “free” over-the-air television because there are no viewers! Look out radio…learn from this or you may be next! I’m surprised that even Rupert Murdoch didn’t see this coming ’til now!

  • J. W. Kuhl

    I need antenna TV when I go camp or boating. I don’t feel like carrying a dish around with me to watch TV. TV is necessary to watch weather maps etc. in case of weather alerts. I just spent money to get the DTV and now the GOV wants to make it worthless.

  • slail

    I was a little stressed with the switch over to HD TV and I bought two converter boxes for the TV’s that I have at home. I was excited that I received more channels than before. I love being able to have 3 different ETV channels and I love the RetroTV channel. I can’t afford to pay for cable TV. It mahes no sense to me that the government sent out coupons for people to get the converter boxes at a discount an dnow they want to do away with free antena Tv. What a waste of government spending! Shame on them!!!

  • Alvin J B

    We live in rual wisconsin and we had 6 or 7 stations before now we have 21 channels with great reception. we recieve signals fron 60 to 90 miles away, just have to use a booster. would not want to go back to analog signals.

  • Fred Stobie

    Randy Davis, you are very long winded in writing for an ignorant fool, how many pSA’S that were broadcast would it take to inform you that you need a converter box to recieve TV ? They only aired seemingly 90 times a day for over 2 years, and you didn’t get it? wow. Millions of people get over the air free TV, Not luck,,, just a little smarter than a receiver/converter box!

  • Sheryn Dallessandro

    Fred Stobie, Randy isn’t an ignorant fool, although perhaps long winded. If you look up websites concerning rooftop antennas you will see that there are ways to pull in signals without a converter box. Just because the government advertised it on tv does not make it so. They also said the analog signals were going to be given to the first responders, which is a load of crap. So I think you’re being a bit hard on Mr. Davis. I too purchased the converter boxes and the reception is awful. And I might ad that the government stands to make a lot of money by selling the analog signals. It’s the equivalent of beach front property.

  • Randy Davis

    Yes…Mr. Stobie…Of course I’ve purchased several converter boxes as well as televisions that have tuners capable of receiving the 8VSB modulation used for DTV in the United States. I’m sorry you were unable to understand the point I was trying to get across. The point is this: Our new over-the-air television standard leaves many people, like myself, without reliable television reception. The Longley/Rice model used to predict the reliability and coverage of the new standard incorrectly predicted power levels that were too low for the broadcast transmitters. This deficiency is now documented. The model also did nothing to address those times when radio propagation from the desired station is interfered with by co-channel distant stations or multi-path distortion from the desired signal. These distortions happen frequently on VHF and a little less frequently on UHF. In addition to the outages observed when temperature inversions and other weather anomalies occur that have a detrimental effect on VHF and UHF radio signals, we are just entering the upswing phase of our current sunspot cycle and even more outages will be witnessed because of the resulting co-channel interference from increased E and F layer skip. The more co-channel interference encountered by DTV- the more blank screens. As I’ve reported earlier, I observe the television broadcast spectrum frequently on rather sophisticated equipment. I see the interference for what it is. The signal to noise threshold cannot be maintained high enough to prevent black-out when reflected signals are nearly as strong as the desired ones. This includes co-channel interference for distant stations as well as multi-path distortion from the desired signal. The standard selected should have been better in all respects…it simply isn’t. Now more people are forced to pay for their TV by subscribing to cable or satellite. What a shame for people that just want to watch the 10 o’clock news or get a weather update when needed or maybe even a EAS activation. The “can you hear me now” contortions we go through in getting our cell phones to work simply won’t do for broadcast television. Why should we settle for no picture? Is this progress? And this is good for broadcast television?

  • hogrod

    Randy Davis needs to learn to break up his posts, way to hard to read without doing so. He does have somewhat of a point, all the people who had mediocre TV reception far from transmitters before will have issues getting OTA TV now.

    There are many antenna & amp combination’s that will overcome these distances, I have setup more than one location 45-80miles from transmitters. Good TV reception is only as good as the antenna, cables, grounding, receiver & most important location.

    The same people who were left in the dark with poor OTA TV are the same ones with no options for broadband internet. They live so far from the city’s no company wants to invest in a wired infrastructure for an area with so few people per square mile. Wireless is the only way to bring Broadband internet to all people with very little invested. With a fast broadband connection providers could Stream video content to all your TV’s, so there would be no need for OTA TV.

    The main issue though is this article gets lots of things wrong. yes the government was talking about how viable OTA TV is in the future, but they were not talking about shutting down OTA TV to create a new wireless broadband internet. They already have a plan in place to use part of the spectrum that the old analog TV was using before to create National wirless Broadband(This spectrum was sold before the digital switch just for this purpose).
    Keep your eyes open, This new wireless broadband should start rolling out before the end of the year.

    • http://wosu.org Scott Gowans

      Thanks for the good discussion around this, everyone. As your moderator, I’m asking that the tone stays civil, ok? No more name-calling or talking about the quality of posts.

      - Scott Gowans

  • Goat

    I am shocked at alot of these posts mostly overly verbose Randy Davis.
    I have an outside antenna and recieve all but 1 of my local channels way better.
    Plus all the sub channels I get are a bonus!
    Listen I was a douche too and didn’t want to pay 60 bucks for a new antenna.
    But now I get all digital hd for free after buying a good antenna.
    Holy crap the olympics are on crystal clear HD nbc!

  • Tom Rieland

    hograd writes:
    “The main issue though is this article gets lots of things wrong. yes the government was talking about how viable OTA TV is in the future, but they were not talking about shutting down OTA TV to create a new wireless broadband internet. They already have a plan in place to use part of the spectrum that the old analog TV was using before to create National wirless Broadband(This spectrum was sold before the digital switch just for this purpose). ”

    Please read some recent posts. The FCC is indeed focused on the current spectrum used by broadcast stations for over the air TV to expand broadband capacity.

    Tom

  • Randy Davis

    …I’ve done everything imaginable to improve my DTV reception. I have an outside antenna on a rotor at 50 ft., pre-amplified at the antenna including an fm notch filter to keep fm stations from overloading the system, etc. Some of my neighbors have also done nearly as much with the same abysmal results…unreliable dtv reception. Folks, it’s not the system, it’s the standard. Shocking as it is, you can believe it or not. Yes, I am probably overly verbose, mad, etc. I really did not want to see free over-the-air be weakened by a so called “improvement.” It is no improvement if you can’t get reliable reception. I agree that hd looks good during those times when the reception is good. Those extra channels are nice too…wish I could get them reliably!

  • R. T.

    I agree that DTV is very unstable. I believe the conversion was forced upon us before it was really ready to go mainstream.

    I live in an area where the signal is normally decent, but I don’t doubt Mr. Davis’ experiences with reception. Sometimes I merely reach over to grab a beer off my coffee table, and the reception begins to pixelate.

    One particular channel which was spotty previous to the conversion is now available only sporadically. I had hoped this channel would actually come in better with DTV, how is it possible that it is much, much worse than before?

    Paying for television will never be an option for me. If free tv goes away, I’ll not subscribe to a pay service. I will miss PBS. It will be time to dust off the turntable and play my LP’s, listen to sports on the radio more, go hiking more often, and read even more books than I already do.

  • Larry

    Just recently I was forced to retire early, I use to have Dish Network, and when I needed it the most when a bad storm was in the area I wasn’t able to see any alerts because it would go down, sometimes when the bad weather wasn’t even close to my area. I cancelled Dish and I’m using OTA . Since I switched to this, I now get 48 stations and I must say I not only have better reception but more channels that interest me, I had fewer staions that I would watch using the Dish, because most of them were just plain garbage, and when I would see something that I wanted to watch it would be pay per view. I never signed up for HD because I couldn’t afford it, now, I get HD from OTA and I couldn’t be happier. I have quite a library of movies over the years, and if they ever discontinue OTA broadcasting I’ll go back to my tapes and DVDs because I can not afford the crazy prices for pay tv and being forced to take channels that I would never have watched anyway.

  • Rodney

    I couldn’t ever get the analog signal clear, it always had at least a little fuzz. I get the digital clear as a bell and I live a minimum of 60 miles from each tower. My parents had some of the same problems you guys are having and they live about 2 miles from my house. It turned out to be that their antenna and booster wasn’t up to par.

  • Cindy

    I refuse to pay for a TV signal. Never have, and never will. I have watched OTA only, since I first bought a home, and with the transition to digital signals, it has only gotten better!! I can get more signals, and better reception now, than I ever have in the past.
    Satellite and cable?? Who needs ‘em!!

  • Paul

    Yes we have the antenna, converters, everything we were told to buy. Then we bought the boosters and everything else.

    Here in the Detroit area, digital tv Sucks.

    There is no better way to state it. The signal qualtiy is so poor that you either have to buy cable or just watch stuttering sucky tv signals and miss half of a show.

    If the weather is bad you cant watch the broadcast tv at all. No way to get the weather warnings because you just have a No Signal message from the converter box becaue it can not pick up a signal.

    This is our third style of converter box, none of them work. As i mentioned we do have the best antenna, best booster, best of everything. Nothing works.

    Honestly a striaght wire hanging out the back of the converter box works BETTER than the antennas we paid for and the boosters.

    Digital tv is a joke, and since they are going to sell the bandwidth, we are all going to be screwed.

    With the economy here in detroit, cable/satelite are not options for us.

    The newspapers have canceled their delivery so now you have to hope they print one that day when you goto the store. And when you do find a paper they have screwy things in them like bubbles that say Click here for more. In a printed newspaper!

  • signal

    the digital signal is not natural like the analog signal was to the environment the analog signal was more invisible to the environment so i thank that is why the analog can broadcast through objects and bad wheather with more mile coverage in good wheather and bad wheather so when are they going to make the digital signal like the analog signal with the same HD DIGITAL PICTURE quality but with a better signal quality like analog was with more mile coverage and more invisible to bad weather and tall objects like buildings so the signal come in clear every where or are we using a temporary digital signal until the FCC but the real digital signal up. and the FCC now thay got alot of work to do with the digital tv signal thats why analog radio is still broadcasting now

  • Mick

    I paid for cable for 30 years because I was either too stupid or just too lazy to put up an antenna. When Charter cable started charging me $21 a month for just a few channels plus a lot of crap that I didn’t want (Religious, foreign language, shopping) I canceled the service.

    I had already gone from expanded basic (70 channels) to regular basic (21 (yea right) channels). The expanded basic was around $75 a month.

    When I started seeing all the adds warning of the impending change to digital, I thought to myself “Why not give it a try?”

    I still had the amplifier that was attached to my cable line, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on an antenna as I live in a town home and we would have to put them up in the back (wrong way – building int he way),

    I went on YouTube and found a design using clothes hangers and built myself a good antenna for NOTHING! I had all the necessary parts lying around my basement.

    I now get more channels than I was paying Charter for, and they come in great. There are only two channels that I can’t pick up. One of them is a PBS station, but I get three others so that doesn’t matter. The other is an independent station 50 miles away that is getting interference from our local independent station. The local station is moving their antenna, so I am hoping that problem will soon be solved.

    I can pickup:

    ABC
    CBS
    FOX
    NBC
    CW
    3-PBS
    4-Independent
    3-Weather Channels

    That’s about everything folks other than a lot of (so-far) useless sub-channels). Being able to pick up 40-50 channels doesn’t matter if half of them are nothing more than the networks in a different city broadcasting the same thing.

    I agree with what some others have posted: If free TV is taken away from us, I will just read more and watch more movies (free at local library).

    If you want to build yourself a good antenna for virtually nothing, check out this post on YouTube.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWQhlmJTMzw

    By the way: My antenna is sitting in the corner of my upstairs bedroom. :-)

    You can also check out these sites to show you where the stations in your area are located:

    http://www.fcc.gov/mb/engineering/maps/

    http://www.antennapoint.com/

    http://www.antennapoint.com/

    The above websites helped me a great deal as to where to point my antenna.

  • Bob Villa

    “The switchover should have at least been market driven.”

    This is where you jumped the shark and never looked back Randy… This change was market-driven. You see, broadcast television companies were heavy supporters of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the act that paved the way for DTV only. You see, under the original agreement between the US government and broadcast networks, networks paid “rent” to use the analogue signals that were being sent to our houses, but the Telecommunications Act of 1996 essential provided a way for these broadcast companies to no longer pay “rent” to use the airwaves, provided that they switched to a digital signal. Given the choice between “renting” analogue signals, or funding lobbyists and special interests that could get the Telecommunications Act of 1996 drafted, passed, and signed into law, a law that would allow them to broadcast for free, they supported the law and subsequent changeover lock, stock, and barrel.

    The simple fact was that the “free-market” was the major pushing factor behind the law, paying government officials to support this bill, as is the case with 95% of legislation these days. Tell me honestly – Do you rememver any of the TV stations launching any major campaign against the Telecommunications Act of 1996 or its requirement of the switchover from analogue to DTV, subsidized, of course, by the government? Of course not, because they had no quams – they were getting what they want – free infrastructure and free access to airwaves.

    The idea that government doesn’t work closely with corporation in present day America is woefully naive, and this switch over was no exceptions, so if you want to be angry about your lack of reception, you should in-fact be angry with the market-driven aspects of the switchover, which was the dominate reason why we are where we are today.

  • Bob Villa

    Of course, to cover my bases, if your use of “market driven” meant driven by the percentage of US households with DTV or DTV ready devices, that still breeches 44% of users in 2009, and should cross the one in two threshold by the end of 2010, showing that this transition is in many ways market driven. Given the market is shifting away from SD and to HD capable TVs, if you think that TV companies are going continue to pay “rent” for the privilege of having access to analogue signals that they can transmit their station over when they can transmit over digital signals for free, a benefit that they wanted, regardless of government regulation, you better rethink your stance. At some point paying “rent” to reach fewer and fewer households when you can broadcast to as many households for free is bad business practice, strictly from an corporation’s economic viewpoint, regardless of government regulation, which, I remind you, was heavily supported by broadcasters in the first place.

    In either usage of the concept of market driven as outlined above, this digital transition very much was so – no ifs, ands, or buts about it. I am sorry that you are getting a poor signal, but your argument as to why it shouldn’t be that way really has no ground to stand on… As a suggestion, you might try contacting an engineer at one of the local stations in you area – I have found though I am sure that they have much more pressing matters, they are often more than willing to work with a outside caller regarding signal interference and how it can be cleaned up. I have had nothing but friendly engineers the couple of times I called regarding a spotty signal and they have been able to make suggestions that cleared the issue right up.

  • Randy Davis

    Bob, your input is well taken…but I don’t agree with your logic. What do you call “market driven”? The Telecommunications act of 1996 was a mandate. And you are correct…the broadcasters did not complain. Who knew to complain? The models used to convince the Broadcasters promised everything they could have wanted- until they found out that the Longley/Rice model used to predict the coverage contours was WRONG. There is a station in my market, and perhaps others too, that simulcasts on two digital channels- a UHF and VHF channel. Neither channel alone satisfies viewers because the VHF channel doesn’t have sufficient power density to provide reliable signals for close-in viewers. The higher powered UHF transmitters penetrate walls better and yields better close-in reception. Similarly, the UHF channel does not have the power density for reliable reception at greater distances. Comparatively speaking, VHF stations enjoy greater coverage areas with much less of a power requirement- but they don’t enjoy the same power density that the U’s do close-in. This problem is significant when you consider the “rabbit ears” or other antennas located indoors. If the station mentioned earlier ceases broadcasting on one or the other of the two channels they get a flood of complaints. Why should this be happening if there is not a problem with the standard? Because of this you can see why and this also explains why they are still broadcasting on two channels! Did the broadcasters know to fight this in 1996? Did the broadcasters really know that they were about to lose significant viewers when the switch was mandated? Many people in the fringes are unable to receive OTA broadcasting now. So everyone with reception issues like me have “no ground to stand on.”? I beg to differ with you because many like me used to have decent OTA reception a far greater percentage of the time. Many of these people have just given up on trying to get reliable reception. Is this better? Shouldn’t the new standard be available to everyone that received OTA television before like we were promised? “No ground to stand on”…really? Tell my neighbors that.

  • Pix Smith

    I am going to come down on the side of terrible standard, and boondoggle for consumers besides.

    In my case, I got 9 channels with varying degrees of clarity, but I could watch and listen to programs with no issues. After the digital conversion and “improved reception” I can’t get a thing. Nothing, nada, zip.

    I had an amplified indoor antenna before, and that did a great job pulling in stations. Now, in order to get anything, I would have to put up an exterior antenna, which, sadly cannot be done in our location.

    I would love to see the family of someone killed because they couldn’t get a watchable weather report clean up in a lawsuit on this one. I am pretty sure that you can trace all of it back to money — Congress and the FCC rolled over in order to line their pockets; then again, if people don’t want to watch pay television and can’t get free reception, that’s one set of folks who won’t know what’s coming at them next.

    The fact of the matter is that for a lot of people, especially those who had great indoor reception before, OTA television is no longer available, regardless of anyone else’s personal experience.

  • http://plumeriaplant.blogspot.com Stephen James

    I don’t mean to be rude at all, but everything is going digital. We’re in the digital age and eventually everyone will have to get digital television. It’s just a fact of life and it’s going to happen when cable companies start to only provide digital services.

    I’m not saying it’s the best (although I do like it), but rather that you can’t believe that in 2050 someone is going to be messing with rabbit ears trying to get a better signal.

    Just my 2 cents.

  • Jim Coverdale

    Mostly great discussion here. Rather you agree or disagree with Randy it is clear he knows something about television transmission and raises a point I have not considered before. That is that there are people out there who have had the OTA option taken away from them by the switch. Personally I only have OTA televsion and have been very happy with the change to DTV. I did invest in a very good outdoor antenna and receive most (but not all) of the stations I would expect to receive, some of which are up to 50 miles away. I think for most Americans it has likely been a positive change. Randy’s point is that it could have been better with more up front study. I’m hopeful that free OTA TV is around for a very long time yet but I do understand some of the challenges. For Randy I wish for someone who could possibly help you come up with a solution to your reception problems. You are knowledgeable enough that perhaps someone from the television stations in question would be willing to look into your situation.

  • OTACanuck

    Put me in the lovin OTA Digital camp. Before the conversion, I was getting 8 channels (with only 4 of high reception quality), now I get 24 digital channels (16 HD), with half the channels from 113 miles away. Even during the recent snow storm, these deepest fringe channels were solid at 85-100% signal strength on 2 different ATSC tuners.

    One of these channels from 113 miles, is seldom received at LESS than 100% signal strength. Yes, VHF and digital are not an ideal mix due to interference and distortion, but UHF signals are extremely robust at this location. Regarding the digital standard used in North America, yes ATSC with MPEG2 is 2nd fiddle to the better DVB or ISDB with MPEG4, but unfortunately that ship has sailed. Its ironic that late adopter nations of OTA digital (such as most of South America) will end up having a better digital standard and improved compression format than North America. Sometimes being first out of the gate is not a good thing.

  • Jimsr

    Ain’t big government wonderful. Let’s have more so we can all go broke and stand in the unemployment line together !!! Washington is soooooo broken. As one radio talk show host is wont to say’, “Liberalism is a mental disorder”. Liberals run the FCC from the Obomination administration.

    • dean

      if there were not enough people paying they could not do it so everyone stop paying and let all the cable and internet companies go broke then see if they can still do it no reason they would have no money spent on it

  • Booradley

    As good little citizens we got our gov. coupons and waited on lines to get the digital to analog converter boxes to watch our old TV sets. We set them up and finally felt we can still have an economical way to watch TV on our SS and pensions. The first free antenna to TV over the air was cruelly taken from us in 2009. Now, the converter boxes will be worthless and big cable companies in bed with big gov. will now extort more from our shallow SS and pension pockets and feed us to the wolves for PAY cable box TV? Shame on all of you greedy transparent thieves.

    • dean

      my view is do not blam the gov for the peoples willingness to pay without the people the gov can do nothing but running scared are most the people oh my gosh i have to pay i can’t be left without my neighbor might have it and how awful if i did not have everything my neighbor has