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You ain't seen nothin' yet

Is your television set clear? Is the quality of the signal okay? Are your sitcoms funny enough, and are your made-for-TV movies based on true enough stories? Well, not to worry, because Washington is on the case! The F.C.C. is going to save America from the tragedy of low quality television! Never again will you have to worry that the plot of The District will be too formulaic, or that there might be too many commercials in NFL games.

Oh, sure, it could cost American households hundreds of dollars each. But doesn't that cost pale in comparison to the benefit of knowing that your government cares enough about you to mandate that your new television be digital, even if you're too dumb to know how much you really want it?

Digital television offers viewers a variety of options not possible under the analog system. Digital signals can carry high-definition television (HDTV) broadcasts, with vastly improved picture and sound. Several different "standard-definition" broadcasts can be carried on one digital channel.

In a test during the NCAA men's college basketball tournament last spring, CBS broadcast four games at the same time on one digital channel, allowing viewers to switch among them.

Digital broadcasts also support viewer interactivity. In one of the most frequently cited examples, viewers would be able to punch a button on their remote controls to buy products they see on TV.

Wow. Think of that. It would save dozens of Americans the effort of picking up the phone, or surfing the internet, to order products. And if we're really lucky, the F.C.C. will then be able to act to keep Americans from losing sleep over the thought of taping television shows to watch later:
The commission voted 3-0, with Commissioner Michael J. Copps concurring but not approving, to consider requiring that digital TV tuners support a copy-prevention standard backed by the entertainment industry.

Such a "broadcast flag" would be a code embedded in over-the-air digital broadcasts, containing instructions on how and where a show could be copied. Future video recorders would read these instructions and prevent users from making unauthorized copes of a program.

Electronics makers and consumer groups fear that technology would limit a consumer's ability to copy and use broadcasts as they wish. That, they say, would slow the transition to digital TV even further.

So we're going to force Americans to spend extra money for a product we don't want, in order to obtain a service we don't want, which will allow Hollywood to limit our ability to do something that we do want. Sometimes don't you just think that Timothy McVeigh was right about the U.S. government?


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 9, 2002 5:36 AM.

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