Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Going Digital

As you've probably heard by now, the United States is abandoning the analog television wavelengths, effective February 17th, 2009. If you don't already happen to have a digital television, and you don't have cable or satellite service hooked up to your analog television, you won't be able to see anything but static on your set after the middle of February next year.

While I understand a bit of why the government wants to force a switchover to digital, I'm not entirely thrilled with the decision to switch being made for me. Sure, they're providing coupons to defray the cost of getting a converter so that analog televisions can read digital signals, but the switch still disproportionately affects the poor. After all, most who can afford cable or satellite service (to say nothing of a true digital television) will already get (or have already gotten) them on their own. Even using the coupons, most folks will have to pay some $20 or so apiece for their boxes, and that's money that they'd probably spend on something else if they weren't forced to make a choice between paying the cost and forfeiting television access altogether.

But I don't expect to get anywhere fighting that battle. What's done is done. My own coupons came in yesterday, and there's a Radio Shack just down the street from where I live, so I've already picked up my converter boxes, and have installed the first one on the small TV next to my computer. It's an easy enough installation, and now I'm ready for February... or at least I will be once I've installed the other one later today.

As with most such devices, the converter came with instructions, and as with most such instructions, they began with a list of standard safety precautions. Most of these aren't really anything new to anyone who's worked with electronic devices before, but they really can be pretty stupid. Here's a list of the first four:
  1. Read these instructions.
  2. Keep these instructions.
  3. Heed all warnings.
  4. Follow all instructions.
If they're trying to communicate that it's important to read the instructions, they've actually failed pretty miserably, having only demonstrated that the instructions are redundant and useless (at least to this point). Wake me when the instructions get to something important or useful!

1 comment:

  1. I kind of like that list. It's lulling, comforting, therapeutic. :)


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