Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Congress On Television...

Once again our beloved members of Congress take on one of the tough issues facing America. The mandatory conversion of all television broadcasts to digital television by February 17, 2009. The Feb. 17th deadline — the so-called "hard date" to end traditional analog transmissions — was a compromise between House and Senate legislation that called for different end dates. The House initially proposed ending analog transmissions on Dec. 31, 2008; the Senate had backed a hard date of April 7, 2009 — after the March Madness college basketball tournament. Someone in the Senate must have figured that all of these old television sets belong to basketball fans. Do they actually waste time on this stuff?

The measure also would allocate up to $1.5 billion to help consumers with older, analog TV sets purchase converter boxes so they would continue to get service in the digital era. WHAT??!! Converter boxes?? The Senate had also proposed a much bigger converter box subsidy of $3 billion. The compromise figure of $1.5 billion is meant to help the households who rely on free, over-the-air television. First Congress mandates a change and then they force us to pay for converter boxes for older televisions. How many converter boxes will $1.5 billion buy? How many are needed? How do they know how many of the people who are too cheap to get cable or satellite television don’t have digital televisions already? I would love to know who lobbied our esteemed members of Congress to get the contract for converter boxes. This is beyond belief. They have turned watching television into a right for people and we taxpayers have to pay to keep some old television with rabbit ear antennas around. What they need to do is tell these people who are too cheap to upgrade – It’s time to buy a new television…


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