----- Original Message ----- From: "Stephen W. Long" <longsw@xxxxxxxxxxx>
I am specifically thinking about all of the NTSC VCRs out there. I must have 10 VCRs around my house and basement, in all different versions andcapabilities, slowly acquired over the years. None of the tuners will workpost transition.
There has never been an more inaccurate statement. Those tuners will work exactly as well the day after the transition as they did the day before the transition. And I would wager that more than 75% of America's VCRs (my gut says closer to 90%) of them are either A) connected to cable, B) connected to an STB, or C) connected to no antenna at all and are either gathering dust or are used for playback only.
The coupon set top box converters will not really work - no way to have the channel change based on time, as any VCR will do.
Another mistatement. There are VCRs that are forced to be connected to STBs today. They are connected to cable and DBS STBs, where this problem has been battled for years. The two ways that are used for mulitple channel recording are A) the STB will do timed channel switching, or B) the VCR has an IR 'mouse' to remotely control the STB and change channels.
Timed channel changing was not mentioned as either a required feature nor as a disqualifying feature for coupon eligible ATSC STBs, so they may be available in the near future. However, I would imagine that the timed channel change feature will not be incorporated into the first generation of Coupon STBs.
The IR 'mouse' channel changing scheme usually requires one to program the VCR by selecting from a group of preprogrammed codes, so I imagine that legacy VCRs will not control Coupon STBs. That leaves no channel changing capability.
However I would imagine that most cable homes where STBs are required for tiered programming, the reality is also that there are no channel changing going on there, either. You want to record 60 minutes, you tune the STB to the appropriate channel ahead of time.
I use DVRs nowadays, so not really an issue for me, but for my parents - the VCR is the only way to record a show. They have cable, but only in the living room - the bedroom TV uses rabbit ears.
Then they do not record programming from Discovery, TLC, the History Channel, or movies from AMC, TCM, HBO, or Showtime. If indeed they regularly record from rabbit ears exclusively, that puts them in the 25% who will have to use a coupon eligible STB, extend the cable drop into their bedroom, or transition to a newer technology such as an ATSC DVR with hard drive. The hard drive ATSC DVR is probably the best way to time shift programming, and far superior to a VCR.
As the transition is in February of 2009, that gives you the perfect gift giving opportunity for the 2008 Christmas season.
So what is the impact of 100 million (or so) obsolete VCRs after the transition? It may fill the landfills across the land.
The average consumer VCR has an expected lifetime of what, 5 years? The only impact I see is lower demand in the replacement VCR market as people naturally transition to DVRs with DVD burners. Again, I predict that the vast majority of VCRs post cutoff will function exactly as they did pre-cutoff: Connect to analog tier cable.
Are there ATSC VCRs for sale? I have never seen one, but I will start looking this shopping season.
I doubt you will find any. However, why would you want to replace an NTSC VCR with an ATSC VCR? Have you ever seen the video quality of a 6 hour SLP VHS tape displayed on a 32" 720p LCD monitor? a DVR with hundreds of hours of hard drive storage is the way to go for time shifting, and DVDs are the way to go for movie viewing.
Or do you also lament the inability to go to Blockbuster and rent new release movies on VHS?
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