Tuesday, January 13, 2009


As we draw ever closer to the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama January 20th, more problems arise in the final days of current President George Bush's term.
Case in point: the conversion to "direct TV".
Under the Bush administration, the Federal Communications Commission approved converting the standard broadcasting system to a digital system, with the switch over scheduled for February 17th.
Now if one already receives their television service from a cable provider or a dish network, all the viewer has to do is just sit back and continue to enjoy their favorite programs.
But if you have been watching TV via an antenna or rabbit ears the potential problems arise.
The government has been providing those in need with coupons that are valued to $40 off a new converter box to make the switch over.
Yet with all the other budget and economic problems right now, the government may not be able to assist everyone in need converting to the new system. Thus President-elect Obama is seriously considering asking for the switch over to be delayed until the situation can be addressed. Otherwise, over 7 million viewers might not have access to even local programing come February 17th.
How did this situation arise?
The Federal government took in over $19 billion dollars in fees reallocating the frequencies that regular television stations used to have over to emergency services and other telecommunications companies.
Yet less than $2 billion dollars was earmarked to cover the switch over expenses.
It makes one stop and wonder just how the mistake in under estimating the costs was made, let alone where the other $17 billion went.

ADDENDUM: The above was originally based upon a Reuters news service report, but since this was originally posted, even TV Guide has covered the story, although they state the funds allocated to cover the switch over costs at just $1.34 billion.

But in any event, what did happen to the rest?

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