Remember when TV reception was simpler?
Updated: September 6, 2012 10:54AM
I speak to you from the past.
No, just from June 11, 2009.
That was the last day we were one country bound together by the strongest tie — television.
June 11, 2009, was the last day before, by federal decree, all TV broadcasting was switched from analog to digital.
The transition was done — as Moe, Larry and Curly would say — for duty and humanity. More of the broadcast spectrum could be used for public safety, and consumers would get sharper pictures on our TVs.
All this would just automatically happen June 12, 2009, unless we did not subscribe to some form of cable service. Then we had to buy something called a converter box and install that on our TV or it would cease to function after June 11, 2009.
The government helped pay for the converter box — the first one only. After that, everything would be hunky-dory.
But on June 12, 2009, two classes of TV watchers were created: the Haves and the Have-nots. The Haves were cable subscribers. They automatically received clearer TV pictures. And, indeed, everything was hunky-dory.
But the Have-nots did not fare so well. They received fewer channels. There are just some channels the converter box won’t pick up. These channels vary from TV to TV and even for the same channels on different days.
For instance, as a Have-not, I cannot watch channel 9; channel 5 and channel 7 keep going in and out, as does channel 11.
This is the world of the TV Have-not. There are millions of us. Some choose to be TV Have-nots. But for a great many, choice is not involved. Millions of Have-nots can’t afford to subscribe to a cable service. What Congress really did was deny millions of Americans the ability to watch TV based almost solely on their income.
I mention all this because my converter box is dying. It will have to be replaced at a cost of about $60. And if my converter box is dying, so are other converter boxes.
Also, I thought my TV had finally expired. But by madly clicking buttons on two remotes, I finally got it breathing again.
But when it finally does give up the ghost, how do I replace one of these antique TVs? Will I have to subscribe to some service? How much is that?
I liked it before June 12, 2009.
E television unum.~.