Thanks to the meddlesome legislative bodies in the US government, literally millions and millions of US citizens will be without television TODAY as the often-delayed transformation to digital finally takes place.
Many will be caught unprepared with little or no recourse. Fringe reception areas are popping up all over, putting the lie to digital supremacy. Millions of analog TV sets will end up in landfills, and when the picture tubes break, toxic chemicals will leach out into the ground water supply, causing the most toxic soup of all to fester until pumped up for our drinking water. Newer, digital-capable sets have been shown to hog power, thus leading to a global meltdown even sooner than “experts” have predicted. So-called “conversion” boxes, often purchased at inflated prices, easily break down and have been difficult to install for many. The government coupons for help in purchasing these magic boxes were often unavailable and had very quick expiration dates. New antennas must often be purchased just to receive the new digital signals. When it rains, many times the “superior” digital signal is completely lost. Nothing they promised has come true.
This is all called progress by your “elected” officials. What can be done? Are there solutions left for the millions upon millions of Americans who are adversely affected by this sea change in broadcast technology? Yes, there are.
1. Watch your TV over the Internet. If you have a relatively speedy Internet connection there are many sites that now offer streaming video for movies, TV shows, educational films, and more. This option brings families closer together, too, as the average screen size in the US is now at 18.5 inches.
2. Get a black market converter box. Sure, you won’t be able to use the government coupon, but those were worthless anyway. If you check out flea markets, under bridges in major cities, and surplus electronics shops you should be able to get a “magic box” for less than $100 and get back to watching TV as long as you don’t live too far from the broadcast antenna and if it doesn’t rain.
3. Get cable or satellite service. Both will still work with your old, out-of-date TV set. This option is generally one of the best for those plagued with the vagaries of the switch to digital TV.
4. Go to a friend’s house to watch TV if that friend has the new capability to receive the now all-digital TV broadcast signals. This may seem like an unworkable solution, but if you bring along some popcorn and drinks it might work for the short term and could help strengthen the bonds between you and your neighbors.
5. Write your congressperson and demand a return to analog for two more years until the numerous problems noted above have been adequately addressed.
6. Build a small stage and practice the art of puppetry. This time-honored method of entertainment is as fun to watch as it is to do. Unleash your creativity! For advanced persons consider marionettes.
7. Go to the movies more. The movie industry is having a very difficult time filling seats, so this option would help them out and help you out as well. A “win-win” as we call it in the business. Your fix for audio/visual can be solved for about $9.50 a day (US average seat price for first-run movies).
8. Make your own movies and watch them. Finally, a reason to get creative. Old-style, non-digital (analog) cameras and accessories can be had for pennies on the dollar. Your inner self will be awakened as you begin your journey exploring the fascinating world of movie-making. You can even invite your neighbors over to watch your works as a way of thanking them for letting you watch TV at their place.
9. Scavenge Good Will stores and the like for large plasma sets that people have donated after they learned of the enormous amount of energy these video “hogs” require. Often these “green awareness” returns can be had for dimes on the dollar. Most are ready for the digital signals, too.
10. Quit watching TV altogether. This may sound extreme, but it has been done by others for limited periods of time without deleterious effects.