Who needs TV anyway? We have the radio, Internet, and (!!) newspapers...
Among its other achievements (cough), Congress has recently made every teenager in America deliriously happy. It made television a universal entitlement. Specifically, digital TV, with a pricetag for this new taxpayer subsidy of up to $1.5 billion.
Federal law requires that, following the Super Bowl on February 17, 2009, all TV broadcasts will be transmitted only in digital format. Viewers relying solely on "over the air" analog programming will lose their signal. The Commerce Department believes there are some 35 million TV sets in America that don't have a digital converter, and their owners (read: voters) might not be happy to have their sets go black. (The poor dears!)
So in 2005 Congress authorized the TV Converter Box Coupon Program. Any family can get a $40 coupon -- or two -- to convert its analog TVs to digital. (This is separate from the economic "stimulus" package.) Six million Americans have already snatched up coupons, and Commerce is even underwriting a PR program so Americans will grab them. (Lemmings, no?)
Technological change routinely makes consumer items obsolete, but the feds don't pay people to upgrade their computers, microwaves, or home heating systems (not yet at least)...consumers have had ample time to adjust.
Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez says digital TV will "improve our quality of life"...(Yeah, right. More chips and dip, Nintendo thumbs, angioplasties...wow, it'll be great!)
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Please read this excellent editorial concerning the digital-converter law, loathsome to me. What a title ("Couch Potato Entitlement")! Some choice paragraphs, comments/emphasis mine: