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Subject: Free digital TV, cable's next rival?

Written By: Echo Nomad on 12/16/08 at 1:49 am

Free digital TV, cable's next rival?

Subject: Re: Free digital TV, cable's next rival?

Written By: LyricBoy on 12/16/08 at 6:01 am

Free?  Me Likey !  :)

Subject: Re: Free digital TV, cable's next rival?

Written By: danootaandme on 12/16/08 at 11:45 am

I have a rooftop antenna and I st up my digital tuner and it is fantastic.  I went from 7 channels to 22!  Many of the stations have substations(I guess you would call them), like 2, 2-1, 2-3 etc.  I live in an area of very poor reception, down in a bit of a dip, if I was up higher I would probably double what I get, and it's all free.  Let's face it, how many stations do you really need?  The only thing I don't get (besides a couple of hundred unnecessary channels) is hi-def. 

Subject: Re: Free digital TV, cable's next rival?

Written By: MrCleveland on 12/16/08 at 12:32 pm


I had cable once and all they did was raise our costs.
I also had satellite and all they did was fudge us!

Subject: Re: Free digital TV, cable's next rival?

Written By: gumbypiz on 12/16/08 at 4:05 pm

No, I'm sorry I don't buy into the "DTV is a boon to consumer or the TV viewing public" tag line.

Its a fraud and now we are stuck with it, no one ever really took a look at what the DTV switchover really entailed, and as usual the US government did and will do a poor job of executing a poorly thought out plan.

IMO the entire Digital TV switchover is a complete fraudulent scam put on us by the broadcasting lobbies, DTV converter box producers and the cable companies, all paid with our tax dollars.

For those of you lucky enough to live in a clear nonconstructive area, with a rooftop antenna, great, you get more channels (though I can’t say any of them are worthwhile) and better picture clarity.

BUT for the rest of us…

Whereas a poor analog signal can still be received to view, not so with digital. You'll "fall of a cliff" with the digital.  The digital signal is actually more fragile than analog, ANYTHING (weather, birds, just walking by the box) will degrade the signal.
"The problem with DTV is that it doesn't degrade gracefully, the way NTSC (analog) TV does: when NTSC signals are marginal, you get snow in the picture, but the audio doesn't cut out until the (FM) signal is too weak for full quieting. With DTV, the audio cuts out as soon as the picture does, and there's no "good enough" middle ground: it's either very nice or very gone." . . . from W1AC on

If you live near or at the foothills of a mountainous area, you may suffer from shadowing and get a poor DTV signal, the strongest part of the signal goes right over you, so you see nothing, no signal. If you live in an apartment building (most landlords don’t allow rooftop antennas) with no direct line of sight visual from the source, you get no signal. If you have a flock of birds passing by, you lose a signal, if you have a plane flying overhead in a flight path, you lose/get no signal. Rain/snow?  You lose it or get no signal. Walk by your DTV box at certain times of day, you lose/get no signal. Maybe you'll get lucky and just have the infamous digital "freeze" screen instead for five or so minutes, until it updates. Plus it takes longer just to change channels with DTV as before, you have to deal with a buffer, just like you PC.
The problems go on and on.
At least with the analogue you could still get a picture, even if a bit snowy, but now you must have a excellent signal or you get nothing, no signal.

What about the poor Chucks that live out in the boonies/rural areas were the analog signal was poor to begin with and where cable wasn’t even available? Traditional boosters and rooftop antennas won’t help them at all with a DTV signal.

Then there’s the $40 DTV converter box coupons, just who do you think paid for those? Of course the government granted $$ to the lobbyists for this entire campaign, i.e. we the us taxpayers did.  The DTV converter box people, broadcasters (get a bigger piece of broadcast frequency to play, horde/control and make $$ as a result of DTV) and cable, in a strange way gets a benefit too. If you can’t get a signal with free DTV then its time break down and go to the cable/satellite guys, and they are just ready to dig into your pocket…lets not even mention the general poor quality of the $49 converter boxes (cheapest ones the poorest Americans can afford).

I think its amazing that with all of the talk and complaints of bailouts for both Wall Street/Insurance/mortgage companies and the US auto industry the American public let this one slide under our collective radar. We are being sold a collective lemon. >:(

Subject: Re: Free digital TV, cable's next rival?

Written By: danootaandme on 12/16/08 at 6:09 pm

I agree with you about the reception.  With analog you can sometimes get a poor signal, with digital it is pretty much all or nothing, but about the antenna, I have one tv with an indoor antenna and one hooked up to the rooftop and the reception with analog was different, with digital the reception is the same, provided you get one of the new digital indoor antennas, but they are about the same amount of money for a good indoor digi antenna than for a good indoor analog antenna.  I got the coupon for the boxes, but still had to pony up 20 bucks a piece. 

I think the people who pay for cable/satellite are the problem.  The companies do what they want and the people take it, and for what?  How many channels can you watch, and is it really worth it. People complain about the price, but they pay, how about getting together and cancelling the service and see how the price of cable/dish comes down.  There isn't much that is on cable tonight that I can't rent tomorrow at the video store, netflix, or see for free tomorrow on youtube.

Subject: Re: Free digital TV, cable's next rival?

Written By: CatwomanofV on 12/16/08 at 6:25 pm

We live in a rural area and the only way we can get ANY t.v. is either through cable or satellite-the closest t.v. station is 83 miles (85 miles in the other direction). Yeah, there are some local access channels but you can only get them with cable. We chose to go with satellite and we are not going to change that so we don't have to worry about buying a digital converter box.


Subject: Re: Free digital TV, cable's next rival?

Written By: gumbypiz on 12/17/08 at 3:15 am

I still stand by my excitement on this improvement. I live on a bluff out in the hinterlands and Cable\Sat is really the only way to get any reliable TV. However after shelling out a whopping 9 bucks for a box we went from 2 poorly received stations to 12 clear stations! I subscribe to DTV and don't generally have to worry about the switch. However it is nice to know that now I can have free TV as an alternative. My main purpose in posting this was to ask if this could help free up media from the big cable provider conglomerate.

And I still stand by my statements too...

I spent a whole whopping $9 too (don't think that your tax dollars didn't pay for the other $40 coupon, the government gave that away without even asking you and you should be concerned with that coming out of your pocket), went home to hook up my new digital converter box and did indeed get an additional 12 channels that I didn't have before, BUT...

Of the regular channels (I live in Long Beach, CA. Only about 20 miles from most of the LA stations broadcast that "scanned") only 2/3Rd's show up or get a good enough signal to actually produce a signal now. Whereas before, I could receive all of those and I still got a signal and a picture with analog (even though I might of had to reposition the "rabbit ears" of my indoor antenna, and keeping in mind I live RIGHT BELOW THE FAMED BROADCAST HILL NAMED "SIGNAL HILL, CALIFORNIA"  ::))

And the stations that I gained are Spanish, Chinese, Korean supplemental ones or other languages that I don't have any relevance to me (sorry just a black, English speaking guy here) of no benefit for me. CBS (channel 2), NBC (channel 4) are only partially available and seem to give a "no signal" randomly, particularly at night after 10pm. 11 (FOX) is a crap shoot now and used to be the STRONGEST channel I got before.

Remember we are talking about regular public TV here, well known for providing tons of crap, the "vast wasteland". Now expanded with a digital signal. Am I supposed to be impressed, given both the broadcasters and FCC's history of questionable and sub-par programming?!?!

I'm not the only one in this situation or feels this way about the change. And we haven't really seen the result over a large area or population yet. At least not until, Feb '09. Its just the tip of the iceberg. I'm not joking here, just wait and see the result and the unhappy populations reactions to the big DTV switchover.

What I'm saying is, before, I used to receive all the stations with rabbit ears (with some manipulation). Now, after spending my $9 (and DTV coupon) I actually get LESS than before and a less reliable signal too thats effected/degraded by nearly everything.

What is the supposed "gain" or technological improvement in that?
All I see is an increased or open opportunity for the cable/satellite providers to step in now that DTV cannot provide a decent signal to view TV for those that had previously used just regular FREE over the air TV?
What other choice do we have?

The FCC is NOT your friend, the changeover is a boon to the broadcasters, NOT to the public. It was set up that way from the beginning.  8-P

Subject: Re: Free digital TV, cable's next rival?

Written By: snozberries on 12/17/08 at 2:01 pm

nothing but nothing will ever get me to give up my Directv.  I could be homeless and still would figure out a way to get Directv  ;D

I found a picture that describes me to a tee  ;D

Subject: Re: Free digital TV, cable's next rival?

Written By: AL-B Mk. III on 12/17/08 at 2:15 pm

When I was back in Nebraska for Thanksgiving I went over to my brother's house in Lincoln to hang out. He lives on a tight budget so he couldn't afford to get cable, but when he turned on the TV to watch a football game I was surprised to see a crystal clear picture on a station that normally had a weak signal and had lots of snow. "Holy s**t," I said, "did you get cable?" "No," my brother replied, and showed me the digital converter box.

I was amazed. Stations from Omaha (which is 50 miles away) that previously he could barely get were coming in clearer than cable. And, like Danoota said, some of the networks had "sub-stations." One had 24-hour weather and another had 24-hour sports.

Perhaps I ought to look into this, I don't watch that much TV anyway. I'd love to tell Time Warner to kiss my big hairy butt.  :D

Subject: Re: Free digital TV, cable's next rival?

Written By: LyricBoy on 12/17/08 at 6:31 pm

When I was a kid they used to run these ads that said "Fight Pay TV!"  :(

Subject: Re: Free digital TV, cable's next rival?

Written By: danootaandme on 12/18/08 at 4:36 pm

When I was a kid they used to run these ads that said "Fight Pay TV!"   :(

I remember before pay tv, and the selling point of pay tv was that you would pay and in return there wouldn't be any commercials.  Well that has changed and now the subscriber pays and the advertisers and sponsors pay and pay and pay.

Subject: Re: Free digital TV, cable's next rival?

Written By: Dagwood on 12/23/08 at 7:34 am

Already here's a new channel riding on one of the signals of one of my local network channels.
Another channel riding piggy back on another channel in my area is "My TV"

I am so glad RTN is going digital.  I am getting rid of my cable and I love that channel and was worried it would be gone.

Subject: Re: Free digital TV, cable's next rival?

Written By: danootaandme on 12/23/08 at 8:00 am

The "sub" stations that are here are like some of the locally programmed stations we used to have.  Virtual unknowns with cooking, science, crafts, gardening.  It is great.  I am hoping that maybe, just maybe we can go back to more regional programming.  I don't really want a garden show that tells me how to grow a garden in the desert, or how to rehab a million dollar home.  Give me back Jim Crocketts Victory Garden.  :)

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