Lars Larson on the Government and Digital T.V.

Why in the world would the federal government get involved in paying for television sets in peoples’ homes?

The federal government regulates broadcasting, that’s radio and television. To a certain extent even cable and other forms of broadcasting. Lately, they’ve required that the television industry set up to the plate and convert to digital. That conversion has happened over a several year period.

People have been able to buy digital televisions voluntarily. But, now the government is going to tell the industry to do the changeover. At some point in the very near future, analog sets simply won’t work anymore unless you convert to a box. A box will take that brand new digital signal and convert it to an analog that your old-fashioned t.v. can still understand.

Those boxes are only going to cost from $50 to $70. I say only because that’s a relatively cheap cost for a piece of technology. Now the government plans to spend $1.5 billion to hand out coupons so that consumers can convert without much cost of their own.

Why is the government involved in this? Why would we want to spend taxpayer dollars to help people convert their t.v. sets? It makes no sense to me.

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Posted by at 09:00 | Posted in Measure 37 | 16 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Jerry

    The government is involved in this nonsense because it is populated by a bunch of morons. I am going to make sure I get one just so I can toss it in the garbage. What idiots. I don’t need or want their help and neither should anyone else.
    Whatever happened to people taking care of themselves?????

  • Steve

    Look if the gobermint wants to insure our pacification to mold our minds and brainwash us. Who are you to satnd in the way or object to the help?

  • Average 2nd Rate Dittohead

    Dittos Lars! There is just no end to what the government does to mess up your life. If only we lived in a democracy where the people = government.

    Please send me a lapel pin and the G. Gorden Liddy Action figure!

    BTW . . . if you’re hiring more ghost writers send me an application. I think I’ve got the basic shtick down. It’s not very hard–just appeal to the dullest possible intellect AND the lowest common denominators of greed, avarice and prejudice. The hard thing is to craft a niche in a crowded field of blow hards and bigots.

    Hmm…maybe make up a stalking story then brag that you will use lethal force against anyone who dares to shake a finger in your direction. It could work! Malkin’s POUTrage isn’t really paying off, and if they ever arrest Medved in a public toilet there could be a big slot for you to pick up.

  • David from Eugene

    Hmmm… do I detect a bit of inconsistency here?

    Once television broadcasting is completely digital my analog television will be effectively valueless. The conversion to digital broadcasting is a government mandate. Since it is government regulation that reduced the value of my TV, what is wrong with the government compensating me for my loss?

    Or is the principle of government pays limited to land?

  • Richard from the Pearl

    Hey David,
    There’s such a thing as proportianality and excess.
    Few if any have ever suggested the government compensate every one for eveything the government does.
    But buy the same logic we should no green light the government to do anything without compensation.
    There’s a big distance between a $60 dollar TV converter and prohibiting people from using their land. Well before the government prohibited use of land without compensation it crossed the line. But that line isn’t drawn at the petty like a tv converter. not

    • Anonymous

      measure 37 says that the government should pay for any devaluation. period.

  • Jerry

    David – if you are too foolish to get a new TV then you should not watch it. My tax dollars should not go to you. You sound like some sort of pathetic little whiner who wants, wants, wants from others. Accept some responsibility. Figure out how to get TV from your old unit – build your own converter, buy one, toss out the stupid old set, do something!! Just don’t wait around for mother government to help you out.
    Man – pathetic doesn’t begin to describe this kind of thinking.

    • Anonymous

      so those who don’t have the money in thier budget to buy a brand new tv should suffer because the government forced this change? they are FOOLISH for not spending money? it seems to me the gov dug this hole so i don’t see why it shouldn’t help fix a problem they created

      • Jerry


        • Anonymous

          its pretty clear you hate poor people

          • Jerry

            I hate no one. I just find it hard to believe that someone can not figure out how to watch tv without government handouts.

    • David from Eugene


      So are you saying all the people who have submitted Measure 37 claims are pathetic expecting mother government to help them out?

      For the principle that property owners are entitled to compensation when government action reduces their ability to use their property to have validity it should be applied equally to all property real and personal regardless of value.

  • Richard Brown

    Hard to call. Yes, government should not subsidies the converter box but I feel Government caused this problem in the first place. The market not government should decide when to go to digital. This is nothing more than a money grab. The fed are going to make a killing auctioning off the new open spectrum.

  • Gullyborg

    Hell, government has been a thorn in our side over this for years. They have continually put back the date to changeover year after year after year. There is no reason why every broadcaster in the nation shouldn’t already be running everything in 1080p full high definition, except the stupid government has stood in the way for years.

    Most people buy a new television, whether they need it or not, every few years – simply because a bigger, nicer set becomes affordable. And since most of the sets being replaced still work, it makes sense that there should be a nice used market for older sets, allowing even people on tight budgets to make small upgrades regularly. So getting everyone converted at the monitor level isn’t a big deal.

    Meanwhile, more and more people get their TV from cable or satellite, and use a set-top decoder box. Folks would simply have to let their providers swap out an old box for a new box. The cost could easily be bundled into many months of slight subscription fee increases. Another $2/month isn’t going to be noticed – especially when rates are always going up already anyway.

    For the few people who use analog antennae on analog sets out there who aren’t already willing or planning to upgrade, caveat emptor. No one from the government bailed out the owners of buggy whips when horses were no longer feasible as road transportation. People could see that one technology was making another obsolete, so they planned accordingly or else lost some money on a bad deal. Well? Crap happens, people. And it ain’t gummints job to bail you out for it. Anyone who spent a lot of money on an analog TV in the last few years is an idiot and deserves to have a big clunky paperweight in their entertainment center. But hey, at least these folks can still go out and buy set top converters for cheap (and Lars, I think your estimate is pretty high, given the millions of units that will be produced and shipped – I’m thinking more like $20 if you don’t insist on paying more for a big-name electronics producer like Sony… hell, Radio Shack should be able to supply everyone who needs one for nineteen nintey five each).

    Meanwhile, I want Uncle Sam to get the hell out of my way and let the industry cross over to full HD as soon as possible.

  • Gienie

    Hasn’t anyone ever heard of Clinton’s 1996 Telecommunications Act?? Check it out people!

  • Jerry

    I just wonder if any of you idiots got a government handout to convert from 8-track to cassette? And if not, how did you do it?

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