Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Technological Transitions Taking Too Long

While I have been watching my favorite television shows on Digital HD TV for over a year now, I did not even know that our nation was moving towards an all digital television broadcast for everyone eliminating analog completely.  Elliot Van Buskirk's article titled, "Here We Go Again: Congress Expected to Delay Digital Television, " has recently informed me of not only the government's inability to make a decision, but also how the public and businesses in television are affected by what seems to be a fairly simple transition.  

As the transition from digital to analog has already been delayed, the Senate is trying to pass a bill to just keep the delay until June 12.  However, as the bill is tossed back and forth, the House of Representives will vote another time to put this bill in act.  The last time the bill was twenty votes short of passing and with a democratic majority is likely to vote against it once more.

The article goes on to say why this transition just needs to take place.  From Professor Leslie Marx of Duke (and FCC Chief Economist) point of view, the more of a delay the more things are going to get worse.  I agree with her statement as I learned the businesses of television are suffering from this delay since government has not been able to keep their promises causing these businesses to be losing money.  I did ask myself, shouldn't this situation be solved with the public in mind and what is best for us as consumers.  However, as the article continued, I realized that this delay has indeed gone long enough and there have been programs to ease this transition, but if the public doesn't respond or do their part in this, it is those unwilling to cooperate who are at fault as well as the only ones who will suffer from the transition.  Well over a billion dollars was allocated to the public and businesses to better the transition.  While there have been rumors that all of this money has not been spent and its projects have been ineffective, some of the public are simply not responding as they have been given coupons to make this transition and have been too lazy to do so.  

This transition just seems so simple.  As new technologies such as digital television broadcasts in comparison to analog arise, some times people unwilling to make this transition have to suck it up.  The government and others cannot hold everyone's hand to get through it.  So many households own televisions and there is simply a small minority that refuse to cooperate and just get it all done.  Whatever the excuse (laziness, not enough money, etc...), there are cheaper options than getting a brand new 75'' flat screen HDTV.  The transition is just so simple and I cannot figure out why 1) the government does not just put this through and stop making delays and 2) why the public cannot cooperate and/or do it themselves since the government has proven incapable.  The government isn't asking everyone to buy all new TV's with the latest technology; the transition seems that it could be as easy as pushing the "easy button."  Until the government and public can achieve this, time and money will continue to be lost.

This article was found at Wired Blog Network:  http://blog.wired.com/business/2009/02/congress-ponder.html

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