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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Are you ready for the digital conversion?

On FOX 32 at about 10 PM last night there was a message that came across my screen up top that said that my TV was ready for the digital conversion. At home there are two other TVs both are LCDs and only one was ready for the digital conversion. One is connected to cable but not digital cable while the other is still wired for regular analog signals over an antenna.

The TV I was watching was ready by virtue of a digital cable box provided by those great people at Comcast. In the summer of 2007, we converted to digital cable after seeing that we could get a digital converter for free, but because that converter was no longer reliable a technician came by with a much larger cable box. Of course the unfortunate thing is that this box cost money.

I wonder what it costs to have a cable box when my household first got cable. I remember the day we got cable. I don't remember a lot of details just that one day there was cable box on top of the TV and it was my first exposure to Chicago Blackhawks hockey.

Surely the cable box is around the house somewhere. We've been discarding a lot of junk as of late, but I'm sure it's around this place somewhere. I still remember that it was of a greenish color with bright red numbers to denote channel and it came with a very simple remote that's not as complicated as the remote and box that we use today. Perhaps it wasn't too much different than the box you see to the right.

Eventually we found that we didn't need that box. My family put aside that original box and the cable connected directly to the TV instead of the box and that's the way it has been even when we have had our cable cut off once or twice. During those years we didn't have cable I can only imagine what was missed.

Today having cable is a lot different. For one it costs more if a cable box didn't cost anything to the consumer back that it costs the consumer now. I understand that it's not enough for a household to be wire for cable but each room is charged for the service. Sounds like an unnecessary squeeze even on top of those taxes we pay for cable. So we have taxes, fees for boxes and wiring different rooms for cable.

My mom likes to complain so much about how much it costs that she often threatens to cut it off because to her it's not worth the costs because there's nothing on for her. She's often cost conscious anyway sometimes in the extreme. Perhaps she has a point especially with the digital conversion coming up.

You know I should mention I wonder if we need a box anymore if the TV upstairs is thought to still be on analog cable, but yet it tested fine for digital conversion. Seems to me that if that were possible that by February of next year analog cable would become a thing of the past and that TV will have the same service that is available on the non LCD TV.

Well perhaps not all services. Just the ability to watch the channels that are available on another TV with a cable box even though there are other services that probably could be accessed with the cable box although it might cost a small fee to utilize.

Still fact is, would it even be possible that if we still cling to analog cable that the digital cable will be coming through to most of our TVs even without a cable box. I wonder if that'll be the next possible evolution as America converts to digital broadcast signals. Well we'll see about that.

BTW, I ordered two coupons for the digital conversion equipment I had no idea that it would be a while before they would be recieved in my hand. They would be worth the wait since if these converters cost $40 and these coupons would effectively insure that a dime wouldn't be spent on them. :)

I almost forgot to mention. Cable was around a long time, my mom remembers cable as something that was advertised as being commercial free and we see how well that has turned out. If that was what enticed many consumers to order cable (a jingle from my youth in the 1990s, 1-800-cable-me!) they might have eventually found themselves very disappointed.

Random link
Instapundit links to a story about one man talking about ending his cable subscription. Cable is the first to go in tight economic times, unfortunately.

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