the US government is spending $650 million on the analog/digital converter box program.

Seriously, I don't get it. I know a good Democratic government can only run with an informed citizenry; however, I don't see how or why it is the government's responsibility to pay for people to be able to watch TV. TV is a luxury, not a right and certainly not a necessity. Of all the spending that is proposed in the latest economic stimulus package this one makes the least amount of sense to me.

Can someone please tell me the logic or reasoning (or even rationalization) behind this item? Please?

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Comment by Jas Brimstone on January 30, 2009 at 2:07pm
As one who has lived for over a year now with no TV, it is very liberating and rather easy. Any shows you like can be either found online (with few to no commercials) or on DVD if you don't mind waiting. All other information is found quicker online than it is wading through channels and commercials and teasers to get the info you desire. :-)
Comment by Diego on January 29, 2009 at 10:38pm
It's kind of what Shaun says. The government sold the airwaves (which, by the way are owned by we, the people) to phone companies, so they can be used for telephones. In this way, the government raises money.

Now, why is the government paying people to change? Well, first of all, they are giving an "incentive" to people who principal TV is analogue. If it just changed, the people with analogue TVs, let's say, lots of grandmas and grandpas would not be able to watch TV and since the senior people ir a big lobbie in the US, well, you get the idea.
Comment by Shaun on January 29, 2009 at 6:29pm
WikiAnswers -
To the highest bidder, the government auctioned off the frequency spectrum used by companies sending analog signals. The two top bidders were phone companies. The idea is analog needs more space between frequency signals in order to transmit. Analog signals too close together will interfere with one another. Digital signals use less space between competing signals therefore allowing for more signals to be transmitted.

The government was paid to switch to digital.
Comment by Buffy on January 29, 2009 at 5:59pm
I haven't figured it out myself. The fact that they're trying to delay the switchover because some people have yet to get boxes just adds to the problem. If they haven't gotten them yet (after more than a year of constant ads and news stories about it) what is four more months going to do?

Yes people need to be informed but you can get news and other important information from an inexpensive radio. Television is simply not a necessity even though it's become ubiquitous to Americans.

The only reason I can think for the government to be subsidizing the boxes is because they're mandating the digital switchover. The subsidies may be their way of avoiding a massive revolt by citizens who don't have cable/satellite and either can't or won't pay for them. Otherwise it really doesn't make any sense.



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