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December 01, 2008


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Bob Allen

OMG I have known about this for a couple of years, and I do know what it feels like to be left out of the loop on some issues because I don't watch TV, but have been astounded at the lack of a real uproar over this-- I mean, no more free tv unless you buy this converter gadget, and the sheep seem completely docile about this-- it's like the public is being herded en masse to pay channels in the name of tech efficiency and whatever justification the bosses cram down our throats, and there has been zilch about this in the "alternative media", the oh so cool pundits you might expect to make a peep about this have been completely silent-- we are being forced to pay, now, to amuse ourselves to death and no theorists have an opinion! I'm glad you (one whose opinion I sort of count on) has a clue now about this hijack of the airwaves...;)

Joe Clement

To be fair, and maybe it's because I live in Portland, but not only has the switch been advertised heavily for months now, but also the government-paid coupon that basically gets you a free digital receiver. That is, if you even need one, since most televisions made in the last 5-9 years have come with the bullshit built right in.

Bob Allen

Wait I'm not done commenting-- this is a huge deal, I vote, if I get one, that you do NOT look upon this as evidence you need to quit blogging as this is exactly what needs to be theorized/blogged about, talk about your communicative capitalism, if this ain't it I don't know what is. Tell us what it means for gawd's sake! this phenom, this plan has been percolating under the cultural surface for awhile, it's no wonder it would be something under the radar of a committed, productive individual, nothing to be ashamed of, they don't WANT us to pay too much attention! That is why it must be theorized! I haven't really traced the connections of the converter gadget marketers, but "public tv" has been offering seminars to train- er- "teach" the public about the "new technology" and the satellite tv folk seem to be pimping the converters...

Chris L

There was a lot of talk about this in Finland when I visited there two years ago-- they switched over two summers ago, I think. It wouldn't surprise me if much of Europe is/has followed a similar course already.

I'm in Canada, don't watch TV, and so I'm not quite sure if we have a similar thing on the way. Does this mean that free TV is gone, or only that the way of receiving the signal has changed?

Bob Allen

Free tv is not gone, but analog signals are being discontinued and the gov't in some instances, for a limited time it seems, will give coupons for free converters to the poor folk who can't afford cable or satellite tv. I hope I didn't sound alarmist or conspiracy theorist-y, but there IS something afoot here, a channeling in more ways than one, a "herding" is the word that comes to mind, since there has been absolutely no opposition to this, it is downright creepy...like pod people, like graduating from analog drug sniffing to mainline digital doping, the free tv is just a temporary teaser for the lumpens, soon the real cultural stratification will begin, we will all pay, or remain "uninformed"...


If you have cable of any type (including analog) the transition will be seamless.

If you take your signals from the air then you need a converter box. If you have an HD TV you can get HD content over the air now which I think is pretty nifty.

I'm keeping an eye on my cable bill to see how they plan to capitalize financially on this upgrade. May need to roar if something hinky happens.

The techie in me is kinda jacked about HD over the airwaves. Now I'll be able to watch TRU TV's exquisite 'Brave New World' programming the police snuffing out people evading arrest in full HD goodness. <----sarcasm ;-).

Bob Allen

Yes , of course! When you take that long last inexorable step toward Big Brother, he kills you..


What if you just use the TV for watching old VCR's (this one's got one built in, and I don't know how old it is), do you still need the converter? I guess so. Where do you get them and how much, I think I'd read about 6 months ago about $50. I watch DVD's on the computer.Anything crucial not on the pc I can hear on the radio. But would appreciate info on whether I should go ahead and purchase, and where you get it.


The big networks are getting scared because they thought that if they gave away the new convertors people would run to get them... but to their surprise a lot of people simply do not care if they lose their TV connections (I don't watch TV on my widscreen TV--I only watch films...)

Of course, another indicator that this is a seismic shift in the media world is the fact that you can stream more and more shows on the Internet. A couple of my film students who know about my anarchist leanings wanted me to watch the FX show The Sons of Anarchy and I checked out episodes on Internet Movie Database.

What do we need TV for anymore? Advertising? Faux-News? 100 channels of the same thing?

I say good riddance...

Jodi--I understand the demands on your time... good luck and thanks for "all" of the types of writing you do!

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