Has anyone questioned the legality of required converter boxes?

@worldwise1 (14887)
United States
September 7, 2008 10:33am CST
I have been thinking for some time now about the requirement that everyone who does not have HDTV must purchase a converter box in order to be able to watch TV after the given date in February 2009. What if I'm perfectly happy viewing my programs on my imperfect standard TV? Does my opinion not matter? I think that even with the discount the government is allowing toward the purchase of these boxes some families are so poor that they don't have a spare $10 or $15 to put towards the purchase of them. They have larger concerns -such as feeding their families, rent, utilities, etc. Personally, I believe the government presumes too much when they mandate that everyone must use these boxes. The whole thing stinks to me, so much so that I am leaning towards not buying the box. What will I do without TV you might ask? I can think of many other things to fill the time like reading good books or watching movies on my pc.
2 people like this
14 responses
• United States
7 Sep 08
Not all that much of a TV watcher, I still want to watch the news and a few favorite programs. I don't have cable or satellite dish because I can't afford them. I can't imagine why it would be OK to force everyone to pay for what's always been a free service, often referred to as Air TV. Will we be charged for breathing air, as we will be for viewing it?
1 person likes this
@worldwise1 (14887)
• United States
7 Sep 08
I've concluded, cobrateacher, that watching TV is an activity I could give up if I had to make a choice. When I consider that there really isn't that much that's entertaining on there anymore anyhow, it's a no-brainer for me. I have access to news reports on my computer, and I can also watch episodes of my favorite shows via the Internet as well. There isn't much that I would miss by not having a TV to watch.
• United States
7 Sep 08
You're correct, but it just isn't right! People who pay for TV service get huge numbers of channels, etc., but the rest of us have enjoyed (?) TV free since before even I was born, and I'm older than dirt! It's one of the few things even the poor could do for entertainment.
@myklj999 (16720)
7 Sep 08
What has happened is that the FCC has required all stations to begin broadcasting in digital signals, which use different frequencies than the old analog transmitters. Why they are wanting to free up the bandwidth that the old frequencies used has not been made public (to my knowledge), but this is something I became aware of back in 1998 or so.
1 person likes this
@DCMerkle (1281)
• United States
8 Sep 08
I had ordered the discount cards for the converter box, because I had thought that I could afford them this month. That was not the case. When you get the cards there is an expiration date where the cards must be used by that date. You are only allowed two per house hold. So unless I hit the lottery and even that I can't afford, I'm not going to have the converter box at all. I'm stocking up on books and cd's. I guess that I can still use my tv for dvd's. There are a lot of movies that I want to catch up on and there are many tv shows that are now out on dvd, both old and new. I'm refreshing my memory on how to knit. I'm looking to my crafts to start back on. The government assumes a lot of the people in this country. Do you know that when everyone was getting the $300-$600 checks a couple of months back that I didn't qualify to get one because I am on SSI? I'm disabled and because I missed the quarters that I need to collect Social Security, I only qualify for Supplemental Security Insurance. I guess because I'm on such a tight budget and disabled I wasn't good enough to participate in the windfall. Oh well. Time for a knitting lesson...lol DCMerkle
1 person likes this
@worldwise1 (14887)
• United States
8 Sep 08
I don't know if we will even be able to use our TVs to watch DVDs or VCR movies after February, DCMerckle, but I'm just glad that I'm not hard to please when it comes to amusing myself. I have many hobbies that I can enjoy if I give up TV. As for the stimulus checks I fell into the same boat as you. It seemed to me that the people who receive SSI would have been more apt to spend them to help stimulate the economy.
• United States
8 Sep 08
I first heard about "the switch" back at the beginning of 2008, and even than I thought it was a load of crap to be forcing viewers to go all digital. But I guess at the same time, this was sort of something to be expected, since we are basically living a world of computers and digital electronics. I already have digital cable, but I keep hoping that when "the switch" happens the price of it will go down. Don't think that will happen, but paying $54.00 a month just to have television is a bit expensive in my opinion, considering I don't hardly watch it except on Mondays, Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays. I keep it on though so my kids and husband have something to watch, since they are driving me bonkers with the DVD's we do have.
1 person likes this
@worldwise1 (14887)
• United States
8 Sep 08
With the thought in mind that we do live in a world of computers and digital electronics, jeweled, I have never known it to be mandated that every household in the country has to buy a computer -or any other electronic device. So, why TV? There is something here that doesn't quite meet the eye. To be sure, though, someone out there will discover a way to get around this before long.
• United States
9 Sep 08
Pat ~ Usually my husband and kids only watch television long enough to see their favorite shows, than the period in between is reserved for running mom ragged, while dad tries and gets the 5th degree..lol. Though if they were to go a day without their favorite television shows you would think the world was coming to an end..ahhh! If it was just me here I would have it turned off completely, and if I wanted to see something I'd just pop in a DVD or look for it online. Worldwise ~ I do agree that it is a bit fishy that all of sudden it is required for everyone to upgrade to digital television or do without. I can only make assumptions as to the reasoning behind this. Don't really know if it would really make it any better for them to explain it either. Personally I just think it's just a way for them to grab everyone's money. As far as getting around it goes, I'm pretty sure there is ways around everything that has ever been created, if one knows what they are doing.
@madasp (563)
• United States
8 Sep 08
I agree with you. The whole thing stinks. like you, we can't afford the extra cost of cable or sattelite so we had to get the box. Then, after being told how much better the picture would be, when we got it home and hooked it up it barely works for us. It works like sattelite and we're too far away for the signal to reach us all the time, so half the time it doesn't even come in! They have a simple solution though..go spend another 30 to 40 buck on a Smart antenna. We don't plan on buying the additional antenna. If the tv won't come in, we just won't watch.
1 person likes this
@worldwise1 (14887)
• United States
8 Sep 08
Your response has given me a great idea, madasp. I am going to contact some of my local legislators and confront them with the problem some people are having with purchasing these converters.
@winterose (39918)
• Canada
8 Sep 08
I am not sure if it is all that necessary and what if people don't want to convert, they have no choice, they have to do it anyhow. Do they care that some people may not have enough money to do convert, no they don't. I hate when things are forced on us.
1 person likes this
@worldwise1 (14887)
• United States
8 Sep 08
That is why, winterose, I am wondering where is the outcry against this mandate. I thought we had more of a fighting spirit than this.
@sharra1 (6342)
• Australia
8 Sep 08
I have not heard about this. Is this a requirement just in US or are other countries affected? I am curious as we do not have a digital tv. Can any tv work through these boxes? I am reluctant to buy one if I get it home and find that my tv cannot use it. Not sure how old the tv is but it would be about 5 or 6 years old. My partner owned it when we met. I certainly have no intention of buying a new tv as I do not think there is anything on tv these days that is worth the cost of buying a new one. What happens after Feb 2009? Will there be no more tv?
1 person likes this
@kenzie45230 (3560)
• United States
8 Sep 08
Don't know if you've heard this theory. Some think that it's a way to get some advanced spying devices into our homes. Never before has anything like this been "mandated" before. If the government needs some air waves, why can't they use the HDTV air waves and leave the ones we're already using to TV? Another theory is that the TV networks all wanted this and were afraid that people would do just like you're suggesting - stop watching - if it wasn't required. I know some people who vary rarely watch TV anymore. But they still keep track of their favorite shows by catching them online.
1 person likes this
@worldwise1 (14887)
• United States
8 Sep 08
I've also heard that theory put forth, kenzie, and it might very well be true. Many people are distrustful of the government at this point and this will only cause further resent the way I see it. I wish it were possible to unite everyone to refuse to get these converters!
@pyewacket (44036)
• United States
8 Sep 08
I think it kind of sucks too, that we're kind of being pressured to buy those converter boxes as well...since I don't have cable or a tv that has the HDTV feature, I'm going to have to get one of them..I already sent for and have that coupon, but at the moment don't have the extra funds to get a converter box...my coupon is good until about October in which I hope by then I can get it....I've heard complaints from people that have gotten the converter, saying they are having problems but it could be that the converters won't work probably until February when the signal does turn digital. I really don't watch that much TV to begin with...most times I pop in a DVD movie and watch that....but I would miss Oprah....LOL...or the late news...hey, then how would I get ideas for some of my discussions?
1 person likes this
@worldwise1 (14887)
• United States
8 Sep 08
My coupons are set to expire later this month, pyewacket, and I have to wonder why they should carry an expiration date anyhow??? I've heard that the boxes will work now and we already have one or two new channels in my area that can only be accessed via the converter or HDTV sets.
@myklj999 (16720)
7 Sep 08
The problem is, there is no legality to be challenged. The Federal Communications Commission decided back in 1998 that by a certain date all TV stations would have to begin braodcasting in a digital format, which can not be transmitted over the frequencies that stations used to use. All of the old transmitters are now required to cease functioning to clear up bandwidth, although the reason behind this move has not been made clear. This is known as "progress", although I could think of something else to call it; namely bullsh!t. I am wondering if in the not to far away future they will do the same to radio...
1 person likes this
@worldwise1 (14887)
• United States
8 Sep 08
If you ask me, mkylj, there is something to be gained by someone in all of this. The government fails us in so many respects, so I can't believe they are doing this simply to improve our viewing pleasure.
@carmelanirel (20979)
• United States
7 Sep 08
I hear you World, I am not looking forward to having to buy a converter and truthfully, if I don't get a job, we just might be one of the ones with no extra money for one.. I can live without a TV, done it before and with my computer, (especially when I get my own back), I can be happy with just that..
@worldwise1 (14887)
• United States
8 Sep 08
It's not something that I'm going to lose sleep over, carmelanirel, but I feel bad for some people who might be older and confined to their homes that depend upon their TV shows for entertainment.
8 Sep 08
no, i have not found it , so i think no one has questioned the legality of required converter boxes.
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Dec 08
I know what you mean. I ordered my coupons months back, but they expired before I could save enough money for the additional $10-20 needed to get the converter box. So, now I guess I will continue to go without tv and watch dvds since the analog signal will be shut off in 2009. I can't afford cable or a $200 deposit for a satellite dish program and it sucks big time.
• United States
10 Sep 08
That's your choice, I don't think they are going to come to your house and make you watch Digital TV. I wrote an article on this for AC. Check it out. http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/600749/how_to_make_your_tv_compliant_for_the.html?cat=15
@pismeof (855)
• United States
9 Sep 08
Wise1, The airwaves belong to the government (us); they are a part of the nations infrastructure just like bridges and highways.Because of the development of digital technology CONGRESS determined that all television networks would be required to convert to a digital delivery system. I remember watching the discussion through C-SPAN that occurred many years ago. The original conversion date was suppose to take place in the year 2005.