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The Politics of Television and EM Bandwidth


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The US Congress has been debating this issue in subcommittee and on the floor of the House and Senate for weeks, taking up a huge amount of time. Basically the issue is whether or not to allow broadcasters to shut down their old over-the-air antennas -- the ones that are NOT broadcasting digital TV. You know, the stuff you used to jerk around the rabbit ears, or have to hold onto at arms' length to improve the picture.


Allowing broadcasters to do this will accomplish two things:

1) Let your local network affiliates save some money.

2) Free up a LOT of bandwith in the spectrum.


The second feature above is really what has the lawmakers salivating at the moment, because that bandwidth can be divied up and resold to new providers of various other kinds of services. Some projections put the income as high as $17 billion. That's money that goes right into the budget. Plus, of course, the benefit of potential new data services.


Sounds like a win-win, right?


But of course, as with all things, there's a catch. Some surveys show that at least 21 million and possibly as many as 73 million Americans continue to watch television this way.


No, really. That's what they say.


The problem I have is that I can't think of *anyone* who does. So one thing I thought it might be interesting in this thread is just to see if any of you all know anybody who has an old-style television that's NOT connected to either cable, satellite, or Internet television service.


I expect we might hear from a few folks who have secondary sets in kitchens or back bedrooms or such. Something they only watch once in a while, and it's just not located conveniently near a cable or satellite outlet in the home.


If that's the case with most of these sets, then I think they should throw the switch. The benefits are great. What do you all think?

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Just to kinda keep the discussion going, it's worth noting that some House and Senate members were proposing that taxpayer money be spent on digital set-top converters for the poor.


Think about that one for a minute.... (chuckle)

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If you're referring to broadcast channels (the stuff you pick up without cable, satelite, or internet), then that's all I watch, those few times I watch TV. Ditto for many of my friends.


There's a single, unifying factor: poor college students. We simply cannot afford to waste $30+/month on cable or other such luxuries. (Also, we're talking about people who don't piss away $100 per week in booze money, but actually try to be somewhat financially responsible.)


Mokele, off to go yank around the coax cable that serves as his antenna

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