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Obama urges Congress to delay digital TV move

Associated Press

Transition would have happened February 17 ...Read the full article

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  1. Living In Hamilton from Canada writes: Wouldn't encouraging the switch be one way to stimulate the economy? I mean, I can't imagine millions of north americans not rushing out to buy new TVs (instead of just the conversion boxes) if they were afraid of missing even one episode of Oprah or Biggest Loser...
  2. Justin Stamross from Canada writes: Hahaha that's a great take on it
  3. Bad Bob from Canada writes: Living In Hamilton - I agree with you. There are a lot of people addicted to certain programs and will do anything in order to keep watching them.

    It will help the economy there for sure.
  4. Knuckles Muldoon from Etobicoke, Canada writes: Delaying this would be a dumb move. People have had years to plan for this. If they are not prepared now, they still won't be prepared by a by any future date.

    Again, the people would are properly prepared get nothing, while the lazy, ill-informed get bailed out.

    If the lack of money for $40 coupons is the issue, take some money out of the $700,000,000,000 in TRAP that's not being properly tracked. Maybe even let GM dealers sell the converter boxes for the FCC.
  5. Max B from Vancouver, Canada writes: The cost for the converter boxes is something like $20 with all the rebates and coupons out there, if that. If a person can't dig up an Andrew Jackson to continue watching TV then maybe they should miss a couple episodes of CSI to mow a few neighbours lawns for the cash.

    As much as we'd like to think so, TV isn't a necessity for life.
  6. William Karvinen from Wahnapitae, Canada writes: This is one of the many signs of poverty which lurk just 'below the surface' in the US. Poverty is present in many places where only a few short years ago, mostly excesses of consumerism were evident.

    We have spent many years in Florida as Snow Birders and at no time has poverty been more prevalent.

    One example: yesterday at an interstate rest stop in Georgia, I gave a working guy 20 bucks to help him make up the 18 dollars he was short to get the water pump fixed on his broken down truck. He had to get to his new job the next day. Obviously no credit and not enough cash. People are not used to having to 'pay as you go'.

    I enjoy reading all the posters on the G&M, but wish folks would be kinder to one another with their words... Obviously, most of you are young and full of P & V; but when the hard times hit, we will need to help each other. Be kind.

    Remember, we are all in this together. Happy New Year!
  7. J. K. GALBRAITH from Canada writes: The actual economic benefit to the United States would be minimal as a a majority of the parts and just about all the assembly of televisions is done outside of the US. Only the retailers and a few truckers would benefit from a sudden rush in sales of new televisions to meet the current deadline. A six month delay would not be a real problem.
  8. Mark H from Columbus, IN, United States writes: While William Karvinen's point is well taken, it's difficult for me to emphathize with people who have literally had years to plan. I see at least a dozen commercials about the switch in a week, the need for a converter if you have an antenna, etc, and I watch less TV than the average American. Knuckles point is correct - people not prepared by now won't be prepared in the future, either.
  9. Jack Sprat from Calgary, Canada writes: This is only TV. If some poor slacker didn't get off his couch to pay a couple bucks for a converter box then a few days without the idiot-box will encourage him to do so. If it doesn't then he'll be better off.
  10. andy c from Canada writes: TV is a privilage, not a right.
  11. max from edmonton from Canada writes: William Karvinen: I think you fell for the oldest scam in the book. Kudos to you for helping your fellow man but in less you actually saw the broken down truck I suspect there wasn't one.

    I do not agree with delaying this move. Like a bandaid, just yank it. As another poster said, mow a few lawns, or collect bottles, or do odd jobs.

    Missing out on a years worth of TV would do more good than harm I am sure.
  12. Neil C from Edmonton, Canada writes: Clearly, this is the stuff the President-elect should be worrying about.

    Seriously. "Most vulnerable Americans exposed"?!! Wtf. Worst case scenario, they can't watch TV. Big deal, maybe it will force them to get off their asses instead.

    Also seems the wrong move for an economy in trouble. Somebody noted that people will probably go buy a new tv or converter box, and that's one thing. But also, there's a bunch of new cell phone companies poised to get their infrastructure online and using the frequency space that's being vacated. I'm sure they employ people.
  13. Dick Dupa from Toronto, Canada writes: As usual: whatever you do, is bad, or good, or both at the same time.
  14. S H from Texas, United States writes: Is he concerned fewer people will be able to enjoy seeing him?
  15. Jimmy K from Toronto, Canada writes: The move to digital has everything to do with freeing up spectrum so the FCC can sell it to Verizon et al. This is a consderate act since it really doesn't make tons of difference in a government that's going to run a trillion bux in the hole and accommodates the poorer American who can't afford a digital-analog converter since they've just lost their home/credit cards/mortgage/hope.

    Many Americans get their TV off an antenna, as opposed to the case in Canada where the vast majority of TV's are tethered to a cable. Here, the switch, whenver it happens, will basically be a non-event since it will be the cable providers' problem to deliver a signal to your box.
  16. Cosmo Spacely from Canada writes: listen to the radio...
  17. Rewardthe Crooks from Canada writes: I think the horse has left the barn on this one, as the big networks have to be ready to change signal already. It is doubtful that they will be able to transmit both signals, and the system is likely in place to start the digital already.
  18. hugh grant from Canada writes:
    give up that trip to Burger King or whatever, and get the $20 box if you can't live w/o TV.
  19. Le Malbadon from Canada writes: Can't help but agree with most, if they haven't bothered to save 20 bucks now for a box to make their 40 year old tv keep on chugging along, they still won't 6 months from now. It will take their magic picture box going blank to make them get up off the couch to earn just enough $ to make the picture box come back on so they can continue to expand their gut watching Oprah and Jerry.
  20. k p from Vancouver, Canada writes: The biggest problem for many people is finding a store that actually sells these dtv converters, they are hard to find in the U.S.
    Try finding any in Canada, and boo to all those Canadian retail stores still flogging LCD TV's with analog only tuners.
  21. Graham Steele from Brampton, Canada writes: "In a letter to key lawmakers Thursday, Obama transition team co-chair John Podesta noted that the Commerce Department has run out of money for coupons to subsidize digital TV converter boxes for consumers."

    Run out of money? Last time I checked the US created money out of nowhere and have free-spent on anything from banks to vehicles and now, laughingly enough, perhaps, to the porn industry. Obama has seemingly imagined to create another $700/$800B project out of thin air without any money, so really what's stopping this Commerce Department from getting more money for these coupons?
  22. Tree Hugger from Canada writes: Hurray for the guy that gave somebody $20 to fix his truck...even if he was ripped off. Hurray for Obama for thinking of our grandmas who can't do anything much except watch TV.
  23. Maximus Bishop from Fergus, Ontario, Canada writes: Thats a good idea, especially for some of us that still use a Antennae to receive USA Signals from nearby Buffalo, N.Y. and the local PBS station
    , currently the Express Vu Satelite system only gives us Seattle Washington and Boston for our PBS Signals.

    Circuit City and our local "The Source" dealer will have these converters for Canadians!
  24. Panda Budiwin from Edmonton, Canada writes: Have energy to pass a delay law? Why not give this money to poors get a free box. Maybe the senators have nothing to do except discussing a funny law. OK, watch TV if you lost job, my citizens.
  25. Drum cliff from Victoria, Canada writes: Some of you people make me laugh. Lots of poorer folks voted for Obama, hoping he'd look after their interests. Of course, you won't find them on the G&M site; chances are many don't know how to operate a computer, let alone own one (my mother in Ontario comes to mind, although obviously she's Canadian).

    Nothing wrong whatsoever with Obama keeping in mind what's important to poorer folk and the less educated; there are enough politicians in the US and Canadian doing the same for the rich and middle-class.
  26. Eric Williams from Ottawa, Canada writes: The first paragraph of the article implies that Obama personally is urging Congress. But the second paragraph says it is a transition co-chair who is doing the legwork. I certainly hope this is an issue that Obama has delegated to someone else, because I sure won't want to think the President elect is wasting his time on such a trivial issue.

    Maybe those, who for whatever reason, cannot afford to buy the converter should just do without television. How about doing something that will actually exercise the mind or body? In addition, they will be saving money by cancelling cable. In fact, I often feel I could trash the television and my life would be better for it (however, my family members would furiously object).
  27. Carl Hansen from Canada writes: Clearly Obama has gone insane. I think it's time to terminate the Colonel's command.
  28. Jake Jay from Toronto, Canada writes: Obama's purpose was only to show the poor that he has "heart" with the hopes that it will pay some political dividends. The practicalities are not thought of.
  29. Craig Cooper from Toronto, writes: It's just a cable company scam anyway.

    Remember when TV used to be free?

    The commercials paid for the shows.

    Now there are more commercials than ever and a huge cable bill every month to go with 'em!
  30. Jennifer Bankier from Canada writes: I am shocked by many of these comments. Some of you don't seem to recognize that poverty is real, and that many poor people have absolutely no money to spare and may not have enough even to pay for adequate housing and food, i.e. there is literally nothing to save or divert to paying for a digital cable box.

    In the U.S., many of the people who live in desperate poverty are Black (either urban or rural). In both Canada and the U.S. many of them are elderly. (The desperate poverty of many elderly people, especially elderly women, is sometimes recognized in Canada.) Welfare payments have been reduced in recent years so that families often have to do tradeoffs between housing and adequate food. Some members of these groups may once have acquired an analog TV in a more prosperous time but cannot now afford to switch to digital. And as far as "its just TV" ... people who are that poor can't afford either newspaper or magazine subscriptions, or computers that would allow them to speak up in this forum. At least TV provides some coverage of politics and world developments.
  31. R L from Canada writes: Eric Williams from Ottawa writes: "Maybe those, who for whatever reason should just do without television. How about doing something that will actually exercise the mind or body? In addition, they will be saving money by cancelling cable. In fact, I often feel I could trash the television and my life would be better for it (however, my family members would furiously object)".

    And there you have it. Sorry to pick on you, Eric, but your post exemplifies the black and white, hypocritical thinking so prevalent on this board/this issue. The lazy, freeloading, great-unwashed would be better off without tv. BUT YOU, on the other hand, would have to deal with your furious family (as would I, by the way). Poor people could USE a year or two without television, get off their kiesters, and get a job, right? But the lcd/plasma folks who've EARNED their keep have also earned the right to watch BNN on high-def, no?

    The simple logic can be appealing, but it's the tone that betrays this type of poster. The notion that the "Burger-King eating" demographic is keeping them down. Especially NOW, when allegedly smart hard-working Ivy League graduates are flying to Washington in private jets to beg for handouts, and hedge-fund sleazebags have "Made-off" with billions.
  32. Carl Hansen from Canada writes: Twenty bucks is like 2 old dollars. A paperboy could earn 2 dollars in 2 days 40 years ago. What is wrong with the world today?
  33. Mud Lark from Canada writes: Jennifer Bankier - your comment re the desperate poverty of some Canadian seniors, particularly women sent me to the Human Resources Canada website to find out what they actually do receive. A widow would get CPP survivor pension from her husband of approx. $4800 per annum plus $11,634 combined OAS/GIS for a total of $16,434 per annum. A person living on such a basic income should not expect to live in an apartment or house, rather a room or two in a decent home or a rent-geared-to-income apartment and have adequate left for necessities. As well, most of her medical expenses are covered by the government. We must face the fact that we need to adjust to circumstances and live sensibly within our means. Her circumstances in no way compare to a poor, elderly widow in the U.S. A single woman who has never married would receive $9600 in CPP payments plus $9234 combined OAS/GIC for a total of $18,834. A couple, of which the wife never worked, would receive his CPP of $9600, plus combined OAS/GIS of $747.86 each per month, totalling $17,949 for a combined yearly income of $27,549. If a wife chooses not to work and contribute to CPP she should not be surprised that her income in old age is low. You can't have it both ways. This may sound harsh but it is the reality. The government provides a survival income but expects people to take responsibility for themselves and either save some money for retirement or pay into the Canada Pension Plan or a private retirement plan. Information is from
  34. Kevin D from Mississauga, Canada writes: The Democrats are in office...excuses for all!
  35. Alex Yaxmos from Canada writes: Just because people are poor and can't afford a new tv doesn't mean they are lazy. It's can be tough for a lot of people to make ends meet.
  36. Robert Dryburgh from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada writes: ......andy c from Canada writes: TV is a privilege, not a right. .....and in Canada, an entitlement.
  37. D Lawrence from Canada writes: TV is opium for the masses, crowd control on a grand scale, to keep people either calm, tranquil, and malleable or distracted, fearful and agitated and to prevent people from actually thinking for themselves (eg Fox News and their ilk).
  38. Erik Richards from Winnipeg, MB, writes: Not doing enough to promote it? If I see one more commercial, PSA or, believe it or not, half-hour special about this I'm going to flip.

    If anyone watches television at all they are aware of this and have been aware for months. If they haven't heard the announcements by now they obviously don't watch television anyway.
  39. Pamela Achurch from Peterborough, Canada writes: Whenever an article appears that reflects the huge differences in lifestyles of the "haves" and "have nots", I am dismayed by the naivety of those who just can't understand the extent of real poverty that exists in Canada. The assumption that all poor people are lazy is another common theme. Sadly, this recession will be a leveler for many who live high on the credit cards with a mega mortgage and car payments. We have lost our empathy in our greed for the trappings of consumerism. The new cottage industry will be lessons in money management from those on disability, welfare and minimum wage jobs. Forget the investment advisors, portfolio gurus and economists, they are lining up with you to learn the new survival skills.
  40. Erik Richards from Winnipeg, MB, writes: Craig Cooper from Toronto, writes: "It's just a cable company scam anyway.

    Remember when TV used to be free?

    The commercials paid for the shows.

    Now there are more commercials than ever and a huge cable bill every month to go with 'em!"

    TV's not a scam, it's a bloated industry that relies on blockbusters to draw viewers. Think about any typical hour-long show and look at the costs involved. Even something like The Simpsons is hugely expensive - each of the 5 or 6 main voice actors is paid $400,000 an EPISODE. You have to have a lot of ads when each show costs a few million dollars an episode.

    Even the reality shows, which are supposedly cheaper to produce because they don't have the scripts and the high salaries, are still very expensive. You don't see Survivor: Moose Jaw, do you?
  41. Knuckles Muldoon from Etobicoke, Canada writes: Re: Rewardthe Crooks from Canada writes: .... It is doubtful that they will be able to transmit both signals, and the system is likely in place to start the digital already.

    They already do - the vast majority of stations in the US are broadcasting in analog and digital simultaneously. Even in the GTA 10 of the 11 over the air broadcasters have both analog and digital up (only TVO does not).

    Re: Craig Cooper from Toronto, writes: It's just a cable company scam anyway.

    Actually no, although they are trying to take advantage by a misinformation campaign. In analog, cable almost certainly delivers a better picture/sound than an antenna. In digital, it is reversed. Cable and satellite services compress the signal so the over the air signal is noticeably better.
  42. Terry Terry from Brantford, Canada writes: What's the point. Why not just scrap it? It's the progarmming that needs fixing not the hardware.
  43. Jan Steinman from Salt Spring Island, Canada writes: Except during visits to relatives, it's been three years since I've watched a television show. But that is my choice.

    "Follow the money!" The real issue here is the spectrum -- a public resource -- that was auctioned off, as Jimmy K from Toronto noted.

    This is the moral equivalent of the US Government deciding that fitness centres and gymns are "more efficient" providers of physical exercise than all those hiking trails clogging national parks, so it decrees that all people who formerly went hiking in national parks now have to pay to go to the gymn -- so they can sell the national parks to developers.

    Why should anyone have to pay even as little as $20 to enjoy a public resource! The radio frequency spectrum is a common resource, not something to be sold off to the highest bidder.

    Something that seems to be lost in North America these days is an appreciation of frugality. Although it's not hooked to an antenna, I have a television that is over 20 years old, and it still works perfectly, thank you. It will remain connected to a DVD player and a VCR, and won't be affected by any impending forced switch to digital. But why should I be forced?

    With "peak oil" on the horizon (or already here), we aren't going to have the luxury of being cavalier about "stuff" any longer. With a huge recession and deflation, you're going to see people choosing to spend their precious money on things of lasting value. Frugality will return. And I will not be spending money on a digital TV.
  44. Paul G from Toronto, Canada writes:
    Knuckles Muldoon from Etobicoke, Canada writes: "In analog, cable almost certainly delivers a better picture/sound than an antenna. In digital, it is reversed. Cable and satellite services compress the signal so the over the air signal is noticeably better."
    Knuckles Muldoon from Etobicoke needs new glasses. Analogue cable has the worst video resolution there is. Knuckes is also wrong about the over the air signal, it's also compressed to MPEG-2 but at the true ATSC high definition standard.
  45. Knuckles Muldoon from Etobicoke, Canada writes: Paul G., analog cable emerged about 40 years ago because of the multipath ghosting effects of near signals and snow effect of distant signals. True, this can do overcome with more sophisticated setups but most people opted for cable instead. Most people that opted for analog antenna systems didn't bother with towers, pre-amps, filters, etc so they don't get signal quality anywhere near what cable delivered.

    Now even simple antenna systems outperform cable in digital signals. If the over the air signal is "n" Mbps, the cable signal will never be " > n" Mbps, and usually "< n" Mbps.
  46. charles crouch from Toronto, Canada writes: I'm beginning to think that Obama is starting to show that he is following the same traits as his sponsor, Oprah Winfrey, and obviously showing signs of becoming a megalomaniac too. With all that ails the world economy he has time and energy to meddle in an analogue TV conversion deadline ?

    How come he and the Media have yet to make any comments on yesterday's '60 Minutes' TV program that revealed that the same big investment houses that were bailed out to the tune of $775Billion, which he sanctioned, were the same enterprises that benefitted from ' billions of dollars in the hundreds' from their manipulation of oil futures that forced gas pump prices to be propelled to $4/gallon in the United States alone to say nothing of the repercussions around the world. The public was repeatedly told 'it was all to do with supply and demand'. This is 'change' ?

    God help us all.

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