FCC fires back at Obama's DTV delay request

FCC chief Kevin Martin has fired back at the Obama camp for its recommendation for a delay in the DTV transition. As previously reported on Neowin, the Obama office wants the FCC to delay the transition to DTV from analog on February 17th.

The FCC fired back and made it clear that a delay is unlikely to happen and provides credible reasoning as to why it should not happen. "[W]e've spent a lot of time and energy getting ready for the February 17 date," Martin said during a CES Q&A. "I am concerned about the consumer confusion that would be created." The FCC also points out that most broadcasting companies did not budget nor prepare to run two transmitters at the same time.

As it stands now the FCC will not be backing down on its initial plan of February 17th unless Congress passes a judgment delaying the transition. As we get closer to the deadline the fighting will most likely intensify but at the end of the day the broadcasters already have plans in place to remove the old analog technology, the FCC has sold off the spectrum, it has advertised heavily for the transition and should not be delayed because a small minority procrastinated to upgrade their technology.

Looks like this lady will need to get ready in time:

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39 Comments

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It's quite simple; Cable is not a right, it's a luxury. People have had plenty of time to upgrade. If they are still uninformed and/or don't want to upgrade, that is their loss. It could be argued that going 100% digital will benefit the just about everyone who PAYS for cable, not those who grab stations over the air with antennas.

I'm not sure the lady in the video is a very good example. There's a lot of old ladies at my church and all of them are ready for the switch to digital.

Ha, congress needs to pass something in a month. Good luck. Looks like the deadline will not be moved after all and I'm GLaD.

This just shows you how resistant people are to change, no matter how big or small! the reality is to switch to digital, all you need is a STB, yet despite the ease of the switch some people refuse to do it on the principle that they believe there is nothing wrong with analog. I don't know what is worse, the fact these people are so stubborn or that the government is bending over backwards for them? :S

Gotenks98 said,
People need to get cable or satalite anyways. Get rid of the analog asap.

Er, no - that's not quite how it works. Digital transmissions do not rely on cable or satellite, nor should they.

With the economy the way it is, many stations will be at risk if the transition does not happen as planned. One of the bigger line items in the budget is the electricity to run a transmitter. It can be a HUGE expense for smaller stations. It's a BIG expense for the largest stations. Many of us ( I work for a medium to large PBS affiliate) have been running both analog and digital transmitters for years (the analog to digital transition has ALREADY been pushed back by many years!) doubling our expense because we thought the transition was going to happen. We've bought MILLIONS of dollars worth of equipment to get ready forthe transition (February 17th is only the latest date) . If the date gets extended again then we've been forced to buy equipment at higher purchase prices because just like computer equipment (which is what most of the new digital equipment is), it just keeps getting less expensive every day.

The big problem is that the only people really affected are those who only receive signals for over the air sources. If you have cable or satellite tv sources you are most likely not affected. If you use a set top box for either you are not affected at all. Only those that are receiving signals through a roof top or set top antenna will need to do anything. It can be as simple as a $40 converter box and a $10 antenna or it can be a new TV. Many local stations have setup Digital Converter Coupon donation programs where people can donate their extra coupons to be distributed (I donated 2).

Running two transmitters is painful enough, but don't forget all the other analog equipment at the stations control room. Every TV station in the nation is essentially operating two completely separate TV stations at this point. We're maintaining two complete TV stations. We're all funding at least two stations on one stations revenue stream. We don't get to charge twice because we're broadcasting on both analog and digital. The commercial stations can't raise their ad rates and the PBS are getting reduced pledge amounts due to the slowing economy.

Current statistics on cable and satellite penetration show that about 6% of all households get their TV programming solely from over the air broadcasting. Putting those same stats into geographic areas shows that in metro areas less then 2 percent rely solely on broadcast while rural areas can be as high as 90%. In this light, you can see that the stations who can least afford to run two stations are the ones whose demise will most likely effect the people relying on broadcast tv.

Come on Feb 17th and the digital transition!

If you've watched any amount of TV in the last year or so, you know about the transition. The advertising campaign is astounding.

I agree with Obama on many things, but this isn't one of them. Lets get analog out and DTV in.

-Spenser

Please stop the public service commercials there as bad as standing in line at the teller machine watching the person at the machine trying to figure out how to use it.
I use a 2 inch copper wire for my HD TV antenna works great.

Let's hope this isn't the start of his bad decision making. Already he looks weak due to his silence on the Israel / Palestine conflict. It's no good promising change if he can't deliver on the big issues (and yes, I was in favour of Obama with the elections).

theyarecomingforyou said,
Let's hope this isn't the start of his bad decision making. Already he looks weak due to his silence on the Israel / Palestine conflict. It's no good promising change if he can't deliver on the big issues (and yes, I was in favour of Obama with the elections).


Look I really don't like the man at all, but I really don't think he should be criticized for not saying anything on Israel/Palestine yet. Bush is still the President, and his decisions and our policy shouldn't be questioned by someone who officially doesn't have any power just yet. Come Jan. 20th Obama can do whatever he wants.

macrosslover said,
Look I really don't like the man at all, but I really don't think he should be criticized for not saying anything on Israel/Palestine yet. Bush is still the President, and his decisions and our policy shouldn't be questioned by someone who officially doesn't have any power just yet. Come Jan. 20th Obama can do whatever he wants.

Having the president-elect act as though he is the president while the real president is still in office doesn't look good either.

Talk about trying to have it both ways...

He is not yet the president, therefore he should not make pronouncements based on current events, especially things that could change before he becomes president.

However, he is entitled to make announcements about stuff that will occur under his presidency. That's called making plans.

If you dislike Obama, at least get sensible arguments first.

Kirkburn said,
Talk about trying to have it both ways...

He is not yet the president, therefore he should not make pronouncements based on current events, especially things that could change before he becomes president.

However, he is entitled to make announcements about stuff that will occur under his presidency. That's called making plans.

If you dislike Obama, at least get sensible arguments first.


It's sensible to realize that trying to delay the transition is just the first of many horrible decisions Dear Leader Obama will be making for the next 4 years

Obama is already making uninformed decisions. Oh my, what are we in for. Lets hope this doesn't get put off again.

The government is really jerking around the private stations here. Lets stick to the cut-off date. Television is something that people can really live without.

Except now people are finding they have to get new antennas, too. And the coupons for the converters are gone.

GreyWolfSC said,
Except now people are finding they have to get new antennas, too. And the coupons for the converters are gone.


Most people do NOT need new antennas. I get so tired of the misconceptions like this at work (I work in the electronics department at Walmart).

roadwarrior said,
Most people do NOT need new antennas. I get so tired of the misconceptions like this at work (I work in the electronics department at Walmart).

Have you used a digital converter box to pick up OTA stations? I've helped at least 10 people set theirs up and most of them won't pick up the same channels that were available analog without an outside antenna. And those crappy RCA ones Walmart sells that say they're HDTV compatible don't work.

GreyWolfSC said,
Have you used a digital converter box to pick up OTA stations? I've helped at least 10 people set theirs up and most of them won't pick up the same channels that were available analog without an outside antenna. And those crappy RCA ones Walmart sells that say they're HDTV compatible don't work.

Those $8.99 antennas from Wal-Mart work great for DTV and HD.

It's not the antenna's fault if they live too far away.

One TV I used for HD had some ancient rabbit ears that probably cost less than $5 back in the 1960s.
For our whole house now, we're using another ancient antenna my dad got in the 50s or 60s.

I even made an antenna out of metal coat hangers. Any old thing brings in GREAT DTV and even 1080i HDTV perfectly.

I switched to digital over a year back and it's great!

And if the converter by itself doesn't bring in the stations because they're too far away, then a cable amplifier such as one I got from Recoton will likely do wonders.

I'm in Canada, and when I moved recently and got all my internet and stuff set up the cable had to be split so many times my bedroom DTV box dropped a third of the channels.

Adding the amplifier into the mix just before my DTV box (which isn't even the recommended set up) fixed the problem easy as pie.

And the kicker? The amplifier cost only $40 CDN...

GreyWolfSC said,
Have you used a digital converter box to pick up OTA stations? I've helped at least 10 people set theirs up and most of them won't pick up the same channels that were available analog without an outside antenna. And those crappy RCA ones Walmart sells that say they're HDTV compatible don't work.


A lot of the stations are going to boost their power on the transition date, so you may find that your digital reception is better than what you get now.

Two reasons the delay won't happen.
1. The FCC really wants that spectrum $$$
2. TV stations cannot afford to run two separate transmitters...analog & digital.
3. If the pubilc is THAT STUPID, then they shouldn't be watching the "boob tube" anyway. They can't afford the loss
in brain cells.

naap51stang said,
Two reasons the delay won't happen.
1. The FCC really wants that spectrum $$$
2. TV stations cannot afford to run two separate transmitters...analog & digital.
3. If the pubilc is THAT STUPID, then they shouldn't be watching the "boob tube" anyway. They can't afford the loss
in brain cells.

1. The FCC is no the RIAA. The money is public money if I'm not mistaken. Isnt the FCC a FEDERAL/government thing?

Julius Caro said,
1. The FCC is no the RIAA. The money is public money if I'm not mistaken. Isnt the FCC a FEDERAL/government thing?


Dito. The FCC money goes directly to the US Treasury.

[1. The FCC is no the RIAA. The money is public money if I'm not mistaken. Isnt the FCC a FEDERAL/government thing?[/quote]


Federal puts the F in FCC

Frazell Thomas said,
Dito. The FCC money goes directly to the US Treasury.

Inclusive the bribes? (usually called as a gift, external consultant salary or representation cost).

Even if a important company is doing a legal deal, then they still need to ensure their investment, for example a big building uses a lot of bribes.


unlike the Federal Reserve (which is not federal at all, but a collection of large banking families' private interests), the FCC is much more federal. This, however, doesn't imply that part of the money it receives doesn't get diverted to someone's large bank account. where there is opportunity to take advantage, there will always be filth.