Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Congress and the amazing digital to analog converter

So, Congress is determined to subsidize digital converters for those who won't buy HDTV sets, so they can still watch tv on their old analog sets.

Did these guys ever once stop to think that maybe, just maybe, if they hadn't mandated the change in the first place none of this would be necessary?

Actually, its worse than that. Congress created the FCC and grabbed wholeheartedly the idea that the airwaves were public property. Since the FCC's start we've gone from a government agency intended to handle problems arising from the technical limitations of the equipment (and handling it poorly - public entities which do not have to watch the bottom line do not respond quickly to changes) to one that spends most of its time pandering to people who have little better to do than watch tv and complain.

If we had sold off the EM spectrum (instead of providing licensing) owners would have had a built in incentive to maximize the return on their expenditures, i.e. limit the bandwith used to the bare minimum and sell off or rent the rest. As such the whole idea of forcing the turnover to digital broadcasting to free up spectrum wouldn't be necessary.

So we basically have a government mandated solution to solve a problem created by a government mandated solution. One that's having a hard time getting off the ground since no one using these frequencies wants to spend money on it since they won't get anything back.

As an added benefit, we wouldn't have had an agency that can be unduly influenced by the NAB to place limitations on competing formats (such as satellite radio and LPFM stations) to protect their market share from competition. And don't talk to me about enabling different viewpoints by limiting ownership in a given market. Publishers aren't stupid, 5 stations playing the same crap and spouting the same bullshit will quickly find that no one is willing to pay for it. Congress has been increasingly liberalizing its ownership laws for media and all we are seeing is a flourishing.


Blogger Agammamon said...



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