Better picture, sharper sound, more free channels, that?s what it promised with 3 easy ways to prepare, buy a digital TV, converter box or subscribe to paid TV service. That?s what was advertized; what it became is 1-3 million household?s unprepared. Top on that list- the poor, elderly and persons who speak little or no English. Of those who could afford to attempt to make the transition, they were sucked into a hair pulling, frustrating experience of government coupons missing or unavailable, converter boxes that don?t convert and digital TV?s still not getting channels. DTV seems to be a rip off, headache and disaster designed to force people onto a paid TV service; information coming out of National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) or a number of websites like DTVanswers.com was ever changing between types of equipment, leaving consumers scratching their heads as they try to make their TV?s simply function. The NAB waited until roughly 2 months before the switch to plug outdoor antennas that insure getting all available channels, while virtually hiding crucial details about how to use recoding devices such as VCR or DVR, excluding it from converter box manuals and vaguely explaining what people were actually getting when purchasing a digital TV.
The result, folks turning on their TV?s June 12 to find static; more angering to the public was the propertied 10-30 dollar expense ballooning into far more including an antenna ranging from 18-20 dollars all the way to 100. If persons needed to hook up duel converter boxes to TV/VCR (for recording) they were left on their own to pay for a converter box in another area of the home. Others on a budget or fixed income may have purchased the cheaper $50 boxes to find they needed the higher end $70 ones or an outdoor antenna going all the way up to $200. Perhaps the biggest pain was felt by individuals who decided to buy digital TV discovering they needed some type of antenna to get reception. Those getting channels soon saw they were drastically less than they watched before in rural or urban areas, people being told they were trying to pick up things from other cities. The message: stick to your area whereas analog offered stations from local towns. Not only that, but people who needed an outdoor antenna, were potentially given the rude awakening that their apartment complex, condo does not allow them; many of these same places also ban satellites and dishes.
Technologically DTV has more problems common sense says we have potentially millions receiving nothing despite equipment bought. Improvements are only seen with a digital TV. Further, analog signals had majority coverage nation wide; digital is lucky to achieve half that. Tall buildings and moderate rain can cause broken, pixilated pictures with no audio, no picture or both. DTV?s amplitude needs to be increased exponentially to equal, forget surpass, its predecessor. Irritated consumers are left wondering why it was signed into law rather than offered as a choice, something that would likely have caused a majority switch with a decade; another question is why the law wasn?t reexamined, amended to be enacted after the recession was over? Why was the information given to the public so shoddy; why not be honest; them they must subscribe to a paid service? And asking why they are being forced to use something no ready for the demands placed on it, making it another government nightmare to enrage the public as they now likely paying for what was once free, impacting lives beyond what we currently imagine.