Is all current television equipment becoming worthless?

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I am sorry if this question is OT. But, I believe that the answer to this question answer will affect just about anyone in this group:
All current TVs, VHS tape and tape recorders will be trash within 2 years due to the pending changeover to HDTV (High Definition TV).
Will I be able to use my DVDs, my DVD player and my DVD recorder with the new HDTV sets?
Can my DVDs be converted to the new HDTV format, or will all DVDs and related equipment be trash, too?
--
Walter
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Walter R. wrote:

I guess if you were go on a hunt for the most useless HDTV receiver/display imaginable, one that has no direct video inputs, then you might find your old equipment worthless but I've never seen such a beast for sale. Your DVD player will still play back standard DVDs with no conversion required. Your VCR will still play back pre-recorded standard tapes with no conversion required. Your DVD recorder will not record HDTV video. Your VCR will not record HDTV video.
A current TV will display HDTV off-air signals if one of the promised conversion boxes is added and I suppose that this means that this degraded signal will be recordable with old recording devices although I imagine that anything coming through the conversion process will be bad enough without the added degradation of recording/playback.
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John McGaw
[Knoxville, TN, USA]
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SENATE PASSES BILL TO SET FEB. 17, 2009, FOR ALL-DIGITAL TV
Critics say consumers need bigger subsidy to buy converter boxes.
by Jennifer C. Kerr of The Associated Press
Washington, December 22, 2005 - It's still three years away, but there now is a firm date for the transition to all-digital television - the biggest change in the industry since color TV.
Legislation passed by the Senate on Wednesday would require broadcasters to end their traditional analog transmissions by Feb. 17, 2009, and send their signals digitally. Such technology promises super-sharp pictures and better sound. The plan also would allocate as much as $1.5 billion for a ''converter box'' program to help people with older, analog TV sets that would lose their signal in the digital era. Consumer advocates say that is not enough money.
The digital deadline was part of a larger budget bill that narrowly passed the Senate. House approval is expected and President Bush praised the Senate vote.
Consumers who have newer TV sets capable of receiving digital signals will not notice a change when the switch is made in 2009, nor should satellite television viewers and the roughly 26 million households with digital cable. Cable industry representatives say there is the potential for a service disruption for some of the 40 million cable customers without digital. If they still have an analog TV set in 2009, they could lose some stations. For those households, cable operators would convert digital signals back to analog for the major broadcast stations. That may not happen for smaller, independent stations unless those stations and cable operators work out a deal or Congress intervenes.
Analysts expect some agreement. ''It seems likely that Congress will plug this gap at some point before the hard date cutover,'' said Paul Gallant, media policy analyst at Stanford Washington Research Group.
Under the converter box program, consumers with analog sets would be able to request two $40 coupons to help buy the set-top boxes, which are expected to cost $50 to $60 each. Democratic lawmakers and consumer groups say that the $1.5 billion would fall far short of helping pay for every set eligible for a converter box. ''We think this is unfair, unworkable and unacceptable. It virtually ensures that on Feb. 18, 2009, tens of millions of televisions go black,'' said Jeannine Kenney, senior policy analyst with Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports. The group says the fund - after subtracting operating and other costs - would cover fewer than 17 million households.
An estimated 21 million households do not get cable or satellite service and rely solely on free over-the-air TV. Consumers Union estimates an additional 20 million homes that have cable or satellite do not have all of their TV sets hooked up to the service and would need converter boxes. There is no income cap for those who may request the coupons. GOP supporters such as the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, have said that lawmakers do not expect to subsidize wealthier homes.
The move to all-digital will free valuable radio spectrum, some of which has been allocated to improve radio communications among fire and police departments and other first responders. The government would auction the rest of the spectrum for an estimated $10 billion, though private estimates put that number higher. The bill also would provide $1 billion for public safety to upgrade their communications systems.
The Feb. 17, 2009, deadline was a compromise. The House initially proposed ending analog transmissions on Dec. 31, 2008; the Senate had backed April 7, 2009 - after the NCAA basketball tournament. The Senate had also initially proposed a $3 billion converter box subsidy.

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How assenine !!! Leave it to the government to screw everything up. They should provide those converters free of charge if they pull this shit. I personally am completely satisfied with tv the way it is. The only way I'd even consider having a HDTV in the house is if it was given to me free, including the antenna to go with it. I've seen HDTV, I'm not highly impressed with it. Yeah, the picture might be a little clearer, like I really need that to watch the evening news. Just more nonsense so someone else can make alot of bucks.
As far as VCRs, I'd imagine they would require a converter too, since they have a standard tuner. But they would still PLAY tapes.
Once again, the govt. is taking away our rights. It should be left to the individual broadcasters to make the change. As far as I know, most of them are now transmitting both the conventional and the hdtv signals.

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snipped-for-privacy@UNLISTED.com wrote:

I'm sure there were people who were completely satisfied with black and white TVs and 33 1/3 LPs too.

You've obviously never seen a true HD picture. Either that or your eyesight sucks bad. Seriously. EVERY person who has come in and seen HD on my set immediately notices the difference, and the "wow" factor is immeasurable.

The spectrum is owned by the government. Yeah, I know, it's "public" but just try and broadcast something without a license.

Yeah, that would be great. And we'd have format wars from city to city, station to station similar to Vhs/Beta, CD, DVD, and now HD-DVD format wars.
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wrote:

And guess what, that equipment still works. B&W TVs work without alteration to receive color signals, they still make LPs. Also, the government didn't mandate a change to color TV. In fact, they forced broadcasters to do it in a way that the equipment then owned by consumers would be backward compatible.
Not the same situation at all.
Brian
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wrote:

I've read of Congress considering legislation to provide some sort of payment for those low-income people who need a converter.(thru tax monies,of course) Converter or not,some people who receive over-the-air TV will NOT be able to receive digital TV signals regardless;analog TV degrades gracefully and is still watchable even with some noise displayed on-screen,but digital TV is either ON or OFF,those with satellite TV dishes know about this,like when a storm causes "rain fade",their signal drops out and their screen freezes,often pixellated,until enough signal returns.

There are people that believe 33 1/3 LPs are superior to CDs,value them highly,and pay a lot of money for them.They're still around,too.

IMO,*content* is far more important than resolution.

Government can establish digital TV standards,but should not be mandating a full changeover.The broadcast TV market should have determined that;if the market is there,then broadcasters would change over. But,truth is,the market was/is NOT there,it had to be forced.(cable can do whatever they want,as they have done for many years.)
BTW,Beta/VHS solved itself WITHOUT gov't interference,same with the CD/DVD formats.
--
Jim Yanik
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snipped-for-privacy@UNLISTED.com wrote:

Actually I think they are doing a good job. Consider that this change has been known about for a long time. It would have been possible to provide digital compatibility in all sets manufactured since then at very low cost. Note: that is not the same as digital capability it only means they could dumb down the signal to analog. Look to the manufacturers who did not do this. Rather than spending a few dollars for each set and selling the consumer on the deal, they just kept putting it off.
Also consider the consumers who have known about this also for a long time and who have not considered it when buying new TVs.
I expect to pay a few dollars for converters of a couple of my old TVs, but it is not going to kill me. I can remember when UHF came out and converters were used. Lots of people shared your opinion back then and after all was said and done, they all lived through it and most appeared to be happy with the final outcome.
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Joseph Meehan

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Not relevant. My TV died a couple of years ago,and all that was available were the same old TVs,no HD receivers or converters AT ALL. That TV is expected to last for 10-15 years.

But the regular channels were (and still are) *still available*. One bought a UHF converter IF THEY WISHED TO,not because they could not receive TV at all if they did not.

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Jim Yanik
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"Jim Yanik Dec 30, 6:56 pm
Not relevant. My TV died a couple of years ago,and all that was available were the same old TVs,no HD receivers or converters AT ALL. "
I don't know where you have been or what you have been looking at. There have been HD receivers, HDTV ready sets, and HDTV's with built-in tuners for a long time, certainly more than a couple of years. I last went shopping for a TV 3 years ago and there sure were lots of all of the above not only available, but being actively pushed and displayed by stores. In NYC, one of the problems after 911 was the lack of HD transmission from NYC because the ATSC transmitters were located on the WTC, which meant people who already had bought HDTV's here had a problem because the transmissions ended until replacements coudl be built. And that happened over 4 years ago.
Some more data points. The FCC required every TV set 34" or larger to have a built in digital tuner starting in 2004. By March, all TV's 25" or larger must have them. Everyone that was paying attention knew this as it was widely reported in the media. If you decided to buy a TV that isn't HD compatible a couple years ago, that was your decision. This conversion will have been going on for over a decade by the time NTSC ends in 2009. And to have to pay maybe 40 or 50 bucks in 2009 so that the world can move on doesn't seem unreasonable at all to me.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote in

Yeah.At what PRICES?? Ya think I'm rich? I'm not. Then there's the marginal reception areas where digital TV does not work. So,I need to buy an expensive TV only to find that the digital signal is not strong enough in my locale,so it's a DEAD BOX,just like my NTSC TV.

Made by my WALLET.

It's unreasonable that I am FORCED to change by government fiat,instead of allowing market forces to work.
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Jim Yanik
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says...

You aren't forced to do anything. The government isn't holding a gun to your head, threatening to kill you if you don't get a new TV.
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wrote:

Not yet, at least. Soon.
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says...

I have 3 perfectly good,working TVs,and they change the system,that IS forcing me to buy something in order to retain what I already have. (the ability to watch TV)
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Jim Yanik
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Jim Yanik wrote:

You might be surprised. My buddy works for one of the local TV stations and they were quite surprised when they lit up their digital transmitter. It is lower power than the analog transmitter and they started getting numerous calls from people in former poor/fringe areas that they were getting a good picture. Part of this is because the DTV can deal with multipath and other issues that plague analog.

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George wrote:

Mm hm. The media covered the lightup in Chicago years ago quite nicely. People only two miles from the multi-hundred kilowatt transmitters with antennas on Sears Tower and the Hancock Building were unable to get a watchable picture, *any* watchable picture.
Jim Yanik said:

I agree. It shows that people by and large didn't want this, and wouldn't pay for it unless outright forced to do so.
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If John McCain gets the 2008 Republican Presidential nomination,
my vote for President will be a write-in for Jiang Zemin.
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"How assenine !!! Leave it to the government to screw everything up. They should provide those converters free of charge if they pull this shit. I personally am completely satisfied with tv the way it is. The only way I'd even consider having a HDTV in the house is if it was given to me free, including the antenna to go with it. I've seen HDTV, I'm not highly impressed with it. Yeah, the picture might be a little clearer, like I really need that to watch the evening news. Just more nonsense so someone else can make alot of bucks.
As far as VCRs, I'd imagine they would require a converter too, since they have a standard tuner. But they would still PLAY tapes.
Once again, the govt. is taking away our rights. It should be left to the individual broadcasters to make the change. As far as I know, most of them are now transmitting both the conventional and the hdtv signals. "
You probably got your shorts all in a knot when 8 track tapes, LP's, laser discs, analog cell phones, and a lot of other technology bit the dust too. If you have cable, which the majority do, then it's a non-issue, as the cable company takes care of it. If you have satellite, the satellite receivers have been capable of receiving HD for years now and people have been buying into it because they want HD. Those two options take care of 85% of US homes. And both of these options send out a feed that will work with your existing TV and VCR.
The phase in of digital tuners into TV sets is well under way, with all large TVs already required to have them. Even small ones get phased in over the next couple of years. And just about everyone agrees that HD is clearly superior to std TV.
Worse case, if you rely on receiving analog via an antenna, you'll be able to buy a converter for $70. And the govt is gonna chip in $40 or so of that, which IMO is a $1.5Bil waste of the tax payers money. I don't think $35 is gonna break anyone.
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On 30 Dec 2005 09:37:30 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

The marketplace will insure that cheap converter boxes are available.
It is more important to the advertisers who support free tv that the great unwashed masses continue to watch, even if a subsidy must be paid.
One thing no one has mentioned is simply that the existing NTSC analog system is obsolete for the 21st century.
It is a wonder that a standard for color TV approved in 1953 is still the system used today in 2005, over 50 years! It is a miracle that the picture is as good as it is. The only significant change was the adoption of a standard for stereo audio in the mid-1980's.
Imagine what it would be like if someone forced you to use a 50 year old modem, or a 50 year old computer. Do you know what punch card is?
Non-technical people may not be familiar with the compromises that were required such as interlacing, and the addition of a color sub carrier inserted to preserve a 6 Mhz bandwidth limitation. The 4:3 aspect ratio selected way back in the 1940's cannot do justice to the aspect ratio of modern movies 16:9 . You must either pan and scan the movie (cut off up to 2/3 of the frame), or broadcast in the "letterbox" mode, both of which most people find to be unacceptable.
Today's NTSC signal is composed of a large number of synchronizing pulses (horizontal, vertical, color, blanking intervals) etc. all of which, in today's digital world, is hugely inefficient and wasteful of spectrum space. Analog signals are also particularly susceptible to interference, ghosts, and reflections.
Yes, there will always be those that say, well, the existing system is "good enough". Why not just keep it? These people may still have rotary dial phones or a Model - T in the garage.
Digital TV is going to be a better deal for everyone and it is long past due
Beachcomber
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"The marketplace will insure that cheap converter boxes are available.
It is more important to the advertisers who support free tv that the great unwashed masses continue to watch, even if a subsidy must be paid.
One thing no one has mentioned is simply that the existing NTSC analog system is obsolete for the 21st century.
It is a wonder that a standard for color TV approved in 1953 is still the system used today in 2005, over 50 years! It is a miracle that the picture is as good as it is. The only significant change was the adoption of a standard for stereo audio in the mid-1980's.
Imagine what it would be like if someone forced you to use a 50 year old modem, or a 50 year old computer. Do you know what punch card is?
Non-technical people may not be familiar with the compromises that were required such as interlacing, and the addition of a color sub carrier inserted to preserve a 6 Mhz bandwidth limitation. The 4:3 aspect ratio selected way back in the 1940's cannot do justice to the aspect ratio of modern movies 16:9 . You must either pan and scan the movie (cut off up to 2/3 of the frame), or broadcast in the "letterbox" mode, both of which most people find to be unacceptable.
Today's NTSC signal is composed of a large number of synchronizing pulses (horizontal, vertical, color, blanking intervals) etc. all of which, in today's digital world, is hugely inefficient and wasteful of spectrum space. Analog signals are also particularly susceptible to interference, ghosts, and reflections.
Yes, there will always be those that say, well, the existing system is "good enough". Why not just keep it? These people may still have rotary dial phones or a Model - T in the garage.
Digital TV is going to be a better deal for everyone and it is long past due...
Beachcomber "
Well said Beachcomber! There is no question that HDTV is a big step forward. And I don't see it being such a big deal to pay $70 for a digital tuner in 2009 for those that need one. That would be the 15% or so of homes that receive via OTA instead of cable or sat. And the govt is even gonna hand out $1.5Bil to give them about $40 of the $70, so the real cost will be more like $30 And of all the screw jobs Congress gives Americans in the form of wasted money and higher taxes, why should this be such a big deal? Maybe Joe Six Pack should look at how much is taken out of his check each week if he wants to bitch about something.
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It's kind of sad that the government is willing to subsidize TV Watching in the form of converters...
Health Insurance?... No! Help with prescription drugs... No! Loans for college?... No! A National Symphony Orchestra?...No!
But they will pay to make sure you can still watch Leno, Letterman, guess who will be the last to get kicked off the island and view people eating bugs on TV. Keep them dumb and happy!
Beachcomber
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