Some thoughts on terrestrial digital broadcasting...

This is the place for any magazine-related discussions that don't fit in any of the column discussion boards below.
User avatar
CeaSaR
Posts: 1760
Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2003 1:01 am
Location: Phoenixville, PA USA
Contact:

Some thoughts on terrestrial digital broadcasting...

Post by CeaSaR » Sat Dec 15, 2007 10:51 am

Has anyone actually seen a "set-top box" for sale in a major retail store?
If so, what has been the price? The first one I have seen is in the current
MCM electronics circular and sells for $189.95! At that price, I might as
well buy a brand new TV! And what will happen to all the set-top boxes
once those who have purchased them buy a new set? While some of us
will recycle these, many, many more will be tossed into landfills.

Has anyone realized just how ecologically irresponsible the FCC and the
government have made themselves with the "mandatory obsolescence"
of this highly functional and firmly established base of electronic
consumerism? Think about it, how many 100's of millions of TV sets are
out there that are in good working shape that will now be useless in the
receiving department without the aid of yet another piece of electronic
equipment? And that doesn't take into account the VCR's etc. that will
need to be hooked up to that same "box" or another "box".

So we have millions upon millions of TV's, VCR's etc., and soon enough
there will be many more pieces of video equipment (set-top boxes et.al.)
that will be tossed to the trash. What will the FCC/Government do about
all of this trash they have mandated? And if they have thought about this,
what incentive do they have to issue such a mandate? Are they in league
with someone or are they just that shortsighted? At least in the past they
made sure that new systems were backward compatible. It seems that
nowadays, the past is shunned for the shiny glory of the future, whether
good or bad.

While we’re at it, what about digital radio? Same kind of problem, no
backward compatibility. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

Thoughts?

CeaSaR
Damn the torpedoes, FULL SPEED AHEAD!
Hey, what do I know?

User avatar
Externet
Posts: 1862
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2002 1:01 am
Location: Mideast USA
Contact:

Post by Externet » Sat Dec 15, 2007 11:42 am

Hey, we have to feed the chinese who also take our jobs, don't we ? :x

Nobody at the FCC will stop getting paychecks because of this. :evil:

Miguel :sad:
- Abolish the deciBel ! -

User avatar
jollyrgr
Posts: 1289
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2002 1:01 am
Location: Northern Illinois
Contact:

Post by jollyrgr » Sat Dec 15, 2007 1:56 pm

The sets will not all land in landfills (no pun intended). The date has been pushed back so many times I think it will eventually be quietly removed.

In 1998 California tried to make a law that said two percent of all new cars had to be zero emission (read electric) with the number being ten percent by 2003. All the big manufacturers rushed to make electric cars as California is a big market. People are going to buy these if they are available, right? This didn't happen and perfectly brand new, never used cars were turned into scrap metal (literally). No big company is making electric cars right now.

Not all TVs need be dumped. Cable and satellite DO NOT fall into this digital mandate. With cable they can use NTSC analog transmissions from the head end. Most cable companies it seems offer both analog and digital signals. The digital signals require a set top box. DirecTV and Dish require a set top box. The satellite FTA digital requires a set top box. But all of these spit out good old analog signals that millions of TVs from something you can get currently to 50 years old can still display a picture and sound. (I don't know how many of those 50 year old sets are still in use, though).

The US channel block from 70-83 (did most of you know TV channels once went that high) was reallocated to the analog cellular service and 800MHz trunking. Currently as analog TV stations in the 52-59 channel range (700MHz) are shut down, new TV licenses are not granted. Once the analog channels are switched off (if they are) the 700MHz band will be auctioned off. The plan is to get rid of the VHF LOW TV channels as well (channels 2-6).

I expect like the electric car this folly will be quitely repealed.
No trees were harmed in the creation of this message. But billions of electrons, photons, and electromagnetic waves were terribly inconvenienced!

User avatar
CeaSaR
Posts: 1760
Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2003 1:01 am
Location: Phoenixville, PA USA
Contact:

Post by CeaSaR » Sat Dec 15, 2007 8:00 pm

Jolly,

I understand quite well, and knew of, your points. Many millions of TV's
will serve until their demise through cable/satellite use etc. And the
reallocation of "airspace" is another point that not that many laymen
know of. My problem with the whole thing is that anyone receiving
terrestrial broadcasting MUST upgrade to something new to continue
getting the same service they had for 50+ years. As I stated ( and
someone else did in another post, maybe even you), all the times in the
past when an ugrade to well established existing broadcast technology
was introduced, every effort was made to make it backward compatible.
This time, that philosophy was tossed out on it's ear. I know that analog
and digital won't work together in their native environs, and I suppose
that an adapter box is probably the best way to deal with the differences
in format until analog sets are no more. It's just that I have never heard
of anyone questioning the FCC on how wise it is to make SO MUCH of the
existing hardware obsolete. If they knew about it and kept it quiet, what
or who motivated them to do so? It just smells funny to me.

BTW, the first TV I bought was a B/W set that only went to 12! I also
know of some people in my area that have sets in the 30 yr old range
that are still being used.
Hey, what do I know?

User avatar
philba
Posts: 2050
Joined: Tue Nov 30, 2004 1:01 am
Location: Seattle
Contact:

Post by philba » Sat Dec 15, 2007 8:07 pm

I doubt the cutoff date will be moved again. It's coming. Get used to it. Frankly, I won't miss a 75 year old technology.

There will be reasonably cheap tuners that output NTSC so you don't have to go get a new TV. You can even get 2 $40 vouchers from government to help defray the cost. and, of course, those who have cable TV won't notice a thing.

I've seen figures that say maybe 2% of American will be adversely effected. I bet a lot lore will get some but not all the channels.

Robert Reed
Posts: 2276
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2004 1:01 am
Location: ASHTABULA,OHIO
Contact:

Post by Robert Reed » Sat Dec 15, 2007 8:51 pm

" It's just that I have never heard
of anyone questioning the FCC on how wise it is to make SO MUCH of the
existing hardware obsolete. If they knew about it and kept it quiet, what
or who motivated them to do so? It just smells funny to me. "

Todays FCC is not the same as The FCC from the 70's. The guys with the biggest wad of cash have the FCC in their back pocket. It's all about money. Whoever thought the day would come when air space (RF spectrum) would actually be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

User avatar
Janitor Tzap
Posts: 1519
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2006 5:17 pm
Contact:

Post by Janitor Tzap » Sun Dec 16, 2007 4:34 pm

jollyrgr wrote:The sets will not all land in landfills (no pun intended). The date has been pushed back so many times I think it will eventually be quietly removed.

In 1998 California tried to make a law that said two percent of all new cars had to be zero emission (read electric) with the number being ten percent by 2003. All the big manufacturers rushed to make electric cars as California is a big market. People are going to buy these if they are available, right? This didn't happen and perfectly brand new, never used cars were turned into scrap metal (literally). No big company is making electric cars right now.

Not all TVs need be dumped. Cable and satellite DO NOT fall into this digital mandate. With cable they can use NTSC analog transmissions from the head end. Most cable companies it seems offer both analog and digital signals. The digital signals require a set top box. DirecTV and Dish require a set top box. The satellite FTA digital requires a set top box. But all of these spit out good old analog signals that millions of TVs from something you can get currently to 50 years old can still display a picture and sound. (I don't know how many of those 50 year old sets are still in use, though).

The US channel block from 70-83 (did most of you know TV channels once went that high) was reallocated to the analog cellular service and 800MHz trunking. Currently as analog TV stations in the 52-59 channel range (700MHz) are shut down, new TV licenses are not granted. Once the analog channels are switched off (if they are) the 700MHz band will be auctioned off. The plan is to get rid of the VHF LOW TV channels as well (channels 2-6).

I expect like the electric car this folly will be quitely repealed.
Jollyrgr,

The EV-1 was a great car that GM had.
But you could not own the car.
You had to lease it.

GM didn't really get behind it, and push it into more markets.
They would rather spend they're resources on SUVs, Trucks and Sports Cars.
When the lease was up, the people had to turn in the cars back to GM.
Many customers offered to buy the car out right.
But GM refused to sell them the car.:x

I too hope the dead line will get pushed back as well.

But like Robert said:
The guys with the biggest wad of cash have the FCC in their back pocket. It's all about money. Whoever thought the day would come when air space (RF spectrum) would actually be auctioned off to the highest bidder.
What really burns me is the fact that LG, RCA, Samsung, Philps, and other manufacturers have sat idly until just now to start making the converter boxes.
Most of the Local Television Stations {In my area}are converted to Digital now.
And have been for the past 2 - 3 years.
So why didn't the manufacturers make the converter boxes available then?
Thats what has me baffled.:???:


Signed:Janitor Tzap

User avatar
haklesup
Posts: 3046
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2002 1:01 am
Location: San Jose CA
Contact:

Post by haklesup » Sun Dec 16, 2007 6:25 pm

Based on all the new TV commercials letting us know its coming, its coming. I expect that throughout the year there will be a significant increase in the number of choices and significant drop in pricing. By next Christmas, ATSC (and QAM) technology will bne built into many products.

In particualr I am seeing ATSC tuners built into new top end DVD recorders at just over $129 this year and the trend indicates these will be $29 by next year. I've even seen some refurbs with 160G HDD and DVD recorder for $89 but it wasn't upscaling (this years hot feature for DVD and AV recievers).

Why few choices until now. The HD technology and feature set only settled out a few years ago (all those interactive features never came to be, at least not yet). It takes at least a year or two for the expensive first gen chip sets to boil down to single chip tuners needed for low cost boxes and even longer for mature low power chips needed for portables. They know its been coming but the semi industry has been up and down in recent years, I suspect it is just conservative thinking.

It has been a long time in coming, no doubt, but I think only people like us knew about it. Most of the peons are just becoming aware of the NTSC turnoff now.

BTW, CA is finaly getting its way on emmissions and is basically driving national targets. Lots of Hybrids here. I bought the Escape Hybrid a couple months ago. The EV-1 couldn't come even a little close to the 150k mile, 10 year requirement for powertrain reliability in CA. Technically it wasn't legal for them to sell it.

Personnaly, I can't wait for the rollout to end. Then we can hear about new features planned for HDTV 2.0. If they give a tuner a mac address and make it ethernet connected, that would enable all sorts of 2 way interactive features but broadcast would always be one way.

User avatar
Externet
Posts: 1862
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2002 1:01 am
Location: Mideast USA
Contact:

Post by Externet » Sun Dec 16, 2007 8:19 pm

If anyone wants to become an honorary engineer,

http://www.hdtvprimer.com/ISSUES/what_is_ATSC.html

It gets convoluted, but well written...
Miguel
- Abolish the deciBel ! -

User avatar
CeaSaR
Posts: 1760
Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2003 1:01 am
Location: Phoenixville, PA USA
Contact:

Post by CeaSaR » Sun Dec 16, 2007 10:13 pm

Janitor wrote:
What really burns me is the fact that LG, RCA, Samsung, Philps, and other
manufacturers have sat idly until just now to start making the converter boxes.
Most of the Local Television Stations {In my area}are converted to Digital now.
And have been for the past 2 - 3 years. So why didn't the manufacturers make the
converter boxes available then?
I think the fact that the stations continue(d) to broadcast in analog along
with digital could explain the corporate lethargy. That and the widespread
use of Cable\Satellite. Still doesn't answer my question though.

Ah, such is bureaucracy...

CeaSaR
Hey, what do I know?

User avatar
Janitor Tzap
Posts: 1519
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2006 5:17 pm
Contact:

Post by Janitor Tzap » Tue Dec 18, 2007 12:50 pm

Has anyone actually seen a "set-top box" for sale in a major retail store?
If so, what has been the price? The first one I have seen is in the current
MCM electronics circular and sells for $189.95! At that price, I might as
well buy a brand new TV! And what will happen to all the set-top boxes
once those who have purchased them buy a new set? While some of us
will recycle these, many, many more will be tossed into landfills.
Nope, I haven't even seen the converter boxes at the big box appliance stores.
The only place I have seen any sort of convert boxes has been on the Web sites of the stores.


Signed: Janitor Tzap

User avatar
CeaSaR
Posts: 1760
Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2003 1:01 am
Location: Phoenixville, PA USA
Contact:

Post by CeaSaR » Mon Dec 31, 2007 8:20 pm

Just read this on Comcast Cable's news -
http://www6.comcast.net/entertainment/a ... igital.TV/
Now if only I could find one in the quoted price range!
Laughable.

CeaSaR
Hey, what do I know?

bodgy
Posts: 1044
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2001 1:01 am
Location: Australia
Contact:

Post by bodgy » Tue Jan 01, 2008 1:09 am

I just seen this topic, I'm amazed that even in the US you can buy a SD or HD television set for $189.00.

Now if you feel like some conversion fiddling (unless your TV set has SCART sockets or equivalent) you can buy PAL-B/H SD set top boxes here in Australia for about AU$49.00. Basic HD types are about AU$140.00.

My widescreen TV with HD box included (Panasonic) cost AU$1400

I would think European prices would be slightly cheaper than those I've mentioned.

Colin
On a clear disk you can seek forever.

Dean Huster
Posts: 1263
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2001 1:01 am
Location: Harviell, MO (Poplar Bluff area)
Contact:

Post by Dean Huster » Wed Jan 02, 2008 5:16 pm

CeaSaR, I'll bet your first B&W TV went to 13, having 12 channels! We were B&W until 1967. That big old RCA set was great for scavaging compontents with its HUGE power transformer. I believe that the 5U4 rectifier tube was developed specifically for television sets. At least, I'm sure that's where 99.99% of the 5U4s manufactured were used! Same with the 6AL5, 6H6, 1X2 and several other tubes.

The biggest problem is that electronics is changing so danged fast as compared to the 1960s, that keeping up it becoming foolish. It's almost to the point that we're being force-fed this stuff. Consider that the basic vinyl disc was the primary audio source from around 1948 until 1980 when the CD took over. Reel-to-reel, 4-track, 8-track and cassette tapes where stuffed in there but non really became prime media other than cassettes for automotive use. So, that's maybe 32 years of life for the LP and 45. The CD has been the main media for maybe 20 years now and is being pushed aside by RAM, loaded through downloads, etc. I expect to see maybe 10 years or less for MP3 before something new takes over completely. Home video recording's only been around since the early 1970s and we've gone through BETA, VHS, 8mm, and DVD. 8mm never really took hold in its many analog and digital forms and the analog tape format lasted maybe 30 years, which isn't too bad.

Point is, new technology replaces the old. The old is no longer supported by manufacturers. I'm stuck with a bunch of 8mm home video tapes and a broken camcorder. Now what? And then the government forces the "evolution" by literally outlawing the old technology, forcing you to buy new stuff if you want to simply stay with the basics.

Maybe the basics aren't what we need anymore. If it gets to the point where I'm forced into HDTV if I want to continue TV, I may have to subscribe to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch instead. Keeps my reading skills honed, gives me more detail, the comedy is a lot better and there's two daily crossword puzzles. That's the way to go until the paper decides to have nothing but an on-line edition, wherein I'll just give up and remain uninformed.

Time to change my signature line.

Dean
Dean Huster, Electronics Curmudgeon
Contributing Editor emeritus, "Q & A", of the former "Poptronics" magazine (formerly "Popular Electronics" and "Electronics Now" magazines).

R.I.P.

User avatar
Janitor Tzap
Posts: 1519
Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2006 5:17 pm
Contact:

Post by Janitor Tzap » Thu Jan 03, 2008 8:31 am

Dean Huster wrote:CeaSaR, I'll bet your first B&W TV went to 13, having 12 channels! We were B&W until 1967. That big old RCA set was great for scavaging compontents with its HUGE power transformer. I believe that the 5U4 rectifier tube was developed specifically for television sets. At least, I'm sure that's where 99.99% of the 5U4s manufactured were used! Same with the 6AL5, 6H6, 1X2 and several other tubes.

The biggest problem is that electronics is changing so danged fast as compared to the 1960s, that keeping up it becoming foolish. It's almost to the point that we're being force-fed this stuff. Consider that the basic vinyl disc was the primary audio source from around 1948 until 1980 when the CD took over. Reel-to-reel, 4-track, 8-track and cassette tapes where stuffed in there but non really became prime media other than cassettes for automotive use. So, that's maybe 32 years of life for the LP and 45. The CD has been the main media for maybe 20 years now and is being pushed aside by RAM, loaded through downloads, etc. I expect to see maybe 10 years or less for MP3 before something new takes over completely. Home video recording's only been around since the early 1970s and we've gone through BETA, VHS, 8mm, and DVD. 8mm never really took hold in its many analog and digital forms and the analog tape format lasted maybe 30 years, which isn't too bad.

Point is, new technology replaces the old. The old is no longer supported by manufacturers. I'm stuck with a bunch of 8mm home video tapes and a broken camcorder. Now what? And then the government forces the "evolution" by literally outlawing the old technology, forcing you to buy new stuff if you want to simply stay with the basics.

Maybe the basics aren't what we need anymore. If it gets to the point where I'm forced into HDTV if I want to continue TV, I may have to subscribe to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch instead. Keeps my reading skills honed, gives me more detail, the comedy is a lot better and there's two daily crossword puzzles. That's the way to go until the paper decides to have nothing but an on-line edition, wherein I'll just give up and remain uninformed.

Time to change my signature line.

Dean
I feel for you Dean...... :sad:

I started out working on tube television sets.
Then worked my way up to the solid state, to the single main board sets.

I have several pieces of test equipment that I'm going to have to toss to the recycler, because I can't use them with the LCD, Plasma, Projection Televisions and Monitors.{Sigh}

As for your 8mm tapes......
Do you have a Walgreens near you?
I found that they are offering a Film & Video transfer service to DVD.
Something like $20 a Tape or Film Reel.

The thing that has irritated me the most, about most new consumer electronics.
Is that....

A) The manufacturers poorly design the unit.
Example: Buttons that are to small, and are not spaced apart enough for bigger fingers.

B) Too many features.
Example: Cel-Phone; has Texting, Video & Audio Recording, Clock, Scheduler, etc, etc.......
{How many people actually use all the features?}


Well lets get back to the topic.
Heres something I found.
http://www.betanews.com/article/FCC_rel ... 1199304867


Signed:Janitor Tzap

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 41 guests