September 10, 2008

I want my DTV (part 1)

I'm sure you've see the PSAs for the impending February 2009 DTV switchover. Despite the fact that I've spent a good part of my life around high tech, I'm a late adopter. My last computer was a Frankensteined Windows 95 box. My JVC television is over a decade old as well.

I get TV Japan through Dish Network, but the satellite dish points off towards Hawaii, and except for a couple of public access channels (like the Pentagon Channel), doesn't provide any domestic programming. I'd have to get a second dish to get the regular slate of programs.

So I depend on terrestrial broadcasting. In other words, I was a prime candidate for one of those 40 dollar coupons.

This really is against my principles--nowhere in the Constitution is enshrined the inalienable right to watch television--but how can I turn up my nose after Congress went to all that trouble? And a cheap, high-tech toy with a remote? My geek genes light up like a Christmas tree.

Because I pay the "starving artist" marginal tax rate--well below the median--that means the rest of you are subsidizing my DTV. Thanks, everybody! (Though I suspect that sans those 40 dollar coupons, the retail price of a converter box would be, oh, about 40 dollars less.)

I did a little googling and ended up with the Zenith DTT901 Digital-to-Analog Converter (list $59.99). Circuit City had a small mountain of them in the TV section. Not one of those decisions I wrung my hands over. The only thing I'm debating now is how to hook it up.

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# posted by Anonymous Anonymous
9/10/2008 12:05 PM   
We got ours back in June (also got the Zenith DTT901 from Circuit City) and it's been great. It's no HDTV, but sports look so much better widescreen and with digital picture. And we get several more public broadcasting channels now.

I'm much too cheap to pay for cable or dish. Or rather, I have no desire to pay for a hundred channels that I don't want.
# posted by Blogger Th.
9/10/2008 11:18 PM   

Oh. I thought you were jonesin' for Disney's old take on MTV.
# posted by Blogger Eugene
9/12/2008 8:06 AM   
Wikipedia has an interesting article about the a la carte cable question, centering around the Family and Consumer Choice Act of 2007, which would have mandated it (the bill remains in committee).

The proposed bill has created some unlikely allies. For example, televangelists oppose it because they fear too many people would opt out. It would spell death to any service that counted on the bored channel surfer to nab viewers.

Personally, I'm afraid that if I could just sign up for my local broadcasters and the History Channel and the TLC lineup and a few news stations, I might as well superglue my butt to the couch cushions. I'd never get anything done.
# posted by Blogger Joe
9/12/2008 9:50 AM   
History Channel and TLC end up doing a lot of repeats. To the point where I ended up watching a repeat of House on USA before Burn Notice came on. Then I turned the TV off for the night (and I'm a TV junky.)