Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

July 13, 2005

The Television Set Manufacturers’ Profit Act of 2005

Filed under: — Different River @ 6:25 pm

USA Today reports that television broadcasters “would agree to give up their analog channels and start broadcasting only in digital by 2009″ — and that Congress is about to pass legislation to this effect.

Putting aside the implied notion that Congress can’t pass legislation without the consent of broadcasters (which may in fact be true if enough voters watch TV and believe what they see on it), what this basically means is that on January 1, 2009, almost every TV in America will stop working. In other words, unless you are in one of the 2% or so households that already has a digital TV, then sometime between now and January 1, 2009 you will have to buy a new TV (or a converter box, perhaps with a new antenna) if you plan to watch TV after that date. There is one possible exception — cable companies may still provide analog signals. So if they do that (which not certain), and you don’t get cable already, you have until January 1, 2009, to sign up and start paying.

In other words, if you don’t pay the “TV tax” to the digital TV manufacturers, the era of free TV broadcasts is going to be over.

And even if you don’t watch TV, you might still pay — because Congress is considering subsidizing the purchase of converter boxes.

If you are not totally bored by this, go over to Slashdot and read the comments. Some of them are quite perceptive.

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