[rollei_list] Re: Very OT: Going Dark

  • From: Jerry Lehrer <glehrer@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: rollei_list@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 12 Jun 2009 20:08:25 -0700


Since Eric and Richard have extensive working experience in that industry, I tend to believe them. Even though all 3 of the 1080 type flat panel sets in my home seem to have a better picture with digital vs analog. But what can I tell, I have macular degeneration in my right eye
and cataracts in both.


Eric Goldstein wrote:
I know local stations operations very well, and know of no station
that wanted the digital conversion (except Bud Paxson, and he went
broke with his station group long before this day became a reality).

Digital was the concoction of the FCC and the set manufacturers, who
many years ago when this all started thought it could revitalize the
domestic industry. From a station POV, digital is the answer to a
question no one asked. Now, twenty years later, we have an answer to
that non-question...

Eric Goldstein


On Fri, Jun 12, 2009 at 5:23 PM, Richard Knoppow<dickburk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
----- Original Message ----- From: "Marc James Small"
To: <rollei_list@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Friday, June 12, 2009 1:14 PM
Subject: [rollei_list] Very OT: Going Dark

The US Federal Communications Commission and
Congress and our President agreed that today is
the day for the conversion from all analog TV
broadcasts to digital.  Most stations seem to
have switched before their morning broadcasts
this day, though some may push on 'til Midnight.

   Digital has some advantages but I suspect the main one here is revenue
for the owners of whatever patents are involved and TV stations who think
they can make more money from the auxilliary channels possible with digital.
   Digital will make good pictures from signals that are just hash on an
analogue set, provided its strong enough. If the signal is too weak the
digital converter box will present torn up or freezing pictures, or just
give up. In fringe areas with clear but rather weak signals an analogue set
with a good front end will give you a noisy but viewable picture where the
digital converter will just complain to you that the signal is too weak.
   Despite the campaign to get people to obtain converter boxes and prepare
for the change-over I suspect that a lot of people have either not gotten
the boxes or can't make them work right. Broadcasters make their revenue by
selling the audience: if the audience shrinks, for whatever reason, revenue
drops. I don't think digital will increase the audience size although the
total audience, including all eight possible digital channels might be
larger. Note that the more channels the station sends the poorer the quality
of each. There is only so much digital bandwidth available and the more its
split up the less is available to any one channel. The usual symptom is
motion artifacts, that is, still pictures look fine but, as soon as there is
some movement, the image will begin to pixelate or motion will be jerky or
some other similar effect. These are, at least to me, particularly
   Good digital should look better than analogue, eliminating a lot of
problems with ghosting and certain types of noise, but like the little girl
with the little curl, when its bad its horrid.
   An historical note: When color television was introduced in the late
1950's it was not welcomed by broadcasters. The reason is the one above, the
audience size remained the same. Stations and networks could not charge more
for color commercials or programs because the audience size remained the
same. The cost of converting to color was enormous- nearly everything in the
video chain had to be changed and the new equipment was substantially more
expensive than B&W had been. So, the industry was slow to change over. The
standard adopted by the FCC at the time was such that existing sets were
compatible with color but that is not the case with digital although the
converter boxes are cheap enough and coupons for substantial discounts are
easily available.
  BTW, note that digital TV is NOT high-definition TV although _that_ is
also digital. For HD you need a complete new TV set. Expensive and there is
not that much true HD on the air or on cable yet.

Richard Knoppow
Los Angeles, CA, USA
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