As reported in yesterday's New York Times, our government will spend 1.5 BILLION dollars (a.k.a., tax revenues) to assist those 20% of Americans who watch television using "rabbit ear" antennae. This amount will cover several million vouchers to purchase new digitally compatible conversion boxes, as well as fund the public announcements informing people of the impending change to digital.
Television watching is now one of the basic rights of American citizens. The article mentions that if people don't make the conversion, they won't be able to exercise their right to watch such programs as David Letterman and "Desperate Housewives."
Or, maybe the argument is that if people don't convert to digital, they won't be as well informed. Ahem. If that's the argument, then why don't we take that 1.5 billion and buy them newpaper subscriptions. Or, better still, pay them NOT to watch television. They'd get better information is we subvented trips to the local barber shop.
My favorite quote from the article:
"'The moment coming is the end of something that has been around for 60 years — conventional television — and it has been a wonderful era,' said Richard E. Wiley, a former chairman of the F.C.C. who led a government advisory panel on what was then known as 'advanced television' from 1987 to 1995."
Just think of it: "Desperate Housewives"! A wonderful era indeed.